…And come; follow me.
I’ve been a Missionary Pilot in the Philippines for 9 months now and I decided to publish my testimony to glorify our good God. May this be an inspiration to those who are about to go into the mission field, to put everything on the altar and depend fully on God.
I am Panamanian. I was raised in a Christian home and baptized at the age of 8. Since I was little I liked airports and airplanes. When I left high school I went to the city and enrolled in the helicopter pilot course. I had to work and study at the same time. When I moved to the city, I stopped attending church and little by little I drifted away from everything related to God. My efforts were focused on working and making money. I managed to finish the private and commercial helicopter pilot courses and then I obtained an instructor’s license. After five years, the company I was working for sent me to become an agricultural pilot (aerial fumigation). My work environment changed and the city life of temptations, pleasures and vanity was replaced by a calmer environment. Being at my new place of work, I had more free time and I decided to go to church some Saturday’s, but I didn’t feel worthy to be there because of the remorse of having distanced myself from God. Despite that, I was able to meet people who helped me feel welcome, so I continued to attend when I didn’t have to work on Saturdays.
Back to the First Love!
“However, I have against you that you have left your first love. Remember, therefore, where you have fallen from. Repent! And do the first works. Otherwise, I will come to you soon and remove your candlestick from its place, if you do not repent.” Revelation 2: 4, 5
In January 2016 I accepted to return to the faith in which I was instructed since childhood. I decided not to work on Saturday, even if it cost me my well-paid salary. In those moments before and after my re-baptism I was watching sermons by Pastor David Gates which inspired me to make a total dedication to the service of God. Seeing those videos led me to find by chance a video of the PAMAS aviation project in the Philippines. Going as a missionary to fly for free, without any remuneration was something I thought a lot about, but at the same time I felt that I needed to experience what it really was to depend on God. After a long mental struggle, God spoke to me through the parable of the rich young man, recorded in Matthew 19:16-30, and like the rich young man, I wanted to be saved. Jesus’ instruction was clear: “Jesus said to him: If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” For me, that meant I had to sell what I could sell, quit my job and travel to the Philippines to work without pay, without social security, etc. It was something that I was willing to do, but I was not really certain. One Friday afternoon I decided to test God. I said in prayer, if by next Wednesday I could rent or sell my apartment in the city that would be a sign confirming that this was His will. I would then give up my job and prepare myself to travel to the Philippines.
I had already advertised renting it, but without any results. Then on Monday, I received a call from some people wanting to see the apartment. That same day they agreed to rent it for three months. I thanked God for answering my prayer in just three days. Now it was my part, I resigned and prepared everything to travel to the Philippines. After that confirmation from God, I felt safe, confident, and certain I was not committing madness like some friends and even brothers in the church told me. I spoke with my family, who supported me immediately, my boss sadly accepted my resignation, and I was happy for the noble and humanitarian character of the work I was going to do.
Preparing for the trip wasn’t easy. Training the pilot who would replace me, buying airline tickets, selling everything I could, and sending what I couldn’t sell to my parents’ house. It was an exhausting job. March 12 was the day of my departure and seeing my strong mother cry to say goodbye broke my heart. Despite the pain of having to leave my family, I still clung to the promise “And anyone who leaves houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or woman, or children, or lands, for my name, will receive a hundred so many times, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29.
It was a long trip, many hours and three stops. I was literally traveling to the other side of the world, to an unknown country. I was very nervous, and I prayed that everything would go well. I thank God that I arrived safe in Manila on March 14, 2017. I joined a group of missionaries from the USA who invited me to help conduct an evangelistic campaign and medical attention in a small town north of Manila. After two weeks, it was time to join PAMAS.