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LIGHT SIDE: Rats & Pits!!!

“The Pit” is unlike anything you have likely experienced. It is totally different than a camp porta-potty and has absolutely no resemblance to a typical American bathroom . . .

Mission Maker Magazine

Mission Maker Magazine

Ann’s article, “The Lighter Side of Missions,” published in Mission Maker Magazine, featured funny mission stories about rats, pit toilets, and eating grasshoppers. It’s a highlight from her book, The Mission-Minded Child – Raising a New Generation to Fulfill God’s Purpose.

Back to Mission-Minded Books & Resources

Of Rats & Pits:

Never Shine a Flashlight Down THE PIT!

A Dunagan Family Mission Story

(from Ann’s perspective)


“The Pit” is unlike anything you have likely experienced. It is totally different than a camp porta-potty and has absolutely no resemblance to a typical American bathroom. Not one home decorating magazine is displayed in a basket to read at your leisure, not one pretty towel hands on a shiny silver bar, and fluffy coordinating bathmats are nowhere to be seen.

The Pit it a cement or mud cubicle with a weathered wooden door, a six-inch square hold in the ground, and an unforgetable “aroma” –all above a very, very deep pit.

One night we were in a remote African village dominated by demonic witchcraft. It was late . . . and dark; and a while after the evening ministry time was over our outreach team got rolling in one of those funny, middle-of-the-night conversations. The topic turned to some very practical missionary advice: “Be sure to never shine your flashlight down the Pit!” (Have you ever watched that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones throws a torch down into the forbidden tomb and sees what he dreaded most–the floor alive with snakes?! I think you get the picture. The Pit is often swarming above with flies; and in the unknown depths below, it’s alive . . . with no ones now what!)

We were all laughing hysterically, including me . . . until I realized I had to “go,” and it just couldn’t wait until morning.

I got out my flashlight and went out into the darkness, through the rain–all by myself to the Pit. By this time, nothing seemed funny anymore. I was very tired and wouldn’t have minded those fluffy coordinating bathmats As I neared the “aroma,” I tried to decide my strategy. How could I go about using the Pit without shining the flashlight down?

When I arrived, I quickly threw open the rickety door–and barged in upon the biggest rat I had ever seen in my life! (With its tail it must have been nearly two feet long!) I wish I could say I was your strong unflinching woman; but I screamed and just stood there, soaking wet, crying in the dark.

My precious husband, Jon, came to my rescue, got rid of the creature, made sure the coast was clear, then stood guard to make sure I was protected.

I bravely reentered the Pit with my flashlight, while my husband reentered his comical, slightly mischievous mood. He told our team to come watch something funny as he rolled a rock toward me under the Pit’s door. My reaction did not let them down. I thought the rat was attacking me and I totally freaked out.

Everyone (except me!) thought it was the funniest joke of the evening!

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