Jeremy: Family is such an important part of my life. And to have another brother, someone that I can depend on, someone I can count on, someone who’s there for me, and someone to share this journey with—Brandon’s faith and his story, the hope that his life has been and is every single day—is just an inspiration to me. This man, I can say with full confidence, helped save my life.
The Life-Changing Power of Connection: Jeremy Miller, Brandon Lane Phillips, & The Singing Contractors – Episode #171
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today we see the powerful ways that close friendships can change our lives: actor Jeremy Miller and pediatric cardiologist Brandon Lane Phillips, and viral singing sensations The Singing Contractors.
When they were just preteens, Jeremy Miller and Brandon Lane Phillips struck up a friendship that would last for decades—and, at different times, they provided crucial support for each other along the way. Today Jeremy and Brandon share how their friendship turned into brotherhood after battling difficult personal battles, which they write about together in their new book My Wish Upon a Star.
Jeremy: My name is Jeremy Miller. I am a former child star. Most people remember me from playing the character of little Ben on Growing Pains. I started acting when I was about five years old, and [I was] born and raised in this crazy Hollywood town and lifestyle. I had an incredible experience on the show.
I’m also a professional chef now, and I work in recovery as well. I’ve been in recovery for six years, actually, I’ve been in recovery longer than that. Let me see, 2011. So almost eight years now.
Brandon: My name is Brandon Phillips. I am a former wish kid who was born with a congenital heart defect, who grew up to become a pediatric cardiologist, and I now care for kids who are also born with heart defects.
Two Life-Long Friends Meet
Brandon: I grew up in rural Louisiana, near a little town called Jena. When I was born, my doctors initially said that I had a heart murmur when I left the hospital. They told my mom that they thought I would do fine. Shortly thereafter, I had some testing done in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I was ultimately diagnosed with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot.
I underwent my first open heart surgery when I was two years of age at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. My parents separated on my fifth birthday, so during that time I was scattered between two households. I mostly stayed with my mom. She worked nights as a prison guard. I would stay with my grandmother on those nights, and as time went on, I grew angry with God and began questioning why He would allow me to be born defective and also come from a broken home.
And that was really the catalyst for my wish to meet Jeremy. The Seaver family was my idea of what an ideal family should look like.
Jeremy: On the day that I met Brandon, I didn’t have much information as to what he was going through, what his condition was like. They didn’t really give us those details when Wish Kids came to the set. So on the day we met, it was really, for me, about making sure this kid had the best day he could.
Brandon: Jeremy and I hung out. We had a great time. We had dinner with the cast together. We took a bicycle tour of the studio lot. Then I got to watch a taping of the show.
Well, that night after the taping ended, Jeremy’s mom had just had a new son. So Jeremy had to leave fairly quickly after the taping. His costar, Kirk Cameron, actually spent some time talking to me. Kirk wasn’t who I went to meet. Kirk was a little bit older than me, and I really thought his character on the show was a bit of a troublemaker. But Kirk started talking to me about how much God loved me and had a plan for my life.
So I [left] the set that evening feeling that God had orchestrated an answer to my prayer. Jeremy and I kept in touch initially after my wish, we would write letters back and forth to each other like pen pals. We did that for a couple of years until Growing Pains went off the air, then we kind of lost contact with each other throughout much of high school and college. We didn’t reconnect until I was in medical school.
When Paths Diverge
Jeremy: I personally think one of the most interesting aspects of mine and Brandon’s story is how our lives went on very different paths from there.
Brandon: From the time I was a little kid, I had always wanted to be a doctor. I loved my pediatric cardiologist growing up, but I failed first grade. I was tested for special education in kindergarten, so I really didn’t see myself as being very bright or capable of becoming a physician. But after my wish, I had so much hope that I really began to try hard in school and I began to do really well in school.
Really, my wish experience was the catalyst for that. It was an amazing shift in the way I saw life and the way I thought about things after that experience. If I could go from my little town in Louisiana to meet these people in Hollywood, then as far as I was concerned, I could do anything.
“If I could go from my little town in Louisiana to meet these people in Hollywood, then as far as I was concerned, I could do anything.” – Brandon Lane Phillips
Jeremy: Me, on the other hand, I was dealing with a lot of insecurities. I was dealing with a lack of confidence, even being on the show and being as popular as I was. I had a lot of home issues that were going on. I had a stepfather who seemed to make it his personal life mission to destroy every bit of self-confidence I had. He was very abusive mentally, physically, and otherwise.
