MIRACLE IN FLIGHT
Revelation 12:11 says: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; …”. When we tell testimonies of the Lord God’s power and saving grace on our lives, the devil slinks away tail between legs. So, let us share our amazing stories of God’s love in action and shame the evil one.
We look forward to reading your own story of faith in the coming weeks. Your well-written story should be about 800 – 1000 words. Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be compiled into an anthology of stories of faith.
Here is today’s story of faith told by Mzingaye Khabo. Enjoy! Look out for the next story of faith in two weeks.
MIRACLE IN FLIGHT
November 16 in 2018 remains firmly imprinted in my mind. Mum, Dad and I were traveling to Zimbabwe to visit my grandparents and other relatives. My parents were leaving on a morning flight and I was going to catch the evening flight. My Dad already looked an unwell traveller as he was wearing an eye patch and had various ointments prescribed for him following a freak accident he had had the night before.
Each time my parents travel to Zimbabwe, it’s as if they’re packing the whole world into the four suitcases and two bits of hand-luggage they are permitted. There is usually a host of items strewn around the house, like a random dress that my mother has identified as a perfect fit for someone met during the last trip. She keeps on squeezing a few more items into the bulging bag. In between all of this is their routine to keep weighing the bags despite much protestations from Mandy, my sister and me. But all that falls on deaf ears. On that particular evening, my Dad paid a heavy price when the hand-held baggage scale snapped whilst he was weighing one of the heavy bags and a metal piece flew into his eye with such heavy force, blood oozed from it. Mandy rushed him to the Accident and Emergency rooms where he was examined by the medical team and discharged after four hours. By the time he returned home, it was a little after midnight and their flight was due to take off at 6:30 that morning. Unfortunately, Mandy had completely misjudged the time we needed to leave home to take my parents to the airport, resulting in them missing their flight.
I already had a flight to Zimbabwe booked later on that day at 20.00 hours. Mandy tried to book them afresh, and got an evening flight, which happened to be the same flight I was going on that evening.
Sometime after dinner, the plane was dark as the interior lights were then off, and gazing outside the window, it was pitch black as we journeyed in the dark sky with hundreds of fellow passengers. Most of them were either deep in sleep, listening to music, reading or watching a movie. This was an Ethiopian flight from Heathrow to Addis Ababa and it was cruising gently, piercing the night. From the sky map, I noted we were already traversing the African sky at 2.20 hours. I had just reclined my seat into a comfortable position for a good rest, when I was jolted by the blood curdling screams of my Mom’s voice,
“HELP! IT’S MY HUSBAND! PLEASE HELP!”
I jumped over a woman who sat next to me and leapt to Mum’s side. My seat was in the middle aisle, a couple of rows from my Mum and Dad and they were to my far left. Mum’s screams shook me to the core. As I sprang into action, my mind was racing at 100 miles per hour and I felt like a butterfly caught in the middle of a never-ending storm. Suddenly, all attention was drawn to this distressed woman, who stood in the middle of the left aisle, teary and crying out for help. My Dad was slumped on his chair, unresponsive. I also shouted to the staff asking if there was a doctor on board.
“Dad! DAD!” I shouted, lifting his head and shaking him vigorously. He just about managed to wave his left hand before it quickly flopped back onto the chair. I looked at him thinking, “My God, he’s slipping away!”
A series of emotions were racing in my mind at this point; fear, shock, gloom and confusion. Would the plane need to take a sudden detour so that appropriately trained professionals would deal with his dead body? I guess we would be flying back to the UK on the next available flight. The message would need to reach my three siblings in the UK and all the family in Zimbabwe, which would have been our destination. Had I suddenly become fatherless and my Mum a widow … just like that! These are but a few thoughts which were racing through my mind as I occasionally turned to my Mum to reassure her that everything would be all right, although deep down it felt scary. In such situations, it’s so easy to feel very isolated. At that moment, it felt as though my Mum and I were all alone.
“Help please!” Mum persisted. “Is anyone medically trained?”
By then, a couple of flight attendants had arrived onto the scene. They looked frightened and confused, but I guess this is understandable. It’s not on every flight you get a retired man collapsing and becoming unresponsive. They spoke to each other and one of them left to retrieve an Emergency First Aid grab bag. All the while, everyone’s eyes seemed to be firmly glued onto the unfolding scene. Bodies had turned around to see and necks were stretched between the isles to catch a glimpse of what was going on. At that point, one of the people to turn around was a young, slim, white lady who was travelling for a Safari trip with her boyfriend.
“I’m a Medical Doctor” she said. “I can help.” This lady’s name was Dr Laura White. I could not believe it. Right in front of Mum and Dad! She went into action, retrieving various life-saving instruments from the bag. She examined the patient, asking my Mum various questions,
“Is he diabetic?” “What has he eaten today” “Has he got any health conditions?” etc. My mother recalled how my Dad had been thirsty quite a lot the previous day and despite taking gallons of water, the thirst would not go away. She checked all his vital signs which included his blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels. She engaged in other intricate and relevant procedures, which to a non-medical professional are completely foreign! By then, a tall, black man had appeared on the scene and he too was a medical doctor. They collaboratively worked together to establish how best to support my Dad. The second doctor suggested that upon arrival in Addis Ababa, an ECG scan would be helpful. A saline drip had now been assembled and I held it high up in the air as instructed, whilst the doctors continued to assist my Dad, who by then had mustered strength to utter a few words.
I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and a pleasant black lady said, “Let me hold that for you. I’m a registered general nurse”. This lovely lady had been sitting two rows behind me. I later learnt that she was a British based Zambian nurse. She knew the best way to hold the saline drip. I was filled with amazement and relief. Three medical professionals in a flight, just for my Dad! What providence is that! The trio completed their work and by then ‘my old man’ as I affectionately call him was showing signs of good recovery. He wholeheartedly thanked the team who had been there at his hour of need. We did too. Dr White reviewed him hourly for the remainder of the journey to Addis. I also retreated to my seat where I quickly took to my phone and sent a lengthy message to my siblings in the UK about what had just happened. As I sat and pondered the events which had just occurred, I could see from the distance, two women approach my parents. I later learned from my Mum when we had arrived in Zimbabwe that the two ladies had approached them to offer a prayer!
The Lord is a miracle working God and for me, November 2018 was a true testament to that. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” God knew the plans he had in place from the moment my parents missed their morning flight up until the moment of my Dad collapsing. I have learnt not to take things for granted. I’m truly grateful for each day I am here on earth. I’m even more grateful for the lives of my nearest and dearest. As I write, this world is writhing in the middle of a pandemic which has claimed so many innocent lives. Though my faith had gone out of the window in that moment of distress during the flight, the God of love who neither slumbers nor sleeps was right there watching over us.
Mzingaye Jeremiah Khabo is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (BCT) in the United Kingdom, and is the last of the two boys and two girls to Njabulo and Eunice Khabo.