It’s ironic to think that young David Pittman, while growing up in extreme poverty in Uganda, Africa, had so little in his life to look up to, that he often found himself searching the skies for any sight or sound of an airplane. As a boy, the dream of flying in a plane wasn’t big enough for David. His dream was to one day be the pilot. You see, as the pilot, when you have the knowledge and skills to control the stick and rudder, you have the power to go wherever your dreams will take you. But for most of his childhood, those dreams seemed further than those commercial jets he would sometimes see far, far away above the clouds.
Growing up in rural Uganda isn’t easy. Many children don’t get to live in a home with both mom and dad. For those that don’t, they only see their dad a handful of times over the course of their life. Add to that the lack of opportunity for economic growth, which makes continuing education that much more of a challenge for every child, and you have a recipe for the continuous cycle of poverty and brokenness. Even David would tell you that at that time of his life, the most realistic dream he had for success was to one day become a taxi or bus driver in the city. That was his best opportunity to escape the meager life of farming in his home town. Things were so simple in fact, most kids collected plastic sacks to wad up and make into a soccer ball so they could play the same game kids all over the world are playing with a real ball. There wasn’t a real ball to be found anywhere in his entire village. The fact that David grew up with so little, makes it more amazing he is now a young man who desires to give back as much as he can.
Things began to change for David around the age of ten. It was at that time in his life when the signs that God was intervening began to be more evident. When David was 10 years old, he was offered help by an organization called Christ Aid. They took a picture of this handsome little boy, and half way around the world, in Colorado, the Pittman’s, a family from Johnson County, Kansas, were on vacation. Instead of hiking more trails, they decided to visit a church, where for the first time they saw that very picture of the young boy in Uganda. As they learned about the opportunity to help provide books for school, and consistent meals, the very things every child in the world should have, they knew they wanted to help. So they began sponsoring David through Christ Aid, and they wrote him letters, the beginnings of what would become a life changing relationship.
Three years later, when David was thirteen, he was able to come visit the Pittman’s, his sponsors, for the very first time and stayed for a full month. Though it was one of the greatest months of his life, David knew he had to go back to his home in Uganda and face the every day hardships he had grown up with. In some ways, his month with the Pittman’s helped prepare him for it. A little more than a year later David was able to return to Kansas City and see his sponsor family for Christmas. It was at this time the Pittman’s brought the possibility of adoption up for the first time with David. His father was no longer in his life, and his mother was so ill she couldn’t take care of David. Though the road would be long and laborious, David was excited about the possibility of being part of a brand new family. As David describes in his own words, “the grace of God opened the door and made a way for my adoption. Time was short, and just before the deadlines for my adoption to be legal, all the paperwork was completed and approved. Just like that, I became David Pittman and God began a new chapter in my life.”
David said that having a family and not having to worry about whether or not he was going to have food for dinner opened doors into his heart to begin dreaming his God shaped dreams. He was now dreaming of airplanes again, having flown in them several times to and from Kansas City. After graduation, David moved to Washington to pursue his dream of achieving his private pilot’s license. Once completed, he set his sights on his mechanics license, and then his instruments rating, so he moved back to Kansas and kept working hard. He stopped by the airport where he previously worked, and they welcomed him with open arms. As a full-time employee, he also kept flying and working toward his goals. David now has his commercial license as well as his multi-engine license.
The only thing left for the fulfillment of David’s dream is to begin flying for a missionary agency around the world. He dreams of bringing the good news of Jesus to remote parts of the world, and to children just like him who live in rural areas like his village in Uganda. He hopes his life will inspire others to hope in God, to dream big, to work hard to achieve those dreams, and whether you are in a real plane or not, let your dreams soar higher than the clouds.