Think of the alarm sound from an iPhone, now think of it three times louder. It's a sound I did not want to hear. All the computers around me were blaring it. This sound signified that my dad had triggered the help system for some reason. He had just departed a small village in the seaplane, headed home. I ran for the radio, I hear the call for home base, "OFASA, OFASA: engine running rough, following river home, get mechanic on radio." This is one of the memories that has been running through my mind this week.
On Tuesday night I did something I don't normally do; I watched a movie on a school night. While I watched I had Facebook open and noticed a post on Stephanie's wall. It didn't say much, just "have you heard the news from Doyo?" After a little bit another post said, "Kodiak crushed." Being optimistic I hoped that maybe the hanger had fallen in or some sort of loss of the airplane. When I messaged Stephanie, she asked me to pray. I got my family together and prayed. I couldn't go to sleep now, and a little while later I got a message informing me about the crash. I called my family together again and shared the news. We got in a circle and started praying and crying together; still numb by the news we had just heard.
Numb: that's the only way to describe how I felt. All day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I still went to class, work, laughed and lunch with friends, but my mind wasn't here. My mind was visiting Guyana, Peru, Chad, and Indonesia. Though I no longer live at a mission base with a grass runway for a backyard, I still remember what it was like. The Roberts were going through something that I always knew was a possibility and my heart was grieving with them.
It's not just a few people, there are many of us around the world that will miss Bob Roberts and share in the sadness of his passing. When I got to class on Wednesday I asked Kris if he had heard about the crash of the Kodiak, when I told him about what had happened there was a different look in his eye than others I had told. You see, Kris is the son of a mission pilot as well; he has lived the missionary kid life and has a first hand understanding of the hazards it includes.
The Roberts need our prayers. They are going through something that I have spent time thinking about and is not how God intended life to be. God intended us to all experience life abundantly, and one day I look forward to flying with Mr. Roberts and hearing mission stories.
There is another group that needs our prayers as well. Tomorrow morning, they will go and preflight their airplane; pray that God will bless their efforts and keep them safe; and take off to continue the Lord's work. This has affected those of us tied to mission aviation. The mission aviation community needs prayers every day, but especially now as we grieve the lost of one of God's pilots.