How faith helped life take off
TABITHA BANKS has just succeeded in
becoming a cabin crew member with a leading Airline. A
great achievement for the 24-year-old, a Christian who at one time
turned away from the Church and dabbled with drink and drugs.
Tabitha shares about how it was her faith that helped her
back on track.
Tabitha lives with her parents Jane and Gordon and her brother
Joseph, 23, in Hove, Sussex.
She loves her work as a flight attendant based at Gatwick, but only
a few short years ago it seemed she was going nowhere.
Her father's job as church army evangelist took the family to
Bodmin in Cornwall. They lived in the tiny village of Luxulyan,
which is where things began to go wrong for Tabitha, who was then a
She said: "I would like to say my faith is strong, which it is to
some degree, but it has been a bit of an uphill struggle at times.
I was brought up as a Christian, but when we moved to Luxulyan I
got in with the wrong crowd and got involved in things that were
not good for me physically or spiritually.
"Instead of getting involved in the Church, I got involved with the
other side, if you like. It was drink and drugs, nothing heavy, but
I was drifting.
"It was my parents who pulled me back. My father became the
Chichester diocesan evangelist and so we moved to Hove in 2005. I
was still in touch with my friends down there but Mum and Dad
helped me see what a destructive cycle I was on, where they were
leading me and where I would end up. I came to realise it was not a
good idea and I broke away."
At 19, never having been away from home for long, she flew to the
States to take part in Camp America. Tabitha said: "On the day I
flew out to New York I sat on the plane and said 'OK God, if you
really do exist please look after me and bring me home safe'. I had
an amazing time and God did bring me home not once but for the
three summers I took part. He continues to watch out for me."
Tabitha then started working as a barista at Starbucks in Hove, a
move that was to help change her life.
She said: "A customer mentioned that she was a cabin crew member
and thought I seemed like the kind of person who would enjoy it. I
was looking for a career change so I gave it some thought and
decided to do an online course to see where that might take
"I then received an invitation to an interview with an airline
based at Luton. After prayer and thought I accepted the offer,
however I was unsuccessful.
"I was really disappointed but a small voice kept saying 'in my
time not yours, it will happen I promise' and this gave me hope and
kept me looking."
In February , Tabitha did a training/interview preparation course
at East Midlands Airport. A week later she found out an
airline was holding open days which, after more prayer, she decided
to attend. She was offered an interview and, to her delight, was
accepted and is now on a six-month contract working on short-haul
She said: "I have no doubt in my mind this is where God wants me to
be and prayer has been a really big part of it. I am happy to
discuss my faith with some of my colleagues if the situation arises
but my big thing is to show my faith through words and action. So
what I say and do on a daily basis will hopefully let them see my
faith in action.
"The airline is very accommodating to all faiths and religions.
This is shown in the tolerance and understanding everyone has for
each other. Gatwick has a chapel and the Anglican chaplain is
Jonathan Baldwin. It is comforting to know I have somewhere to go
for services pre or post flight."
Tabitha is eternally grateful to her parents as well as her
faith. She said: "It may sound corny but I do have to say my
parents are amazing. They have stuck by me - especially during
those dark times.
"In regard to this new adventure I'm starting, they have been
behind me from the beginning. We have prayer times together and I
really feel this has been a big part in getting to where I am
"I love the challenge of the job, I love doing something different
every day and being somewhere different - even if you just stand on
the tarmac I still think, 'oh, I'm in Egypt - and I love it'. My
parents are obviously delighted. At the end of six months the
airline could offer me a permanent job or another summer contract -
or just say 'bye bye'. I am praying for permanent."