That’s what this Green Mamba did in a nearby tree during our staff devotional time the other morning. Guess he needed the encouragement too? :D
So, did I pay attention to the devotional message? Good question. And yes, I did, which is commendable considering the fact that I have a very distractible mind. ‘Course, it also helped that we only learned of the snake afterwards. And since you asked, Glenn (our short term volunteer) was sharing about hanging on to faith--doing the hard part but the right thing: remaining faithful--and trusting God through life’s difficulties. Because God can bring good out of even the worst we go through.
It’s funny though, how these kinds of life lessons are put to the test over and over again. As if we might forget. Who knows, maybe we would. What’s not always so funny though, is how when we’re going through real tough times, we can be sorely tempted to decide otherwise and NOT hang around.
Our son, Russ, hanging around, during our early years in the bush.
By the time we moved out here to the Mozambican bush, we’d already been through a ton of life’s challenges that had tested our resolve to “hang around” to the limits. But we had decided to stay the course and pursue what we felt was the right direction for us. Moving to the bush.
The move was a major one: from city to remote bush. No electricity, TV, water, bathrooms, house…actually, there was pretty much nothing of anything! There was our stuff in 2 vehicles, our dog, our tents, very foreign surroundings, and us. Oh, and a drum with 200 liters of water we’d hauled from the nearest source some 65 km away. We didn’t even have a cell phone back then. So it was like us and God ☺
We drove into the bush on a footpath for several kilometers until we reached a dry riverbed with no bridge.
“Well, this is it guys. This is where we camp for the next month or so while we build the bridge that will take us across to the old farm buildings where we’ll build our house and the mission base.” My husband announced.
“Huh???” I thought. I’d heard all about this place. Dwight had been here before with colleagues (who were also due to arrive at some point) and his stories of bush-living/working were infused with a passion for the incredible opportunities and possibilities for making an impact. This was a new, exciting chapter in our lives!
I stepped out of the vehicle into what felt like total wilderness and vulnerability to lurking poisonous snakes, biting bugs and malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Thorns on shrubs grabbed at my legs and gnats flew at me from every angle. While Dwight pointed here and there excitedly talking about the bridge and visions for the future, I swatted bugs away from my ears and eyes. I think I managed about 5 or 10 minutes before I was totally overwhelmed with what had seemed (to me) like a real bad idea! Moving out here, to nowhere, with kids?? To do what?! Try to survive? Suddenly, it seemed like a very bad idea indeed!
I quickly crawled back into the car, shut the door securely behind me, and had a mini-melt down. “Nope. Can’t do this. I can’t live here. This won’t work…” Melt downs always come at the best times, don’t they? Dwight comforted me, prayed with me, and told me to just stay put while he put our tents up for the night. And I sat and thought about whether or not I could “hang around”.
Our daughter, Amanda, in our open-air makeshift camp kitchen.
I’m happy to say that I did decide to hang around. I think it came in small steps, like “Ok, I can do this tonight.” Then I’d do the same thing the next night. By the time we saw the first (not our) dog get bitten by a snake, we were freaked out but already pretty much there to stay, come what may. And I’m glad we did.
And with that, I’ll wrap up this blog post.
Oh, what about the Green Mamba?
The guys who work in the litchi orchard were concerned for their safety since the green mambas LOVE hanging around in the litchi trees…all those tasty birds and all. And they are poisonous snakes. So one guy went after him with a slingshot. He didn’t hit him but it was enough to convince the snake to climb a little higher. And I guess that’s another lesson we can take home ☺