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This section will contain materials which we hope will encourage us all - please feel free to contribute.

Who's packing your parachute?

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, " You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! "

" How in the world did you know that? " asked Plumb.

" I packed your parachute, " the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, " I guess it worked! "

Plumb assured him, " It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today. "

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man.

Plumb says, " I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor. "

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, " Who's packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.


From Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional by Darlene Zschech

When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. He travelled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, where he stayed three months.
Acts chapter 20, verses 1 to 3

Each of us has been uniquely gifted to do what only we can do in this world. But I think that each one of us carries the responsibility and ability to be an encourager to one another. All it takes is a listening ear and a kind word. We don't have to be trained in counselling or have a special way with words. Sometimes words aren't even necessary to offer encouragement. A simple hug can be the most powerfull communication we can deliver to a friend who is discouraged.