Missionary pilot shares experience


Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Missionary pilots came to Ames to promote the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service organization June 25 at the Ames Municipal Airport. Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Ben Theobald

Roger Krenzin has been with Jungle Aviation and Radio Support for 34 years and has been a pilot for 32 years. He has visited 41 countries and lived in 12.

Krenzin was a part of the program Missions at the Airport, which was hosted by the religious non-profit Saturday and Sunday at the Ames Municipal Airport.

Krenzin had his first airplane ride when he was just five months old. When Krenzin was six years old, he became a Christian. At age 11, he flew to Sudan with his father.

“We [flew] out to the villages where the missionaries were working,” Krenzin said. “In Sudan, when you fly you see the Nile River. It’s only green for about half a mile [on] each side of the Nile River. Then it’s all desert.”

Krenzin’s father also had a motorcycle and would take him for rides on it. It was on these rides that Krenzen realized what he wanted to do with his life.

“We got on a motorcycle to go back to our mission house,” he said. “Riding along the dirt trail on the way back, I’m holding on to my dad’s back on the motorcycle, and I see the little Sudanese kids playing in the dirt next to the dirt path. Their health looks bad and their clothes are torn.”

It was at that moment that Krenzin committed himself to becoming a missionary.

“God said to me, ‘Who is going to reach to those people?'” Krenzin said. “I said ‘Lord, I will follow my parents into missions and maybe mission aviation if you want me to.'”

Krenzin’s first mission took place in Ecuador in 1982. One day, Krenzin got a call about Ramon Pegonca, a man who was dying from an internal staph infection. Krenzin was needed to fly the man to the nearest hospital.

“I flew down from our missionary center, and when I landed, I saw them carrying him down the path to the airplane,” Krenzin said. “I laid him in the airplane. He had red eyes. He was gasping for breath. I said, ‘Lord, just help me get him to the missionary hospital before he dies.'”

Krenzin, Pegonca’s father, and many others from the village had gathered around the plane to pray for Pegonca.

“We’re all holding hands,” Krenzin said. “As soon as we got done praying, I took off.”

The flight to the hospital was about 20 minutes long.

“I prayed the whole 20 minutes,” Krenzin said. “Two weeks later he recovered. It was more from prayer, I’m sure. The only treatment back then was penicillin.”

Krenzin has been excited to be a part of Jungle Aviation and Radio Service. He doesn’t regret any of his experiences.

“I have no regrets serving the Lord,” Krenzin said.