Called to Go

 Our pastor’s message on a recent Sunday morning focused on John 15:16. Just hearing that reference took me back to a holiday month when I’d royally messed up on my bid sheet for one of the busiest months of the year. December was not a time you would want to be on call. I was flying a lot. It seemed to me like I was gone around the clock. The weather had been stormy and I had put in some long hours. I arrived home from my trip late on Saturday night, and I was sure the Lord had arranged for me to go to church the next morning. I was thirsty for the Word and fellowship. After setting out my clothes for church, I snuggled in for a quick night’s sleep. The phone rang around 0300 with crew scheduling advising that I had an 0500 check-in. My heart was more than disappointed. I sat up in bed to spend time in the Word and asked the Lord to change my heart. The following verse seemed to leap off the page for me:

Those words spoke directly to my heart. I was being commissioned for a mission, and I knew the Lord had called me to action. I prayed about bearing fruit that would last. Lead me Lord with Your hand upon me. Let me hear Your voice behind me saying, “This is the way, walk in it!”

Upon arriving at the airport, I learned that our airplane had a mechanical. One of the pilots showed up and sat with me at the gate. He also was a believer, and we enjoyed a short time of fellowship before departure. The rest of the crew arrived with the airplane and we took off for Columbia, S.C. On the way we lost an engine. First time anything like this had ever happened to me! The junior flight attendant was visibly distraught and I had the flight attendant on the front jumpseat with me exchange seats with her. Our flight was re-routed to Charlotte which was a maintenance base for our airline. I was able to share my hope in Jesus with her, and she prayed to receive Jesus on descent into Charlotte.

Charlotte is my home, where I grew up, so I called my brother, William, and he met me at the airport for breakfast in the coffee shop. Seeds were planted as we talked about how I had come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and how peace had filled my heart. Afterwards I passed the time by reading a book in the crew room.  Crew schedulers had sent the front-end crew to ferry a plane to Savannah, GA and had sent the other flight attendants to cover another flight. This was the first time I had heard of the senior flight attendant being left with the plane. But there I was, the only member of my crew waiting for a new assignment.

The crew room had slowly filled up. I heard someone say my name and I looked up, but I did not recognize anyone in the crowd of faces. So I went back to reading. Once again I heard my name and looked up in time to see a flight attendant walking towards me calling out “Rita Redmond” with a question in her voice. “Yes,” I replied. I still did not recognize her and for a moment thought crew scheduling must have sent her to deliver a message to me. But, it was the other way around. The Lord had sent me to deliver a message to her.

She said, “Rita Redmond, I need to talk with you about Jesus.” I had never laid eyes on her before and did not know how she knew who I was or that I was someone she could talk to about the Lord. I sat up and told her I would love to talk with her. She wanted to move to a more private place, which we did, and she began telling me her story. She was in a bad relationship and did not know how to get out. She felt the Lord was calling her to pray, but she was not ready. I shared the Gospel, but she did not want to pray at that time. She left without receiving Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Over the years I never saw her again. I continue to pray for her by name as she comes to my remembrance and am trusting the Lord with hope for her salvation.

This blog was shared by Rita Redmond Gunter, former Flight Attendant with Eastern Airlines.  Rita has been connected with FCAP since the early years of the ministry’s formation.