I basically went from being a very confident kid, who was very sure of himself, to a nervous wreck, who had no confidence whatsoever. My life started spiraling downward. Anxiety became my constant companion. Around the time I hit high school, the anxiety was getting really overpowering, really crushing. I discovered the social lubricant aspect of alcohol and I discovered that it made those situations tolerable. I found my confidence again, and all those other things that come with it. Confidence in a bottle, as they say, a little liquid courage. And that’s where I went.
I went to culinary school and was chasing that dream, still doing things to try and further myself in life. But I had to leave culinary school early to help my mom out. I just started spiraling. That really was it. I had no coping skills. I had no ability to deal with life on life’s terms. I started running from God. I wasn’t angry at God, I was just ashamed. I knew I was doing everything wrong. I quit going to church. I quit praying. I quit everything. I just ran the other direction. And it was a miserable way to live, I can tell you that.
“I started running from God. I wasn’t angry at God, I was just ashamed. I knew I was doing everything wrong. I quit going to church. I quit praying. I quit everything. I just ran the other direction. And it was a miserable way to live, I can tell you that. “ – Jeremy Miller
For the most part, I was generally a happy drunk, so I was able to conceal the extent of the problem for quite a while. But there came a time when everybody started asking questions, and it was a lot earlier than I thought. My castmates were worrying about me. By the time we got back to the reunion, the second reunion film, everybody was pretty concerned about me.
When I got to the hotel on the very first night, they had a welcome basket. Not the show, but my agent and some other people sent a welcome basket that had a couple bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne. It was nobody’s fault but mine. I popped both of those the second I saw them, polished them off, then apparently called the concierge and had them scrounge up a bottle of bourbon for me. I polished that off, and I missed our table read, our script reading for the show the next morning. The producers and security came banging on my door, and they had to have security open the door because I was black out drunk.
It was humiliating and not a great start to the show. But I managed to get it together and I stayed predominantly sober, functionally sober, for the entire shoot. I managed to not drink on set for the first three to four weeks of filming, but after that I started showing up with one of the giant alcoholic Slurpees they sell on every corner in New Orleans. I’d show up in the morning for work with the biggest one they had. I’d nurse that throughout the day to keep me going. And then we’d head out—well I say we, but I would head out as soon as we’d get done filming and start hitting the bars.
The social aspect was what really got me started with drinking regularly. But I think what pushed me over the edge was [when I was] around twenty-one years old, a lot of my childhood trauma came rushing back. I don’t know if it was all suppressed or what, but a lot of the experiences with my stepfather came rushing to the forefront. It was some really nasty stuff that I was not prepared to deal with. I did not have the tools, and I just wanted the pain to go away. I couldn’t deal with it. Being numb was better than feeling. Even though I knew it was killing me, even though I knew it was horrible, it was a better option in my mind than having to actually confront what had happened.
My family was terrified. My mother was convinced she was going to have to bury me. And the people who loved me—my friends, my family, my cast mates—were very concerned. It was all starting to unravel rather quickly.
The Life-Saving Power of Friendship
Brandon: There were many warning signs when I reconnected with Jeremy in New Orleans. After they taped in New Orleans, I would go out to their homes and stay with Kirk and Jeremy and spend time with them. I did not pick up on the fact that Jeremy was a functioning alcoholic.
One day I happened to be in New Orleans to do some work with Starlight Children’s Foundation. That was the organization that had granted my wish years ago. I called [Jeremy] and said, “Hey, I’m stopping by to see you. I’ll be there in five minutes.” I got there and Jeremy was drunk when I arrived. He started hugging me and telling me how much he loved me. And that quickly turned into him crying and telling me what he had gone through.
Jeremy: I honestly can’t say why I chose to open up to Brandon at that moment. I can only assume that his connection to my childhood and that time was prompting, I guess, for opening up to him.
Soon after Brandon had come by—I had already been aware of how much of a problem there was—the straw that broke the camel’s back was that we were in Texas. I was there with my fiancée and the kids for her brother’s wedding. It was a stressful time. We were there for the ten days before the wedding, helping set up and getting all the last minute details done. And I, of course, was drinking pretty good. I had a particularly nasty blow up with my fiancée where I just decided, “I don’t need to be here. I’m going to end up ruining this.” I mean, it was a moment of clarity. I said, “I’m going to ruin this whole thing. You know I can’t control my drinking at the moment. I need to go. I’m going to get on the plane and I’m going to go home.”
