“Just before I started down the steps, I saw three wild leopards standing about four feet away from me,” Richard said.
Richard is a Bible Worker who, for several years, worked in Valparai, a town at the top of a long windy road, on a mountain covered with tea plants. This mountain is also an animal sanctuary. All sorts of creatures roam the mountain freely. In fact, the workers at the tea plantations quit working each day at 3:00 or 4:00 PM to avoid being mauled or even eaten by wild animals.
Valparai is quite a hilly town, and the houses and shops occupy different levels separated by large stone staircases. Richard was standing on one of those staircases when he saw the leopards, their heads crouched low, their tails swishing menacingly back and forth.
That staircase, Richard said in his interview, was once covered in mud and moss, and during the rainy season, many people slipped and were injured. He, along with his family, took soap and cleaned off each step until all the mud was gone.
The villagers were surprised, but very thankful. They had done nothing for Richard and his family, but they helped the villagers anyway.
Now, the steps were no longer slippery, even during the rainy season. As a result, they started to spend time with Richard, and he had the chance to tell them about Jesus.
Not because he was powerful, but because the God he prayed to IS.
If they were sick, they came to him. If they had financial problems, they came to him. If they were demon-possessed, they came to him. Not because he was powerful, but because the God he prayed to IS. and HE is able to take care of all their needs.
Although Richard no longer works in Valparai, he still goes back and visits the villagers, and he teaches them more about Jesus. (Another Bible Worker lives there and takes care of the church now).
Richard is so thankful to God for working in the hearts of these villagers.
Now you may be wondering what exactly happened that night with the leopards?
Well we were too!
Richard finished sharing about the villagers and sat back like he was finished.
“Do you have any more questions?” The translator asked.
“Yes!” said Christina, who was moderating the interview. “What about the leopards? What happened to them?”
“The leopards took ten steps back and stopped,” he said. Their tails still swished. Richard could tell that they were agitated, but still, they did not move. “Finally, they turned and walked away. I was able to move on and make it home Safely. Praise God!”
God saved Richard from those leopards, who would surely have killed him if given the chance. But that isn’t what mattered to Richard. To him, God’s other miracle, opening the hearts of the Hindu villagers, was of much higher value.
Please continue to keep Richard and the other Bible Workers in your prayers as they seek to serve God and share Jesus with those around them.