Wedding Bells

We are beginning to see more people riding horses. The frequent earthquakes keep closing roads and so the only sure way to get back home is an off road mode of transportation. The locust are still tormenting “M's” and we have been left alone. There have not been any of the locust in our new camp. I have seen a lot of them as I go into town and they are a comfort to us who are “S's.” When the locust are around the “M's” are not. The streets are very empty and I can blog without any fear of being seen. Our oldest child's blog has been hacked and they have had to resort to emergency plan B. Someone edited their last blog and said things that they would never say. It was an attempt to draw us out but it failed. We anticipated this possibility and came up with a plan B and that plan is working well. They are otherwise doing well. Still no word from our youngest. They must be having problems getting Internet access. They have not used emergency plan C yet so hopefully all is well with them.
Jael has been working on K and Sam. She has always been blunt and just speaks to them plainly that they need to be saved. Pastor is not so pushy. He preaches the Word and lets the Holy Spirit convict. She has made progress influencing them though. Her time spent with K has been good for them both. At the prodding of K, Jael has been spending a lot of time talking to Sam. My wife and I were not sure what was going on but we had our suspicions. Sure enough, yesterday Sam popped the question and K did not hesitate to respond with a resounding “YES.” Pastor performed the ceremony and David, Jonathan, and Isaac were the groom's men. Jael was the maid of honor and Mary, Tabitha, and Shiphrah were the bridesmaids. I gave the bride away. Rebekah, my guitar instructor, provided the music and Elisabeth sang. Everybody had a part. K wore Barzallai's wife's wedding dress which needed only a little alteration. Sam was even able to get a wedding cake and a set of rings. He had some trouble getting the cake home in one piece. Trigger did the best he could to give the cake a smooth ride home. Sam and Noah, yes they all liked K's nickname, seem to be a perfect match. They had been friends for a long time but never serious until the Mark hit. They had both made the decision that the Mark was not a good thing and though they knew very little about the Bible they knew taking the Mark would not be right. They are very close to being saved and I think they will be soon.
We go over to Barzillai's house most evenings to watch the news. The two witnesses have killed several people who have tried to kill them. They have been causing draught and other plagues throughout the middle east and Europe. There are currently 1500 active volcanoes on land and many others under the oceans. Earthquakes continue to be intense both in frequency and magnitude. They are hoping that the 1500 will not all go off at the same time. Such an event, they say, would be the end of our world. How little they know about how their world is going to end. When they do go off Pastor says that 33% of the human race will be killed. This will mean that Earth will have less than half the population it had before the tribulation began. Pastor has suggested that we be prepared for the coming eruptions. We have masks for the dust, ash, and smoke. We have chosen this location because it is not near any Volcanoes and with God's help we will be fine. We have even rigged up a makeshift mask for Trigger including some goggles for his eyes. He does not seem to like these at all but when he is faced with the alternative we expect he will accept them without hesitation. God has spared us and even blessed us through the seals and trumpets. Each has in its own way been a curse to the “M's” and a blessing to the “S's.” We have made us a storm shelter and fixed an air filtering system for it. It should protect us from the smoke and fire but brimstone is a whole different matter. We will pray that God will protect us from the sixth trumpet. (Matthew 24:38-39; Revelation 9:1-20)



Jael, who I introduced to you as “a woman you don't want to mess with,” has a rough exterior and is not timid a bit. She will speak her mind and if you ask her opinion she won't hold anything back. She is a “get it done” kind of person. Her chores are quickly and efficiently completed each day. She never needs anyones help. Beneath this rough exterior lies a very sweet and compassionate person. People will say this of her and then add, “You just have to look for it.” K has had a hard time fitting in with our little group. Sam goes off to work nearly every day and some days returns empty handed. Sam has been a huge help to us all and has made our existence much easier. But K seems to have nothing to contribute. The last person I would ever have expected for K to take up with was Jael. I was so shocked when I came back from town to see K and Jael together and not only getting along but enjoying each other's company. They are spending a lot of time together and this has made K feel good about joining us. It looks like they are building a close relationship with each other. When you see the two of them together Jael is like a whole different person. I am praying that through this close relationship that Jael will be able to lead K to the Lord.
Barzallai is not doing well. K brought Jael over to his house and introduced her to him. He still does not know about the rest of us. He might not have liked Jael “before K” but now Jael's compassion and sweetness keeps popping out. We tease her about it often. I think I see now why K had such influential friends in high places before. I am toying with the nick name “Noah” for K. As with the other nicknames I will take a straw poll of the group but so far I am batting a thousand with my nickname approvals. “Noah” means rest or comfort. People seem to be at rest and comfortable around K. I'll let you know if the name is approved.