That terrified my fiancée because she knew if I left them that I’d probably crawl down an even bigger bottle at home. She tried to stop me from leaving—she actually physically restrained me a bit. I shrugged her off of me very forcefully, and she hit the floor and hurt her wrist. That was the breaking point for me—I had hurt her.
I called my mom and just said, “Please help me. I need to find something.”
Because for me, the cravings were it. Those last four years, when I was trying so hard to stop but I couldn’t, it was all about the craving. It was not any want in my mind to continue. I did not want the alcohol. I literally would pour liquor down my throat as I’m screaming at myself to stop in my head. I would drive to the liquor store and fight with myself for a half hour in the parking lot. I would walk in and walk out five different times. I would. I mean, it was a horrific struggle and I was losing.
My mom wrote a letter that I did not know about. Whew, I’m going to get a little choked up here. I did not see this letter until we started putting the book together, and seeing it in writing was hard because it was my mother’s plea for my life. She sent it to Brandon and to my castmates, begging them to step up and help save my life.
Narrator: Jeremy’s family had found a treatment possibility they thought might help with Jeremy’s addiction issues. Jeremy’s castmates Kirk Cameron and Alan Thicke, along with Brandon, took steps toward getting Jeremy the help he needed and played a key role on the road to his sobriety.
Jeremy: The CEO told me numerous times in conversations that Brandon’s call was the deciding thing. Brandon calling him and reaching out, and him being a doctor, made all the difference in the world. So I can honestly say that Brandon saved my life.
God Can Use Our Mess for Good
Jeremy: I’m doing wonderful. Health wise, I’m doing great. My sobriety is solid, but it’s a daily upkeep. My family, my faith, and my recovery are the center of my life every single day. That’s the way it has to be for me to stay where I am and to keep all the good things I have.
“My family, my faith, and my recovery are the center of my life every single day.” – Jeremy Miller
Working with others in recovery is a daily thing for me, even if it’s just making calls to check in on people. These days, I’m still doing my cooking. I’m auditioning. Being able to utilize all the hurts, all the problems, all the horrors that I went through in my addiction, and even growing up, to help others—being open with that, even just in the interviews that we do, [makes] my social media messages blow up afterwards.
“[I am] able to utilize all the hurts, all the problems, all the horrors that I went through in my addiction, and even growing up, to help others.” – Jeremy Miller
I have three moms on Instagram right now that I’m in regular conversation with, and two of their sons have actually made it into recovery and hit their first year just about three weeks ago. And again, these are not people that I know, this is just me being open with my story that has been able to, hopefully, save a couple of lives. The fact that God gives us that opportunity to take that pain and those struggles and use them for something good and give them a purpose is such a blessing. And in my mind, it makes all of it worth it.
“The fact that God gives us that opportunity to take that pain and those struggles and use them for something good and give them a purpose is such a blessing. And in my mind, it makes all of it worth it.” – Jeremy Miller
I actually first heard about the book Jesus Calling when we were starting to do PR for our book. I have a couple of daily devotionals that are more recovery-based, so having something like this that I was able to add in that has more of a spiritual foundation was really nice.
For me, the way that each day’s passage speaks to you in different devotionals is how God is, to me, speaking to you. There’s so many times when I wake up, and whatever I’m dealing with at that time seems to be what’s being addressed in what I’m reading that morning. For me, that’s just God’s guidance.
Brandon: I enjoy reading the daily devotionals and spending quiet time with God. It is just an opportunity to thank Him for all that He’s given me and an opportunity to pray that I’m a good steward of the gifts and talents that He has given me to be able to bless others.
Jeremy: This is Jesus Calling, February 7th:
Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life. Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway. This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not. Your desire to live in My Presence goes against the grain of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Much of your weariness results from your constant battle against these opponents. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so do not give up! Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.
I really love that one. Being in recovery, that one in particular really speaks to me. God’s plan—good, bad, or indifferent as it’s affecting our life at that moment—is exactly how He meant it to be. So wherever we are, whatever we’re dealing with right now, at this moment, is exactly perfect. No matter how uncomfortable, no matter how painful, it’s right where we’re supposed to be at this moment, for whatever reason.
