When you look at Joe Banks, you might think that you are looking at a fellow who has never been far away from the hills, but a few weeks ago his wife, Pat Banks, brought a copy of the Hornet Apollo Eleven Recovery Cruisebook to church. Joe was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet when the Apollo 11 returned from the first moon landing July 24, 1969.
The USS Hornet had been selected to be the primary recovery ship for that historic event. On that ship were three especially trained recovery teams who had gone through intensive practice anticipating the splashdown of the Apollo 11 command module. They were responsible for stabilizing the spacecraft and beginning the process of decontamination that was thought to be necessary.
For several weeks the special teams practiced attaching a flotation collar to a replica of the Apollo 11 command module in every kind of weather condition in daylight and darkness. They became proficient at that and with every other aspect of the recovery. Recovery helicopters had to be able to move quickly to the area of the splashdown, get expert swimmers into the water and at the task of attaching the flotation collar. One of the frogmen would open the hatch and drop special biological isolation garments into the module for the astronauts. When the astronauts had gone through a process of rubbing disinfectant upon themselves, they were lifted in nets to the recovery helicopter and carried to the deck of the Hornet where they went directly to a quarantine chamber where they had to stay for about three weeks.
Some of the folks at Bethany Baptist Church remember that landing and the excitement that held them to the TV through every step of the way. Joe said his part was “crowd control.” He was part of the regular crew who had to see that all the regular work of the Hornet got done.
Jack and Sally Sorensen of South Dakota visited at Bethany Baptist Church Sunday morning. Pastor Bob Sorensen, Darlene, and Sally joined them for a trip to Arkansas to visit Luke Sorensen.
Norma Stillings sang a special song, Sunday morning before Pastor Bob brought a message on “Encouragement in Times of Discouragement.”
We may ask, “Why does God permit suffering?” 2 Corinthians 1: 1-11 gives some insight into that question. Persons who have suffered in the past can comfort someone who is suffering now. When a we have gone through troubles and come out on the other side, we can testify how God has never failed us. As we gain confidence in God, we recognize that our God is omnipotent and Satan has no advantage over God. God allows certain things so that ultimately we learn to depend upon him. The lessons we learn are often taught in the valleys, where we learn first hand that God’s grace is sufficient. In all of it we need to remember that we are vessels of God, that God works through us. We need also to remember that God has promised that all things work together for good to them that love him and are called according to his purpose.