PrayerFlight Fall 2020
Prayer in the Air Flying on the National Day of Prayer in the Year of COVID
Regional PrayerFlight Representatives, Jerry and Kelly Chism Fall 2020
On the Cover
Prayer in the Air Flying on the National Day of Prayer in the Year of COVID
Regional PrayerFlight Representatives, Jerry and Kelly Chism August 2020
Jerry and Kelly Chism, Regional Representatives for PrayerFlight, based in Arkansas, in the cockpit of their Cessna 170.
From the Publisher Page 3
Feature Articles Prayer in the Air Believers Take to the Skies
National Day of Prayer Flying in the Year of COVID
Cover Story Jerry and Kelly Chism PrayerFlight Regional Reps ‘Living Life’
Foundations Bernie May - Climbing on Course
Published by the State Aviation Journal
From the Publisher
New Challenges, New Look, New Opportunities During the early planning process for this year’s PrayerFlight on the National Day of Prayer in May, we were anticipating a great event; one that would see greater participation, a greater fervency and ultimately, changed lives.
Then COVID-19 came on the scene, and with it, as you might expect, a lot of questions for us; will we fly; should we fly; and what are the rules?
The good news was aviation was an exempt activity. No, wait a minute, let’s back up; the good news was, and is, that we serve a mighty God, and whatever happens in the physical world, our prayers, whether in the air or on the ground will be effective.
We made it clear as we drew near to the date for the National Day of Prayer, that participants needed to follow local rules and instructions, with lockdowns in many states. We did hear from some pilots that they felt it wasn’t appropriate for them to fly in their area because of local guidelines and health reasons – and we totally understood that. That decision was, and is always, up to the pilot. We were also encouraged by a flock of new pilots joining PrayerFlight for the first time.
As it turns out, we had excellent participation and received amazing feedback. You can read more about the event in the articles in this magazine.
The magazine format is something new for PrayerFlight – one that I’m personally excited about. I do hope you will let us know what you think. Our current plan is for the digital magazine to be published quarterly. As we get closer to next year’s event, we’ll continue to send out email blasts to keep everyone in the loop and we hope that you will follow PrayerFlight on social media.
Prayer in the Air
Believers Take to the Skies to Pray for Nation By Amy McDonald
“The word for bishop in Greek comes from episcope— meaning oversight. Participating in National Prayer Flight by praying over the geographic area in my care—in my oversight—was profound,” Bishop Baskerville-Burrows said. “The people in the congregations of the Diocese of Indianapolis and the workers, leaders, and legislators that help govern us are always in my prayer. However, to literally pray over our region during a time of pandemic and crisis seems fitting and right. To share this experience with two faithful leaders of our diocese made it even more meaningful.”
On the National Day of Prayer, believers across our nation hosted Zoom prayer meetings or gathered in socially distant groups, while others boarded aircraft to pray. PrayerFlight is a national organization that partners pilots and prayer warriors to fly together and pray over a specific geographic area on the National Day of Prayer. “There was a lot of passion this year,” said Kim Stevens, the national coordinator for PrayerFlight. “Believers are being called to prayer more, and we are getting a better understanding of what is happening spiritually.” The organization recognized PrayerFlights registered in 41 states. Some PrayerFlights were modified for the sake of health precautions, with family members being the only ones in the planes, while some pilots chose to focus on prayer in their home this year. Roughly 65 PrayerFlight pilots took to the skies on or around the National Day of Prayer and over a dozen pilots flew a PrayerFlight for the first time! “We are not trying to check boxes,” Stevens said. “My hope is that everyone participates for the right reason—they’re passionate about the Lord and about prayer.” Bishop Jennifer Baskerville Burrows, left, and Marty Blake pose with the plane As a first-time pilot this year, Martin “Marty” following their PrayerFlight over Indianapolis and the surrounding suburbs. Blake enjoyed merging two of his passions: aviation and prayer. Though he has known about the organizaAs Blake and his