“God’s plan—good, bad, or indifferent as it’s affecting our life at that moment—is exactly how He meant it to be. So wherever we are, whatever we’re dealing with right now, at this moment, is exactly perfect.” – Jeremy Miller
That kind of thing helped me stop asking why. You know, I don’t need to know the answers. I’m not in the answer business. I’m not in the results business. I’m in the footwork business. I do the footwork. I leave the results up to God.
Narrator: You can find Jeremy and Brandon’s new book, When I Wished Upon a Star, at your favorite book retailer today.
Stay tuned to hear the story behind the viral sensations The Singing Contractors after a brief message about how you can connect with the Jesus Calling community each week through prayer.
Did you know that Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling, prays for her readers each day? In that spirit, we want to extend the Jesus Calling prayer community out to you in a more personal way. Each Tuesday morning, you can dial in to the Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call, where the team from Jesus Calling and special guests will minister to us during a ten-minute call to reflect on that day’s passage from Jesus Calling, read scripture references, and pray together for each other and our world. Prayer call times are 8:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 a.m. Central, 6:00 a.m. Mountain, and 5:00 a.m. Pacific and are for U.S. only.
For more information on the Jesus Calling Weekly Prayer Call, or to submit prayer requests, please visit www.jesuscalling.com/prayer-call.
Narrator: Josh Arnett and Aaron Gray are two contractors who grew up in the same community in Indiana. They would never have guessed they would work together, let alone sing together. Often, they would harmonize to tunes as they worked on a job. On a whim, they decided to record one of those songs, “How Great Thou Art.” Much to their surprise, the video they would post on Facebook would go viral, with over 100 million views and would open doors for them to perform on stages around the country together and be offered a recording contract.
Josh: My name is Josh Arnett and I’m one of The Singing Contractors. I’m a contractor by day, and a singer by night. At least I try to be.
Aaron: My name’s Aaron Gray, and I’m the other half of The Singing Contractors. I work by day and sing by night when the opportunity arises.
We actually kind of knew each other from a distance when we were kids. We knew each other from different church functions and camps.
Josh: Probably about the age of thirteen we knew each other.
Aaron: Twelve, thirteen years old.
Josh: Around that age.
Aaron: We kind of knew each other then. And then, of course, everybody gets old, but we got a little older and married two ladies that were friends, and we started hanging out every now and then. We still didn’t like each other at that point.
Josh: But when you’re bored, you got to do something. That’s kind of how our relationship was. We would meet and we’d hang out. And that’s [the story of] how we met.
Aaron: It kind of always involved going out to eat, didn’t it?
Josh: It always does. We’re pretty different, aren’t we?
Aaron: We are. I’m basically a redneck.
Aaron: I love the country. I have chickens. I love the simple life. I love cooking over a fire, which you like some.
Josh: I do, too. I’m a guy that likes sports. I like playing golf. I’m not that good at it. I like riding a motorcycle. We’re a little bit different, but we’re just two regular guys.
A Love of Singing Is Born
Aaron: My mom started making me sing around ten or eleven years old. Pretty quickly, I was made to learn how to sing a harmony part. Once they found out I could sing, I don’t know how I got roped into it, I always had the high part. They pushed me to my outer limits for so long.
Josh: I do remember that. I thought, “At some point, he’s not going to be able to sing that high, because it’s just too high.” But that point never came. It’s still there.
For me, I was sent to a Christian school, and everybody sang in a choir. I didn’t even know how to sing it until [I was] about sixteen years old. I joined choir and I fell in love with it and started singing from there.
Aaron: You know, that’s kind of amazing. I heard you say the other day that your dad said that there’s a joke, a little word you said that you couldn’t carry a tune….
Josh: …a tune in a bucket. They actually made fun [of that].
Aaron: That’s actually amazing, because most people that start out that way finish that way. It’s kind of amazing that God allowed you to to learn how to hear music and be able to sing on tune. That’s amazing.
Forging a Friendship
Aaron: It all started probably six or seven years ago, when we literally did not know each other, We were going to end up working for the same contractor, which means we were subbing under a guy that we both knew. I pull up to the job, he pulls up. We’re like, “What are you doing here?” “I don’t know. What are you doing here?” You know. And from that point on, we would occasionally work together, get on the same big jobs or something. And when the boss would leave…
Josh: …we’d cut up!
