Initiating his athlete ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Dallas Texas, where I first was introduced to Nelson Cook on one of my first US Study Tours on Sports Mission, he relocated to Los Angeles twenty years ago to establish a highly specialist ministry to Christian coaches – professional, college and high schools.
Nelson Cook sends a regular devotional letter to his coaches and I have regularly reprinted these in this daily Christian Today column. This is his second for 2013.
Have you ever needed a push? As you probably know, there are different meanings involved depending on the situation. A car broken down, or a need for someone to build you up, or press one forward against opposition. Well, on March 10, 1967, in Vietnam, Captain Bob Pardo was flying his Phantom jet fighter alongside another Phantom pilot, Captain Earl Aman. They were to bomb a target 30 miles north of Hanoi.
Before they ever got close to their target, an anti aircraft shell sent flak smashing into Aman's plane, shaking it violently. The plane badly damaged, they finished their mission then radioed their situation. They were losing fuel and altitude very fast and would not be able to make it back.
Pardo's plane had also been hit and it lost electrical power and was losing fuel, too, but was still operating normally. Pardo radioed Aman about the severe condition of Aman's plane and Aman responded, "We know. We're getting ready to bail out." Pardo said, "Don't jump (they were still over North Vietnam). We're going to try to get you back."
First, Pardo told Aman to jettison his drag chute and he'd try to put the nose of his plane into the receptacle of the F-4 jet. It failed because of too much jet wash coming off Aman's plane. Pardo would not give up. He radioed Aman to drop his tailhook (the tailhook is designed to catch a steel cable on aircraft carriers when landing on their deck at sea.). Pardo was going to use it to push Aman's jet in mid air; which had never been tried.
Aman's plane was losing fuel too fast and their altitude was dropping 3,000 feet per minute. Flying at 300 miles per hour, he brought his plane up to the tailhook, placing it against his inch thick windscreen. Soon cracks began to appear. He repositioned against a metal plate. Then both of Aman's engines flamed out and one of Pardo's engines caught fire. He pulled away to shut down that engine, and then engaged Aman's F-4 again.
Pardo pushed Aman's plane until he ran out of fuel. Eventually, all four airmen had to bail out (each F-4 has a pilot and radio man). Three of the four sustained injuries when hitting the ground in Laos, and all had to avoid soldiers hunting them until helicopters came to pick them up. All four eventually received the Silver Star for the heroic action which became known as "PARDO'S PUSH", one of the most incredible feats of airmen ship during the Vietnam War.
Whom are you pushing today? Have you given it one and done (try-fail-quit)? Or are you determined to help someone to get where they need to be (in their personal, family, or professional life)? You may sustain some difficulty in trying to help, but as Pardo said, "we couldn't leave them to be caught. We had to get them back."
Nelson Cook says: May the Lord push you so that you push others for His glory and their benefit.
He then turned his attention another US news situation that has been in their news. Nelson Cook reveals a real life situation at Florida Atlantic University. This is that story of Dr Deandre Poole, a lecturer at this university: "Write the name JESUS on a blank piece of paper. Put it on the floor and STOMP on it!" This was the assignment.
Only one student refused and was kicked out of class! The Governor has launched an investigation into this. Nelson Cook asks: "Should we be surprised?"
"If our gospel is hidden, it is hidden from those that are lost, in whom the god of this world (satan) has blinded the minds of those that don't believe, so that the light of the glorious gospel of God would shine into them. (2 Corinthians 4 verses 3-4).
Nelson Cook then asks: "This is why our COIN T-shirts (Coaches of Influence) and some of our literature says - "LIGHT 'EM UP" - on our T-Shirts which is from Matthew 5 verse 16.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html