On the first day of May in 1961, Alan Shepard was poised atop a Redstone rocket inside the Mercury capsule named, "Freedom 7." Countless checks were completed and the countdown was proceeding as planned until the mission was scrubbed because weather had moved into the area. The rocket was secured, Shepard removed and the countdown reset. A few days later, Shepard was again inserted into Freedom 7 and the clock began to tick. Again, Shepard waited to become the first American to burst the atmosphere and travel in space. And he waited…. The entire flight was to last 15 minutes, but Shepard remained tightly strapped into the cramped capsule for over four hours while the countdown was stopped and restarted several times. So there he sat, his eyes peering into the blue horizon as seagulls mockingly circled above him.
Chaparral has been blessed with a rich and beautiful history of service to the Kingdom of God. Together, we have built, planned, studied, and dreamed. We have designed the engines, secured the pad, built the rockets, and trained the pilots. So, where are we heading?
Like Abraham, we have been blessed to be a blessing to our neighbors throughout the world. We are fully committed to do what it takes to make "disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that [he has] commanded [us]." (Matthew 28:19-20)
I can only imagine how anxious Alan Shepard was as he sat watching seagulls play across his view. I am not sure I would have lasted four hours (and I am sure Stacy would agree). But, finally, Shepard, pressed the intercom and told launch control exactly what they needed to hear, “Let’s light this candle.” With that courageous reminder of their mission, terminal countdown to the United States' first manned flight began.
The creativity, imagination and courage that defines Chaparralians is infectious. We are never content to sit comfortable in our place on Shea Boulevard and watch the birds circle overhead. Chaparralians are ready to soar toward new summits and new challenges. Now is the time, to "light this candle" for the sake of the world!
Frank ShirvinskiLead Pastor