June 11, 2010
The Faith of Abby Sunderland and her Family
"We are born-again Christians, and we don't make any decision just based on feeling or even on sound knowledge,” says dad of circumnavigating teen.
Rescue craft are on their way to recover 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, the teenager who tried to become the youngest sailor ever to circle the globe alone.
The Sunderland family lost contact with her yacht, Wild Eyes, on Thursday morning when she ran into trouble on the Indian Ocean. A Qantas Airbus A330 found her later that day. She was fine, but turbulent seas had knocked over Wild Eyes’ mast.
Members of the Sunderlands’ church, Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, Calif., heard the news at a late-night prayer meeting for Abby on Thursday evening, according to the Ventura County Star.
"We just know that Abby is in his hands and nobody can snatch her from his hands," Pastor Joe Schimmel said as the service started. An hour later, at 11 p.m., they got a text message saying that Abby was all right, and according to the Star, Schimmel “raised his hands in jubilation.”
Her trip around the world is over, but her family is just happy to find her well: “We are very, very happy and excited that the Australian search and rescue jumped on this right away, got a plane after her,” Abby’s father, Laurence Sunderland, told CNN.
Before the voyage, Laurence told the Los Angeles Times that he believed “the Lord is in control of everything” on Abby’s journey.
"We are born-again Christians, and we don't make any decision just based on feeling or even on sound knowledge,” he told the Times in a video interview. “We also pray about it. The conviction of prayer and the answer to prayer has led to where we are with Abigail's campaign.”
Abby’s mother, Marianne, told momlogic.com that the Sunderland family became Christians when their oldest son, Zac, was 4. In 2008, the 17-year-old Zac became the youngest person to complete a solo voyage around the world. This past week, he graduated from the Trinity Pacific Christian School program, a homeschool organization in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“God was with me every nautical mile,” he said of his own historic voyage during his graduation at Calvary Community Church, according to the Star.
With two children now having taken shots at the world record, Marianne Sunderland is grateful for God’s care.
“Sometimes I wake up during the night and I think about what could happen and think of her out there alone on the ocean,” she said. “I start to get nervous. But I believe that God controls the wind and the waves and whatever comes to her.”