This article is written by Keith Mosier, who we sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo early this year. His parents and two siblings were on board the aircraft that crashed yesterday in Goma.
Though a Thousand shall fall at thy side...It shall Not Come Nigh Thee.
There is a lot of news that I could mention: We had a successful evangelistic series with 51 baptisms, we've acquired a piece of property on which to build our mission, and there have been many other blessings which I'm not going to write about at this time. What I'm going to write about is very sobering.
I'm sure many of you have heard that there was a major plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo. What you may not know is that my family was on that plane. Were it not for the grace of God they would have died in the crash.
I arrived at the Kisangani airport to receive them after receiving a message not even an hour before that they were safely in the airplane ready for takeoff. I was looking forward seeing them as it's been over 7 months since I've seen my Mom, my little sister April, and my baby brother Andrew. And I hadn't seen my Dad since the CFM board meeting in February.
I had a lot of joy in my heart when I arrived at the airport thinking their plane had already arrived. However I soon learned that there had been a problem and the plane had not yet arrived. I asked at the desk of Hewa Bora Airlines. Hewa Bora means best air. That’s when I received the bad news. They told me that the plane had crashed just after leaving the runway and landed on some houses. They said it was still burning as we spoke. I asked if there was any survivors and they told me that they'd had a few phone calls from people who made it out safe. Someone else told me outside that everyone had been killed (I found out later that he was wrong).
When they asked if I was waiting for someone on that plane, I told them that 4 of the people I'm closest to in the entire world were on that plane: My Mom, My Dad, And a younger Brother and Sister. I started crying immediately but I still had to buy a phone card and make some calls to find out. I had a strong hope that they made it out, but I had no way of knowing. I couldn't imagine them dying when they still have so much to do. I feel that I need their help and advice in the years ahead. How could I face people in my Home church if My family had died in the Mission Field. How could this be a part of God's plan. After several phone calls, a lot of prayer and a lot of tears, I decided to go home, realizing that there was nothing I could do.
Before I left the airport I took some time pray at the edge of an open field next to the parking lot. I looked up into the sky and saw the birds flying overhead. "Lord, You made the birds, I know that you have the ability to keep my family alive no matter how bad the crash was. I don't know what happened, but if trust that you will work all things out together for good, just as You have promised to those who love you and those who are called according to your purpose.(Rom. 8:28)"
As I prayed I had no news as to the condition of my family, but gave me faith to trust their care to Him knowing that he was watching over the situation. I accepted with joy the fact that He was watching over them and that nothing could happen to them apart from his perfect will. This brought peace to my soul.
A number of people gathered around to see why this white guy was kneeling under the hot sun crying and talking out loud in English. When I looked up I could see some of them were worried about me so I explained the situation and I told them about My Father in Heaven who gives me hope in time of trial. I told them that I've never had such a scary situation in my life, but I trusted the results with My God. I ended up giving about a 3 minute sermon to the 20 or so people gathered there. I guess it seemed like an opportunity to share the Blessed Hope which God has given me (Titus 2:13).
It was about 30 minutes later when I arrived home. The trip being filled with Songs, Sorrow and a lot of Tears. I still didn't know what happened to my family.
When I arrived at home I met pastor Mtenzi who told me that my family was all safe and that he had talked to my dad. The only thing that had happened was that Andrew had a broken leg. (I found out later that mom also had a broken nose.)
I can't express the joy I felt at that moment. Knowing that God had spared there lives and that I would see them again. I cried even more but now my tears were tears of joy. After a while I took a walk by myself and while I was walking a friend called me and told me the number I could use to call my dad. I talked to Dad and Mom and April, and never have I been so happy to hear the sound of their voices!
It seems clear to me that the devil was trying to end the work that God has put before them, but God clearly came out victorious. "A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand shall fall at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.." Psalm 91:7,8
It was a scary experience for each one of them. My sister April was one of the first out of the plane and she didn't know if Mom, and Dad and Andrew had made it out safe until they met at the hospital. The seats in front of them were smashed down trapping some people underneath and there was a fire behind them that claimed the lives of others, but God's angels stayed close to my family and made it possible for them to get out safely. Many people died in the buildings which the plane crashed into, and a many in the plane were killed and injured. My dad said he went back to the site of the crash today and the whole middle of the plane was burned to ashes. They are a living testimony of God's Saving grace. They all lost their glasses, but they can be replaced. My dad lost his laptop computer with a lot of important information on it but he still has his brain which has more information than the computer ever did. They lost the clothing and tools they were bringing to help us in our work, but none of these things seem important under the current circumstances. They lost everything they had except the clothes on their backs along with the money and passports my dad was carrying, but they trust the promise which says, "my God will supply all your needs according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19
I'm so happy that they have their lives and that seems to be all that matters. I know by this that my family has yet a great work to do for God. He will not allow them to enter the sleep of death until the appointed time has come. Please keep them in your prayers as they recover from this traumatic experience, especially Andrew who will be in a full body cast from his belly down until his femur (leg bone) heals. Please also pray for those who lost loved ones in this terrible accident.
Most of all please wake up to the times we're living in. Jesus is coming soon and he must use us, his people, to bring the warning message to every tribe and language group(Rev. 14:6,7; Matt 24:14). Please pray that my family and I won't become discouraged as we continue to work for lost souls in Africa. We look forward to the day which is not far off, when we will see Him come and our Blessed Hope becomes a Reality.
Yours in the Blessed Hope,