Last summer, my 13-year-old son and I traveled to Maine with the goal of climbing Katahdin. Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine, measures at just over 5,200 feet tall. It is a day hike that takes about 8 hours round trip—4 hours up, 4 hours down or 4,000 feet up and 4,000 feet down. About halfway up the climb, we encountered rescue workers airlifting an injured climber off the mountain. We approached the scene right as the rescue helicopter arrived. We waited on the trail about 30 feet away and witnessed the rescue.
When the helicopter lowered the rescue worker, he did not load the climber into a secure basket and pull her up safely into the helicopter. Instead, the injured climber was connected via a harness to the rescue worker, and they were only raised part way up to the helicopter. The helicopter then flew, with the two of them dangling at the end of the cable, down 2,000 feet to the base of the mountain where an ambulance waited.
Though my son and I witnessed this rescue, we only saw the helicopter pilot and the rescue workers. We did not see the many people behind the scenes that made it possible for the rescue. We did not see the dispatcher who answered the call for the helicopter. We did not see the maintenance staff who cleaned and kept the helicopter hangar neat and tidy. We did not see the mechanics who maintained the helicopter’s engine and safety. We did not see the bookkeeper who made sure the bills were paid so the helicopter had fuel. Lastly, we did not see the thousands of local community residents who dutifully paid their taxes so that a rescue helicopter could be purchased for such a rescue. We can only imagine the community of locals who faithfully served daily at their jobs to earn the money to make such a rescue operation possible.
This is just like our OMS homeland missionaries who serve at headquarters. We are involved in multiple search and rescue operations around the world. Like the mountain rescue, most of the people involved that make the search and rescue operations possible are unseen. Very few missionaries get to be present first when the rescue is made and an unbeliever accepts Christ. But there is a whole community working day in and day out at the OMS headquarters, making sure the spiritual search and rescue operations of OMS go uninterrupted. Workers in finance, human resources, IT, missionary care, administration, marketing and communications, maintenance, and numerous other vital support roles. These hard workers report for duty each and every day to fulfill their role in the global effort of search and rescue for the lost. The rescue operations of OMS may not involve an injured climber dangling from a helicopter, but the stakes of the rescue are no less critical. In fact, the stakes are higher. The search and rescue operations of OMS are seeking to save people from an eternity without Jesus. When God uses OMS to seek and save the lost, he receives the glory because it is through his power that these operations are successful.
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By Jay Dunnuck, Vice President OMS Development