How Much Stress Does a Black Mamba Create for a Missionary? (2.18)

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest . . .

  • How would you rate your stress level when you encounter a snake?
  • How would you rate your  positive feelings toward snakes in general?
  • What would your stress rating be if you encountered a snake in your house?
  • Now rate your feelings about a snake in your house that could kill you in 20 minutes if you were bitten.

Snake-Black Mamba (2)

Snakes create just ONE stress some missionaries live with on the field.  You always need to be alert to where they might be hiding.  And then when they show up in unexpected places, your pulse jumps, your heart accelerates, your stress level increases exponentially.  Day in and day out from only this ONE stress.  Add marauding elephants, government bureaucracy, thievery, potential terrorism, trying to be understood through a second language, etc. etc. and you start getting the picture of the “stress of the field.”

Here’s a word picture of the “snake stress” in Mozambique on a compound set up to house and feed orphans.  And we’re talking about a specific variety, the BLACK MAMBA.

Snake-Black Mamba (1)

(Named for the color of the inside of its mouth, the black mamba strikes repeatedly with venomous fangs. Widely considered the world’s deadliest snake, it continues to take human life in its native habitats in southern and eastern Africa, despite the development of antivenin. A resident of rocky hills and grasslands, the black mamba is also among the fastest snakes in the world, moving at up to 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) per hour.) — National Geographics

Here’s the missionary incident . . .

“Eric calmly walks into breakfast yesterday saying he needed our help as a 1 ft. (30cm) black snake had confronted him as he sat in his reading  chair in his bedroom on Thursday night.  He whacked it with his snake stick, breaking it’s back near the tail, but the snake zipped behind Eric’s very heavy bookcase before Eric could kill it.

So after breakfast, our guard put on leather gloves, grabbed his snake killing bamboo rod, and off we went to Eric’s bedroom.  The guard carefully began pulling on a board that held a heavy stack of magazines on the floor, under the first shelf of the bookcase.  I was stationed at the end of the bookcase with a “slasher” (sharp metal grass cutter with a long handle) to prevent the snake from escaping on that side.

As our guard carefully pulled the board out containing the magazines, I was poised ready to strike if the snake was there.  Much to our surprise, the snake was there alright, but DEAD, as the weight of the sliding board with the magazines on it had rolled him, crushing him in the process.  It appears to be a baby black mamba that slipped through Eric’s septic system into the house via his bathroom.
So he slept better last night knowing he wouldn’t have a bed partner joining him.

We encounter many snakes but thanks to Jesus’ angels, who are ALWAYS on duty, none have ever been able to strike us.  We keep our eyes open, but when the inevitable encounter happens, we know that JESUS IS STILL OUR MIRACLE SAVIOR WHO KEEPS US UNDER HIS WINGS OF PROTECTION.


About Dave Grissen

David & Sheri Grissen spent 44 years in mission and humanitarian aid work. In 2003 they established Life Impact, a ministry of strengthening Christian workers in hosted centers, called Oases. Presently 12 Oases are functioning. In 2016 they started Fund The Ministry to help missionaries create new funding for their ministries. They have five married children and fifteen grandchildren.
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