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TRUE STORY: Jungles, Missionaries, and Coconut Trees

Do you love a good story?

I love stories. I adore them. It’s like the bread and butter of my day. There’s nothing like a good story upon a pleasant spring day or… any day, in fact. I tend to think that others love stories too. We’re either hearing about one or sharing one. We’re for sure living one.

Once in a while I meet people that say they’re “not a fan” of books or reading altogether but you actually read the stories of the people around you, everyday. Just as they’re reading yours.

If you may, let’s take gossipers for once—(cue whisper mode) I think they’re actually lovers of stories, only the deadly kind.

They’re trapped in listening to the wrong story and share more or less of what’s actually true. Some may perhaps consider themselves as fiction writers of the century, and that was to be the biography—story—of their life that people are reading about, regardless whether it leaves a bitter taste or a pleasant one.

Sometimes I wonder where the difference lays between gossipers and liars, if there was any at all.

For all the plethora of gossips out there, I figured I should share true stories all the more, even ones that have happened before I was even around… (Especially when I’m feeling that block that writers have so lamented about and I got an article due pretty soon! Kidding).

I mean, those stories have already been written and lived. I can instead try to bring it back to life and share it with the generation that wasn’t around then. Maybe you even remember one of them—a few articles back when I was talking about my grandfather, my pretty awesome Opa. And yeah, I can call him awesome cause he’s my grandpaw!

Well, here’s another one. And whether I’m suffering from the notorious “writer’s block” or not, this is one story that I’d really like to share. Besides it being pretty funny, it’s been passed down from one generation to another and I can testify the legitimacy of the source.

True story—

Quite some time after my Opa became a follower of Jesus Christ he went on a local mission trip with a friend of his. Now, in those days, in a then third world country, people traveled by the “No. 11 Bus”.

That was a joke for traveling on foot.

Get it? Cause your two legs look like the number eleven…?

(At least you can never fault me for never putting up effort at humor!)

Anyways. After laboring with the Holy Spirit to release Heaven upon the village they visited, the two left with good cheer in their hearts. God indeed was faithful. He’s always good, always loves, always provides. And He had moved through my Opa and his friend, two unlikely men Jesus transformed into fishers of men.

Homebound, they trudged through the Indonesian jungle where cars couldn’t venture but a great home to God’s myriad of forest creatures. The moon and the star lights guided their path. The sounds of the jungle nightlife accompanied them as the scent of foliage helped keep them awake. But the dark continued to thicken and fatigue soon won over my Opa and his friend.

With a spot for rest in mind, they came across a fallen coconut tree and it was then they decided to give into sleep. As soon as their heads hit the tree trunk they were asleep.

Come morning, now rested and with minds clearer, they noticed how comfortable of a pillow the coconut tree trunk was. In fact, it was astoundingly cushy. So soft and cushy…

And moving.

Up and down. Up and down.

As if it was a chest breathing…

Wait, it was cushy…? Coconut trees?

Coconut trees??


Nope, they weren’t laying on Jesus’ chest as if they were John!

And, yupe.

You guessed it.

Behold, a great python had joined them for camp—err, or maybe it was the other way around—and indeed provided them with as much comfort as it could…

Maybe I should’ve titled this article “Giant Snake Turned Live Pillow”—see how much likes it’ll get on Facebook

Well, according to His Book, the angels of God had shut the mouths of lions and we all might’ve guessed that Daniel probably had better sleep than most people then, even with smelly lions for roommates, and shall I say, pillows?

Yes… God indeed was faithful. He’s always good, always loves, always provides. On your journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ, even dangerous lions and giant snakes will serve you instead of harm you. In the light of His favor and protection we can carry on with trust and confidence.

So for all the aspiring missionaries out there… the next generation may one day tell your stories as mine have with Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Whether it’d be titled “Daniel and the Hungry Lions” or “Jungles, Missionaries, and Coconut Trees”,


Write on!

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Rebecca Ticoalu serves as the director of Wellsprings Creative, the worship creative ministry of Jesus Reigns International and Abundant Grace Christian Church located in NJ. She is the founder of LOVE OUT LOUD, a love movement fighting against slavery and poverty through artistic and creative expressions.


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