I WILL NEVER FORGET when I learned that Aaron Rose of Orange went missing while kayaking off the coast of Honduras.
Rose and his family were taking a few days sabbatical before conducting mission work on the island of Roatan.
Rose, who had just graduated salutatorian at LCM High School and is a family friend.
Actually, he is more than that. Aaron is family. His little sisters are like nieces to me and my wife Lisa, his brother Nathan was in the first small group I led at church and we work hand in hand with his parents on everything from feeding the hungry to restoring the lost.
So, when I got the message on Facebook that Aaron went missing my heart sank.
Lisa and I were walking out of kid’s church around 8:30 on Wednesday night and just stopped dead in our tracks. Prayers went up and phone calls went out.
A few minutes later, the principle of Community Christian School (same building as church) Laurie Beard called me and asked if we could get a prayer vigil going. After a few social media announcements people started filtering in.
As we began intercession, my mind could not help but think of the dire situation he was in.
Currents can move surprisingly fast and can catch those unaccustomed to them off guard.
Four years ago, I hooked a huge jack crevalle at the southern tip of the Sabine Jetties. Two hours later, we were better than 10 miles out floating on an outgoing tide.
We however were in a 24 foot bay boat with a working motor. Aaron was in a kayak at night without a light.
He was also in rough waters with reports of 20 plus mile an hour winds making searching at night difficult.
And he was not in the good ole’ US of A. He was in a foreign land and anytime there is a language barrier or simply a poorer nation, emergency response can be challenging.
Another friend from church Frances Collins lived there for a number of years and started making calls. Then our friend Pastor Tristan Moterroso of Roatan got involved and the search was on. The people of that region did an amazing job of getting out and searching for Aaron and deserve full credit for all of their efforts.
United States officials eventually got involved with the search and some 18 hours after he was lost, Aaron Rose was found. He was sunburned and a bit dehydrated but alive and well considering what he had been through.
I am sure there are things that he would have done different to avoid the situation happening in the first place since hindsight is always 20/20. However, sometimes stuff happens.
The question I am asking is, do you and I have what it takes to survive at sea alone and in the dark? What about getting lost in a deep forest?
Many of the things we engage in the outdoors are solitary ventures. Aaron was wanting to get a good look at a beautiful sunset.
How many times have been out in the Gulf and said, “I wonder if the fish are biting at those rigs?” You know the ones just on the horizon.
Or maybe you were hunting elk or mule deer in Colorado and wondered about that valley just a few miles away. The big ones have to be there, right?
People who love the outdoors love to push boundaries but sometimes the boundaries push back. That is what makes it exciting, but it is also what can create tragedies.
Do we have what it takes to go it alone? Young Aaron Rose sure did, and his story is inspiring.
We all make mistakes out there and over the years plenty of mine have been documented on these pages.
It is something to ponder as Aaron’s amazing story makes international headlines.
As someone who loves the Roses like family, having my friend Tracy Ellis call and say, “He’s been found alive and well” was the greatest feeling of relief I have had in a long, long time.
The helicopter rescue video that went viral around the globe was filmed in a plane by Pastor Tristan Monterroso and when they started lifting Aaron him you hear him exclaim, “Thank you Jesus!”
Thank you indeed.
Email Chester Moore at [email protected]