Philip Wood worked on the other side of the world; but last week, he returned home to Keller, Texas to spend time with his family before moving from Beijing to a new home in Kuala Lumpur.
Now it appears that his loved ones may never see him again. Wood, an IBM executive, was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which lost contact with air traffic control and disappeared this weekend over the South China Sea.
There will be other stories emerging about the other passengers aboard the ill-fated flight; but for now, Wood is the only American regarding whom information is available.
And what emerges is a story of a man whose faith was central in his life, a man deeply devoted to Christ and to his family. In a statement to CBS News, the Wood family said,
“Philip Wood was a man of God; a man of honor and integrity. His word was gold. Incredibly generous, creative, and intelligent, Phil cared about people, his family, and above all, Christ.
“Though our hearts are hurting, we know so many families around the world are affected just as much as us by this terrible tragedy. We ask for your prayers, not only for ourselves, but for all involved during this difficult time. As a family, we are sticking together through Christ to get through this.”
It’s difficult to imagine the grief the Wood family is experiencing, waiting for word on the doomed plane. At the same time, though, the faith of this Christian family is an inspiration. James Wood, Philip’s brother, said,
“My brother, our family, we are Christians. Christ above else is what’s keeping us together.”
According to the CBS News report, James Wood also pointed out that members of hundreds of other families were aboard Flight MH370, and he offered prayers for them, as well:
“I just wanted to say to all the other families that are around the world: We’re hurting. We know you’re hurting just as much, and we’re praying for you.”
James Wood told reporters that his brother was divorced, and that he really enjoyed the opportunity to travel while living and working in Asia. He reportedly had two sons: one, a student at Texas A&M University, and the other an alumnus of that university.
There are reportedly at least two other Americans on the flight’s passenger list: Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2. No information has been released regarding who was accompanying them.