Aaron: We would start cutting up and we would say, “Man, crank up a tune,” because we knew each other could sing. We would start singing, and man, some of the guys that we would be working with, they’d look at us like we’re idiots.
Josh: I know, always. We still get that look.
Aaron: That’s how it happened, it was all by accident. Of course, I say “accident,” but I think God had the plan all written out, you know? But we thought it was by accident.
Josh: Yeah, we did.
Narrator: Josh and Aaron never imagined their beautiful harmonies set to hymns and gospel songs would receive so much attention—starting with a simple video of the song “How Great Thou Art,” recorded on a phone at one of their job sites—and ultimately leading to the recording of their very first album called “Working on A Building.”
Aaron: The song “Working on Building,” speaks to us because we’re still under construction, aren’t we? He is still working on us, just like that little song we used to sing in Sunday school [says]. “He’s still working to make me what I ought to be.”
Aaron: “Working on a Building” is just simply that. Everything that we touch on a daily basis, we take it from the start and we finish it. I think we’re in the middle somewhere, we may be past the middle, but God is still working on us.
Josh: We’re unqualified, like Moses.
Aaron: Oh, yeah.
Josh: Moses had, what was it? A stuttering problem?
Aaron: He told Jesus, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m just not even qualified.” But what did Jesus do? He equipped the unequipped.
Aaron: And that’s it. I feel it’s what He’s doing with us. We’re unequipped, but He’s helping us every step we take. I think [our singing is] unusual, because we’re just two average guys, you know?
“What did Jesus do? He equipped the unequipped . . . I feel it’s what He’s doing with us. We’re unequipped, but He’s helping us every step we take.” – Aaron Gray
The Singing Contractors Go Viral
Aaron: Right after “How Great Thou Art” went viral, a few weeks went by and we got a message and I looked it up and noticed we had tons of messages, so many that we couldn’t even respond to all of them. But this one lady started out by saying, “I want to thank you for saving my life.”
I was like, “Man, you know, we can’t save anybody’s life.”
Josh: Yeah. And [we had] dropped the two belts where we stood and worked. It wasn’t a made up place, it was actually the job. We dropped them and said, “Let’s do this tune.” We recorded that thing one time. We had no idea what it would do. It’s still staggering. Within thirty-two hours, it had a million views. That means a lot. What we like most about it is that people are hearing the message of encouragement and the gospel through a simple song, through a couple of simple guys. We’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to still do it.
Aaron: But [the lady that messaged us] went on to say that she had pulled the blinds in her house, and she had all the pills laid out. She was ready to take the pills and was going to end her life. And she said, “I thought, ‘I’m going to get on Facebook one last time.’”
Aaron: She said that literally once she opened her phone, our song “How Great Thou Art” came on and she looked at us and she played that song and something spoke to her. She said her marriage was broken and that something spoke to her, and she did not [go through with it]. She said, “I’m just blown away that now I’m back in church. God has put my marriage back together, and I’m totally doing well.” Occasionally, she responds to us still to this day.
Aaron: She lets us know that things are going really well, and just blew our minds that God would take something so simple and small and use it to save somebody’s life.
Josh: And how many other [people with] stories are there that maybe didn’t message us? I know there’s plenty of people, because we’ll read the comments, and you can’t really respond to all of them. But what keeps us going is when we know that something as little as what we’re doing can encourage somebody else—that encourages us to keep going and to keep pressing on. That’s why we do it.
“What keeps us going is when we know that something as little as what we’re doing can encourage somebody else—that encourages us to keep going and to keep pressing on. That’s why we do it.” – Josh Arnett
Aaron: To the one out there that may say, “What can I do? God, you know I’m totally unequipped.” I say, “Bloom where your seed is planted.”
Aaron: Do anything. It don’t matter what it is. Just uplift His name, and I guarantee you that He’ll use you.
Aaron: I guarantee that.
Josh: I would say the best encourager is turning to God, because the more time that you spend with Him, the more you turn to Him, things in your life always fall into place. The less time that you spend with Him, it seems like everything falls out of place. He is the number one encourager. I would say, also, to find a good friend that you can talk to and confide in. I know that I have a good friend in [Aaron] and I confide in and talk to him. But the ultimate friend and the ultimate encourager is Jesus Himself.