passengers looked out over the landtion for a few years, 2020 was the first year the weather in scape, he felt a great equalizing of the area in his mind’s central Indiana allowed for safe flights. eye. Individual people, homes and roads blend together, “On NDP, we took to the sky and felt God’s peace,” said and prayer warriors in the plane were reminded to pray for Blake, who lives in Fishers, Indiana. the things that we all have in common as people: our need The Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis, for Jesus, and all the ways that sin and pain impact our Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, joined Blake and another lives. parishioner, Jolene, on the flight from Fishers to India“It was powerful to see Bishop Baskerville-Burrows in napolis. Continued on next page Page 4
Prayer in the Air
Continued from previous page action, especially as a member of the church,” Blake said. “I didn’t expect the whole experience to be that powerful. I have never taken prayer to the skies, because usually I am so focused on flying.” Blake has over 15 years of experience in general aviation, and many more years of following Jesus. Through PrayerFlight, Blake and other pilots like him are able to
use God-given passions and skills to glorify God, and bring others into a unique situation to pray on the National Day of Prayer. “For Your faithful love is as high as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. God, be exalted above the heavens; let Your glory be over the whole earth.” -Psalm 57:10-11 Amy McDonald is the Communications Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Filling the Air with Prayer
Paul and Loretta Hamilton fly an Evolution Trikes REVO over Carson City, Nevada on the National Day of Prayer. Page 6
2020 Mission a Success
COVID Can’t Stop PrayerFlight on the National Day of Prayer
From Honolulu, Hawaii to the heart of Maine, on May 7th, men and women took to the air in private planes of all types to pray for our nation, their state and their communities. With much of the nation locked down because of the coronavirus, 61 pilots in 40 states felt the urgency for prayer and climbed into the cockpit of their airplane. “Some took family members with them, others brought along clergy and some flew solo,” said Kim Stevens, national coordinator for PrayerFlight. “What they all had in common was a tremendous desire to fill the air with prayer.” In South Carolina, Bo Bowman, Southeast Regional Representative for PrayerFlight, didn’t have his plane available, so he teamed up with a friend who was going to fly them over the capitol in his Bonanza A-36. “Bob [Butler] unfortunately fell from a small ladder and injured his back while checking the oil on his Icon-5 airplane,” said Bowman. “However, Bob gave our mutual friend, Rick Trammel, permission to fly us over Columbia in the Bonanza.” Trammel owns and manages the FBO business at the Greenwood, SC airport (KGRD), as well as a charter service named Executive Shuttle. “I had a first-class pilot on this mission,” exclaimed Bowman. Mechanical issues and weather often impact PrayerFlight each year and 2020 was no different. The forecast for the weather In New York was not good on the National Day of Prayer, so Art Snyder decided to fly over Albany the day before. “My grandson Kyler was the copilot and prayer warrior. I circled the capitol numerous times while he prayed for our government
officials.” There were multiple pilots and planes flying in some states. Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, South Dakota and North Carolina were examples, according to Stevens. In Texas, Bill Eslick, a firsttime PrayerFlight partici- Pastor Tim Sorenson in Oregon. pant, shared his experience. “Three planes and prayer warriors flew and prayed over Hood County and Granbury, Texas,” said Eslick. “What a beautiful day and great prayer experience.” Piloting one of the other airContinued on next page
Fred Michael Reid took this photo of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
Bob Atiyeh took this shot over Hartford, Connecticut. The Capitol is in the upper right hand corner.
Continued from previous page craft over Hood County were Tom and Bonnie Lewis, also first-time participants. “A beautiful day to fly up the lake and the Brazos River,” commented Bonnie. We circled the town square where the Hood County Courthouse is located. God bless our world!” Jerry and Kelly Chism, regional PrayerFlight representatives from Arkansas, said they had three planes
Brad Bierma provided this photo taken over Des Moines, IA.
