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Out of This World!

posted on October 01, 2013, under Conference by

The Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133, launched February 24, 2011, with Mission Specialist Nicole Stott carrying a uniform patch sent by Florida Pathfinders. (Photo: Alexander Stirn - Flickr user astirn)

The Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133, launched February 24, 2011, with Mission Specialist Nicole Stott carrying a uniform patch sent by Florida Pathfinders. (Creative Commons photo by Alexander Stirn – Flickr user astirn)

A Pathfinder uniform patch was attached to a window overlooking the Earth during STS-133---the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery during its February 4-March 9, 2011, mission. Astronaut Nicole Stott arranged to carry the patch on board. (Photo provided courtesy of NASA)

A Pathfinder uniform patch was attached to a window overlooking the Earth during STS-133—the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery during its February 4-March 9, 2011, mission. Astronaut Nicole Stott arranged to carry the patch on board. (Photo provided courtesy of NASA)

by Iris Hillmon, Melvin Liwag, Eric Stillwell

Eight years ago, Cheeko Cotta, then Florida Conference Pathfinder Director, challenged a Pathfinder Administrative Council subcommittee to design a new shoulder patch for the Pathfinder uniform. Little did anyone know to what heights this project would reach.

The Uniform Committee invited all Florida Conference Pathfinder clubs to submit ideas, drawings, and suggestions for the new patch. Within a short time, 34 designs were in hand, and the clear-cut winner was among them.

The original sketch, submitted by long-time Florida Pathfinder Iris Hillmon, was fine-tuned 15 times before God revealed His will for the final draft. In keeping with Florida Pathfinder tradition, the patch would have a caption. Considering 36 written ideas, committee members Eric Stillwell and Melvin Liwag met one evening to make a final decision.

Detail of a patch like the one flown on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Detail of a patch like the one flown on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

While the two were in prayer, Melvin felt impressed to open his Pathfinder Bible. There in front of him were the words, “To All the World In This Generation.”

They would look no further. This phrase on a simple patch would soon witness for the Lord around the world!

Thinking of ways to expand this witnessing project beyond the borders of Florida, Stillwell and Liwag decided to try having the new patch flown aboard a Space Shuttle mission, thus fulfilling the commission caption of “To All the World.” The request was eventually approved by the Johnson Space Center, only to be rescinded several days later due to the religious foundation of the patch.

A letter was then written to each astronaut of the 12 remaining missions, requesting them to carry the patch into orbit. Only negative responses returned. When the last three missions were announced, the likelihood of the patch being included on a Shuttle flight was not positive. But, with God, all things are possible!

On May 29, 2011, Eric Stillwell, Uniform Committee Chairperson, was overjoyed to receive an envelope containing the Pathfinder patch and a Certificate of Authenticity from Astronaut Nicole Stott who carried the patch aboard STS-133—the final mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The certificate read:

This patch was flown for Florida Pathfinders on the final mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133. From her first launch August 30, 1984 until her final landing on March 9, 2011, Discovery has proudly flown over 148 million miles in 39 missions and logged a total of 365 days in orbit; the longest of any spaceship in history.

STS-133 total mission duration: 12 days, 19 hours, 3 minutes, 53 seconds, with 202 orbits around our beautiful planet and a total distance traveled of 5,304,140 miles.

No matter how impossible obstacles seem or how high goals are set, there is nothing God can’t do! Just keep believing in Him! God is out of this world!


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