Beep! Beep! Beep! Click!
Jane turned her alarm clock off and sat up. When she remembered what day it was, she was wide awake. It was May 23rd, at 3:00 in the morning, and today was the day she was to leave for Europe. Her parents were going to drive her to Denver, Colorado, where she would fly east to Chicago, change planes, fly to New York City, where the plane would re-fuel, and then fly to Paris, France. She quickly dressed and went downstairs to help with preparations.
After reading the Bible and finishing preparations, the James Yoder family left Cody, Nebraska and began the 364-mile trip to Denver, Colorado. Stopping at Ellsworth to fill up on gas, James continued to Lakeside.
“Good morning, sir,” someone greeted James as the family entered a small diner.
“Good morning,” James replied.
“Where are you from?” the stranger asked.
“Cody, Nebraska,” James answered.
“I’m Robert,” the man said, extending his hand.
“And I’m James,” came the answer.
“Where are you headed?” Robert asked.
“Denver,” James replied.
“Ya’ll Mennonites or Amish?” Robert asked next.
“Not any more,” James answered. “We used to be, but when a little Baptist church started up, we started looking at things and decided to join the Baptist church.”
“So, why are you headed to Denver?”
“Jane is on her way to Europe as a missionary,” James explained.
“I see,” Robert said. “Well, I wish you well on your trip.”
“Thank you,” James replied.
“You said you’re on your way to Denver?” the cashier asked as James paid for the meal a while later.
“Yep,” James replied.
“I can tell you another way that might save you some miles,” the cashier said.
“You can?” Mary, Jane’s mother, asked.
“Yeah. If you go out on the east side of town, you’ll see a dirt road,” the cashier told them. “It will take you to Oshkosh. The road isn’t in the best condition, and it’s awfully skinny, but it might save some miles.”
“I guess we can try it,” James said.
“Alright,” the cashier said. “Have a good day.”
“Thank you,” James said as the family left.
After a couple of hours the family arrived in Oshkosh and headed for Denver.
The family arrived at the airport a little after 12:00 noon. Jane’s flight was to leave at 2:00 P.M. She hugged her family, grabbed her suitcase, and was off. Before she entered the building, Jane took one last look at her family, waved goodbye, and entered the building. It would be the last time she saw her family for a while.
After forty-five minutes, Jane walked to the gate that she was supposed to exit through and waited.
“Flight 389 is now ready for passengers. All passengers for Flight 389 please proceed to gate seven. Gate seven,” came over the intercom.
Jane looked at her watch and then headed toward the plane.
“Good afternoon,” another woman greeted Jane as they neared the plane. “I like your disposition. And that dress is pretty, too.”
“Thank you,” Jane replied modestly.
“My name is Maria. What is yours?”
“Where are you siting?” the other asked.
“Um, over here,” Jane answered.
“That’s next to my spot!” Maria exclaimed.
“Ain’t that funny?” Jane remarked.
The two soon engaged in a lively conversation. Maria wanted to know about Jane and her family, and Jane found out that Maria was a reporter from a Nebraska newspaper. “Me and Tracy were on a business trip to Europe for two weeks,” Maria offered.
The flight seemed to go well for a while, but about three hours after the plane left New York City, the Boeing 747 developed engine trouble. Despite all their efforts, the flight crew could not keep the plane in the air.
“So you’re on your way to Europe to work with orphans?” Maria asked Jane.
Jane nodded her head. “My sending church supports them, so—”
“Attention passengers: We are heading down. Please fasten your seat belts and prepare for an emergency landing,” the co-pilot said.
Fear gripped everyone’s heart. To Jane’s dismay, a few people used God’s Name in vain in those last few minutes of their lives.
Crash! The plane crashed into the water. Nearly all the people perished instantly. Out of 570 people on board, only three people miraculously survived. Somehow these three people, Jane, Leah (a flight attendant), and Kelly (a business agent) managed to climb onto a raft that someone had packed. Leah pulled a battery-operated radio from the wreckage; Jane had found a large pack of bottled water; and Kelly had retrieved some food from the plane itself. These three people, total strangers to each other, set sail on the unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” Leah called over the walkie talkie. “This is Leah Johnson; I am one of only three survivors of a plane that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”
After a couple of hours, the three ladies fell asleep. Their minds could not keep going without a rest.
