It was around 7:15 am and we had just landed in the small town of Timika, on the Island of Papua. We grabbed our backpacks and headed to a hanger where we were meeting up with some old friends. We were waiting for our Sesna Caravan to show up and fly us into a small village on the side of a mountain.Our purpose for the meeting was to hook up with a missionary and an indigenous pastor to discuss a strategy to build a dormitory and bible college built deeper in the rain forest of Papua.
While we waited for our 9 seater prop, we discussed with our pilots wife the longevity of success that our pilot had had without a mishap. We talked about the numerous precautions that they take to ensure the safety of themselves and their passengers. Our conversation was intense, you see, two weeks prior to our excursion a similar plane had crashed into a mountain killing all those on board.
Finally around 10 am our pilot showed up. I had flown several trips with the same plane and pilot so it was great to reconnect and catch-up. We were loaded up by 10;30 and then in the air. Around 11:00 am we started to encounter some real turbulence flying through the mountains. This was not uncommon although each time it has happened I find it unnerving. Around 11:10 am our plane was making its approach to the dirt landing strip on the side of the mountain. In fact on one side of the mountain was a huge drop off, on the other side was the mountain wall and at the end of the runway was the forest.
I don’t remember much about what happened, except that our plane was hit by a downdraft and pushed and pummeled into the dirt landing strip. The plane flipped to one side and then the other; gravity pushed it forward and then backwards onto the tail end. Mud slammed into the window at the back where I was sitting. Even though I had been strapped in pretty tight, I was being thrown around the back of the plane like a bouncing rubber ball.
Thankfully because of our pilots quick and calm demeanor, the engine had been turned off and our plane finally came to a halt. (it remained “halted” in that same spot for at least 6 months) A little dazed by what had just transpired we got out of our aircraft and surveyed the extensive damage to our aircraft.
There was very little time to ponder what had just happened as we had to continue to the building where we would begin our meetings. We talked a little about the ordeal we had just been through but eventually jumped into what needed to get accomplished over the next two weeks in order to make our dream of a dormitory and bible college a reality.
That night we had to make a decision; Do we continue on, find a new plane and make our way to into the Indonesian Rain Forest? The plane the next morning would be a 3 seater Sesna; it would take us into the swamps and drop us off at the location where we were hoping to meet with local villagers to share our plan and dreams and inquire about the land needed to build.
I wish I could say that my flight the next morning ended with a happier landing but not so. Here were the words of my new pilot as he landed his craft on a small landing strip in the jungle wilderness, “Don’t worry, I am not sure exactly where we will stop but we will stop.”
The point of this story is this, what is it that causes so many individuals to go to such lengths to accomplish a goal? What is it that drives an individual or organization to risk or invest so much in achieving and accomplishing our vision.
I believe one answer is passion. One definition that I really liked that defined passion was “boundless enthusiasm.” A goal or vision without boundless enthusiasm may just end up being an unfulfilled dream. Make sure you are passionate about what you are invested in.