My sister met her husband when they were both in the Navy, stationed in Naples, Italy. Yes, that's where I was stationed as well, but we weren't there at the same time. After they got out of the military, Nathan felt called to become a missionary in Alaska.
His mission was to start a church in the language of some of the Native Americans of the area. They live in Fairbanks, and fly in and out of the little village he ministers in. As you can imagine, chartering a plane four times a month can get rather expensive. So, with the help of one of the churches that has been sponsoring them, they've scrimped and saved, and finally had enough money to buy a little plane of their own.
The church that was helping them get the plane is located in Michigan, so Nathan traveled there to learn to fly, then to pick up the plane. The pastor's son was his flight instructor. This morning, the three of them headed out on the first leg of the flight back to Alaska.
They were flying through Wisconsin, on their way to Minnesota, when the wings began icing up. The pilot -- the pastor's son-- began looking for a place to make an emergency landing. They circled for a while, then finally found a country road that looked as if they would be able to land on it. Just as they touched down, the wing clipped a tree, which sent the plane careening into a ditch filled with other trees.
Nathan and the pilot were both hurt, but their injuries are not life threatening. The pastor died at the scene. It's a terrible tragedy.
After looking at this picture (which I found by googling the accident), it's a miracle anyone survived.
Now, I feel both glad and joyful. I'm so thankful Nathan is OK, and kind of feel bad that I'm glad he's not the one who died. But at the same time, I do feel sorrowful for the pastor's family, and especially for his son, who was flying the plane at the time.
This is something that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
I don't often ask for much, but if you could be so kind, please offer up a prayer for the family and church family of this man who had gone home to glory.