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Charity skydive boosts faith of retiring Sprowston Christian 

Marilyn Hood from Wroxham Road Methodist Church jumped out of a plane last month and raised £1,500 for MIND to celebrate her pending retirement. Here Marilyn writes about how God spoke to her in the clouds.

On March 31 Marilyn Hood from Sprowston retired from her job as a Senior Accounts Technician in the Norwich office of insurance company Marsh.
To celebrate her retirement Marilyn decided to do a tandem skydive to raise money for mental health charity MIND. Marilyn’s son Martin was inspired to join her in the feat and complete his own skydive in aid of the Hebron Trust.

On Tuesday March 13 Marilyn and Martin both jumped out of the plane at a height of 13,000 feet.  As Marilyn travelled through the sky she felt God was speaking to her with some transformative words.  Here Marilyn writes about the experience.  

CharitySkydive640I did a tandem skydive on March 13 to celebrate my pending retirement on March 31. I wanted to mark this time in my life by doing something special but I didn't want a party or celebration dinner.  I had given notice to my employer, Marsh, in mid-December to leave at the end March so I had plenty of time to decide.

In January I read something about a skydive and knew it was just the thing for me. The one fear I had about retirement was feeling lonely.  I chose MIND Norwich and Norfolk as my beneficiary charity and asked them if they would support me. They readily agreed!

I asked my husband David to join me and he kindly promised to hold my coat!! My son Martin was keen though and he chose to fundraise for Hebron Trust.

The day before the skydive UK Parachuting called me to delay our flight the next day due to poor weather. On the day it was grey and cloudy but all was to go ahead as planned. We went to Beccles at the agreed time of 8.30am to fly at 9am. They said the rain was heading in so we needed to be away on time.

Martin and I met our instructors, then got our flight suits, helmets, gloves and harnesses on and boarded the plane. Apparently they had a new plane which the pilot had not flown before so he was keen for a test run!! Great news!!!

During the ascent we were told the sequence of all that would happen and we were harnessed to our instructors. There were two other people on the flight who were to jump solo and we would follow, me first then Martin. 

At no point was I nervous or afraid, just exhilarated and excited. We reached the 13,000ft required and the pilot levelled the plane. It felt as though the plane had stopped as it was so smooth. I expected a rush of noise when the door was lifted but it was extraordinarily quiet and a little surreal - extremely peaceful.

The other two skydivers left the plane. My instructor guided me forward and we shuffled to the exit door on our bottoms. I wondered how Martin was feeling but didn't have long to ponder on that because we had reached the doorway.

I did as I'd been told, crossed my ankles, tucked my legs under the body of the plane and put my head back against my instructor's shoulder. He said 'Ready?' and out we went.

He had told me to scream to help me breathe so I did. Ask David, I always do as I'm told - haha! With hindsight I should have shouted Geronimo or maybe even Hallelujah! It was an exhilarating moment.
We left the plane to be met by a huge blanket of white cloud which totally obscured sight of the ground. I have no adequate words to describe my awesome experience. I felt that I was floating on silk marshmallows! In those 40 or so seconds of freefall God spoke to me so clearly.

He said: “Do you see? I have you, I truly have you. I'm holding you fast and will do so for ever. Rest in my care always and never feel alone.” 

Then we broke through the cloud and the parachute went up. The fields around looked so very green and I could see the hangars where we had been prepared ready to fly. My family and friends were dots on the ground, watching and waiting for me. I was overawed by God's words to me. We floated on down while I floated in God's arms!

The landing - on my bottom - was just as my instructor had described it would be. I felt fantastic but speechless too. The photos of me walking back to the hangar show me with a huge smile! God had met with me that day and had given me a peace in my heart and mind that I hadn't known before. No wonder I was smiling.

I'm still smiling now, almost a month later. I already knew that God had me in his hands but that day he confirmed it - just for me. I've been really changed by that experience. I feel a burden has been lifted from me. I have a deep sense of peace and have a new confidence in the Lord. 

Of course God's promise is there for all of you too. You don't need to do a skydive for God to speak to you. Just ask....... He loves you so so much, always has and always will. His arms will hold you - and me - through every experience in our lives. 
I am his and he is mine - for ever!!

If anyone would like to give to Marilyn’s fundraising for MIND please click here.  

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