A Flight to Faith
A Christian Story
I was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan in a Christian family. My father was a full-time evangelist and I was the youngest of 4 brothers and 3 sisters. I went to church and Sunday school regularly as a child and at the age of 12, we moved to Karachi where I finished my education.
I came to England in August 1964 at the age of 17 and became lost in the Western culture. I lost interest in the Christian faith but although I became an atheist, I still had a sentimental attachment to the idea of God. I had nothing to do with any church at that time.
In 1973, after I graduated, I went home to Pakistan to get married. My wife was a strong, born-again Christian and she started to pray for me to come back to faith in God. It was going to take nearly 2 years and 7 months for a visa to be granted for my wife to join me in England. By this time my first daughter had been born in Pakistan and so I went out there to see her when she was one year old.
I returned to England by Syrian Airlines and the plane stopped in Damascus for refuelling. When it took off again, the pilot announced that there was a technical problem and they would have to return to Damascus airport to land again. The hydraulic brakes that lowered the wheels were not working!
The plane circled around Damascus airport for more than 2 hours to burn all its fuel because they were concerned that it might crash on landing and that the fuel might ignite or explode. There were 220 passengers on board the plane mostly from India and Pakistan and people began to panic.
I thought that I may have only a few hours to live and so I closed my eyes and prayed;
“Lord, if you really exist, help me. I’m sorry that I mocked you for so many years and made fun of your people in the church. Please forgive me and if it’s your will for me to live, then I will find out more about you when I get back to England, but if it’s not your will for me to live, I want you to forgive me and to look after my wife, my little daughter and my mother who all depend on me.”
When I opened my eyes, they were trying to land the plane. Tears were running from my eyes and I felt so physically and spiritually weak. I believe with all my heart that God really did hear me and forgive me.
The plane landed on its body without the wheels being lowered and the bottom of the plane was severely damaged but no-one died. All the passengers had to stay 2 days in a hotel in Damascus and then on the third day, we flew back to England.
For a few months I completely forgot about my prayer in the plane and then after almost a year, I had a call from an Indian Christian pastor from Oxford who wanted to meet me. When he came to see me in Bristol, he shared his own story of how he had put his faith in Jesus Christ from a Muslim background and I remembered my prayers in the plane.
He encouraged me to find out more about the Christian faith and it was at this time that I started to understand what it really meant to follow Jesus. I put my trust in Him and found a new zeal and fire in my heart to know Him more. All I want to do now is to do God’s will as long as I live.