If you’ve been to a major British festival in the last two years, you’ve probably spotted a light aircraft flying overhead pulling a banner about Jesus.
After two full summers of flights, founder Christine Bonfield now believes their mission is complete. Christine has shared the story of organising these flights with us below, along with some of their best festival pictures.
He spoke, we flew: The story of the FlyJesus project
A friend, Arthur, rang to say he dreamt I was flying through the air, wearing tweeds and great big bloomers, which blew up like a sail behind me.
In the dream, Arthur shouted to me “You can’t do this.”
My reply was “Yes I can!”
It was a comical picture. We laughed.
God speaks in many ways, dreams can be one of them but we always need to check their source. When praying about this one, there was no revelation. We put it to the back of our minds.
9 Months Later
Resting in my car, at an outdoor event, I was chatting to Jesus when an overwhelming pain came into my heart.
”Jesus, how are people in this country, ever going to know how much you love them? Very few go anywhere to hear.”
The answer came almost immediately: “Get a plane, tie a banner with my message and fly all over the country.“
This was not audible but something beyond human understanding…it was in my heart.
Then I remembered Arthur’s dream.
At that point a small plane went over and people looked up at it.
Later, wanting to be sure I had heard correctly, I prayed and felt The Holy Spirit say: “When you turn the TV on, there will be a plane pulling a banner.“
Ten minutes later, without thinking, I switched the TV on……. a plane, pulling a banner, flew across the screen. I knew Jesus had spoken.
Then He gave me His first message: “JESUS LOVES EVERY 1 OF U“
Escalls Methodist Chapel, in Sennen, Cornwall, comprises of approximately, a dozen core people, although it is often full of visitors. They agreed to work in facilitating what God had said. They understood the vision…they had faith to go with it.
People gave through Stewardship give.net and direct giving.
Mary, the treasurer dealt with the money and accounts…a job which I view with intrepedation but she never complains.Other members gave support and helped rally other churches. Organisations such as Festival Angels, started to spread the word and support us.
It has been a united effort.
There are very few banner flying pilots in the UK and even fewer brave enough to fly the message we were proposing!
Eventually, we found Simon Moores who kindly said he would co-ordinate everything with Alan, Bob and Peter, the other pilots he worked with around the country. The Cornwall pilot, another Peter, would sort Cornwall independently.
Conversations with Simon were frequent. He had done many things, working in artificial intelligence, journalism, Technology Ambassador for the British Government and much more. When we started, he thought we were working via a Buddhist Spirit but took it on board when informed this was not the case…. it was The Holy Spirit.
As time went on, Simon developed greater understanding of who Jesus was and on several occasions, when I was doubting, he would say, “Where is your faith?”
He began to talk about Jesus as if he knew him and, along with the other pilots definitely went the extra mile!
The pilots were concerned the weather would stop at least a third of the flights and there was a danger of the banner tearing on takeoff or landing, as we had so many flights. I felt The Lord say to tell them He would look after the weather and the banners. Many people prayed for the weather, pilot safety and angels to bring down the banners.
It was one of the best summers ever… and the banners survived the whole season. The pilots knew God had been in it. Simon said it had been a miracle.
At last, the project had finished…now we could relax but then God spoke again. We had to fly the other half of the gospel the following year. Simon agreed to co-ordinate the flights. All the pilots were on board, including Cornwall.
The message was to be: “JESUS CALLS, WILL U FOLLOW?“
Disaster Strikes in January
Simon is in a tragic accident.
A telephone call made me feel my heart had been ripped apart. Simon had been killed, along with another pilot, in a tragic plane crash in Spain.
He was one of the most careful pilots. It was unbelievable. My heart ached over this tragedy and for his family.
The question we all had was, WHY?
The answer is, WE DO NOT KNOW.
This we do know: Simon did many great things in his life but in his last year had done the greatest of all. He had come to understand who Jesus was. Along with the other pilots, he had been instrumental in taking the message of Jesus to millions, at festivals, airshows, agricultural shows, marathons, beaches etc.
His final year was serving his maker.
One thing we are sure of…..Jesus had welcomed him home.
Eventually, I had to ask the question which I did not want to ask: How are we going to fly without Simon?
Again, sitting in the car, I asked Jesus what we were to do. Two pigeons came and sat in a very barren tree. I watched them and they sat there for about half an hour. I did not understand.
Praying in the evening, I remembered the two pigeons and realized The Lord was saying the two remaining pilot companies (two pilots work in one company and one in the other) would do it.
Wonderfully, Alan contacted us to say he would take on Simon’s flights. They have been so generous in every way. Alan and Bob fly together and have taken the amazing aerial photos we all enjoy. Simon had taken some the previous year.
In late January, God told us through a dream and interpretation that the weather would be one of our main battlegrounds… and it has been!
We felt sorry for all at Download who endured floods and extreme conditions but realized they showed what a hardy lot they are!
Our pilots managed to deliver the message to that festival but on the way back narrowly missed being struck by lightning. Many were praying for their safety.
On other occasions, wind, fog, rain and even tornados became a problem to them….yet they made it. They were safe!
Boardmasters, Newquay was cancelled.
The last day of festival flying (but not other events) was Reading and Creamfields. Unfortunately, the banner tore into ribbons on take-off and those festivals were not flown over. Again, we do not know why it happened on the last day… but the words came to me…
“It is finished. This air mission to these large festivals has been completed.”
We have enjoyed and appreciated being part of these festivals.
Thank you to all who have made it possible.
Festival Aerial Photos
A selection of aerial pictures from two years of the FlyJesus project