Let me tell you about a story you may have heard, and end with more that i've only told to a few.
I'll take you back to September of 2012 when i was miraculously healed by the most venomous pit viper, and not only did our mission in that remote jungle village succeed because of it, but there were lasting effects that i would have never dreamed of.
It was a typical day in conservation on the beautiful island of Escudo in Panama. Our research continued amidst the storms we encountered, which often left us short of dead whether by nearly shipwrecked boat, mobs attacking our planes and persons, and now this, a deadly snake. After successful research in discovering 3 of the foods that pygmy sloths eat on the island and documenting not only this, but more cut trees, litter lining the beaches, and a good count of the sloths in the mangroves, everything changed.
Now before i tell the story, let me explain that we initially tried speaking with the natives on the mainland about our conservation work and how we can all work together to preserve the island and it's inhabitants. The natives wouldn't talk to us. We were strangers, and they figured we were most likely there to take advantage of them as so many others had before us. And so we left the mainland to continue our research. And just as our days were over on the island with all of our data in hand, a fer-de-lance literally jumped out at me to attach it's jaws to my finger. It had been sunning itself on a tree branch above the water. Now there is a lot of irony there, as this snake usually stays inland on the ground. The pain was that of someone snapping my finger in half. A terrible pain, much like the feeling i had when i herniated my first disk in my back, leaving me temporarily immobile. Thankfully the snake landed in our boat, and we were able to keep it for identification. We made our way in the boat toward the closest hospital- right in the middle of the village that we had been shunned just days before.
Now i knew at this point that i had a 50% chance of survival. But as i sat on the 1.5 hour long choppy boat ride to the mainland and prayed, i knew the fear and a raised heart rate were the worst things i could experience. And so i breathed. As we pulled up to the village, we saw a doctor and a nurse fortuitously standing on the beach, and discovered they had their best doctor there that week, who knew all about snake bites, and had the ability to give me 16 rounds of antivenom among other drugs to keep me stable.
As i layed on the makeshift bed in the airy room with paint-chipped walls covered in tiny lizards, i began to feel an overwhelming sense of being covered completely in prayer. It was that moment i knew i would be okay. I turned to my husband to tell him, when he told me that he had no idea how it happened, but he was able to get an internet connection for a few minutes to send a note to our pastor that said, "Julia was bit by a snake. Pray!" (Upon my return home, i discovered that many in my church were up all night fervently praying for my recovery)
The story goes on, and more miracles took place than i can write in a short blog, but 3 days later i walked out of the clinic as healthy as can be. Because the town knew we were there, and word spread fast that i had recovered, the town clapped, cheered, and now wanted to talk. It was the moment that Hidden Clover became trusted in the community of Kusapin with the beautiful Ngobe people. It was the moment we became friends and began to work together to preserve escudo and the sloths.
The story does not end there. A year before this, my husband and i began praying about the right time to conceive a child. But my back was in bad shape from 2 herniated disks, spondylolisthesis, and a few other things that gave me constant back pain since i was 16 years old. I went for an MRI and the doctors told me that i needed surgery before having a child, or i would be bed-ridden for my 9 months of pregnancy.
Miraculously, i have not had a single backache since my snake bite 1.5 years ago. I have never had such relief, and was told i never would. I began researching the effects of snake bites and found that research is being done on snake venom relieving back pain. What?! Could i be so lucky? I am now 7.5 months pregnant, and still have yet to have a single pain in my back.
It is far too difficult to believe that this could all be by chance. So i tell you this…God is a God of miracles.