and 7 prayer warriors participate. (See page 11 for cover story on Jerry and Kelly). Over the years, some pilots have had the opportunity to fly over multiple states. This year Michael Harnishfeger, the original organizer of PrayerFlight, flew over the capital city in his home state of Ohio, and then flew over West Virginia and Virginia. “Thanks to all of those who lifted our nation in prayer,” said Harnishfeger. Some pilots flew pastors or clergy on their flights while some pilots are ministers of the gospel themselves. In Illinois, Michael Coady completed his prayer flight. “The weather was beautiful,” said Coady. On board was his pastor, Gerald McPhillips of Grace Baptist Church of Taylorville, and prayer warrior Delbert Edwards from his congregation. “Pastor McPhillips was live streaming while we circled the capital and prayed,” said Coady. “We prayed for our leaders to make Godly decisions in Ellis McMath, New Mexico. their lawmaking and leadership. We prayed in Jesus name, Amen.” For Ray Leninger, it was a beautiful day over Jackson, Mississippi. “Thank you to pilot George Cricenti and Prayer Warrior, Rev. Tyson Taylor,” said Leninger. Reverend Taylor said he was thankful for another opportunity to pray over the great state of Mississippi. “I appreciate the effort of Ray to put this together every year.” In South Dakota, Jenny Rasmussen invited her pastor and his wife from Sun Prairie Baptist Church, to fly in her 1948 Stinson 108-3. “We had a wonderful day with our prayer flight,” said Rasmussen. “We lifted-up by name, families, 10 small towns, the counties we live in, South Dakota, the United States and our world.” During that flight they prayed for gratefulness, health, discernContinued on next page
Michael Coady provided this photo of the Illinois state capitol building.
Jenny Rasmussen and Mark and Dee Dickson, flew in their rural South Dakota region.
Continued from previous page ment, wisdom, unity, and to open their eyes to those in need, protection, guidance, and how blessed they all are. “We flew in our area, not to Pierre, our capital, due to rain in the Pierre area.” Marty Blake [see story on page 4], said he had the pleasure of flying Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, and Jolene Johnston from Holy Family Episcopal Church in Fishers, Indiana, on the National Day of Prayer. “We flew over several schools, hospitals, and churches in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Additionally, we flew over the Indiana State Capitol Building and Indiana Government Center at noon. “Participating in the national prayer flight by praying over the geographic area in my care—in my oversight—was profound,” said Baskerville-Burrows. “The people in the congregations of the Diocese of Indianapolis and the workers, leaders, and legislators that help govern us are always in my prayer.” Providing tremendous support to PrayerFlight each year are members of other organizations such as the Catholic Aviation Association and Pilots for Christ. Tim
Dean Kapp and Kyle over Madison, Wisconsin.
Layne, President of Pilots for Christ, Michigan, reported that they had two flights over Lansing, the first occurring at noon. Even though aviation was considered ‘exempt’ under the rules of COVID, some PrayerFlight participants felt they couldn’t participate this year – at least in the air. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the pilots and prayer warriors from across the country that participated this year,” said Stevens. “Even those that chose not to fly, they were committed to pray on the
Continued on next page
Theresa Farley took this photo of the Arizona Air National Guard at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Mike Patellis, Alpha Helicopter, flew over Georgia.
North Carolina’s Chris Olin and prayer warrior Ron.
Continued from previous page
ground.” Back in Indiana, after participating in PrayerFlight, Bishop Baskerville-Burrows said, “to literally pray over our region during a time of pandemic and crisis seems fitting and right.” Dean Kapp said it was a beautiful, bumpy day in Wisconsin as they flew over Madison. “We prayed for our country, leaders, those being persecuted for the faith, and for this current situation the world is facing,” said Kapp. “Of course, God is in control and was not surprised by the coronavirus. We will continue to trust in his Son Jesus.”
State Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Bishop Baskerville-Burrows prays over Indiana.
Cover Story PrayerFlight Regional Representatives
Jerry and Kelly Chism, ‘Living Life’ Together “God intended for us to enjoy our time as a couple.”