Our prayers have been answered. Mary has returned to our fold. She came back one morning a few days ago. She confessed that she was not saved and knew that she would be exposed by the locust. She went to a friend's house and when her friend was no where to be found she inquired and found out that her friend had died in a building collapse a month ago. She was chased by the locust and barely escaped being stung. She had ducked into a portable john, and with the locust crawling all around looking for a way in, she begged God to save her soul. She claimed that at that very moment the sound of the locust crawling and flying all around the outside of the john stopped. “Everything grew quite,” she said. "I waited a bit and peeked out of the upper vent windows and the locust were standing still." She waited a bit longer and then with a thunderous roar the locust took off in flight. She stepped out of the john and dropped to her knees thanking God for His salvation. She ran as fast as she could back to the new pad. It is so good to have her back. Mary got her name because she is young and she prays the sweetest prayers. She was really good at praising God and now that she is saved her praises are even more moving. Our prayers continue for Hannah. She too was very pious in her conversation and could be such an asset to God's Kingdom if she would repent.
Pastor and Elisabeth are doing well. Her being back has made all the difference in his over all health and strength. They are a wonderful couple. David and Jonathan have been very good hunters and we are eating well. Hunger truly is the best seasoning for food. They came home one day with a canteen full of milk. We asked where and how they got the milk and the story that followed had us all laughing out loud.
The locust has given us a time of peace which we have not known for some time. The “M's” are all too busy trying to deal with these pests to worry about “S's.” I did run into some trouble in town last week. There were some men standing around which looked suspicious. I had to find another portal to the Web and much to my delight I found another very quickly.
We built a tee-pee and it is a very comfortable place to hold our worship services. We build a fire in the middle and all sit around in comfort out of the rain and cold singing praises to God. It sleeps six comfortably around the fire. Though we all have our own smaller tents it is nice to sleep by the fire on those really cold nights. If we get enough materials we will build a second one. The blogs of our children have not been updated in the past two weeks which is starting to cause us concern.


Our new home is working out very well. We have adequate amounts of water and firewood and our mighty men of valor have found game for our table. The chickens are molting and so egg production is low. We eat a lot of cornbread, potatoes, and beans. Trigger has not had much to eat and Sam was able to get a sack of horse feed for him last week. Sam is starting to have trouble getting work. More and more people don't want anything to do with those who will not take the Mark. Barzallai goes to town twice a month for groceries and has given K some things we have needed like bandages, soap, and a number of other things he has had for a long time and never used. K helped him clean out is closets and brought a large bag full of good warm clothes which my wife soon altered for various ones who needed them.
Our hearts have been saddened by a grim reality. The fifth trumpet has driven two from our little band. It seems that Mary has left us. We are not certain as to why. She departed quietly one night without saying a word to anyone. She did not seem like herself after Pastor read and explained Revelation 9:1-11. The next day she did her chores like usual but seemed very worried. I have a theory about why she left but I hope it is not true. If she had stayed with us the locust would have revealed that she was not one of us. She did not want to take that chance so left. There does not seem to be any other reasonable explanation for her sudden departure.
Hannah has also left us but not anything like Mary. When the locust came she was bitten by one as she was filling the water jugs at the well early one morning. At first we thought she had been bitten or stung by some kind of dreadful spider or scorpion. We never dreamed it could be one of the locust for we just knew she would have the seal of God in her forehead, being a saved person. The second time she was stung Pastor and I saw it. In her agony and pain she cursed us and left in a rage screaming. She left expressing that we were all against her, that we had misunderstood the Bible teaching about the fifth seal, and that we thought we were better than her. In her mind she is convinced she is saved and that there has to be some other explanation for her being stung when none of the rest of us have been. “Let her go,” Pastor said. “There is nothing we can do.” There is a fear that she will turn us in but we are hoping she will not. I am afraid that she will reason in her mind that the Mark is not really of the devil and will take it so she can survive. We now know how the disciples must have felt when they found out about Judas. Their leaving came as a complete surprise to us all. It might be that Mary is lost, knows it, and yet so far has done nothing about it. Hannah is lost, does not know it, and goes on thinking she is okay. We pray that they will repent and be saved.
