The following is an edited extract from the author’s new evangelistic Easter book, Three Days that Changed the World, by 10Publishing.
Dian Fossey was an unusual woman. She was an American-born zoologist who left the comforts of home to move to Africa. There she lived among the rare, gentle mountain gorillas of Rwanda, who were threatened with extinction due to the cruelty of poachers who were tracking them down one by one and slaughtering them.
In 1967 she established the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda, on the side of a 14,000-foot tall, rain-shrouded volcano. After several years the gorillas came to accept her as one of their own. Fossey named them, cradled their babies, and cried with them when they mourned their dead.
She once wrote, ‘These powerful but shy and gentle animals accepted and responded to my attentions when I acted like a gorilla. So I learned to scratch and groom and beat my chest. I imitated my subjects’ vocalizations, hoots, grunts, and belches, munched the foliage they ate, kept low to the ground and deliberate in movement.’
After spending many years with the gorillas, she became like them, dwelling among them, and they were her friends. When faced with danger, she bravely defended them.
In the early hours of 27 December 1985, Dian was knifed and murdered, apparently by poachers whose trade she had sought to destroy. She died for those she had come to live among and save.
Jesus did more. He came to save, and willingly and deliberately laid down his life for us. As he was being crucified, Jesus prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ As his sufferings came to an end, he prayed, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’