Love flying, but love the Lord more
The Lord led Reverend William "Bill" Starrs of Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, to organize Pilots For Christ International. It is the very nature of pilots to be more than dedicated to their love of flying. Sometimes they have a tendency to let it dominate their lives. This frequently leads to the Lord taking a back seat, and this was happening to Reverend Starrs. Realizing this, Bill began praying that the Lord would show him the way to re-channel this love of flying to a greater love of God. For the Lord said: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34 NRSV).
Put the enthusiasm to work
After much prayer, God led Bill in a different direction. The thought was, "Instead of trying to curtail this tremendous enthusiasm pilots have for flying, let's take the enthusiasm and use it in the Lord's work." It was a new concept! Airplanes had been used in missionary work for some time, but usually as only a means to reach areas without adequate transportation systems or to enable missionaries to cover more territory. So Bill designed a logo and a set of wings, mapped out a plan and prayed for guidance.
Prayer and perseverance
He then mailed out 4,000 invitations to pilots in the state of Pennsylvania to join "Pilots For Christ." The results of this invitation were very disappointing. So he took out an ad in a flying publication with national circulation, continued to pray, and things began to happen. "Pilots For Christ" was then born in January, 1985.
Bill prayed that God would send 100 members the first year. On December 31, 1985, he received a membership application in the mail from a new member in New York. That person was member number 200! The Lord had exactly doubled his prayer request! But the Lord had only just started. "Pilots For Christ" has continued to grow, and its present membership now includes people from all over the world. "Our Lord's Air force" is doing more and more of His work with no end in sight.
Where is God?
In the early 1960's my family and I were serving as lay missionaries in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico. During the school year I taught seventh and eighth grade Spanish American boys. In the summer I was free to be assigned wherever needed. This particular year the priest asked me if I would go to a small town about a hundred miles away to assist the chaplain at the state correctional school. We were to live in an abandoned school and receive support for our material needs from the main mission. Things went well at first, but eventually those responsible for our financial support forgot us until our cupboards were almost depleted. Each day I would look at our supplies and say, Lord, I think you're going to have a problem. I don't know how you're going to solve it, but I think you are in deep trouble. Sure enough, one day we got up and discovered the cupboards were bare.. I chuckled to myself thinking, Lord, you sure have a sense of humor. You're bringing us right up to the line. Nothing happened until ten a.m. when there was a knock on the door and Joe, a friend from the correctional school, brought us two buckets of skimmed milk. Joe said, "The farmer was going to throw this skimmed milk away and I thought maybe you and your family could use it." He had no idea of our dilemma and how much we needed it. My wife had enough flour and other ingredients to bake bread which our five little ones immediately devoured. Later in the afternoon we received some money from Irene Gardner and her friends who were L.A.P.D. police officers
This is very interesting when you consider whom God chose to manifest Himself in charity. Irene and her friends were upstanding members of the community and loyal supporters. Joe was an unrepentant sinner, an alcoholic and seducer of young girls yet it was Joe, not the bishop, the priest or the mayor whom God used to manifest his majesty and love. What does this prove? God is everywhere, especially where you least expect Him. He will use whom He chooses to do his work. We should be humbled by this thought, less inclined to judge and willing to reach out to all of God's children no matter who they may be.
Bill Starrs, Founder PCI