“The ultimate friend and the ultimate encourager is Jesus Himself.” – Josh Arnett
God Empowers Ordinary People for the Extraordinary
Narrator: Josh and Aaron have seen what God can do with two seemingly ordinary guys to empower them to bring His love and transformation into the lives of others, which Josh reads about in the April 13 entry of Jesus Calling.
When I give you no special guidance, stay where you are. Concentrate on doing your everyday tasks in awareness of My Presence with you. The Joy of My Presence will shine on you as you do everything for Me. Thus you invite Me into every aspect of your life. Through collaborating with Me in all things, you allow My Life to merge with yours. This is the secret of not only joyful living but of victorious living. I designed you to depend on Me moment by moment, recognizing that apart from Me you can do nothing. Be thankful for quiet days, when nothing special seems to be happening. Instead of being bored by the lack of action, use times of routine to seek My Face. Although this is an invisible transaction, it speaks volumes in spiritual realms. Moreover, you are richly blessed when you walk trustingly with Me through the routines of your day.
How does this passage resonate with you?
Aaron: It actually blows my mind, because we face so many times when we need that right there.
Aaron: Because sometimes we get discouraged in the moments when things aren’t happening.
Aaron: And it seems like there’s been times we’ve said, God, do you want us to do any more? Should we just shut down and do a video every now and then? And I’m not joking: every time God opens another door that seems impossible. I mean, we can’t even believe the journey. I don’t know why I’m crying so much today.
Josh: It’s all right.
Aaron: But it’s just hitting home. I read the scripture this morning and Jesus Calling was like, “I’m with you step by step.”
Aaron: And man, I said earlier, it’s almost like somebody has a [camera] on you, because every time you open [Jesus Calling] up, there’s something that is for that very moment. It’s like, Man, I needed that.
Aaron: Wow, that was awesome.
Josh: You feel like, with this book, if you skip a day, it lets you know it because it’s on paper and it’s right there.
Josh: It does seem like it fits exactly the moment that you’re going through. I just love it because it speaks to me and I want to be faithful to Him and spend more time reading and more time praying with Him because, like I said before, more time with Him is less time with everything else. That is really, truly what [life is] truly about.
What I like about it is the speaking. “I am with you. Seek me. I will be with you today.” It actually feels like Jesus is speaking words to me.
Aaron: It’s like a phone call from Him.
Josh: It is.
Aaron: He’s calling.
“When tools, beards, Jesus, and our music collide—it’s fun to talk about the tools and beards and everything. But at the end of the day, we just want to uplift Jesus’ name.” – Aaron Gray
Aaron: Because He is everything. We cannot go through life without Him. There may be days that we we wander off from Him, but I’m so thankful that He’s always there waiting on us.
Aaron: He always loves us so much that we can come to Him no matter what we’ve done. We can come to Him, He’s there waiting for us.
Aaron: That’s amazing. That’s a love that I can’t even understand.
Narrator: To find out where the Singing Contractors’ are performing near you, along with information about their new album and live performance DVD called Working on a Building, visit thesingingcontractors.com.
If you’d like to hear more stories about creating deeper connections with others, check out our interview with Candace Cameron Buré.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with commercial airline pilot, Captain Tammie Jo Shults. In April 2018, Captain Shults was flying Southwest Flight #1380, when the left engine of the plane blew apart. She safely guided the plane down with one wing, and made a successful emergency landing. But in the midst of the chaos, Tammie Jo realized she had something else she needed to take care of: the hope of her passengers.
Tammie Jo Shults: I pushed my P.A. button and made a P.A. that said—it wasn’t my most elegant P.A.—”We’re not going down. We’re going into Philly,” because I wanted them to know that the cockpit was still in control of the airplane. We had a plan, and we had a destination.
And it was a takeaway for me that the element of hope had such a change on people and their actions and their reactions. We didn’t change our circumstances. Hope doesn’t have to change our circumstances to change us.
Narrator: Do you love hearing these stories of faith weekly from people like you whose lives have been changed by a closer walk with God? Then be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like what you’re hearing, leave us a review so that we can reach others with these inspirational stories. And, you can also see these interviews on video as part of our original web series with a new interview premiering every other Sunday on Facebook Live. Find previously broadcasted interviews on our Youtube channel, on IGTV, or on www.jesuscalling.com/media/video.