Juliane Margaret Koepcke

Juliane Margaret Koepcke

Date: 01/12/2016 
Juliane Koepcke was a German Peruvian high school senior student studying in Lima, intending to become a zoologist, like her parents. She and her mother, ornithologist Maria Kopecke, were traveling to meet with her father, biologist Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke, who was working in the city of Pucallpa. The airplane was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm and broke up in mid-air, disintegrating at 10,000 ft. Koepcke, who was seventeen years old, fell to earth still strapped into her seat.
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On Christmas Eve 1971, 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke boarded Lansa Flight 508 with her mother in Lima, Peru. They intended to join her father for Christmas at his research station in the Amazon rainforest. After crossing the Andes at about 21,000 feet, their aircraft was enveloped by large, dark thunderclouds, and it encountered severe turbulence. Lightning was flashing everywhere and the plane was shaken violently, which naturally terrified the passengers. Then a bolt of lightning struck the plane's engine and tore off a wing.

As the doomed airliner hurtled towards the earth, the cabin came apart and the next thing she knew, Juliane found herself strapped alone to a row of seats falling and spinning silently from over 10,000 feet above the rainforest. She plummeted through the jungle canopy and slammed on the forest floor. When she awoke the next day, Juliane was amazed to realize she had survived the two-mile fall with just a broken collarbone and a bad gash in her arm.

After failing to find any other survivors, Juliane relied on what her father had taught her, that walking downstream will always lead the civilization. With a bag of candy that had fallen from the plane in one sandal, she started walking. For 10 days, Juliane hobbled, swam or floated downstream. Her wounds became infected and she was plagued by maggots while having to dodge crocodiles, piranhas, and relentless insects. Eventually, she came to a shack where she slept and she was soon discovered by Peruvian loggers. Eventually, Juliane was United with her amazed father. It's hard to imagine a 17-year old girl surviving such a fall and then hiking alone out of the world's largest rainforest.

The Bible talks about some who survived an even greater fall than Juliane. In fact, according to the scriptures, when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, it brought the whole human race down, but Jesus came to redeem the world from sin. Perhaps you're thinking to yourself, "Well, that's ok for the world, but I've fallen too far." Well, if the Lord could save Juliane, God can save you. You've not gone farther than Moses who was guilty of murder, or David who was guilty of adultery, or Peter who denied Jesus. All of them were saved and restored from their fall. Or maybe you're thinking, "I've fallen too many times."

Be of good courage. It says in Proverbs chapter 24 verse 16, "A righteous man falls seven times and rises again." Jesus cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene. Don't get discouraged friend. If you've fallen, get back up again. The same way that he could save Juliane, lead her from that lost condition in the rainforest and restore her to her father, Jesus can lead you from your lost condition and restore you to your heavenly Father.

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