85 year old Father Tom has been a Catholic Priest for over 60 years. He jokes he is a “high priest” because he is over 6’4″. He traveled down to visit his brother in Tucson a few weeks ago and soon came down with pneumonia. He became so weak he couldn’t walk. With his lung infection improving, doctors recommended that he have some rehabilitation so he could get his strength and balance back. One of his life long friends, Sister Rosanna, flew down to Tucson to help get him back to Iowa and contacted Grace on Wings to help.
We left a day early because of the flying distance and our aircraft, Nellie, was having an issue with a fuse on right engine. Hal-our chief pilot decided we could refuel at our Maintenance shop and have them check it. As the team at Intercontinental Jet worked on Nellie, I was able to take some time and sit in the sunshine.
I looked down and saw this beautiful flower “weed” growing and as I inspected it, I noticed it had a square stem. I love to grow and look at flowers but I admit to not knowing much about them. I don’t ever remember seeing a square stem. And it had such delicate and creatively shaped flower and buds. It struck me how sometimes you can really see God in the details if you just look, even at what we call “weeds”.
After a few hours, the team got Nellie working again and we took off for Tucson. Due to the strong winds, we had to stop for refuel at Roswell (local said only alien we would see could be purchased at Walmart) and arrived in Tucson after sunset.
Early morning we arrived to Father Tom’s hospital room and I’d have to say he was one of our best dressed passengers. He was a prior pilot and was excited to fly on Nellie. We flew out of the dessert area and Father Tom was soon fast asleep. He finally awoke when we stopped for refuel in Tulsa and did not seem at all concerned when we had again had an issue with a fuse on restarting the right engine. After our mechanics did some work on it-Father Tom even offered to lay hands on it and pray over it (we had him do it from a distance) and it started up with some difficulty.
We arrived in Dubuque, Iowa at the snow-covered rehab center near his home of priests. He was glad to stand up and stretch and I asked if we could pray before leaving. I said it wasn’t often that I had the chance to pray with a priest and nun that we transported-OK never. We gathered and held hands and prayed and I asked for them to keep praying we would get the right engine started to get home. Sure enough the engine started right up and we arrived back home quite exhausted from our two day journey.
Nellie’s engine wouldn’t start the next day and a mechanic had to be flown in to help limp her back to Tulsa where she could be worked on (ended up being a faulty wire). I thank God we were able to finish our mission safely and that He had all the details worked out.
Praise God for the hands that work on our (His) aircraft Nellie. They are definitely the best!
She’s running great and ready for more missions.
Thanks to great flying by Hal and Mark, and great care by medic Glenn and flight follower Bob.
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