An Unplanned Diversion

I was awakened to the smell of something burning. Moments later, I noticed flight attendants quickly running up and down the center aisle of the plane with fire extinguishers.

Smelling a burning smell and seeing flight attendants scrambling with fire extinguishers is usually not a good thing when you’re cruising at 30,000 feet above the ground.

An airport fireman, wearing a hazmat suit, checks things out on our plane in El Paso
An airport fireman, wearing a hazmat suit, checks things out on our plane in El Paso

Moments later, an announcement was made that our flight to Houston was being diverted to El Paso.

After being on the ground for an hour, we were told that the source of the burning had still not been identified (later, in a letter from Continental, I learned that it was a faulty circuit board that had burned). As a result, we were all re-booked on other airlines.

I found myself now heading to Dallas for a connecting flight that would ultimately get me to Orlando where I would rent a car to drive to Daytona, where 75 people were attending our New Staff Training conference.

Unfortunately for me, when I got to Dallas, I saw that my connecting flight was delayed by 4 and half hours.

By the time I finally arrived in Orlando, got my car and drove to Daytona, it was after 5:00 in the


I was scheduled to speak in just a few hours. Little did these staff know but I was going to ask them to take

an unplanned diversion of their own. Instead of heading to Houston, or some other location they had their hearts set on, I was sharing about the tremendous needs to reach the growing Latino student population. I invited those in the group to join us in Los Angeles to help us reach Latino students.

I was incredibly tired, and I don’t drink coffee either, so I was functioning on pure adrenaline.

I was able to make an impassioned plea that resulted in 3 New Staff making an “unplanned diversion.”

Left-Right: Stephen Brown, Tyler Helfers, Christina Helfers
Left-Right: Stephen Brown, Tyler Helfers, Christina Helfers

Stephen is a single guy from North Carolina who had never traveled east of Tennessee and Tyler and Christina are a married couple from Minnesota who were thinking of going to Miami.

Instead, the Lord has diverted them to Los Angeles, where they’ll be serving with Destino.

Two weeks ago, all three of them were in Los Angeles to check out the campuses and get an increased vision for what they’ll be doing with Destino. It was a fun time to see the fruition of my crazy flight from January.

Thanks for your partnership with us. Because of your commitment, we are able to recruit people like Stephen and Tyler and Christina to take unplanned diversions to see people from every culture reached for Christ!

Click here to view the pdf version of The Lowedown.

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