Next week we welcome approximately 5,000 people from over 50 nations to our conference in Brighton, Together on a Mission.
A week before they were due to go to Calcutta to get visas to be with us in Brighton, John and Esther Pradhan, who are church planting in Nepal, had a terrifying experience.
John and Esther had gone to a graveyard for the funeral of a child in the church, with their daughter, Aradhana, who is 2½. Aradhana fell down a narrow and very deep crevasse nearby. Newspaper reports say it was 60 metres deep at least. Because it was so deep and dark they were unable to see anything. At first they could hear her crying out, but after a while there was no sound.
The police were called in, and then the army, but the crevasse was so narrow, it was impossible to tunnel down. By now, darkness was closing in. To add to their fears, it was monsoon season, and if it rained, water could rise in the hole adding another terrible possibility of drowning.
Many prayed all night
John had contacted all his relatives in India, who in turn contacted friends literally all round the world, and believers began to intercede, both for her rescue and that there would be no rain. Many prayed all night.
An expert team was dispatched from Kathmandu, who encountered another hazard: a huge boulder inside the pit further impeded access, yet to break it up could be very risky. Aradhana could be hit by falling rock. To their great joy, around 3 a.m., Aradhana’s voice was heard again, and attempts were made to lower food and water to her.
By morning light, some progress had been made in digging, but it was disheartening to discover that the crevasse was in an L shape, and the food and drink had failed to reach her. The rescue crew kept everyone away from the spot, but Nepal TV were covering their efforts.
All adult men were too big to squeeze through the narrow aperture but just before noon, a young boy of 12 or 13 volunteered to be lowered down. He managed to crawl over to where she was and found her curled up in a corner, alive.
“Who are you?” she asked innocently. He helped her to crawl along to a space where she was visible to the team and they dropped down a harness which the boy strapped on to her, and they were then able to lift her out, covered in mud but otherwise unharmed. She had been in the pit for 22 hours without food, water, and limited oxygen. Her father, John, held her in his arms, tears pouring down his face. “Don’t cry, Papa,” she said, “I’m fine.”
The news went out on national TV and was labelled “miraculous”. John was interviewed clutching his daughter, and used the opportunity to say it was an answer to prayer, and to preach Jesus to them. Another miraculous aspect was that it had rained in all the surrounding region, but that particular area had stayed dry!
The family is full of thanksgiving to God for preserving Aradhana, and desire to honour all who helped in rescuing her, especially the boy. They are also grateful to all who poured out their hearts in prayer.
What a mighty and merciful God we serve. It will be great to worship Him together with the thousands next week at Together on a Mission.