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Serpent Encounter

After our first snake encounter, I knew a blog would be forthcoming. It was a first, indeed, at the crash site. Mary and I had talked about this possibility coming across a snake on the trail for years during the Spring-Summer seasons. Thus, we’ve tried to keep alert and on guard. But this first time was so unusual, and unpredictable, that it was worth writing about.

In the event there are those who may come across the blog, or have a friend forward it, without knowing the background, let me inform. Ten years ago this December we lost our daughter to a drowsy driver just a few miles outside of the town we now live in, Paradise, CA. It is just past the infamous “Look-Out Point” about a ¼ mile where the collision occurred. We erected a cross a few months later and over the years have had various flowers growing and cacti. Presently, we have two Lavender plants and light green sprawling plants, we believe are part of the cactus family, growing amid the red rock (see background picture).

As we normally do during the late spring and through the summer, we come and water weekly or even bi-weekly if hot days warrant it. By foot it is about 800 feet from where we park the vehicle. The day of the snake incident was Monday, June 10. Everything went normally as stated above. When returning to the vehicle, we got in, backed up and came to the highway about 50 ft from where parked. No cars westbound, so we went through to the middle divider, briefly pausing to see that the east bound traffic headed toward Paradise, was far enough away to turn left onto the highway. Within a few seconds after turning onto the highway, directly in front of me on the other side of the windshield, a serpent’s head popped up from the area where the wiper blades rest, probably because of the vibration of the vehicle and even wind noise, it wanted to get out of there. [We were accelerating maybe 20-30 mph, when the snake’s head emerged.] My first thought, it was a lizard, but that quickly changed as the snake lowered its head momentarily and then reemerged trying to figure out how do get away. This was just below my line of sight, so there was no way I could miss it.

My first reaction was to pull back into the seat and in so doing, I let off the accelerator, exclaiming, ‘whoa’. Mary’s response to that expression was something might be wrong with the engine, since we were losing power. When I recovered my initial shock and informed her of the snake sliding on top of the hood, she then perched herself to see the last half of this long snake body slither down the hood and quickly go over the right front of the wheel well and drop to the pavement. The whole incident couldn’t have been more than 7-10 seconds. We looked it up and saw that it was a black racer with a yellow-pin stripe about five feet in length. Fortunately, there were no vehicles immediately behind me, and yes the racer quickly slithered off the road into the median, as I viewed it in my right view mirror.

The remainder of the trip home about 10-12 min, was spent analyzing what just happened and how that racer got into the area where the wiper blades were located. After informing a number of folk throughout the day regarding our snake incident, one suggested it probably came up through the wheel well looking for shade from the sun. The engine compartment would probably have been a little too hot. [The incident occurred about 9:30 am, with temperatures well into the 70s.]

It affected us the rest of the day and we couldn’t help but think why? Why after ten years, with no snake incident on the trail during summer and fall, literally hundreds of times we’ve taken water containers out to water over this period, yet no snake incident until now. Why? Why did it happen the way it did—a snake appearing in the location on the vehicle it came out from? [It would have been great to have a video of it, but it happened too quick, thus you must use your imagination. Go on to google and look up a racer to get an idea of what that must have been like just over two feet from your head, as your driving.]

After pondering this incident the rest of the day, “talk about freaky,” we came to realize, there is no coincidence for the Christian. Could it be that the Lord was informing us that “the serpent” is not happy with our ‘prison ministry’ and the continued growth of sending Bibles into the prisons. God permitted him to ‘rear his ugly head’ in such a marked manner to let us know, we need to be wise, on guard and continue to pray for protection day and night from “that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, but not to be intimated, but go forward as the Lord opens doors.

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We have recently been impressed that the prison ministry needs to go to the next level, since the demands continue to grow and we cannot keep up. Shortly before this snake encounter, we had written a proposal for a grant from a large endowment foundation back east, that we believe will accept our proposal for BWP Foundation. This would allow us to hire staff and increase our footprint (expansion). We covet your prayers for this endeavor and the acceptance of our proposal, and the strength to carry on until this blessing will be granted. The two of us cannot continue with the load we are under, especially with Mary’s health. Yes, we believe the Great Physician is healing her, but it’s still in process.

We praise God for what He has done thus far these last few years with our prison ministry and look forward to what He will do going forward. If any of you have had ‘serpent encounters’ we welcome hearing from you. Thank you for your prayers and support over the years.

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