Monday, February 11, 2013

Betty Greene: Wings to Serve by Janet & Geoff Benge

cover of Betty Greene: Wings to Serve by Janet & Geoff Benge shows an outline map of Nigeria Betty Greene: Wings to Serve by Janet & Geoff Benge. YWAM, 1999. 195p. (9781576581520) Series: Christian Heroes: Then & Now

I really enjoy this series. In addition to writing biographies of the “famous” missionaries the Benges have also written about men and women whose work impacted hundreds if not thousands and yet are not as widely known. I don’t think I’d heard of Betty Greene before seeing the title of this book. And what a story.

Back cover:
As a young girl growing up on the shores of Lake Washington, Betty Greene had two passions: a love for Christ and a love of flying. As a young World War II WASP pilot, Betty dreamed of combining her two passions by using wings to serve God.

Betty’s dream became reality when she helped found the Mission Aviation Fellowship. Her faith-filled adventures and faithful service helped created what is today a global ministry that operates over eighty aircraft in nineteen countries.

My review:
Betty Greene (1920-1997) led a fascinating life. She served on the homefront during World War II was a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), she was a founding member of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), was the first woman to fly over the Andes, and worked in Mexico, Peru, Nigeria, Sudan and Irian Jaya.

map showing London and Malakal, South Sudan
London, England and Malakal, South Sudan
This was a great book to get a glimpse of what being a WASP was like and what life was like in the 40s and 50s especially. Reading this book reminded me just how big the world and especially Africa is. In the late 1950s it took 39 hours (and several days) to fly from Malakal, Sudan (now South Sudan) to London, England! Today it takes less than 10.5 hours to fly from Juba (which is about 325 miles to the south of Malakal) to London.

It was also very interesting hearing about the people she met along the way. Nate Saint was a MAF pilot and Cameron Townsend plays an important role in the early days of MAF (I’m looking forward to reading his biography in a few days).

A few things could have been done better. I wish there had been more dates to help the reader keep track of when events took place. We’re told how long she was in each place thus leaving it up to the reader to keep track – which is difficult. Also the focus was mainly on Betty’s flying and work in the MAF office. Rarely are we told about her other passion: love for Christ.

Great book for fourth grade on up, for anyone interested in aviation history, for anyone wanting to be inspired by a life well lived. Includes a bibliography (the unpublished manuscript mentioned was published in 2002).

Go read it! Find it at a library near you; Buy it from Amazon; Buy it from;(cheaper here as of Feb 11, 2013)

Disclosure: I borrowed this from the library. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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