January 2022
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Chariots of Fire

Written by DJ

I was startled out of sleep by vehicle lights...

Then, voices. “That’s it, right over there.” I lay still in the hammock willing my brain to kick into gear. It came back to me slowly. I had been pushed scores of miles off course by storms and forced to overnight at this little airport off my route. I looked at my phone, 9:30 pm. I had been asleep for an hour already. Peering out of my hammock I was blinded by headlights. Judging by the shape, they belonged to the brand-new blacked out Land Cruiser I had seen earlier that day. The voices came closer, a group of them. “Amigo,” someone called in a low voice. A fresh wave of tension swept over me. Why were they back? This was not a curiosity visit. I had been warned that there was a lot of suspicious traffic in this remote town and no normal folks drove brand new Land Cruisers. These guys seemed to run the airport since it was mysteriously shut down a month ago. A man sidled up to my hammock. “My friend wants to talk with you… can you get up?”
I swung my feet over the edge and sat up, counting five men coming toward me. In the glare of the headlights I could recognize the driver and several others I had met that afternoon. A few yards away they stopped in an awkward cluster, seeming confused over what to do. The driver eventually started an interrogation thinly masked in “normal” conversation. I explained everything just as I had that afternoon. I was on my way to Pando (Bolivia's northern jungle province) with a doctor and dental equipment to join a medical team doing work in a remote community. The interrogation ended with heavy pressure to put the Cub in his hangar. He would even give me a ride to the hotel. They would push the Cub over for me…right now, let’s go! He took a few steps toward the Cub. When I continued to decline, several others joined in the pressure. In my mind’s eye I could see the Cub locked securely away and “nobody” around the next morning, or the next or the next. What an easy way to steal an airplane under the pretense of being helpful and hospitable. If I resisted would they get rid of me so no one could tell the tale?
Switching tactics, the driver looked at his phone, “I checked out your website. You fly in the mountains near Cochabamba?” This was truly an odd conversation! I explained again where I had come from and who I worked with. “Do you need fuel?” This topic had been covered earlier as well. Yes, I would like fuel as it would allow me to go direct to my destination. I had burned too much already due to bad weather. “OK, I’ll send fuel at 5 am” he said, almost sounding like he meant it. With that the men returned to the Land Cruiser. 
The sound of the vehicle faded quickly into the night and I lay down in my hammock, breathing prayers of thanks. A moment later the aftershock of adrenaline hit. I had felt strangely calm during the “conversation.” With trembling hands, I pulled out my phone and texted Jodi, “Just had a weird moment with the locals. Pray for chariots of fire.” Meditating on God’s protection of Elisha in Dothan quickly gave me peace and I drifted off to sleep.
I was packing up the next morning when a vehicle rounded the corner at 5am sharp. The young Brazilian who had been with the group jumped out and pulled a large jug out of the pickup. In the light of my headlamp the fuel looked and smelled like aviation fuel. We chatted like old friends as we fueled the Cub. My gringo Spanish and his Portuguese/Spanish mix. When the Cub was full and I had paid for the fuel, I gave him a Christmas present. The Desire of Ages. Would he be able to read it since it was in Spanish? Yes, his wife was Bolivian. As he drove away, I stood marveling. What had just happened?
Facebook: GMA Bolivia Highlands
Facebook: GMA Bolivia Highlands
The Story Continues...
DJ headed on towards his destination and ran into bad weather the last 120 miles. A line of rain stretching far to the north and south gave him few choices. Pushing on through the rain he was praying earnestly. He needed clear dry weather to land the short new airstrip at his destination. Rain on the windshield would make the first landing very dangerous. He could see a large weather cell sitting right over the area on the newly-refreshed satellite image. About 30 min before reaching the destination he flew out of rain into clear dry weather. The satellite the image still showed bad weather so he took a picture of the screen and out the window as proof. God made that weather cell disappear and DJ landed safely in the newly cleared airstrip. Praise the Lord!
Unseen Helpers
I had barely clicked "send" on the final Advent email when I realized I'd missed something very big!

. . . . .

I want to take a moment and thank the financial donors and prayer partners of this ministry.

Donors, thank you for giving sacrificially! Every donation has been a blessing, enabling this little ministry to move forward in big ways. I'm still amazed at how, in a given year, about $120-$140k supplies everything needed to keep this project running: three families, four Bible workers, an airplane flying, vehicles driving, medical trips happening, and lots of people coming closer to Jesus. Prayer partners, we are fully convinced that every good gift is from above (James 1:17) and that your prayers move God's hand, providing for needs, protecting, and opening hearts to Jesus' love. Thank you, each of you!
This non-profit is funded by donations.

If you’d like to be a part, you can send tax-deductible donations to our 501(c)3:

Gospel Mission Aviation, Inc.

Donate via:

     - PayPal: (

     - Check: P.O. Box 2358, Collegedale, TN 37315

Please include a note stating "Bolivia Highlands."

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Gospel Mission Aviation, Inc. · P.O. Box 2358 · Collegedale, TN 37315 · USA

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