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The Baxter family has granted unreserved permission for AWA to publish a collection of stories from Bill’s adventures over the decades. The new column, Pioneers, will regularly feature the experiences of Pioneer aviators.
 

 


Simona—The End of the Story

by Kevin Wiley adapted from manuscripts of the late Bill Baxter



After his retirement from mission aviation and ministerial education, Bill Baxter sometimes wondered if the whole venture that he and his wife Betty had launched decades before had been worth it. What happened in November 1990, though, was a great reminder of the value of the work God had led them through over the decades.

    Montemorelos University had asked Bill to return to Mexico for a special homecoming weekend honoring those who had “headed” their School of Theology. Bill accepted the invitation.

     
  Work in faith, and leave the results with God.  
     
    When Bill arrived on campus and was shown to his guest room, he found a letter addressed to him. “God bless your visit and the happy reunions with former students and many who knew you as the rescue pilot,” the letter said. “One of those who is very desirous of seeing you is brother Baldomero Plata, elder of the church known as Puente Amarillo, and his wife Simona Segovia.” The letter identified them as beneficiaries of one of Bill’s rescue flights. Bill didn’t recognize their names, nor did the letter’s summary of their story jog his memory. Nevertheless, he determined to look them up and talk with them.    

    So it was that on a Friday evening in November, Bill, S
imona and Baldomero met to relive a June day in 1951 that Bill had forgotten all about. Baldomero explained how he had come in a 4x4 “commando truck” to the hospital to see if the airplane could go to Rayones to pick up his wife, who was severely anemic due to hemorrhaging after the birth of her baby. He told how he had caught Bill coming out of his house, cap in hand, on the way to the airstrip to take off for San Antonio. “But you told me,” recalled Baldomero, “that the gas tanks were filled and you couldn’t take me with you to Rayones or I would have to stay there when you brought Simona back.” All at once Bill’s memory of the events returned, and he relived June 7, 1951, almost as if the day was being repeated with no time lapse!

 

 

 
The Western Sierra Madre rising high over Montemorelos.  
   
Next it was Simona’s turn to share her clear memories of that day, when she had come so close to death. “I wanted to hold my baby, but you wouldn’t let me,” she said. “You made a cradle for it in the back seat.” How well Bill remembered the details, now that they were recited. “And you held my wrist almost all the way here,” she continued, “except when you were landing.” Indeed he had! That pulse was most vital, and she had looked almost like death itself when she was helped onto the airstrip at Rayones. But here was that young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 20 years old at that time, now a mature woman.

 

As the three continued to talk that evening, Bill learned how the couple had eventually moved their family from Rayones to a village closer to Montemorelos, seeking better economic opportunities. Over the years, they had become acquainted with Jesus, had been baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church and were pouring their lives into evangelistic work!

It is seldom that one has the privilege of seeing “the rest of the story” on this earth. This rescue experience, or others so identical that they varied in only minute detail, had been repeated hundreds of times at Montemorelos and scores of times over in the Huichol country in the Sierra Madre Occidental (Western Sierra Madre). One day, in heaven, Bill Baxter is going to be thrilled to greet many whose full stories he never heard here. Is personal investment in following God’s call worth it! Yes! Absolutely! Yes!

Click on the Links to open the pdfs below. 


Adventist Mission Pilot sets Record!

2009 Winter Simona (End of Story)

2008 Winter-Rekindled

2008 Summer-Blackout

2008 Spring-Miracle on the Mountain

2007 Fall-We Will

2007 Summer-Ask and You will Recieive

2007 Spring-Crossing the Rea Sea

2007 Winter-Simona

2006 Fall Blessed are the Merciful

2006 Saved to Serve