KGEL Call Letters and the Coast Guard

by Maurice R., KGEL Radio board member

It has been amazing to be a part of, and to see several miracles from God take place before our eyes to bring this radio station on the air. It is one thing to witness a miracle happen, like our "Gideon Army of 300" fundraiser, but when God uses you personally, to play a role in a modern-day miracle, words don't adequately describe your feelings. It is somewhere between humbling and incredible, all at the same time. This is the story of how God allowed me to have that experience.

The radio committee members met month after month to try and get this new station on the air. We would discuss the important agenda items that needed to get done and the best way to accomplish them. One item that was important to board president Bob Steingas and was brought up again and again at every meeting was to obtain the call letters of KGEL. It was important because they wanted that acronym, for Know God’s Extravagant Love, to be a beacon and constant reminder of the purpose of the station.

We must have discussed that agenda item month after month, for at least a one year, maybe two years, to no avail. We would have the attorney pursue it, and someone did "fact find" that the Coast Guard, up near Seattle, had ownership of the call letters. Although it was not actively being used, they had the rights, and it wasn't available. Nothing seemed to get us closer to acquiring the call letters, but we continued to pray, and Bob continued to remind God about the desires of his heart.

I needed to make a quick business trip to the Midwest...a cheap flight with many stops. Eugene to Portland then to Denver, then.... At Portland, I took my seat, then a husband and wife came down the aisle and he took the seats next to me. Once all the bags were stowed, I introduced myself then he told me his name was Jeff and we continued the polite and basic intro's as the plane taxied and got into the air.

He and his wife had retired, lived in a small town in eastern Washington and he ran a taxidermy shop to keep himself busy. I asked him what he did before retirement, he smiled and said, "a captain in the Coast Guard." I had not said anything yet about the startup radio station, but trust me, there were some small gears starting to spin in my head.

During that two-hour, 20-minute flight, I thought several times to ask Jeff about the KGEL call letters, but it didn't seem the right time. Instead, I asked him questions about life in the Coast Guard, the different places he'd been stationed, or the different kind of ships and length he'd commanded. He would share stories of getting caught in huge waves and rolling a 60-foot ship. Before I knew it, more than two hours of that flight were gone. The plane began its decent to land.

I felt a sudden urgency to say something about our radio station. That moment was the most obvious time in my life that I heard a clear voice of the Holy Spirit say, "Tell him," yet I asked yet another adventurous question. Then again, "Tell him."

Feeling the opportunity slipping away, I told Jeff about this start up Christian radio station that wanted to acquire the call letters, KGEL, what we wanted them to stand for and what message we wanted to say to our community. I told him we didn't have a clear path on who to ask within the Coast Guard to request their unused call letters.

As the plane approached the terminal, we readily exchanged phone numbers and he assured me he would look into it when he got home from their trip. Farewells and safe journey wishes were given.

I was more than anxious to share my two-hour-plus flight story with Bob and the radio committee. Bob informed our attorney to keep watch that there might be some movement on those call letters. About two weeks after my providential flight with Jeff, the Coast Guard released, or gave up, their old call letters and they miraculously became available for our radio station in Springfield.

Looking back, on that plane flight, I never once thought that the God of Heaven had a divine appointment for me. Instead, it was more like, "wow I'm talking to a Coast Guard guy, great opportunity!" Just after those call letters became ours, and the committee members finished singing praises of that miracle, I had a very solemn, humbling realization that I was part of a divine appointment that was a big deal!

To have me pick a flight for that exact day and time, seat, and destination with Jeff, who happened to be a retired Coast Guard captain, that happened to take an interest in our cause, and he knew the right people to talk to... and he made the call.

There was nothing of "coincidence" about that flight. And it still brings tears to my eyes when I think that the God of Heaven used me, even in a simple way, as a tool to perform a MIRACLE for the prayers of those radio committee members. They continued to lift their petitions up to the God that provided miracles throughout the Bible. That same God is still doing miracles today!

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalms 37:4 (NKJV)