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Angels ARE here!

Angel in the Cockpit

I start a new series of the stories that must have been about
ANGELS. The stories are from the book "Where Angels Walk" by
Joan Wester Anderson. She collected these stories from various 
people and put them in book form.
We have angel stories all over the Bible. In fact angels are
mentioned over 300 times in the Bible. They may act alone, or in
great gatherings, carrying out God's commands, forming a heavenly
court, fighting in wars (sometimes human battles, sometimes
battling with demons) - they can protect people and bring
messages to people. Paul was inspired to say in Hebrews 13:2, "Be
not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares."



ANGELS IN THE COCKPIT


How sweetly did they float upon the wrings
Of silence through the empty-vaulted night ... 
MILTON, COMUS



     David Moore and his wife, Florence, discovered in July 1971
that Florence's mother was dying of cancer. The Moores lived in
the small town of Yoakum, Texas, then, but they began driving
back and forth to Hendersonville, North Carolina, to visit the
sick woman. After one trip, David decided to leave the car in
North Carolina for Florence to use, and take the bus back to
Texas.

"It was the worst idea I ever had," he says, laughing. "Forty-six
hours of riding and listening to babies cry! On our budget I
couldn't afford to fly, but I made a vow to walk if I had
to-anything to avoid getting on another bus!"

     The following week, as David packed and planned a
hitchhiking route to Hendersonville, Henry Gardner phoned. Henry
had heard about David's transportation problems, and he
volunteered to fly David to North Carolina in his small Cessna
180 and get in some sight-seeing at the same time. David accepted
gratefully.
     David had never flown in a small plane, and he was nervous
as the two men taxied down the runway early the next morning. But
the little aircraft lifted gracefully, and he sat back to handle
his unfamiliar duties as navigator. Within a half hour, however,
as they neared Houston, they ran into fog.

"This is no problem," Henry reassured an increasingly nervous
David. "We have aviation maps on board, and look you can see the
Houston radio towers rising above the fog. All we have to do is
watch the towers, and we can tell where we are."

     He was right, and their journey continued. But the fog
worsened, and just outside Jackson, Mississippi, the plane's
radio and instruments died. Now the pair couldn't see anything on
the ground, nor could they talk to people in the control tower.
just as David was becoming desperate, the fog lifted for a moment
to reveal the airport directly beneath them. Henry took the plane
down smoothly, and within minutes they had found an airport
mechanic Relieved, the two men grabbed a quick lunch and were
soon airborne, with instruments and radio restored and fuel tanks
filled.
     Everything went smoothly for a while. The sun had come out,
and David's tension diminished He began to enjoy the flight and
his bird's-eye view of the ground. As they travelled northeast,
he could see Atlanta off to his right. "I was getting excited,"
David says, "knowing that soon I would be with my wife and
daughter again."
     But as the plane passed Greenville, South Carolina, the fog,
which had been patchy and broken, turned once again into a
continuous gray mass. There was enough visibility for Henry to
clear the first mountain range, but as the two looked into the
distance, they saw a solid wall of fog, and their hearts sank.
Henry radioed Asheville Airport for instructions.

"Our field is closed because of fog," the air-traffic controller
responded, "and we have no capability for instrument landing.
Return to Greenville and land there."

"But I can't;' Henry protested. "We're almost out of fuel-we
won't have enough to fly back to Greenville."

There was a silence. Then, "Okay;" the radio voice snapped.
"We'll get the ground crew ready. Come in on an emergency
landing."

     David gripped the sides of his seat. They seemed to be
flying in a dense gray blanket, and the Asheville control tower
couldn't possibly see them How were he and Henry going to land?
"We can use the aviation maps, just like we did before;" Henry
reassured David, and after a brief scan of the blueprint, he
began his blind descent. The airport runway should be beneath
them-but what if it wasn't? Suddenly a voice came over the radio:
"Pull it up! Pull it up!"
     Henry immediately pulled up on the stick. As he did so, the
men saw a split in the fog, and the view beneath sent tremors of
fear through each of them. Instead of being over the runway, they
were above an interstate highway! Had they descended a few feet
farther they would have bit a bridge and certainly crashed
     The two looked at each other. They were almost out of fuel,
and inside the grayness it was impossible to know where they
were. Henry tried to descend again, but almost hit the tips of
some trees poking above the fog. Again, he pulled up sharply.
There seemed to be no way out of their dilemma. Without enough
fuel-or guidance from the control tower - how could they possibly
land? Then, with enormous relief, they heard the controller's
composed voice breaking into the tense silence in the cockpit.

"If you will listen to me," he said, "I'll help you get down."
"Go ahead," Henry radioed back in relief.
The controller began his instructions. "Come down just a little,"
he said. "Now over to the right. Down a little more... .

     David gripped the seat, praying intently. Thank God the
controller had been able to pick them up on radar, despite the
airport's apparent lack of the necessary instruments. But would
they make it in time? It seemed impossible. The fuel needle
hovered on E but the voice went on with calm authority: "Not so
fast. Easy, easy now...." Was this nightmare flight ever going to
end? And would he see his wife and daughter again? "Raise it up a
little now. No, you're too far left" The journey seemed to be
taking forever. But all of a sudden the controller said, "You're
right over the end of the runway. Set it down .... now!"

     Obediently, Henry dropped the plane through the fog, and the
two men recognized the beginning of a runway just ahead, with
lights along both sides. It was the most welcome sight they had
ever seen. Within minutes, they had touched down. Tears of
gratitude and relief filled David's eyes when he saw Florence
standing at the end of the runway.
     The plane taxied to a stop, and the two men offered a quick
prayer of thanksgiving. Then Henry turned the radio on again.
"Thanks so much;" he told the air-traffic controller, his voice
shaky with relief. "You probably saved our lives."

     But the controller's response stopped both men in their
tracks. "What are you talking about? We lost all radio contact
with you when we told you to return to Greenville," "You what?"
Henry asked, incredulous. "We never heard from you again, and we
never heard you talking to us or to anyone else," the controller
told them. "We were stunned when we saw you break through the
clouds."

     David and Henry looked at each other. Who had guided them
through the grayness and onto safe ground? They would never know
for sure. But even today David never hears a small airplane
without thinking of that flight. "I know now that, insignificant
as I may be in this big world, God always has His eye on me," he
says. "He sustains me through the storm and the fog."

                            ..................

To be continued 


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