This post is a continuation from last week’s snake story from More Amazon Adventures with Pilot Bennie.
A Riveting Snake Story
The snake’s head was only a foot away from Bennie’s face. Bennie ducked below the shelf, spun around, and raced out the doors screaming. The night watchman and others with clubs and sticks finally killed the reptile.
Why didn’t the snake strike Bennie? The only reason Bennie could think of was that his hand moving the bed left the partially coiled snake off balance and gave Bennie time to get away. Years later whenever Bennie thought of that too close-up view of such a fearsome snake, his pulse still raced.
Several rivers with strong currents pour down from the Andes mountains in the western part of Brazil. One time, Bennie landed his floatplane on the Juruá River in front of the town of Caitaú. The current pushed him behind a ball of floating grass. He decided to just throttle the plane right up over the grass to the open water on the other side. When he opened the door and stepped onto the pontoon, he noticed that a snake from the ball of grass had wrapped itself around the spreader bar and the straining rod. Bennie ducked back into the plane.
Bennie started a high-speed take-off and then suddenly stopped the plane. The water surged over the pontoons and peeled the snake off. When Bennie opened the door, the freeloading reptile had swum away.
“Preacher Bennie,” his friend phoned him. “Please come and preach to the people in the church we’ve started.” The call came from Jonas, a worker who had been cruising up and down the river telling people about Jesus. This new place was 250 miles east of Manaus. By the time Bennie and other workers beached the plane and started walking to the new preaching place, it was getting dark.
Bennie and the men had to walk quickly through a narrow path in the high grass along the river. They could hear people singing in the thatch house in the distance.
Encountering a Cobra
Suddenly Bennie stepped beside a poisonous snake. He froze a second and then leaped backward, screaming, “Cobra!”
The people behind him stopped just as quickly. The cobra slithered off into the grass. If it had struck Bennie in his bare sandals, he would have been spitting blood in a few minutes. He had seen men die after a cobra bite.
People Were Baptized in Jesus’ Name
Soon the men arrived at the new meeting house. It had a mud floor and strong roof and walls with a little room behind it. People packed the house inside and out, so Bennie slipped around to the back room to get in. When it was time for the altar call, the people were jammed in too tightly to move. Bennie had them come around outside to the side window. Jonas and Bennie stretched their arms outside the open window and prayed with people. Nine people came to the Lord for the first time. Afterward they walked to the river and baptized fifteen folks in Jesus’ name.
Bennie didn’t know where the snake had gone. He watched for the poisonous creature, but he didn’t see it again.
“I know Jesus gave us power to tread on serpents,” he declared, “but I would rather keep my distance.”
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