Posted by: OCI | September 9, 2008

The Littlest Radio Operators

Written by Bob Norton, Director of Adventist Medical Aviation – Venezuela

For a long time we’ve been trying to find someone to help Celco with the radio operation and flight following so he could take a little time off. No one seemed willing to do this job, so Celco started training his 10 year old son, Jose Antonio, to operate the radio. Jose has been able to fill in when his Dad has to be away and is doing a great job.

One day Celco came to me and told me, “We have a little problem.” I thought of all the problems we deal with and wondered what he had in mind.

“What would that be?” I asked.

Smiling he replied, “Well, we have two more people who want to work with AMA.”

“Good,” I answered, “Where are they?”

Celco began his story.

“I was sitting at the radio one day recently when my youngest son, Karuan, came asking for 3,000 bolivars (about one dollar). I asked him, “What do you need the money for?”

“I just need it to buy something. I understand we don’t spend money on things we don’t need. I’m not going to buy candy or anything like that, but I need to buy something.”

“Alright, here you are,” I said, handing him the requested money.

Karuan left for the little village store to buy a notebook. He wanted to log the flights and the patients coming in for treatment and those ready to return home. However, the boy discovered the notebook he needed cost 4,000 bolivars, and he only had 3,000. This time he approached his mother, and coaxed her into giving him 1,000 bolivars. Happily, Karuan bought the notebook at the store. That night he showed me all the entries he’d made during the day. His sister Anamar had found her own notebook and also made entries, copying her brother,” Celco concluded.

“So, what is the problem?” I asked.

Celco replied, “My children want to work as volunteers for AMA, and they are waiting for you to come talk to them because they want to know if they can be missionaries for AMA too.”

“Tell them that if there are no emergency flights in the morning I will come then,” I agreed, happy to “fix” this problem.

Those precious children were up at 5:00 the next morning waiting for me. When I arrived I thanked them for their eagerness to be part of the AMA team and work for God. Proudly they showed me their notebooks, and now officially work along with their older brother as AMA radio operators—of course with their Dad’s help.

Six year old Anamar wrote in her notebook (pictured at left) I want to work for AMA because I want to help those who are sick. Karuan, who is eight says, I want to work with AMA because I want to help those who are sick to get well again. And Jose Antonio says, I want the patients to know Jesus and have Him in their hearts. I am proud to have Celco’s children as part of our team.

What a wonderful example these three children are as they desire to make a difference for those around them. Usually when you reach out to others you learn that the biggest difference made is in yourself.

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