The locust have been spreading like a plague everywhere. They seem to have no interest in eating vegetation like normal locust. There are reports that many have been bitten by them and their bites are very painful. None of the pesticides will kill them and they just seem to be everywhere. They seem to stay away from our camp for the most part. We have seen only one or two at a time whereas in town they are seen in swarms. Sam and K are very careful not to come in contact with these locusts. They are very afraid of them. So far they have not been touched and they credit that fact to their carefulness. They wear heavy clothing and look like bee keepers when they are outside. They think they're safe because they are careful and are in good standing with God since they have helped us. As for the rest of us, when we walk outside of camp the locust move out of our way and though they look like they would just love to bite us they don't even try. The chickens just love them. I assume they don't taste like chicken to chickens.
I noticed on our way into town that the hospitals are filled to overflowing with people who have been bitten. They seem to be in agony and even the strongest of men were weeping and wailing. It seems the sting and swelling only lasts for about a week but with so many locust one can't help but be bitten every week or even every day. Those who can, stay indoors with their windows and doors taped shut. There does not seem to be any medicine that will relieve the pain and swelling. Many are put on suicide watch because the pain is overwhelming. Heavy sedation works well but they can't do that for everyone.
We are down to 12 now and this plague will last for four more months. Only two more trumpets and we will be going home.



We made it to our new location after some very close calls. The well took some work to make it ready for use and that project took several days. There is an elderly man, we have nicknamed him Barzillai after king David's elderly friend in the Bible, whose house is fairly close to our new location. K has taken to seeing about him every few days. He has family but they only come round once or twice a year. His mind is not completely right and he does not understand, and at times does not even realize that he has the mark. We think he was taken by one of his children to get the mark and it was never explained to him what it was and why he had to have it. Often he is very confused but seems to know how to take care of himself. He loves company. He allows K to watch the news on his TV and to charge up the battery on our laptop computer. It is amazing to see what is going on in the world and not just to hear it. K often returns to describe what is happening in the world. Our radio still works and we still get most of our news from it. We all, being careful to stay out of sight, went and watched through the window the coverage of the two prophets. The two witnesses, or prophets as they are called by the Israelis, are being blamed for every natural disaster and misery that has come upon the earth. AC is about to have his fill of them. This means so much to us because, as Pastor says “When they go we go.” Barzillai is hard of hearing and that is why we could hear the TV while seeing the news. K has not let him know about us for security reasons.
We have given Bicycle Man a new name, Sam. Sam comes from the good Samaritan in the Bible. So when I refer to Sam you think of a good man who is not numbered with God's people but we hope he will be one day. Sam has been able to fall right into work. He rides Trigger to town, does his work and when he's through he takes for his services the box of goodies which he requested as payment, climbs back on Trigger, returns home and we all benefit.
It took a while to find Internet access. I am not 100% sure that it is safe and secure but it's worth the risk to keep friends and family informed. It is also needed for peace of mind as it is our only source of information about our children and their families. The news was not good from our youngest. Their experience, through these perilous times, has been much more violent than the rest of us. They are in an area full of over enthusiastic “M's.” These have a great hatred of “S's.” They do not seem content just to turn them in to the authorities but take the law in their own hands and as a mob have killed many “S's.” The people of our area are not at all that way. The worst we have seen is “S's” reported to the police and arrested. Since we stay away from the public eye we are left alone. There have been hunting parties where our youngest lives going out with dogs looking for “S's” that may be hiding in the woods. Hunting them like animals, destroying their camps, and stealing their supplies.
It is Christmas time and we are going to celebrate it as best we can. There is not much time left before the rapture. We have a rationing system that should see us through the winter. We are too far from the rendezvous point to check it any more. There will not be anymore joining us unless God sends someone our way. Winter's have been mild these past six years and we are hopeful this last one will be as well.
I have been asked to share a little more about our companions. There are twelve “S's” and two “C's” in our little band. Pastor and Elisabeth (pastor and his wife), David and Jonathan (our hunters and mighty men of valor), Shiphrah (our nurse), Ezra and Tabitha (me and my wife who is good at sewing thus the name), Sam and K (our kind and helpful “C's”), Isaac and Rebekah (a man who can find joy and humor in most anything and his wife who Isaac says “imitates a really good cook”), Mary and Hannah (the two ladies who escaped with Elisabeth), and Jael (a woman you don't want to mess with).
K got to watch some footage of a meteor hitting the earth. It caused an earthquake and a huge, massive volcano in Russia has erupted and begun to darken the sky. Huge billows of black smoke are pouring out of it. Pastor believes this may be the fifth trumpet. (Revelation 9:1-2; 11:3-12; Matthew 24:8-11; Revelation 7:13-17)