I prayed as this helicopter outreach approached and I felt this was going to be a significant step in his journey with the Lord and in opening his eyes to SEE what breaks the heart of the Father. I had no idea what God would allow in my sweet son’s life.
The first day was filled with adventure, awe, beauty, flight. He soared over the clouds in the front seat of a helicopter over the southern mountains of Ethiopia…how many on this earth get this privilege? He loved it. They landed and were greeted by singing and smiles and handshakes. He spent the day helping Dave in a clinic, seeing nearly 100 patients, and learning more about the helicopter. He walked among this untouched, remote village, saw the poverty, the need and the joy. The children had built helicopters out of sticks and wood, they had drawn the helicopter on the walls of their church. This helicopter had brought them LIFE. It has brought them the Word and believers that love and minister to them.
However, that night, the experience changed drastically for them. God would now show my son and my husband how to rest in the shadow of his wing.
Gunshots started ringing out in the darkness. The guys told stories in the helicopter. Quickly Dave realized the firing was continuing and it was getting closer. They hopped out of the bird and went to the far side of the hill and lay flat on the ground. Dave said he could hear the whizzing and the cracking of the bullets not far from them. He could see the bullets lighting up the heavy black sky. They began sending me messages to pray. Uncertain of the reason for the shooting, we all humbled ourselves before the sovereign, protective hand of God.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day…
I felt overwhelming peace praying this Scripture that I had so often prayed while Dave was deployed. I prayed that these scary moments would be an opportunity for my tender Caleb to sense, in a supernatural, REAL way, the protection on being under his Father’s wing.
When Caleb arrived home, he told me he had prayed the same Scripture.
The shots continued strong for nearly an hour. The men were down the mountain firing up, so the bullets were coming dangerously close to our boys. But God sheltered them. When the firing died down a bit, the guys were able to ask the elders in the church what was happening and did they need to quickly fly out (something that is extremely dangerous in the dark!) They discovered that a very important elder or chief in the village had just died and this was their custom to fire guns. Though it settled down, it continued through the night, and the dawn came with increased shots and the loud mourning of this loss.
The team decided it was best to leave and allow the customs and funeral to go on according to their culture. The helicopter arrived safely here before lunch. Along with my amazing warriors, it was able to bring a precious family. This mom had been suffering for a year since she gave birth and was now able to fly (can you even imagine!?) to get a surgery that would change and transform her life. This trip God would use to transform many, many lives.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”