Friday, August 21, 2009

Game park miracle

For those of you who read my blog, you probably know how much I love going to the game park. For me, it's a time to unwind and enjoy the wonders of God's incredible creation. So last month, after the English camp, we headed toward South Africa with the Sugar Creek mission team so they could catch their flight back to the states. On the way, we'd arranged for them to spend one day at Kruger Game Park.

One of the teens, though, had been sick for most of the trip, and we felt that it was important for her to see a doctor who could to recognize any exotic parasite she might have picked up. And while I had really been looking forward to Kruger, I agreed take her while the rest of the group headed out to the park.

At the doctor, they were able to take a blood test and verify that she didn't have anything serious. And thankfully, by this time, Jenna was also feeling a lot better. On our way back from the doctor, she asked me if there was a possibilty that we could go to the park for the afternoon. I told her that I could take her, but that we would be going at the worst time for sightings. Typically, the best time is early morning, or in the evening, not in the heat of the afternoon.

While we headed to the park, I was hoping that we'd see something for her to photograph, but with only a couple hours of viewing time ahead of us, I wasn't very optimistic.

After an hour in the park, we'd seen a couple zebra, some birds, and a squirrel. Time was running out, and so I decided to start praying. By this time, I would have been happy with a couple giraffe and a warthog--anything. But instead we just kept driving. . .and seeing nothing. Finally, back on the main road, we came across a herd of elephant and sat to watch them off the side of the road. Jenna snapped photos, and I let out a sigh of relief--and kept praying.

A few minutes later, the road was teaming with impala, kudo, and giraffe, and there were buffalo across the river bed. Jenna was smiling and I was sending up prayers of thanks.

Then I saw something stirred in the bushes. Another impala, no doubt. But then my breath caught.

A leopard.

Now, I've never seen a leopard in the park, so with both of us trying not to scream with excitement, Jenna started snapping photos while I spun the car around to follow it. It slipped into the bush, then turned to cross the road in front of us. I spun the car around again, and with my heart pounding, we followed it back the other direction. We continued following it for a few more minutes until it finally disappeared into the bush.

Now, I probably shouldn't mention that we actually thought it was a cheetah at first--until we calmed down and looked at the photos--but by now, even though it was time to head home, we were both thrilled. We'd seen three of the big five. Elephant, buffalo, AND leopard!

It always amazes me at how God cares about the small things. With only a couple hours in the park, we headed toward the gate, thrilled with what we'd seen. But God had even more planned. Not only did we see a rhino on the way out, but a pride of lions devouring a kill.

Which meant that we'd seen the big five!

Be blessed today! God's able to do more than you can ever ask for or imagine!


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