Sister Jocelyn and Silkaire, MI 185


You hope it never happens, but it did. The headlines splashed the horrific news across the front page: Silkair Flight MI 185 Lost Over Indonesia.

On the evening of December 19, 1997, a Silkair jet with one hundred and four passengers fell with such force that it literally buried itself in the murky depths at the mouth of the Muri River off the coast of the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. What started as a two-hour routine flight from Jakarta to Singapore ended in Singapore’s first air disaster. No one survived.

As the shocking news spread, families of victims stood in staring unbelief. The somber mood spread across the entire tiny island nation. People from every walk of life paused to mourn and to say prayers. A public national funeral was conducted. Condolence books were put out at a memorial field with thousands of people coming to show respect for the dead by signing their names and leaving flowers. Yet in the midst of all the sorrow, one family celebrated.

On December 18, 1997, the doorbell rang on an uneventful day. Sister Jocelyn Velasco went to the gate to collect the envelope from the courier as she had done dozens of times before. She signed for the envelope knowing that airline tickets for her employer’s son were inside.

Sister Jocelyn works as a housekeeper for an elderly Chinese lady. Also living in the house is the employer’s unmarried son. His job keeps him in the air flying throughout Southeast Asia two or three times a week.

It was cleaning as usual until the tickets arrived. From the moment the tickets were put in Sister Jocelyn’s hand, she had an unexplainable fear. As she was walking back to the house a kind of dread came over her. It was strange to be feeling this way. In fact her major emotion for the past few months had not been fear but joy. Sister Jocelyn is a new convert.

It had only been six months, but what joyous six months, since Sister Jocelyn had received the Holy Ghost. During that time she had been taught the value of listening to the voice of God. More than anything else she wanted God to use her to be a blessing to others.

But what was this fear business? Could it be from God? She was not sure, but she did not think so–at least not at first. Sister Jocelyn laid the tickets on the hall table and went back to work. However, every time she came near those tickets, she had a foreboding feeling. Finally

she prayed, “God, are you trying to tell me something about those tickets?” What God seemed to say was a simple, “Those tickets are bad.”

That was not much information, and she had a hard time explaining herself. But as the foreboding feeling persisted she felt that she had no choice but to speak to her employer about the matter. After telling her story to her, the employer asked, “What do you think I should do?” Sister Jocelyn said, “I think you should ask your son not to go on this trip.” Because the employer had come to respect her housekeeper’s new faith the past few months, she persuaded the son not to make the scheduled trip.

The next morning the headlines screamed the chilling story of the fateful crash. Watching the news, the son got a sinking feeling in his stomach. With deliberate steps he went to the hall table where the tickets were still lying. Carefully he pulled the tickets from their paper tomb and both joy and fear, relief and terror, shook his body. Staring at him was the seat reservation on Ml 185. Except for a Filipino maid who had determined to be led by the Spirit, he would have been on the doomed flight. With shaking hands and a trembling voice he told the story to his mother. She burst into tears of gratefulness and they wept together.

They brought Sister Jocelyn in and told her the story. The mother knew that to say “Thank You” was not enough. She instructed the son to return the ticket for its cash value. They then gave the money to Sister Jocelyn as a bonus. The mother next called for a family gathering and had a banquet. Sister Jocelyn was made the guest of honor and given credit for saving the young man’s life. Sister Jocelyn said, “Oh no, it was not me. It was Jesus whom I serve!

This article “Sister Jocelyn and Silkair MI 185” written by R. S. Willoughby is excerpted from the World Harvest Today an April- June 1998 edition.