Poke Salad Revival

We heard on the radio that the two witnesses, or prophets as the people in Israel are calling them, have caused a lot of Jews to believe that Jesus was and is their Messiah. They say there was a rally just outside the temple in Jerusalem and that there was a crowd of about 200,000 people there. So many that they filled the streets in all directions. AC is not happy about it and persecution of saints has been stepped up by FP. Since the time AC was shot in the head and recovered FP has been the one causing trouble. It use to be that we did not fear going to town for it seemed to be enough punishment for “S's” just to not be able to buy or sell. But now “S's” are seen as unpatriotic and rebels. They have taken to stopping people in public and asking to see the Mark. We still go to town to blog and talk to those who are trustworthy then head back as quickly as we can. On our last trip to town a man tried to follow us at a distance. We had Trigger take us off road across a pasture and then down through the middle of a creek for a good ways so as not to leave tracks. We stopped for about half an hour and waited to see if we had lost him and when we felt he was gone we took a long round about way to get back to the pad. We got lost a time or two but Trigger seems to have a good since of direction and got us home.
Yesterday when we had all gotten up and were about to get started on our daily chores we noticed that something was different. It seemed eerie that no wind was blowing and no birds were singing. It was as if all nature just stopped and stood in silence. We gathered up and had prayer together and Pastor read from the Bible about the seventh seal. He said the prayers of the saints have been heard so we should be ready for a great storm and another great earthquake. Nothing has happened so far and since it was our turn to go to town we chose to make a quick trip. Hopefully we will be home before the storms come. Trigger is good about warning us in advance of earthquakes and we all keep our eyes on him throughout the day. I mentioned chores earlier and these have been divided up by twos. Two gather firewood each day, two prepare the meals and clean up afterward, two fish and hunt for food, two tend to the garden, carry water, and make repairs on tents and tools, and Pastor, still weak and somewhat frail, studies and prays. They starved him in prison and kept him in solitary confinement and he, even now, does not eat much and seems to avoid being indoors as much as possible. I feel he is grieving the loss of his wife. We still pray she will turn up okay.
We have been blessed with food lately and are eating a little more than before. David and Jonathan (not their real names), the two hunters in our group, using very primitive weapons and snares have been able to provide us with ducks, squirrels, fish, doves, and quail. They even found some Poke Salad which Mary and Martha (not their real names), our cooks, boiled thrice according to southern tradition to dilute the toxins. The part I have not enjoyed about wilderness living is bathing only once a week in a #3 wash tub in only slightly warm water. We have an out house which is not very pleasant but workable. The problem with it is that we have to stand it back up after every serious earthquake. The well has water in it again but we treat it before drinking. The sky is growing dark; looks like the storms are coming. (Revelation 7:1-17; 8:1-6)

The Help of a Sheep

Our children are doing well. They have been blessed and though life is tough for them they are surviving. Where they live I can not reveal but they have made very good choices and I thank God for that. We miss seeing them and the grandchildren but we will see them soon.
All is well at the Pad. There are still just nine of us and I will not tell on this blog who they are nor much about them. They are all good people and a mix of young and old. We take turns coming to town and checking on things. When it is our turn I post my blog when I can get an Internet connection. That is becoming increasingly difficult.
One day last week as we were returning to the Pad we met a man who was resting on the side of the road. He had been to town and was on his way home. He was not an “M” and usually if a person is not an “M” by now he is not going to be. We talked to him about the Lord and he said “My jury is still out on all of that.” He had some large sacks on either end of a pole that he had been carrying. He opened the sacks up and began to pile cans and bags of various foods on the ground. He took a plastic sack out of his pocket and filled it with the items he had placed on the ground. The items included rice, dried beans, macaroni, peanut butter, a couple of cans of fruit, crackers, and some canned meats. He handed the sack to us and said "Here take this." We accepted it reluctantly until he explained that he had plenty. “Where did you get all of this,” we asked. “Well,” he replied, “I have a skill that few have and so the “M's” (not his word but ours) need me and are willing to pay me with whatever I ask. So I fix things for them and they give me whatever is on my list. I have all that I need and like to share with people I meet.” It seems the “M's” put up with him and, though I dare not reveal his skill and connections, God truly has blessed him. Words were not enough but we thanked him as sincerely as we could. Everyone was excited to see the goodies we brought. It was enough food to last us a week at the rate we have been rationing. Pastor suggested we have a feast and so double portions were prepared for our noon meal. The picture is of the pot of beans and rice with a can of corn beef mixed in cooking over the fire. It was wonderful. They say the best seasoning for food is hunger and this tasted outstanding. I have asked Pastor what he thinks about inviting the benefactor of our feast to the Pad and he thinks it would be okay. I think this man is a “C” for sure and maybe we can help him to become an “S.” Pastor has a way with the Word and the Holy Spirit sure seems to work overtime when he preaches, so if we see this man again we will invite him to join us. Oh, by the way, his bicycle was being repaired and, yes, it was the one we had seen from half a mile away. (Matthew 25:33-40; Revelation 7:14-17)


