Aug 25, 2011

Miracle At JFK

I was traveling with a ministry team of seventeen people from Minnesota on a mission trip to Guyana, South America. The trip to Guyana was not a direct flight, so several different airplanes and airports were involved. Twelve of the seventeen people were going from Minnesota to JFK in New York City via Chicago with a change of planes in Chicago. And, for some reason, five of the seventeen’s flight itinerary had them scheduled to take a completely different route going from Minnesota to JFK via Atlanta. This, along with stormy weather, provided the perfect storm for a miracle at JFK.

After arriving at JFK in NY, the twelve members (via Chicago) were told that the flight from Atlanta had run into some bad weather and was running behind schedule. “Not a big deal”, we thought to ourselves; planes always have the potential of running off schedule. In fact, the team arriving from Chicago had also run into some bad weather and was held in the air in a holding pattern until JFK cleared the plane to land. When our plane arrived at JFK, it was held on the tarmac for ten to twenty minutes as the extremely busy airport gave our plane the OK to unload its passengers and luggage.

In time, we discovered that the plane from Atlanta was not only running late,  but we were told that mathematically there was not enough time to make the next flight out of JFK even if they would arrive “on time”. You see, once the plane from Atlanta arrived, it too would need to sit on the tarmac for a period of time, then it needed to have both people and luggage unloaded. The luggage would need to go into a cart and be transported across the airport to another plane. The people would need to be unloaded, put on a bus, and transported across the airport to another plane. Mathematically there simply was not enough time.

I should also state that there are only two flights to Guyana out of JFK; both leave at 1:00 am. One is a direct flight and the other goes via Jamaica. Practically, what that means is that the five coming from Atlanta would need to stay in the airport for twenty four hours and then fly out the next day. Oh yeah, another missing piece; once we arrived in Guyana, we had another four to five hour trip to reach our final destination in Corriverton, Guyana. If the team flying from Atlanta didn’t make the flight, the soonest we could expect to have them arrive to join us would be around thirty hours later.

The twelve team members who were already at JFK went into prayer to ask for a miracle. Why not, we had nothing to lose. In time, one of the team members took out her I-Pod and turned on some worship music. Other members of the team were witnessing to a man and spent some time praying with him. As the team was worshipping the Lord at JFK, I saw a man in a safety vest slowly approaching the group. When the man was next to the group, the I-Pod was turned off. At once the man in the safety vest told them, “Don’t turn that music OFF, leave it on!” It turns out the man was a Christian. The team told the man of the situation and how we needed a miracle.

Periodically, Pastor Ben (the team leader) and I would check on the status the counter, and it each time it seemed to be even bleaker as the Delta workers explained that there was nothing that they could do. And yet, the team still pressed on in prayer, asking the Lord to intervene.

When we explained at the counter why we needed to get the whole team on the same plane to Guyana, compassion rose up on the whole Delta staff and phone calls were made. What little power this devoted staff had, they were trying to use it to get somebody to listen; kind of like what we were doing in prayer. They said that they would delay the bus ride to the next terminal by fifteen minutes. One Delta worker made a call to a manager at Delta to ask for an intervention.

As the clock moved closer to the flight departure schedule, the twelve team members were told that they would need to get on the bus or miss their flight. There is a fine line between walking out your faith and standing firm in your faith. The apostle Paul wrote; “Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV). This would be our moment of seeing God come through; or else He wouldn’t and we would have to still trust Him.

The man in the safety vest, it turns out, was the driver of the bus that would take us to the next plane. He committed to us to do all in his power to make sure that the rest of the team got to where they needed to be. When Pastor Ben and I got off the bus, he turned to the two of us and lovingly exhorted us to not give up. He said; “You will see the God of the impossible come through! Don’t quit! Don’t give up! Keep praying! Keep your faith in God! Nothing is impossible with God! Don’t lose hope! I too will be praying for you” It was a much needed exhortation/rebuke.

When we arrived in the next terminal, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit of a verse that one of the team members had received in prayer a week before at a team meeting. The verse said; “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.” (Isaiah 7:9b NKJV).  The NIV puts it this way;If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Once again, we were exhorted to not give up.

Something went off in my spirit that said; “I’m not getting on that plane without the rest of the team. I'm not going to wimp out on this opportunity to trust the Lord; even if mathematically there isn’t enough time!’

The other ten members were boarded on the plane as Pastor Ben and I went to the counter to get an update and keep praying. The clock was now 12:45 am. The flight to Guyana was scheduled to leave at 1:00 am.

A compassionate phone call from the first terminal had come to the attention of the top person at Delta who was working at JFK that night. This man was at the counter and we heard him talk to the tower at JFK telling that the plane arriving from Atlanta was to be given priority one; both for landing and taxiing in to the awaiting terminal. The bus driver was standing by his bus, ready to drive the five from Atlanta over as fast as possible.

The top man from Delta continued to make phone calls and also communicated to the plane from Atlanta that ONLY the five members of our team and their luggage were to get off that plane. A card that my wife Cathy wrote to me for the trip came to mind. It said; “Remember I’m praying for you” Cathy wrote in the card two passages of scripture; “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV) and “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12 NKJV).

At 12:50 am, we received word that the plane had arrived from Atlanta. At 12:57 am the five members from Atlanta came through the tunnel and up the stairs to the counter escorted by the man in the safety vest and the Delta crew from the other terminal. Spontaneous praise and thanksgiving broke out as the five were quickly checked in and ushered to the awaiting plane.

As Pastor Ben and I were leaving the counter I looked at the clock; it was now 12:59 am. God had come through with a miracle at JFK with one minute to spare!  This would probably be a good time to interject that JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North America! Talk about favor!

This would set the course on how we would see God working miracles of salvation, physical healing, and deliverance on that mission trip to Guyana, South America.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings in Christ!

    How glad we are part of the body, where Jesus is the rightful head.

    Excellent text. I pray that all who acess your space are achieved by the grace and love of God, which is awesome!

    Glorify the Lord for his life and ministry.

    I also leave te invatation to visit me.

    If you like, part of the tree that is bering fruit each day.

    Stay in peace.