Lost and found

A 30-year-olf Bolivian man, Jhonattan Acosta, has told how he managed to survive for 31 days in the Amazon jungle after he got lost. He had got separated from four friends while out hunting in northern Bolivia. He drank rainwater collected in his shoes and ate worms and insects while hiding from jaguars and peccaries, a type of pig-like mammal. He ate wild fruits similar to papayas, known locally as gargateas. He said, “You wouldn’t believe all I had to do to survive all this time.” Jhonattan was finally found by a search party made up of locals and friends a month after he had gone missing.

Jhonattan’s family are putting together the details of how he got lost and managed to stay alive. They say he is still psychologically bruised after the experience. At first, he walked round in circles trying to find his way back to his friends before realising he was lost in the jungle. He felt very alone and afraid and thought he might die. He only had one cartridge in his shotgun and had difficulty walking. He didn’t have a machete or torch. He thought no one would be looking for him anymore. He lost 17kg in weight, had a dislocated ankle and was dehydrated when he was found, but was still able to walk with a limp.

After 31 days in the jungle Jhonattan spotted a search party some 300m away and limped towards them through thorny bushes, shouting to draw their attention to him. Amid tears he said, “It’s incredible, I can’t believe people kept up the search for so long.” His brother Horacio said, “A man came running to tell us they’d found my brother. It’s a miracle.” When he was lost in the jungle Jhonattan prayed to God, asking him to help him and lead him back to safety. He promised God that if he survived, he would play music to praise God. He is going to keep his promise and said, “I thank God profusely, because he has given me a new life.”

The Bible says that we are all lost spiritually, we have lost contact with the living God. Jesus, God’s eternal Son, came into the world to seek and save those who are lost. He did this by dying on the cross for our sins to bring us back to God. Jhonattan prayed to God and God heard him and saved him. He hears our prayers, too, when we come back to him and ask for his forgiveness. Jesus said, “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

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