I'm not sure that I ever mentioned that I have an extreme aversion to snakes. But then again, why would anyone like snakes? I know that some are supposed to be "good" snakes, but I think it's true that the only good snake is a dead one!
So when we surrendered to go to Uganda, snakes was one of the fears I had to face. (Actually I had hundreds of fears, but we'll stick with this one for now.) Uganda is home to the black mamba and the green mamba, reputedly two of the deadliest snakes known to man. Of course you can also find your common every day cobra there too.
Knowing the species available, I really struggled with moving to Uganda. When we got there, we moved into a house surrounded by a cement block wall. We had several dogs, and they were turned lose in the compound at night in order to guard the property. One night, about two months after we arrived, the dogs set up a furious howling during the night. They wouldn't shut up, so Terry went out to see what had stirred them up. A few moments later I heard him yelling through the window, "Jill, get the shotgun! Jill!"
We were holding a shotgun for one of the other missionaries that was out of the country. I grabbed the gun and ran it out to my husband who promptly used it to blow the head off of a cobra that was in the yard. Even after the head was gone, the snake still stretched over six and a half feet.
I spent the next several days fighting the urge to cower in the closet. My husband, typical of most missionaries, put the story in our next prayer letter.
Approximately four weeks later, one of my children encountered a much smaller snake on our back patio. Matt, eleven at the time, jumped out the back door and right over the snake. One of the men killed it promptly, but I still gathered all the children into our living room and considered staying there for the next three years until we went on furlough. I just didn't see how we were going to be able to live in a place where such dangers lurked. Matt was my oldest, and I had five more after him, the youngest being less than six months old. How could we possibly keep them all safe?
That afternoon in the mail we got over a dozen letters from our Sunday School class in our home church in Alabama. They had all read our latest prayer letter (the one about killing the cobra). Each letter mentioned that they were praying for us and for our safety from snakes. I still find it amazing that the day I needed reassurance that God was protecting us, He sent over a dozen letters reminding me that we had people praying for us.
Isn't God good?