by David Sisler

They made the Guinness Book of World Records. It's one achievement no one will ever purposely set out to beat. Five men, Jorge Hernandez, Juan Bolivar, Gerardo Obregon, Joel Omar Gonzalez and Pastor Lopez survived 142 days adrift at sea. They lived on rainwater, fish and turtles. They crossed four time zones and travelled over 3600 miles.

It was Sunday morning, January 24, 1988. Captain Gerardo Obregon and his crew of four were fishing the deep waters off Costa Rica. Their last two trips out had been unsuccessful and the first five days of this trip was a sad duplicate.

When Gerardo heard radio reports that another boat had caught 6000 pounds of fish, he headed his ship, the Cairo III, toward that promising spot in the ocean. By the next morning they had landed 1200 pounds of fish. The weather was threatening, but the fishing was so good, the crew decided to risk one more night. The next day monster waves crashed onto the small ship, almost capsizing it.

The men of the Cairo III struggled for days against a fierce storm, but when their diesel fuel was down to only 8 gallons they shut off the motor. Their radio was damaged beyond repair. They bailed water and prayed.

On February 11, an oil tanker sailed to within 40 yards of the crippled ship. Inexplicably, the tanker gave them water, but refused to rescue the five men. They had now been adrift 17 days.

They raised a sail, made a rudder, and bailed water. They gathered fresh water when it rained, fought dozens of sharks and one whale, caught turtles, and despaired of being rescued. Then on June 14, 142 days after their ordeal began, they were spotted by a Japanese tuna-fishing ship.

On the morning of June 15, Edith Gonzalez was working in her kitchen when the phone rang. The caller was the brother of the man who owned the Cairo III.

"Edith," he said, "start jumping around!"


"Start dancing and yelling. The boys have appeared. They were found alive, near Hawaii. They are all well."

Edith slumped into a chair and dropped the receiver. Word quickly spread throughout the port city of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. On June 22, almost five months to the day that the storm struck, the five men from the Cairo III returned home, alive and well.

It was a strange salutation, but the words, "Edith, start jumping around" was the best news Edith Gonzalez had ever received. When all hope was gone, her husband was restored to her.

Maybe it's been a while since you've heard any good news. Well, listen to this, and start jumping!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17).

Want some more good news?

"Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).

When I read of the ordeal of the five fishermen from the Cairo III, and then read about Edith's phone call, I smiled way down inside. But it was really second hand news. Maybe the two scripture passages I've just read are like that for you. To make them good news you must receive Jesus personally into your life. And when you do, you'll know how Edith felt when she was told, "Start jumping around!" Receiving Jesus will do that to you.


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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