By Zuzana Rachel

In the Summer of 1998, while my brother and I were in college, my mom came to the United States to be a volunteer cook for a group of student literature evangelists.


At the end of the summer it was time for my mom to go back home, so with prayer my brother took her to New York’s John F Kennedy Airport.


When my mom approached the Swissair desk to check in to Flight 111, the Swissair representative told her there had been a change in the flights.

“Mrs. Metzova, you are Czech,” the airline representative said. “We can put you on a direct flight from here to the Czech Republic on Czech Airlines. How would you like that?”

My mom loved the idea of not having to change planes in Geneva, and the airline representative printed her a new boarding pass.


“You have 15 minutes to catch the plane,” the airline representative said. “Run!”


There was no time to call her sister, who was picking her up the next day in Prague, about this change.


In the morning, my mom’s sister woke up to the news that a Swissair DC-10 jet had crashed about two hours after takeoff from New York. It was her sister’s plane.


In tears, she called my dad. “I lost my sister. You lost your wife,” she said.


At 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 2, 1998, the Swissair plane crashed off Canada’s coast, killing all 229 people onboard. An inflight fire was blamed for the tragedy.


As the world mourned, my mom landed in Prague, not knowing what had happened. She quickly called my auntie to let her know about the change in flights. There were tears of joy as the two sisters realized the gravity of the situation and were reunited.


After the tragedy, my mom was given the opportunity to speak about her faith on Czech national television.

On the program, my mom talked about God’s goodness amid repressions in Communist-era Czechoslovakia. She read the fourth commandment about the Sabbath, and boldly testified of the God to whom she owed her life.

God took care of my mom even though she did not know there was a danger ahead of her. He does the same for us today.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.