Navy Chaplain, Roy Fondren, is currently assigned to the Naval Flight Training facility at Naval Air Station, Whiting Field. To enable him to identify with both flight students and instructor pilots, he’s been placed in “Student Pilot” status. Though fun and exciting, pilot training has its risky “moments.” Following is a weekly devotional that comes out of one Roy’s recent training experiences”
Good morning Leaders.
Last week I had my first dance with the T-57B and I was MIND BLOWN with both excitement and nervousness! ENS Heneveld and LT Ryan Ross (HT-18) were the SNA/IP Team I spent time with during the Brief, Pre-checks and Hot Seat. During the Brief, I was taking copious notes and asking clarifying questions of some of the confusing language much like I did during Hebrew class. I ended up picking up some foundational knowledge of the scheme of maneuver and functional operations of the helicopter and I was JUICED!! I left the Brief excited and repeating Ditty’s such as “Tower, this is 187 and we are at Min Fuel,” “The TRIM is the magnetic brake that…” “Twist Grip full open not to exceed 40” and so forth! I knew I’d get a chance to participate in the X with some Landing and Hovering but it was with complete humility that I even entered into the cockpit because I knew I was COMPLETELY depended upon Ross to keep my life safe and complete the mission. He talked me through the Instrument Panel and EP’s before heading to Spencer where he demonstrated the pedals, collective, and cyclic before incrementally relinquishing them to me in the same order. I lifted off and landed a few times pretty well which manifested a slight rise in confidence. Then I was told to hover… It took all of two seconds of trying to hover before there was too much left pedal, too much forward cyclic and too much collective compensation which resulted in the helicopter IMMEDIATEDLY doing the Funky Chicken. :/
It was at that exact moment that I heard a voice say “I Have Controls” as the Helicopter began to spin out of control! I instantaneously surrendered controls, fear-filled yet thankful I had a proven Pilot FULLY capable of controlling and restoring the situation! LT Ross took charge, steadied the bird and my heart, and calmly talked me through where things went awry as he masterfully reset our course! That moment revealed a practical and relatable truth with regards to our lives. As free willed people, we have the ability to participate in our own lives by taking the controls and [doing our best] not to crash and complete the mission of life before us. Or, we can participate in life by [placing our FULL trust in] God as our soul’s Instructor Pilot, as He successfully navigates our lives into the fullness of His will for us. And rather than relinquishing controls [when] our lives begin to spin chaotically, we should daily seek to find and forever enjoy the confidence and peace experienced, when God has control of our lives’ as the Divinely proven IP!
Is there an aspect of your life that’s spinning out of control or not a smooth as you’d like it? Is God saying “I Have Controls?” Is there a need for you to surrender your own will for the restoring instruction of His for your life? I pray that this week and forever more, as we participate in the plans and purposes of life God has for us; moment by moment we do so wholeheartedly trusting and allowing Him to guide our lives into His perfect will…not just when our efforts result in chaos.
Blessings and Respect, thank you for your service and early Happy Veteran’s Day!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path.” Prov 3:5-6 “Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me…” Prob 8:33-34a
Chaplain Fondren’s experience in flight training is a cogent reminder that chaplains face risky situations, daily. Whether in the air, on land, or on or under the sea; whether visiting sick patients in hospitals and ERs, on “ride alongs” with law enforcement personnel, in prisons, jails, or on long dusty trails with veterans “walking off the war,” your chaplains expose themselves to a measure of risk each and every day. Without faith and courage in the Lord who has the “controls” of life, they cannot perform their ministries. Pray for that balance of courage and wisdom that is needed to carry out their respective ministries.
If you sense the Lord’s leading into ministry that is sometimes “on the edge,” contact Andy Meverden, Director of Chaplaincy at chapandy@CBAmerica.org, or click the link to the CBAmerica, brochure entitled, “Endorsement: What Is It? What’s It’s Not. How Long It Takes.”