We are driving down our “Driveway” of 27 kilometers trying to make it in good time back to BYT. The road was dry and relatively easy to travel. We were praising God for His mercies because we did not see any elephants and had made it safely to the shortcut, which is a rugged, gnarled up pathway of 6 km, mostly downhill into BYT. It seemed strange that a very large tree branch had been freshly broken down over the road. BletJhaw chopped it up with the machete, and I drugged the pieces off the road. As we drove on, I noticed I still had a phone signal, so I continued the conversation that I was having with my sister on messenger. At 4:30 p.m. I said to her:
“Sister, going into BYT now, we will lose signal but praise the Lord, no problem with elephants today!”
At that very moment we saw a man standing beside his motorbike. He was shaking in terror as he told us that we just passed 3 elephants. He was too afraid to go back that way to his village. We thought about the tree branch down by an elephant and yes, we had heard noises in the jungle at one point. How thankful we were to have passed safely by! Relaxed and thankful that they were behind us we resumed the journey. Around the second blind corner, just before the LaGlah village turn-off we were suddenly, shockingly, face to face with the largest wild elephant that I have ever seen! We were just a few meters away from him. VERY CLOSE! His trunk went up, and BletJhaw fumbled with the gears. He had been driving in 4-wheel drive high; we needed to back up on the steep part in 4-wheel drive low, however, the engine roared and we weren’t going anywhere! I looked at the gears and said:
“You’re in neutral!”
This is what we’ve always dreaded, meeting elephants on the narrow difficult dirt pathway! It seemed like ages before the truck finally lurched into 4WD low, and backwards we went: – how to turn around in this part of the jungle??? BletJhaw finally managed a 4-point turn, and back to the man with the motorbike. We are now surrounded by at least 4 elephants. What to do? We sat there for a very long time silently praying. The large elephant did not appear – he had not charged us. Finally BletJhaw began walking down to see if that big guy was off the road or walking away so we could drive past and not annoy him with the truck. He was gone a long time. I looked at the man beside me, still shaking beside his motorbike. I began to walk down the road also to find BletJhaw. The man followed me. He had a homemade gun, but what was that compared to this huge jungle hulk of a beast that we must be so very close to? We heard elephant noises behind us and suddenly the sharp noise of a tree breaking in front of us. That was the only time my heart got nervous because I thought perhaps BletJhaw was in trouble, so I walked on. My companion with the gun was tiptoeing a ways behind me. Around the corner I went – determined to “save?” BletJhaw! There he was taking a video of the elephant that had just pulled down a small tree and was scratching his face with it!
All of a sudden the elephant stopped and both his ears came straight out! This is a sign that they will charge! BletJhaw and I turned tail and ran as fast as our legs could carry us! The man was running also ahead of us, uphill to where our truck was. (But even the truck is not a safe place from these mammoth beasts! Everything is like a grasshopper to them. The truck could make them even more furious)! The elephant was coming behind us, but not charging. If they charge you won’t get away because they can run 20 mph. This is the first time I had to run on foot from a wild elephant! If he had charged us, he would have killed us both for sure. We were in a very dangerous position.
You see the oil running down the side of his face? The male elephants sometimes go through this condition called MUSTH. Their testosterone levels can raise up 60 times above the normal! This results in highly aggressive behavior and rise in reproductive hormones. Their instinct to mate goes into overdrive and they become extremely violent and extremely dangerous. They are known to kill the female elephants and everything in their path. When I read information on this it says that at this time they must be kept in isolation! Well, there is no isolation in these jungle mountains. We are the ones isolated between him and the other female elephants behind us! We could hear them in the jungle. Extreme danger! What to do?
We began driving out, I was watching the elephant that is following us at a faster pace now. BletJhaw is driving and looking ahead for the other elephants. By a complete miracle, at 6:22p.m. we were relatively out of danger and taking a longer route around to BYT. But those past 2 hours were intense and full of danger.
You know, all the power of God’s word that created those elephants is in the Word of God! And He had said to me:
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them!” Psalm 34:7
I am beginning to understand a little bit more about the profound power so easily available to me personally from His Words!