An astronaut calls Samaritan’s Purse from the International Space Station to thank us for prayers
Dr. Kjell N. Lindgren, a physician and NASA astronaut serving as a flight engineer with the six-person crew on the International Space Station for the past five months, returns to Earth on Friday. While living and working on the space station, Dr. Lindgren has appreciated people praying for him, including the staff of Samaritan’s Purse.
Dr. Lindgren telephoned Sam McGinn, staff chaplain for Samaritan’s Purse, to thank the staff for their prayers. He called in mid-November as the space station was orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at a speed of five miles per second. When Dr. Lindgren identified himself, McGinn immediately thought he was calling from home. Dr. Lindgren replied that he was calling from the space station, where he would be until December 11.
A friend of Samaritan’s Purse since connecting with the ministry in 2004 through Operation Christmas Child, Dr. Lindgren told McGinn that he had the chaplain’s business card with him and wanted to call to thank the staff for praying for him.
McGinn had sent a personal note to Dr. Lindgren in May as a follow-up to a letter Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham had written earlier congratulating him for being selected to serve on the International Space Station.
In his letter, Graham said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you undertake this incredible challenge and opportunity.” Graham also thanked Dr. Lindgren for naming Samaritan’s Purse as the charity of his choice after being honored through a special donation by two fellow U.S. Air Force Academy graduates.
In his note, McGinn told Dr. Lindgren that Samaritan’s Purse staff members meet for prayer each weekday morning and that they would be praying for him, his wife, and his three children.
Dr. Lindgren brought up Psalm 121, which he had been reading and thinking about. The first two verses say, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (NKJV). That passage has meant a lot to Dr. Lindgren, who has been tweeting stunning close-up photographs of the Earth from space.
As his space station missions comes to a close, Dr. Lindgren’s words from a Time magazine interview days before liftoff five months ago will still ring true: “I hope that the work that I do, our crew does, and that the space station program in general does is just the beginning of greater things.”