The sky's no limit for this 74-year-old fundraiser

Dave Vincent is going to jump out of a plane – again – to help others get Bibles

Dave Vincent is planning to celebrate his 74th birthday in a most adventurous way – he’s jumping out of a plane, four kilometres up.

“Being adventurous is not confined to young people,” Vincent tells Eternity, citing examples of an 87-year-old woman and even a man in his nineties who also chose to throw themselves out of aircraft.

“I read this story of one man who had been waiting two decades – 20 years – for a Bible … It really hit me hard.” – Dave Vincent

It’s actually not the first time Vincent has been skydiving. Several years ago he took to the skies with his daughter and her then boyfriend (now husband). He was easily talked into accompanying them despite, only one year earlier, having broken his neck in a flying fox accident when the cable snapped.

Having recovered from that serious accident, Vincent vividly recalls his first tandem skydive. “The experience was brilliant. It’s something I always wanted to do again … although I wasn’t expecting it to happen so quickly.”

His upcoming jump is a birthday present from his wife Beverley – the only member of the family who hasn’t skydived (and doesn’t plan to anytime soon!).

“I’ve always liked having fun and our three children like adventure too,” Vincent says in his matter-of-fact tone.

But this time, Vincent is not only jumping for pleasure. Having been a Christian for 58 years, he has chosen to use the skydive as a fundraiser for Bible Society Australia (BSA), particularly to support their literacy program for rural poor in China.

“There’s so many Chinese Christians desperately waiting for a Bible. I read this story of one man who had been waiting two decades – 20 years – for a Bible. He was so poor, like many of these people. It really hit me hard because I’ve got [a Bible] here, my wife’s got two, and other Christians here [in Australia] have two or three or four Bibles – and they’re probably hardly ever used.”

“We tend to take the Bible for granted. But there, they just love God’s word so much; they’re so passionate about it but they can’t get a copy of the Bible.

“So I thought, well, God, you must be saying something to me. That was why I wanted to raise money for that program.”

So far Vincent has raised $150 of his $500 fundraising target (although, ideally, he’d like to raise much more). Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time for donations to roll in before his jump on August 25 at Picton, 80 kilometres south-west of Sydney.

On jump day, Vincent will be accompanied by BSA representative Sam Collins. Of course, his wife Beverley also will be there to watch this dive, as she was the last time.

“She’s not worried about it because she’s seen me do it before,” Vincent reassures.

“Once you got above the clouds, it was really bright because there was nothing between you and the sunlight.” – Dave Vincent

Beverley is extra supportive this time because she shares her husband’s passion for spreading the gospel. The couple are members of St James Anglican Church in Whalan, western Sydney. They have been teaching Scripture together in local schools for 32 years. Now, they are praying for good weather – and no further COVID restrictions – so the jump can definitely go ahead as planned.

Vincent describes the skydiving experience for those who haven’t had the chance or inclination to try.

“The last time I went up, it was cloudy and dark down [on the ground]. But once you got above the clouds, it was really bright because there was nothing between you and the sunlight. I could only see cloud below, which was white. I couldn’t really see how high I was, but I knew I was at 14 thousand feet.”

“I didn’t start seeing the land until I started going through the cloud. So I’m hoping it’ll be a beautiful clear day this time so I can see what it’s like to be up that high …

“You actually free-fall for three kilometres. According to the skydivers, you’re doing between 220 and 240 kilometres an hour – that’s pretty fast. So the wind just rushes up, it distorts your chin and makes your face look funny, and it rushes up your nose. It’s quite a sensation and it lasts for about 40 to 50 seconds.

“You’ll have to try it. I recommend it. It’s not that scary.” – Dave Vincent

“It soon goes and then the chute comes out. For about five minutes you come down slowly, twisting and turning, and then you land. And then the excitement, the adrenaline, kicks in more. I just went crazy with excitement.

“I know several people who have done it and they all had the same reaction: that was absolutely awesome! And, I want to do it again!”

Vincent adds enthusiastically, “You’ll have to try it. I recommend it. It’s not that scary.”

In case you’re still not convinced, perhaps you could just support his jump instead.

You can donate to Dave Vincent’s skydive fundraiser here: events.biblesociety.org.au/fundraisers/davevincent

For more information about Bible Society Australia’s literacy project for rural poor in China, visit biblesociety.org.au/projects/china-literacy/

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