By Kim J Stevens
For Jerry and Kelly Chism, one of the ways that they have grown in their walk with the Lord is for everything they do to have a Christ-focused purpose. That includes flying. Jerry has loved aviation from his earliest memories, and as a small child would look up every time an airplane passed overhead… “something I still do to this day,” said the Southwest regional representative of PrayerFlight. “My early career plan was to be an airline pilot. Clearly, God had other plans for me since that didn’t come to fruition, but, I’m thankful for the path that God has lead me down and look forward to what He has in store for me in the future.” When the couple first heard about PrayerFlight, Jerry’s first reaction was excitement - mixed with a slight sense of guilt and disappointment. “Excitement about the mission of PrayerFlight,” offered Jerry, “but guilt and disappointment that I hadn’t discovered it sooner.” The ministry of PrayerFlight fits perfectly with Jerry’s life goals because it combines something he loves to do – flying, with something else he loves to do - pray. “We believe very strongly in the power of prayer and be-
ing able to use the airplane as a platform for prayer is truly a blessing,” said Jerry. For Kelly, PrayerFlight has been an answer to prayer. “When we spend money on the plane, I love knowing that it is glorifying Christ.” As empty nesters, living in Arkansas, the pair has reached a point in life where they have more time and money to dedicate toward living life together. “I think sometimes couples settle for ‘doing’ life together as opposed to ‘living’ life together,” said Jerry. “I believe that God intended for us to enjoy our time as a couple.” That is reflected in their adventurous spirit. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘I’m not afraid of dying… I’m afraid of not living,’ and I try to live my life accordingly,” said Jerry. “Obviously, that doesn’t mean doing things that are incredibly dangerous, but it does mean doing the things that make life enjoyable for us.” Kelly said her life would be boring without Jerry’s adventurous spirit. “We have grown as I have witnessed his excitement about an adventure, and I have jumped on in. He says this means a lot to him.” That enjoyment goes beyond owning and flying a plane and seeing the world from above. Jerry and Kelly, who just celebrated 38 years of marriage, also love exploring the world on the ground – on a motorcycle. “When Kelly and I joined ReNew Church, we planned
Continued on next page
PrayerFlight Magazine Page 11
Continued from previous page to start a motorcycle ministry called Renewed Riders based on Galatians 5:13,” recalled Jerry. “The ministry was set to start on March 29, 2016.” On the Saturday before the start date, that all changed. The couple had decided to ride their motorcycle to dinner with a group of friends. On the way home, they t-boned a deer at 60 mph. “Although we were both severely injured and spent several days in ICU and a week in the hospital, God clearly protected us,” recalled Jerry. “We believe that Satan attempted to prevent our ministry, but God had other plans for us.” Having a collision with a deer at 60 mph on a motorcycle and both surviving, is nothing short of a miracle. Lasting injuries were the loss of Kelly’s spleen and limited range of motion in Jerry’s left shoulder. Although delayed, Renewed Riders started in the fall of 2016 and continues today to reach people with the good news of the Gospel. “God is good.” The two have much to be grateful for. “As a couple, I think we have learned to trust God more and more,” said Jerry. “That’s something that we knew very early on, but it takes some ‘life experience’ to really see God’s provision, His plan and His protection at work in our lives.” Jerry and Kelly started dating as teenagers in high school. “I was 17, she was 15,” said Jerry, “so we have literally grown up together.” They were married at the age of 18 and 20. Kelly accepted Christ as her Savior early on but, has grown to make Him her Lord. “This provides so much peace and joy because as long as I follow Him every step of the way, I will make it through,” shares Kelly. “He is on my mind every moment. I want to do all I can for Him.” For Jerry, he’s learning to be more thankful, for both the “good and bad” things in his life, and sometimes finds himself taking God’s blessings for granted.
“Simple things like just having a bed to sleep in every night and hot water when I turn the shower lever. God blesses us so profusely that we just come to expect it and I’m trying to learn to see His hand daily in the simple things of life.” Jerry said learning to give thanks for the tough times in his life – times when he couldn’t make it on his own and He carried him – “has allowed me to really appreciate the depth of His love and the power of His hand.” As a couple, Jerry believes it boils down to enjoying each other’s company, with the activities, just a way to get to be together. “Don’t get me wrong, I love flying and riding the motorcycle, but I enjoy just being in her presence.” Jerry says his love language is “quality time” and he can have a good time just sitting on the back porch watching a sunset. “We really enjoy any activity that allows us to be together, but we tend to gravitate
Continued on page 14
The Chisms on the road.