Oh Happy Day

He said it felt like Paul and Silas. The quake hit and the prison walls came tumbling down. His prison cell was open and the guards were all dead. He walked out and, like Peter set free by the angel, he headed into town. That's right Pastor is alive and though very weak he is doing well. He was waiting at the Rendezvous with six other people. They had found him laying exhausted on the side of the road. After finding our fish box they had been unable to figure out the riddle so after nursing Pastor back to health he told them what they must do to be saved. “Being saved”, he told them, “is more important than figuring out a riddle.” “Be saved” said he, “and you'll understand the riddle.” So taking the Bible in hand he showed them the way to righteousness. They all fell to their knees and begged God to have mercy on their souls. Assured by Romans 10:13 they arose with tear filled eyes and likened to have hugged pastor to death. “Don't thank me” Pastor said, “Give God the glory.” Pastor handed the paper containing the riddle back to them and said “Now read it again.” They did and then their faces lit up and with Pastor in tow they knew right where to go.
When we saw Pastor in the group through the binoculars we were overwhelmed with joy. Without any hesitation we rode Trigger as fast as he would carry us to meet them. We embraced them all and sat together to hear their story. We got control of our emotions and then, almost like Christ's triumphal entry, we put Pastor on Trigger and led him to the Pad, like a parade, singing God's praises with great joy. Pastor does not know where his wife is. No one seems to know but we will try in the coming weeks to find her or at least what has become of her.
We have church every day with just the nine of us. It's how we start and end each day. I have never been to more sincere worship services in all my life. We study the Bible as if cramming for a final exam. It's like we don't want to be embarrassed when we meet the Lord, having spent our lives in church and not knowing any more than we do about His Holy Word. We play this game kind of like charades where you have to get the others to guess a secret word or phrase and the only words that can come out of your mouth are quotes from scriptures. The ones who win this game are those who have memorized the most scriptures.
One of the six people who have joined us at the Pad can actually play the guitar. She is teaching me and I have been doing it all wrong. Music, worship, games, and work keep our minds off of our empty stomachs. We are rationing the food and we each try to reverse cheat by eating less than our fair share to leave more for the others. Misery loves company, they say, and something about our love for God has made us love each other supremely. There are two of us who have “extra” weight on our frames. We joke as we skip meals that we are dieting to be slim and trim as the rest. We are filtering water out of the creek and a near by pond for drinking water. Up to this point we had not needed our water filters and bleach. Each filter is good for about 50 gallons of water and we should be all set for drinking water. The garden we have planted lacks enough sunlight to flourish but it looks like we will have at least a meager harvest. Pastor believes that the rapture is about a year and a half away. I am praying the Lord will help us make it to end.


The Big One

Trigger warned us of the Big One about 30 minutes before it hit. We had noticed that before any of the mild earthquakes, such as we get weekly, he would act a little strange. Well this time he went berserk. We knew that the sixth seal would be the biggest earthquake to ever hit the earth so we knew this must be it. We rushed into the Pad and drug out what was left of our supplies. We drew up water and got all our containers full. We took down the tent and packed everything away. We moved out into the open field and laid down. Trigger followed us and paced back and forth and round and round. When he stopped and seemed to suddenly brace himself we embraced each other and started to pray. It hit with incredible force. The Pad collapsed immediately and completely. We were rocked violently back and forth and had we been on our feet would not have been for long. The food barrels fell over and began to roll three feet one way and then three the other. Trigger fell over onto his side and was sliding back and forth on the damp grass. It lasted for about 30 minutes. When the shaking stopped we remained down knowing after shocks would come and they did. All day we spent in that field under a cloudy sky enduring the after shocks. We snacked between quakes and decided to set our tent up out in the open away from trees even though they had shed most of their limbs due to the shaking.
We have come to town to blog and to check on things after the quake. Horse back, or major 4 wheel drive, is the best way to travel right now. We have waited these two weeks to let things settle down. The sky is always dark and the sun can barely be seen during the day. The radio said that seven major volcanoes erupted at the same time when the quake hit. Air planes are having to fly at very low altitudes because of the ash in the upper atmosphere.
We are not currently afraid of people and of going to town for there are not many people left anyway. We go to town and see about things and talk to friends whether they are “S's” or not. We are not outspoken about our faith but we are not silent either. We don't feel persecuted so much but our move to the Pad was a form of self protection. Town was about what we expected. All houses and buildings were severely damaged and some completely. In two weeks they have cleared the roads and put up a lot of temporary shelters. We were surprised that the stores have reopened and the electricity was back on. We did have a hard time finding Internet access and have had to drop our guard a bit just to get this blog posted. There are water trucks available for drinking water and most people are still without running water to which we say “welcome to the club.” People were being asked to show the Mark to get water from the truck so we stayed away. We are headed to the rendezvous point for surely this quake has made believers out of some. We went to where we could see our old house and it was in shambles. I'll let you know next time what we found at the rendezvous. God blessed us with a sack of groceries today. Someone on an overloaded bicycle dropped it and rode off without it. We saw this from a half mile away. When we got to it he was long gone. We thanked God for it and asked Him to bless the one who lost it. (Revelation 6:12-17)