Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rescuing the one...

We wanted to include a part of Hayden's letter that we received yesterday.  He was able to attend his first Zone Conference (Joplin Zone) and this was a story his Mission President told them...this is word for word from his letter - he must have taken good notes...

President Merkley flew airline carriers for FedEx and his co-pilot was a Vietnam air pilot.  His job was to fly first over enemy territory and make the shoot at him so he could target them and have bombers take them out.  Over a certain area they shot him and he almost lost control but maintained his plane but it was upside down, he was trying to get into friendly territory but he came into some jaggedy mountains that made him lose his position and he started losing complete control and had to parachute out - he snagged in the thick canopy - usually they only give pilots one radio and one pistol but he wanted two radios and a .357 magnum pistol.  So as he was falling/parachuting out he tried calling home base but dropped the radio!  He then snagged into the thick canopy and had to cut himself down quick because he could hear and see the torches of the Viet Cong approaching.  He cut himself down and landed with a crunch and saw that he had broken his 2nd radio, scared out of his mind he took off running and tripped over something, it was the radio he had dropped!  He grabbed it and hid behind a big fern and some rocks and watched as the Viet Cong searched for him.  They came within 15 ft but kept moving but off in the distance (the sun was setting) the sun reflected off these 2 eyes, animal eyes and as the enemy left, this creature came right up to him, he couldn't see it but it was right in front of him, he could hear it breathing so he held his pistol right at it and thought "okay, if I shoot it the enemy will know where I am, but if I wait, it could kill me", but all of a sudden the enemy was back looking.  Then they left and the animal came back and it was like this all night, at times he felt just like crying.  But they both left and he was able to call base with his radio and they had a plan ready for his rescue.  He would need to make it to this hill and they would bomb a path for him through the jungle - while doing this, the Marines and Army would make a diversion for him to run.  They bombed more than the whole WWII bombings all for just this one soul, he made it to the top of the hill and the helicopter (known as the Jolly Green Giant) was hovering - but as he approached, they had to ask him some questions - like what is your Mother's maiden name, first dog's name, etc. like the questions for your bank account, ya know?  Well he had forgotten and so the pilot told him sorry they couldn't pick him up - well this pilot is not a member so he started screaming profanities at them and they said only an American pilot would cuss like that!  The helicopter started taking heavy fire so they dropped down this bullet thing meant to get people through the thick canopy (attached to a cable).  They didn't have time to pull him up so they told him to hang on as they flew through the trees!  They made it out and had a big celebration in Thailand for him and he bought presents for everyone on the helocopter - he said it was the happiest he'd ever been because he didn't think he'd see his family again.  He isn't religious but he said he thinks going to Heaven will be an even better homecoming.l  Isn't that a cool story?  Before Pres Merkley shared this, he talked to us about the 99 and Christ going and getting the one sheep.  Christ usually hung around the sinners and poor people and people thought he was dumb for doing that, but Christ said when he brought a sheep back, or a sinner, "rejoice with me for I have found my sheep" :)

See D&C 18:10, 15-16

Anyways, I thought you might wanna see what I learned!
Love you all,
Elder Blackburn

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