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Kingdom of Adventistan


Gregory Matthews

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It was an early Sunday morning and I was flying in a helicopter in the air over North Carolina. There was a tap on my shoulder, I turned look and saw a thumbs-up.  I stepped forward and out of the aircraft. I was trained.  For five days I had been trained on exiting an aircraft and landing at a velocity of seven (7) miles per hour.  Now the time had come to put my training into practice and exit a helicopter with a parachute that I had packed myself!  I was responsible for the results.  I felt a slight jerk and looked up to see that the pilot chute had deployed.  The risers were ascending into the air, as they needed to go, leading to the main canopy.  But, it had not deployed.  At that point I put into practice all that I had learned in the military.  There are times when a decision must be made. It cannot be postponed. Even a bad decision will be better than not making a decision at all.

I also had a reserve, emergency chute which had been packed by a licensed rigger.  If I deployed it now, it might wrap around the risers of my main chute.  It would take me about two seconds to detach from my main chute and I would then began a decent that, if I did not deploy my reserve chute, would cause me to impact the ground at about 200 miles per hour.  I made a decision to wait for a couple of seconds and observe my main chute, before I detached and deployed the reserve.  As I watched, the main chute opened up and I slowed to a seven-mile per hour descent.

Then I began to observe the world around me.  There was absolute silence, to a level that I had never before experienced. The humans below were mere pinpricks.  I began to think of the majesty of the world created by God.  My thoughts were not inhibited by any human distraction, until I reached an altitude some 200 feet above the ground when I would hit the Earth at seven miles per hour.

That was a spiritual experience that I have taken with me to this day.  I had not been required to receive that training as I was sport jumping.  I Jumped another 16 times, before I left Ft. Bragg.  But, I have my memories and my thoughts to this day.  How about you?  When have you met God in ways that you did not expect?


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