Friday, February 4, 2011

Why Are You Here?

That's what I found myself asking one of my passengers today.  My first flight today was 190 miles Northwest of Bunia, to a town called Niangara.  This was a charter flight, which means someone pays for the whole airplane to come and pick them up, not just for a seat like you usually pay on the airlines.  I've never been to Niangara before, so I'm kind of excited to see a new place.  The airstrip looks wonderful, but after I land, I have a small problem.  The passenger who chartered the flight is ready to go, but there is also an emergency evacuation of 2 people who want to go to Isiro.  So I ask the chartered passenger how many passengers he had and how much stuff.  He replied that it was just him and his 10 pound duffel bag.  So I said great, I can take everyone.  Except that he didn't want to hear anything of it.  He told me that it was his charter and he got to say who went and who didn't, since he was paying for the flight.  So I pulled him aside and tried the nice approach, explaining to him that there was ample room on MY airplane to help these people out.  He still didn't budge, so I talked with him for a little bit.  After 10 minutes, I finally changed over to the not so nice approach.  I told him again, firmer,  that it was MY airplane and I am the pilot, so I get to decide who goes, who stays, who pays, and how much they get to bring with them.  I AM NOT leaving these people here to die so you can have some extra leg room and a seat all to your duffel bag's self.  I was a little surprised by his attitude, since he's been working in Congo for years, supposedly helping people and working with a very reputable humanitarian organization.  So I finally asked him, why are you even here?  Aren't you here to help people?  Just because they're not on an operating table doesn't mean you can't help them out.  Seeing things from that perspective sobered him up a little bit and he changed his attitude.  It even reminded me how easy it is for me to lose perspective and forget why I'm here.  But I find that the Lord always has ways of reminding us why we're "here" and what we're supposed to do with the time given to us.

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