The incredible story of Batik Air pilot Captain Icoze Mafella makes it clear that God is eager to speak directly to each of His children, leading and guiding them to safety in order to not just preserve their lives but also show His power to those who don’t yet know Him. While the entire world has heard of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, many haven’t heard how the lives of over 140 people in the region were saved simply because one pilot obeyed the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to his heart on the fateful day the earthquake hit.
Captain Mafella later reported that, on the day the earthquake occurred, he had felt uneasy the entire day but didn’t know why. When landing at Palu, the unsettled feeling only got stronger. He thought part of the reason for his discomfort was the fact that the Palu airport is not an easy one for airplanes to navigate.
The fact that it is located between mountain ranges has led a number of airline pilots to nickname the airport the “Valley of Death”, a nickname that prompted Captain Mafella to quote Psalm 23:4, claiming the promise that even though he walked through the valley of death he would fear no evil because God’s presence was with him.
At the same time, he began to sing worship songs aloud. His co-pilot, a Muslim, made light of the situation, joking that the captain should compose a CD of worship songs.
Even so, Captain Mafella’s mysterious unsettled feeling did not decrease but only increased as they touched town in Paul Airport. He felt strongly that he should not remain at the airport but rather take off as soon as possible. While he could not explain why he felt that there was something wrong even though there was no indication of danger, he told the crew that they only had twenty minutes before departure.
As they left, he remained in the cockpit and then asked permission from the air traffic control tower to take off a few minutes early. Approval for early departure was granted and the pilot and co-pilot both began to prepare for take-off.
As the plane begin taking off, Captain Mafella’s sense of urgency increased. He even broke protocol and took over some of the co-pilot’s jobs to speed up the take-off process. While his hand continued pushing the lever, causing the plane to speed up as it took off, he began to feel the plane swaying slightly to the right and left but didn’t take much note of it. Captain Mafella’s co-pilot, on the other hand, realized what was going on and a look of fear filled his eyes.
It was only after the plane had finished taking off that Captain Mafella looked down and realized something was terribly wrong. He looked down and, in his own words, the landing strip was moving up and down like a curtain blowing in the wind. What is more, the sea on the coast was forming a large hole, exposing the foundation of the sea to the naked eye. Captain Mafella attempted to contact the air traffic control tower but to no avail.
After the plane had made it safely to Ujung Pandang, the captain discovered that a 7.5 magnitude earthquake had hit the Palu area, triggering a destructive tsunami. The air traffic control official, who had courageously remained at his post to ensure that Captain Mafella’s airplane had taken off safely, was killed as he attempted to jump to safety.
As Captain Mafella later noted, he and his planeload of 140 passengers would not have made it off safely if they had taken off even a few minutes later as the immediate destruction of the runway would have made it impossible to leave the airport. It was only the voice of the Holy Spirit in his heart that saved the captain, his crew and those in his care.
At the same time, as the captain accurately notes, he needed to not only listen to God’s voice but also remain calm so that he could continue to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit in his heart. As he continued to listen and follow God’s directions, the lives of scores of people were saved. Please share the news of this irrefutable miracle so it may touch the hearts of believers and non-believers around the world.
~ Christian Patriot Daily