It takes some life experience to really s e e G o d â€™ s p r ov i s i o n
PrayerFlight Magazine Page 13
Enjoying the beauty and solitude of an out-of-the-way location.
Continued from previous page toward things outdoors, camping, hiking, playing with the grandkids.” “He has always led us as a family so, when he leads, I am not scared,” said Kelly. “Life sometimes has a way of making you feel that you are just ‘along for the ride’, but we try to live life in the driver’s seat. As a result, we have grown closer through the time spent enjoying each other’s company.” Each embrace each new day. “I get excited just knowing that God has blessed me with another day of life and my prayer is to never forget the significance of that privilege,” says Jerry. “I love a challenge, and I approach every day as both a challenge and an opportunity.” Kelly’s grandson painted her a picture that says, God Love’s You (just like that). “Every morning I see it first and I remember that God does love me. I lay there and
give thanks for Jerry, our kids and grandkids, our home and being able to just walk to my desk for work. Starts my day off pretty perfect.” Kelly has always loved flying and loves it most when they are going somewhere. Like Lambert’s for dinner or a back-country strip or for PrayerFlight. “I would love to see it [PrayerFlight] grow more in Arkansas and have more planes involved. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the whole day was covered with planes in the sky over the [State] Capitol!” Jerry says there isn’t a single flight that stands out for the couple. “We try to make every flight an adventure to some degree.” Recently, with the purchase of a Cessna 170, back country flying to remote locations has become a theme for them. “We enjoy the beauty and solitude of landing at places that can often only be easily reached by air.” He does recall one flight that occurred during a recent Young Eagles event, flying 5th graders from a local elementary school. “I was fortunate to get to fly Continued on next page
Kelly and Jerry Chism with their plane in the background.
Continued from previous page
a young man who had cancer and required assistance just to get in the airplane,” said Jerry. “When we were airborne, I looked over at him and he was smiling from ear-to-ear. Just knowing that for that one brief moment he was able to forget about his struggles and enjoy the miracle of flight, made that short flight one that I will never forget.” In regard to any remaining bucket list items, Kelly has two; to visit all 50 states and walk across the Gatlinburg Sky Walk bridge. “I will mark off about four more in September.” As crazy as it sounds, Jerry’s number one bucket list item is to go to Italy and run with the bulls. “I’m saving
that for last, because it could be the last thing I ever do! On a more reasonable level, he says he wants to get checked out and receive a Letter of Authorization in a P-51 Mustang (see below); but I would settle for just an hour or so with the stick in my hand.”
PrayerFlight Magazine Page 15
Still Climbing on Course with PrayerFlight Bernie May has been blessed to fly some fun airplanes during his life, like the PBY, DC-3, Helios and Cessnas – both land and float planes. He’s also been blessed to have continued to fly his Mooney, well into his 80s. He signs off on his emails as ‘Still Climbing on Course’ – very appropriate. May was introduced to PrayerFlight a couple of years ago by fellow pilot Davis Conley at LKR (Lancaster, SC) airport. The two flew together in a Mooney over their Capital in Columbia, South Carolina, taking turns flying and praying for their state and for the nation. “It was great,” said May. “When you can combine prayer with flying, count me in!” May has been flying since he was a teenager. “When I was 21, I learned that missionaries in the Amazon needed a pilot,” said May. “I joined JAARS to serve the Wycliffe translators and others in Peru and Ecuador. JAARS was originally formed as Jungle Aviation and Radio Service in Peru in 1948 and moved to its current location in Waxhaw, North Carolina in 1961. In 1986, as a result of diversifying activities (like information technology), JAARS officially dropped the original meaning behind the acronym and became simply “JAARS, Inc.” May wrote a couple of books years ago. The most
popular was, Under His Wing (cover shown above), short stories about flying and faith which has been translated into nine languages. The book is still available at Wycliffe.
Bernie May (on right), visits with Comandante Ugas of the Peruvian Army in 1959.
Pilots take to the air each year on the National Day of Prayer