Recently, I read a legend about Napoleon when he had conquered a highly-prized island in the Mediterranean. Afterwards, when Napoleon and his generals were celebrating the victory, a young officer in his army came to speak to Napoleon. “Sir, give me this island,” he said. The generals around Napoleon began to laugh and mock him. Napoleon asked for a pen and paper and to the general’s amazement, he wrote out a deed for the entire island to the young man. “How could you do that? What made him worthy to receive such a gift?” the generals asked. “I gave him this island,” replied Napoleon, “because he honored me by the magnitude of his request.” Sometimes I feel like those generals. In my mind, I limit God and fail to realize the power He has in my life. Lately, I have been trying to break this habit by praying for God to do great deeds that my natural self tells me are not going to happen.
This past WESS weekend God provided a great opportunity for me to practice honoring His power. This opportunity presented itself when our aircrew director told the aircrew school that due to finances, anyone who had completed all their tasks the week before would not be able to fly over the weekend. Needless to say, my wingman and I were very disappointed. Thankfully, the next morning brought about a change of heart as myself and around fifteen other cadets showed up for the morning bible study/prayer meeting. Cadets shared what the Lord was laying on their hearts; words of wisdom, stories of God’s provision, etc. The atmosphere of trust in God helped me to renew my mind. Just before prayer time, I shared a story of how God answered the prayers of a friend of mine and myself during a camping trip a couple weeks before and how much it blessed both of us just knowing that God listens to us and cares about our requests and looks forward to giving us the desires of our heart, no matter how big or small they may be. As I shared this story, something clicked in my mind and I thought back on the disappointing news about the flights. Why did I not ask for Him to allow me to fly this weekend? Confronted with my lack of trust, I challenged each of the cadets in the circle, including myself, to choose something to ask God for during the weekend and eagerly await to see Him answer our prayers. During my prayer I asked God if I could have the opportunity to fly that weekend despite the lack of funds, if it was His will. Once prayer time was over, we split up and headed to our respective courses, anticipating to see God on the move.
Since we had completed all our tasks the week before, my battle buddy and I decided to hang out with the Aerial Photography students and learn some of their tasks, which we had a blast doing. When we were not taking practicing taking photos on the ground, we played the word game “hangman”, which we found out is ten times more fun when you are tired. 🙂 Once the aircrews returned from their sorties that evening, we had our debriefing and listened while the directors made plans for the next day. Just as the meeting was wrapping up, I heard someone mention only two aircrew members instead of three on a sortie. An extra seat?! As soon as the debrief was over I went to the aircrew director and asked if I had heard right about there only being two people on the sortie. He grinned and said yes. “Would it be possible for me to take the place of the third person?” I asked. He laughed and said he could make it happen. I was SO excited! God had answered my prayer!
At 7:30 the next morning I was on my way to the airport for that impossible flight. Even better, I got to fly up front rather than in the back seat where I usually sit as Mission Scanner! This gave me about 30 minutes of practice at the yolk and also gave me the first opportunity to speak directly to Air Traffic Control because the pilot’s radio would not cooperate. By the end of the morning, another flight came up, so I ended up flying two flights in the end. Oh! Later on I learned that my wingman was offered a flight back to her home in Georgia! It never ceases to amaze me how God goes above and beyond to bless His children!
All in all, the weekend was a great success! As the graduation ceremony was about to begin, our crew arrived back at mission base. My sweet mother even brought the rest of the Caliguire Clan to celebrate with us! My father, sisters, brother, and I all graduated from our courses and had a great time going out with friends afterwards to celebrate.
So what did I learn most from WESS? As far as the Emergency Services training is concerned, I must say that I know a great deal more about how to use the sectional chart and preflighting aircraft than I did when I started. Spiritually, God has used WESS, along with other events in the past few months, to give me an opportunity to understand His character on a deeper level. Now more than ever, I realize how much He cares about every intricate detail of our lives and that “If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give what is good to those who ask Him?”(Matthew 7:11) He is SO amazing and worthy of all our praise!