Our volunteers are such people. Case in point: Wings needed a volunteer to drive a truck to Gleanings for the Hungry in Sultana, California to pick up a large supply of food. We are one of 52 ministries that receive food from Gleanings. Their volunteer staff packages dried soup mix, trail mix, dried fruit, clothing and shoes for distribution to non-profit organizations. In 2011 they delivered 5.2 million pounds of food to 30 nations.
Starting out at 3:00 a.m., armed with caffeine and fast food coupons, one of our newer members, Jason, drove for 10 hours in a single day to accomplish the task at hand. Jason and his dad were trained in a Cessna 152 and Mooney, and both share the desire to be involved in missionary aviation. Thinking only twin engines were needed for missions, their goal was unrealized until recently, when it was discovered Wings of Faith used single engine airplanes. Jason attended our monthly breakfast meeting and soon had a chance to fly his first mission trip to Yuma, Arizona with board member Jim Yost. At another meeting he learned a driver was needed to pick up a load of food from Gleanings. Just that morning he had been praying for the Lord to open doors to serve, and within a few weeks he was off on a journey!
Once he arrived at Gleanings,13,600 pounds of food was quickly loaded on the truck. He then toured the facility, meeting volunteers from all over the U.S. and other countries. There was a bond between them that only Christ can complete. Upon leaving the facility, they went to the office to pray for the donated food. “What happened next was something I did not expect and will remain a moment I will never forget,” says Jason.
He continues, “The noise from the factory slowly decreased as production stopped and people began pouring out of the factory. Everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around the truck to pray for the food, the trip and its final destination. Eric Rivera, the director at Gleanings prayed that the food would be protected from the natural elements of weather, pests, and rot. He prayed the food would make it safely and prayed for angelic protection over all who transport the food, including each and every pilot. He also prayed the food would meet the physical needs of those who are hungry and that it would deeply nourish their bodies.
“Most importantly, he prayed that spiritual needs would be met as well. As Eric ended his prayer, he immediately broke into worship. All of us, many of whom had never met each other before arriving at Gleanings, joined in one accord praising our Lord. As we praised the Lord in song, the Holy Spirit was clearly present among us. I raised my eyes up as I felt small water droplets settle on my face as they fell from the sky. Ironically, there were no clouds in the sky directly above us, nor were there any clouds close enough to drop precipitation on our location. I couldn't help but think that the Lord was shedding tears of joy as His people, from all different walks of life, joined together in one accord for His purpose.”
Jason had a chance to share with them about the heart of our operation, that aside from our partners’ generous donations, volunteers spend countless hours sorting and bagging in the warehouse in preparation for the pilots who fly private planes into various locations in the Southwestern portion of the United States. The staff asked questions, took pictures, had wonderful fellowship and treated him like a celebrity.
The drive back was one of reflection and purpose (and more caffeine). In the wee hours before the journey to Gleanings, he had no idea the importance of the material that would soon be stacked in the back of the truck. The food prepared at Gleanings was done with passion, commitment, and a desire to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the recipients. Thinking of his own spiritual walk with the Lord, and whether his heart was in the right place, a place that would glorify God and be a good steward of the food that was so carefully prepared, the realization dawned how important and precious the cargo is that we carry in our planes to the mission field. A passion to serve faithfully and diligently on the mission field was now fueled by a newfound desire to do justice to those who sacrificed their time and lives to prepare the food. He knew the food brought back from Gleanings would bless those in need, but had no idea that he was the one in need, and that he would be radically blessed.
“In all of our actions, we must seek to be living examples of the change we wish to see in the world, by walking the path, we make the path visible”.
-- Phil Lane Jr.