Shuttle Astronaut Returns to Earth with Piece of Missionary History
October 6, 2009
NAMPA, Idaho, (christiansunite.com) -- After a two-week journey of more than 5.7 million miles around the earth, astronaut Patrick Forrester and fellow space shuttle Discovery crew members landed safely on Sept. 11 at Edwards Air Force Base in California with a piece of missionary history. Forrester is available for interviews about the shuttle mission and his heart for Christian missionary service.
The item, part of an airplane battery box, comes from martyred missionary pilot Nate Saint's Piper PA-14, which is on display at the headquarters of MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) in Nampa, Idaho. Saint and four other missionaries were martyred on a sandbar in Ecuador in 1956, by a tribe of Waodani Indians.
"Bringing attention to and renewing interest in missions would be a great result of this experience," said Forrester, 52. "My deepest intent is to honor Nate Saint, the Saint family and all missionaries around the world."
The airplane part received approval for the flight from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) after conforming to strict size and weight restrictions. Forrester asked MAF to provide a part of Saint's plane for the shuttle mission.
Forrester plans to return the piece to MAF in the near future, providing a certificate confirming its presence on the space flight. MAF will display the battery box part and certificate at its headquarters. Forrester noted that Saint "could have never imagined that we would have the opportunity to take part of his plane to a space station."
For biographical information on Forrester, go to www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/forreste.html
Founded in the U.S. in 1945, MAF (www.maf.org) missionary teams of aviation, communications, technology and education specialists overcome barriers in remote areas, transform lives and build God's Kingdom by enabling the work of more than 1,000 organizations in isolated areas of the world. With its fleet of 130 bush aircraft, MAF serves in 55 countries, with an average of 242 flights daily across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conduct thousands of emergency medical evacuations in remote areas. MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems.