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Pilots Turn Planes Into Angel Wings

Pilots for Christ International is a group of private pilots and aviation enthusiasts who work to reunite families during crises. Pilot Jim Anderson says his first flight, in 1996, was to reunite a terminally ill cancer patient in Denver with family in Kansas: "It made me feel so good to use my skills to help a family, to provide transportation to someone who couldn't afford it." Anderson is part of Pilots for Christ's Kansas City/Heartland chapter, chartered in 1988 and covering most of Kansas and Missouri. A minister and teacher at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Anderson is also a flying instructor and speaker. Fellow chapter member Jim L. Taylor has stories of his own, including flying a man from St. Louis to see his father, who had had a heart attack at Ft. Leonard Wood on Christmas Eve, and ferrying family members of a man dying in Washington, Kan., from San Francisco to be at his side. One of Taylor's first flights was with Anderson, who was going to speak at a Christmas program in West Virginia and saw a full-circle rainbow: "It was just before Christmas, and the sky was overcast. When we were above the clouds, I could see a complete circular rainbow, and Jim told me the rainbow signifies God's promise. It lasted about 35 to 40 minutes." Another aspect of the organization's work includes ferrying pastors to mission stations. For example, Victor Goicoechea, who met several chapter members when he was a student pilot in the 1990s, later worked with them when his congregation was helping sponsor the move of Rev. Daniel Bocanegra from Florida to Olathe, Kan., where he is now the head of Via de Esperanza Church.

December 9, 2009

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