With heavy hearts we let you know about the death of a friend, colleague, and father Paul Westlund along with two national Indonesians. Paul was a pilot in Indonesia where we previously worked. He had been flying in those remote mountains for 25 years. Paul was a man of God and had a great sense of humor. He was also a “no-nonsense” kind of guy. His plane went down in the mountains of Indonesia yesterday.
I remember him returning to Indonesia from his furlough time in the US. There had been sickness and death in his family. I was murmuring something about what a tough year it had been for them when Paul stopped me and said, “We don’t want these things to define us. They were just a part of our lives and God took us through that.”
Wow, those words have stayed with me for many years. When I want to have a pity party for myself I think, “Why do I want to make this issue ‘define’ who I am? God is greater than this one thing.” Boy, I need to say those words to myself today.
After grieving for his family yesterday, my next thought was, “Paul would be okay with this death. If he had been told ahead of time that he was going to die that day, I could see him saying that it was just fine.” I hope people say the same thing about me when I die.
Below are some photos of Paul as well as a link to an article he wrote some years ago about “A day in the life of a pilot.” And here is a YouTube video that Paul helped produce a few years ago, tribute to Paul’s life of service to the Papuan people here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr0mDf6fdYM
I know Paul is resting in peace with His Father who he served so wholeheartedly. I also know he will be sorely missed on earth.
Will you please stop a moment and pray for his wife LaVonne, his daughter Joy, and his son Mark as well as all of the others who are grieving? Joy, currently serving in the military, graduated in the same class as our daughter Laura and was one of the students that we spent time with as class sponsors. Pray for Joy who is, at this very moment, flying half way around the world to her father’s funeral. Pray for Mark, his son. He is a junior at Hillcrest International School. Pray for wisdom regarding his schooling, whether he will be able to stay in Papua or have to return to the States. Pray too, for the teams who must go to Papua, Indonesia and investigate this accident to see what went wrong. It can be a stressful time for many people. Thank you.