Sleeping With the Snakes

Welcome to our podcast Ron’s Adventures,” where Ron shares stories from his many travels in his 30-plus years in ministry. Now I know these stories are fan favorites if you will, they are very popular and I’m excited to hear one more so welcome to the studio with me Ron and Charis Pearce.

Ron- Thank you, well today we are going to go to India. We were over in Odisha or Orissa State and I was driving with some of the leaders of the church planting movement that we work with there. It was a long day, I think it was the first day of a five-day trip in the wilderness. We were driving along and visiting people along the way and it got dark. I think we were supposed to spend the night either at a hotel or a Bible School or something like that. Well, we pulled into this pastor’s house, wonderful brother, lovely wife, kids, cows, you name it, it was there.

Joy- Now were you surprised that you weren’t pulling into a hotel at this point?

Ron- A little. And I didn’t know what the plan was. Well, I’ve over the years learned to roll with the punches and so here was a big punch coming up, put it that way. So we pulled in and he was outside with a broom, not a professional broom, it was one he made I think, with palm branches and he was sweeping the driveway and I thought, well this is interesting. We pulled in and get out of the truck. He comes and sees us and we take the luggage inside. Apparently, he had just finished an upper room for guests and we were going to be there but the workmen didn’t finish it off so we couldn’t stay there. So, I was sleeping in this room, a big room, I don’t know what it was but there was a table of sorts in there and bedding on top of it and a little bit of a mattress up on this table.

Charis- Like a kitchen table?

Ron- Like a kitchen table. Like a desk table.

Joy- So not something you see every day, a mattress on a kitchen table.

Ron- No, not really, no.

Charis-And quite high off the ground, a kitchen table.

Ron- Kitchen table height if not a little bit more. So I thought well, I guess this is where I’m staying. Here we are and it’s dark in the room. They had to bring in a candle because they didn’t have power or the power went out or something, I know it was dark. He was explaining to us, Wonderful for you to be here tonight, it’s late, are you hungry?” No, no we’re not hungry.” We ate something three days ago, or five. {laughter} So I was getting ready for bed when he says, I was out there sweeping the snakes away off the driveway.” I looked and asked the brother who was the leader, What snakes?” And he says, Well, this area is very famous for king cobra snakes,” and he was sweeping them off the driveway as we were coming in to make sure we didn’t have any problems. Oh great!

Joy- I’m imagining sweeping a king cobra away! Maybe a pitchfork!

Charis- Multiple snakes though!

Ron- I thought, oh I hate snakes. I felt like Indiana Jones with the snake in the cockpit of the plane: I hate snakes.” And I do. I hate snakes. So we are sitting there for a few minutes saying goodnight to one another and I go into the room and climb up onto this bed and it’s pitch black and I have my little tiny flashlight out and I’m searching the floor before I go to bed hoping I didn’t see any snakes or movement or anything like that. It was as hard as a rock. This was a tough bed and I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think all night long I got more than ten minutes sleep and periodically, I had to get up and use the facilities so here I am before I get up, take my flashlight, and search around looking for snakes etcetera. No movement in the house, no lights, nothing, pitch black. I get my little flashlight and have to get dressed, fully, pants, shirt, shoes, everything like that, and here I am walking through the house going to the washroom. The washroom, and this is very common in India, it was just a rough, tribal, primitive shall we say, type of washroom. I walk in and there is a hole in the floor and then I looked at the ceiling and I saw, oh, there had to be 30 of the largest cockroaches I’ve ever seen in my life! At least two or two and half inches long all over everything, crawling because they come out in the darkness. For those of you that are traveling in these sort of environments, always leave the bathroom light on, they don’t like the light and they will go away. But in the darkness, they will come out and I just looked and was afraid of them falling on me.

Charis- Were they the kind that fly?

Ron- Oh they fly, jump, they ski jump, I don’t know what they do but they get on you.

Joy- I’m not sure how you use the facilities when you have cockroaches on the ceiling.

Ron- Well, I don’t want to describe but I just very quickly proceeded. So here I am watching for them and go back. Well, you go back time and time again in the middle of the night and every time its worse and worse and worse because they are accustomed to you now and they are waiting for you to come back so I’m sure they called friends over and they are hoping they can feast on me or whatever like that. Nothing happened but I didn’t get much sleep. Early morning the sun comes up and everybody gets up at the break of dawn and I’m walking outside. They had two dogs out there tied up to scare the snakes away from the cows and these were the most vicious animals I’ve ever seen in my life so I didn’t get near them. All I can tell you is this, this is not a one-star hotel we’re talking about but for the people in the world it is normal and, therefore, I did not complain. Related to me it’s a funny story. It’s sort of a reality check on what other people go through in the world but this is their life. Just because they didn’t have the softest bed or they didn’t have other things or the amenities because they did have cockroaches in the country, it’s hard for me to say that they did not knock themselves out for me to give me the best they had. They were hospitable and, therefore, I would never put this down, put them down for that. That is their conditions.

Joy- Well, they had those dogs for you which you must have been grateful for.

Ron- That was great, I didn’t hear them at night, I don’t know what they were doing. I guess what I’m trying to tell people is don’t criticize somebody in the world or make fun of them for the conditions that they live in because our brothers and sisters around the world live in very difficult situations. They make the best of what they’ve got and for us coming, he was building a room, didn’t quite get done. It would have been on the top floor probably away from all the dangers and stuff like that. It just didn’t quite happen. In heaven, we are going to have a great big laugh, he and I, about the night that I spent on a table trying to get some sleep with the snakes.

Joy-Okay, well thank you! I can say one thing with absolute certainty, had I been the one on the table, I would have stayed on the table and I would not have left all night long no matter what. Thanks for listening.

Well, this area is very famous for king cobra snakes

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