Evangel May, 2010
At Evangel, we are committed to “Connecting Real People to a Real God.” One of the new ways we are extending that purpose is via our Jesus Decision page. If you, or someone you know recently made the decision to follow Jesus and are wondering what to do next, this page will provide visitors with free resources needed to jump start their Christian life. Visitors can fill out a form to request free Bibles and additional reading materials and even request to speak to a pastor.
We hope that this page serves as a great ministry tool at Evangel. The page can be found under our “About Us” sub-menu on our website, or found here. Feel free to share this page with all of your friends and family!
Memorial Day Tribute – A True Story
TRUE STORY FROM AN AIRLINE PILOT
My lead flight attendant came to me and said, “We have an H.R. on this flight.” (H.R. stands for human remains.)
“Are they military?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Is there an escort?” I asked.
“Yes, I already assigned him a seat.”
“Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early,” I said.
A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.
“My soldier is on his way back to Virginia,” he said.
I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.
We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure.
About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. “I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying is on board,” she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia.
The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.
I could hear the desperation in the flight attendant’s voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.
“I’m on it,” I said. I told her that I would get back to her.
Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.
Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:
“Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.”
I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, “You have no idea how much this will mean to them.”
Things started getting busy for the descent, approach, and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.
“There is a team in place to meet the aircraft,” we were told.
It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers.
He did that and the ramp controller said, “Take your time.”
I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, “Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.”
We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.
When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of “God bless you,” “I’m sorry, thank you, be proud,” and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.
Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that so many of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of America.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount up to and including their life.
Beginning Wednesday, June 2 at 6:30 PM, we are starting a fun summer program for 2-year-olds. There is no registration fee, however please complete a registration form at the Information Center and place it in the marked drop box.
Beginning Wednesday, June 2 at 6:30 PM, Kids Around Town (KAT) is a summer program that combines fun, friends, and Christ under the hot summer sun! Kids will enjoy field trips, activities, and games around town as they learn about Jesus. KAT is for kids in grades 1-5. Kids Around Town Junior (KATJ) is a preschool program for kids ages 3-Kindergarten. They will learn about God while having fun in the sun.
Registration forms are available at the Information Center. Complete the form and drop it in the marked box. Your kids are welcome to join at any time throughout the summer but there will be a late registration fee of $10 per child after Sunday, May 30. If you have any questions about KAT, please contact Pastor Aaron or Amy. If you have any questions about KATJ, please contact Fern Keller or call the church at 701-255-0500.
Holy Spirit Encounter is a four-week class that introduces you to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. This class will meet on Wednesday, June 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 6:45-7:50 PM at Boneshaker Coffee Company.
If you plan to attend, please sign up for this class by filling out our contact form and indicating your interest in Holy Spirit Encounter. You may also sign up by calling the church office or register at the Information Center.
As you may have noticed, Evangel’s website received a few upgrades today. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working hard to design and implement a site to meet the needs of our growing church. After months of planning, designing, and testing, that day has arrived. Running on the popular WordPress Platform, we are now able to update the site at any time, from any location on earth (as long as that location has internet access). This gives us enormous freedom and opportunity to communicate not only with our congregation and community, but the world as a whole.
Our new website features easy to access podcasts, forms and activity applications, as well as information pertaining to all of our ministries and events. The site also features a public calendar with the latest information on everything happening at Evangel. On our page’s footer, you’ll find quick links to a number of resources, in addition to Evangel’s Facebook and Twitter page links. Finally, since you’re already reading this post, it means you’ve visited our news/events page – the nerve center for all the latest announcements and media at Evangel. Be sure this page often as we’ll be uploading our news, podcasts, photos, and videos here. We might even use it to give away a prize or two as well. In fact, one lucky reader who lets us know what their new favorite feature is on the website via our contact form will win a Stellar Kart and Project 86 CD (and be creative, we want to know that you really took a good look at the site)!
So what are you waiting for? Browse through the pages, let us know what you think, and share Evangel’s new site with your friends and family!
(1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13)
Message 5 in “Running on E” series by Doug Graham
(1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
Message 4 in “Running on E” series by Doug Graham