The Hallmarks of Chaplaincy
What keeps a Boeing 777 aircraft in the air for a thirteen hour (or longer), non-stop flight? You may have guessed it—jet fuel. Aircraft refuelers carry out the crucial, hour-long task of replenishing the “triple seven’s” massive fuel tanks by pumping the right amount of high quality fuel from an underground pipeline, through two fuel trucks, and up into the airplane. What’s even more remarkable is that their efforts mirror the very hallmarks of airport chaplaincy: time, quantity, and quality.
Time: I met South Korean passenger Chin-Sun* in the foyer of the Terminal 1 Chapel one afternoon. “You’ve just landed…?” I asked. Chin-Sun nodded, and settled into a chair. As we chatted, the reason for her visiting the Chapel became clear. This lady and her daughter had decided on Pearson as a “jumping-off point” for a few days of bonding in Toronto. Chin-Sun’s plane had touched down a few hours ahead of her daughter’s flight from Dubai. With time to spare, she decided to check out the terminal and discovered the Chapel. The Lord had marvelously orchestrated an appointment for me to share the Gospel with this dear lady, and to see her respond by trusting Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. A grateful Chin-Sun left the Chapel just in time to share the good news with her daughter.
Quantity: Airport employee Anali’s* story is truly remarkable. Raised in the Sikh faith, Anali became a Christian through the influence of a good friend. Now, like a “newborn baby”, this young lady can hardly get enough of the “pure milk” of God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2). In fact, Anali has been known to show up at my office up to two hours before her work shift, asking for “super-sized” portions of Bible teaching. What a privilege for us! So far, Anali has learned about the Trinity, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Even more encouraging is this young lady’s desire to become a Christian missionary one day.
Quality: It’s truly a blessing for me to witness the transforming power of God’s Word in the lives of airport employees. Take Air Canada Baggage Agent, Elimu*, for example. Raised in a mainline Christian denomination in his native Ghana, Elimu had never heard the Gospel message. Praise God, this dear man eventually came to saving faith after hearing the Gospel preached at an evangelical church in Toronto. Elimu has discovered the secret to becoming a quality disciple of Jesus Christ through sound Bible teaching, along with systematic study and application of God’s Word. When Elimu is not attending a Bible study in my office on his lunch break, he can be found in the Chapel—poring over the Scriptures. This brother in Christ is now leaving a wonderful legacy behind by teaching his children the Scriptures.
(* names have been changed for confidentiality purposes)
—Peter King is a Fellowship chaplain serving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, ON.