Aftermath of helicopter following hangar collapse.
“‘The safest place to be is within God’s will.'”
Lance and Caitlin Rensberger are alumni of Calvary University who graduated one year apart from each other, Caitlin in 2015 and Lance in 2016. The couple, married in 2016, began building a family and serving at Ethnos 360’s campus in Arizona. Currently, Lance serves as a Maintenance Specialist for Ethnos360 Aviation, working on helicopters and airplanes to keep them running and outfitting new aircraft with upgrades for teams in other locations.
Recently, a disaster took place that challenged Lance and the Ethnos 360 team. The team in Brazil had just received the Ethnos 360’s Aviation R66 helicopter and had been renting a hangar on the airfield while finishing building their own hangar. On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, winds of over 100km collapsed the aircraft hangar, destroying their helicopter. Lance shares how God protected Ethnos 360’s pilot Jeremiah, who was inside the helicopter, cleaning the windows when the winds struck: “The windstorm was so strong and the accident was so sudden that there was even part of a wing from another airplane that crashed into the windshield of the helicopter.” This airplane wing went through the helicopter cockpit right over Jeremiah’s body, shielding him from the falling roof. By God’s grace, Jeremiah crawled out of the crushed helicopter uninjured.
Lance reflects: “When we talked to Jeremiah about his experience, he couldn’t even remember getting out of the helicopter after the collapse…He just remembered one minute he was inside the helicopter–and the next moment he was outside of it–looking at the damage.” The insurance adjuster assessed the damage to the helicopter and determined it to be a total loss, providing Ethnos360 with the full amount for which it was insured and allowing a replacement to be ordered.
When reflecting on the impact this challenge had on his personal life, Lance states:
“Looking at this experience, there’s been a few things I’ve been reminded about. First, the enemy can and does interfere with our day-to-day lives. The team in Brazil has gone through other trials similar to this one in terms of severity. For instance, a friend on the team in Brazil was in a rollover car crash while moving to the new location. Yet, in every trial, they have experienced God’s ultimate protection. It reminds me of something someone told me recently, which is that the safest place to be in life is within God’s will.” Lance concludes: “I’m still not sure why that first R66 got smashed, but I do know that it is a part of God’s plan, and He will use it to further His Kingdom. God’s plans are never ‘messed up’ by the things we perceive as setbacks.”
Lance’s family plans to serve in the Philippines, although they have had a difficult time in preparation for this. “Covid has certainly played its part in this process, but on top of that I have some autoimmune disorders that need to be monitored to ensure that everything is still under control.” Lance states: “We’ve been talking with doctors in the Philippines to see if we would get the necessary care needed for me to stay there long term, but we’ve had a hard time finding answers via email. So, we plan to take a trip this August to visit the team in the Philippines and directly ask questions to the doctors there. We hope that those questions will give favorable answers so we can start the process of moving. We would come back to the U.S. to make one final round of raising prayer and financial partners and then be in the Philippines by spring or summer of 2023.”
Today, Lance and his family are pursuing a life of service through Ethnos 360, where Lance is using his skillsets to further his career and ministry to God. Despite the struggles that have come along the way, God has continued to protect and provide, no matter what the circumstance. Jeremiah, the pilot from the helicopter accident, showed this same confidence as he reflected on God’s goodness despite the accident: “God is in control. He has a purpose and a plan and is controlling everything all the way down to the smallest details. Things will come in His most perfect timing, just like He did with protecting me in that helicopter.”
The Rensberger family: Lance, Caitlin, Eli, and Sadie.