Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The snakes almost killed me – Testimony

Jesus has supernaturally kept me alive many times in my life. I hope this testimony will inspire others to trust in Jesus.

When we lived in South Africa I owned an aircraft and sometimes flew into dangerous, remote places. My aircraft, a 1957 vintage Piper Tri-pacer was very basically equipped, no navigational instrumentation which meant that all flying was done seat of the pants, using maps and compass in daylight. It was also prior to GPS.

A friend asked me to fly him from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Walvis Bay (Namibia). He was a native of Namibia who knew the desert country very well. It was a daring trip for my aircraft as we would fly over the desert for much of the trip of 1200 miles. We could not take short cut over Botswana as the larger aircraft do. We had to follow the national road to Upington and then cut over the desert to Keetmanshoop. From there it was straight over the desert to Walvis Bay which was an unmanned airport. This part of the trip would be without radio contact also.

We took off for Upington at dawn on a cold winters morning. We arrived at Keetmanshoop at midday and were delayed by Customs so we took off later than planned, hoping that we would make it to Walvis Bay before dark. Half way to Walvis bay we realized we would not make it. My friend suggested that we deviate from plan and land on a dirt road close to the farmhouse of people that he knew. We landed without event and fortunately the elderly wife of the farmer was home. We stayed over for the night but because of the detour we did not have enough Avgas left to reach Walvis Bay. We got some ordinary low octane car gasoline from the farmer's wife and mixed it with the Avgas that we had left, estimating that that would be enough to get us to Walfish Bay.

When I did the pre-flight inspection I discovered that the compass had moved and was not reading true any more. We had a navigation problem! Instead of flying straight to Walfish Bay we decided to fly due west until we reach the Atlantic Ocean and then follow the coast along the Skeleton Coast up to Walfish Bay. (It would be better to fly in a westerly direction and reach the Atlantic than guess our direction inland over the desert) We reached Walfish Bay the afternoon and landed safely on a deserted airport. We flew over town so my friend's family knew to come and pick us up at the airport. We had barely made it with very little gasoline left in the aircraft.

The next morning we would have to fly to Swakopmund some 25 miles north to get gasoline. We had gasoline worth 15 minutes of flying left in each of the two fuel tanks. It was just a 15 minute flight up the coast to Swakopmund. That night I called home and my wife told me she had a dream of two snakes that wanted to kill me. She had been praying for me. We both prayed Jesus' protection over me.

The west coast is renowned for the coastal fog that settles over the land every night. The fog was dense the next morning. We had to wait until midday for the fog to clear before we could fly out.
We took off and flew along the coast. As soon as we reached the Swakop River mouth we were suddenly in dense fog over the sea. Having flown without a compass (which was about 20 degrees out) we did not know which way the land was. Things immediately turned ugly. My friend, who was an ex-pilot suggested I climb out above the fog. As I lifted the aircraft it spluttered, the fuel tank was empty! I switched over to the other tank and lowered the aircraft flying just above the water. I estimated a direction, taking into account the known compass error, and I headed in that direction. My friend said we were going the wrong direction. I started thinking of swimming in the cold Atlantic, but I would not know in which direction I would have to swim if we came down and survived! I was praying, asking Jesus for help, remembering my wife's dream about the snakes that wanted to kill me. Then we saw flamingos flying in the same direction as we were heading, which indicated that we were heading in the right direction because flamingos always sit on land.
Next we dimly saw land through the fog! We were heading the right direction, BUT the very next thing the satellite dishes on a communications tower loomed right in front of us at 100 m.p.h! I froze, my friend, who had done acrobatic flying, when he used to fly, jerked back the stick and the aircraft shot right up in the air, just missing the tower! We had just escaped ditching in the Atlantic and then headed for a collision with the highest object for hundreds of miles along the Namibian coast!

I landed the aircraft and as we taxied to the parking space the engine spluttered, running out of gasoline. The snakes had tried to kill me a few times in succession but miraculously Jesus kept us alive! The people who met us at the airport saw the aircraft heading for the tower and thought it was going to strike it.

Jesus answers prayer, He is the God of wonders and miracles. He saves, He keeps, He warns and He protects those who trust in Him. There is no other Name in heaven or on earth that has power to save from any situation, even death. Jesus has a purpose with each of us. We must live His purpose. I thank Jesus that He kept me alive so many times so that I can be a witness for His Name and tell others what He has done in my life.

Thank you for listening/reading.
May Jesus bless you

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