When they awoke the next morning, they realized what had happened and they knew that chances of rescue were slim. So they began talking about their lives. Leah told about travels she had made as a flight attendant. Kelly talked about adventures she had had as a business agent. Jane talked about her life and her faith (to Kelly’s dismay); how God had saved her, how she and her family had joined the Baptist church, and finally where she was going before the crash. They managed to entertain themselves this way for about three days. On the morning of the fourth day, they ate the last bit of food.
“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” Jane called over the radio that night. “This is Jane Yoder. We’re in the middle of the ocean. Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”
“Will you stop?” Kelly growled.
“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” Jane persisted.
“Quit it!” Kelly barked. “The radio is dead, you idiot.”
“And so are we,” Leah put in.
“We’re not dead,” Jane countered. “Not yet. The Lord can still rescue us.”
“Yeah right,” Kelly said.
“He can,” Jane answered. “With God, all things are possible.”
“Well then where is He?” Kelly asked. “Where is He?”
“I don’t know why you’re so upset,” Jane remarked.
“You want to know why?” Kelly asked. “Okay I’ll tell you why: Because God hates me.”
“No He doesn’t,” Jane replied.
“Why do you think that?” Leah asked Kelly.
“Because my life has been nothing but trouble ever since I was born,” Kelly snapped. “First my father dies, leaving Mom with three little children to take care of. Then Mom gets divorced which only added to it. Next my older brother is arrested for murder; then my other brother leaves—no one knows where he is. Then my only sister, who was born after my mother divorced my step-dad, runs off and gets married to a Jehovah Witness and wants nothing to do with me. And now look: I’m out in the middle of the ocean, starving to death; going to die at the mouth of a shark. And you say God doesn’t hate me?”
“Kelly it’s not His fault,” Jane replied.
“Then what is it?” Kelly asked.
“Sin,” Jane replied. “It’s sin, Kelly.”
“And what is sin?” Leah asked.
“Sin is the transgression, or breaking, of God’s law. Let me ask you, Kelly: Have you ever lied?”
Kelly rocked her head. “Yeah,” she admitted. “I have.”
“How about you, Leah?” Jane asked.
“Yeah,” Leah answered. “I have too.”
“Did you ever take something that wasn’t yours?”
“I took my brother’s candy once,” Kelly answered.
“I took money I wasn’t supposed to,” Leah admitted.
“So by your own admissions, you’re both lying thieves,” Jane said. “The Bible says that unrighteousness will keep us out of Heaven. Because we have all sinned, we deserve to die and go to Hell. ‘For the wages of sin is death’ the Bible says.
“But it goes on to say ‘but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Because Jesus, God the Son, paid our penalty on the cross, we can enter Heaven if we accept what God offers us.”
“And what is that? A little peace just before we die?” Kelly asked.
“I think you’re right,” Leah told Jane. “Can you help me?”
“Jesus came to this earth over 2,000 years ago,” Jane said, “to pay for your sins; for mine; for Kelly’s; for the whole world. Because He did that, we can receive forgiveness and go to Heaven when we die.
“You see,” Jane continued, “we are all on a boat. We’re either on the Titanic, or we are on Noah’s ark. The Ark is going to Heaven, and all those who are on the Ark are too. But the Titanic is going to Hell. The question is: which boat are you in?”
“I suppose I’m on the Titanic,” Leah stated.
“I guess I am too,” Kelly said.
“But you don’t have to stay on there,” Jane told them.
“I know,” Leah said. “And I want to receive this forgiveness that you talk about.”
“Me too,” Kelly said, brushing away tears.
Both Leah and Kelly bowed their heads and prayed. They asked God to forgive them and to take them to Heaven when they died. Jane concluded the prayer with these words: “Dear Lord, thank you for saving us and for paying our penalty. Help us to live for You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
The next morning, the three sisters-in-the-faith prepared to meet their Saviour, as the last of the water was used up.
But around 11:00 in the morning, Kelly noticed something on the water. “Is that a ship?” she asked excitedly.
“It is! It is! Leah agreed joyfully.
All three sat up and waved their arms. After a couple of minutes, the ship crew had a life boat in the water, and the three women were rescued. When they arrived on the cargo ship, the three sisters-in-the-faith knelt down and prayed, thanking God for rescuing them, both physically and spiritually. It would be a while before they arrived home, but they were saved.