Ye Ar’nt List’ng

In A Day with the Millers, I had mentioned that during the afternoon, Antoine had volunteered a story for the children, which I would share sometime later. On Sunday, while our children played in the park (under our supervision), I wrote out this story from a few notes I had taken, as well as what my phone had recorded.

*                                                     *                                *                                             *

                “Could we have a story?” Rachel Martin had asked.
                “A story about the ocean?” Rebecca added.
                “You want a story, you say?” Antoine replied.
                “Yes, please,” the children chorused.
                “Alright,” Antoine began, “I’ll tell you one. What kind of story do you want?”
                “A pirate story!” Joel begged.
                The others nodded their heads vigorously.
                “Alright,” Antoine began. “A long time ago, when ships, instead of planes crossed the world…”

​Gangs of pirates roamed the sea, plundering, looting, and robbing the merchant ships and ocean liners, taking captives and demanding high ransoms to return them. But one gang sailed high above the rest. This group held a record among other pirates as the most notorious pirate gang there ever was; for not only did they rob merchant ships and ocean liners, but they also robbed other pirate gangs, and demanded the highest ransoms of that time. One British person had had to pay about ten thousand pounds to this gang to rescue his wife and two small children.
                But nothing could surpass that gang’s final raid on an estate in north-eastern Scotland, when the Mo-de Pirates, as they called themselves, raided the estate of Wilbur McKee, taking his only daughter and several items. A note was left for Wilber that read:

                To Wilbur McKee–
                To reclaim your goods and daughter, we require twenty thousand pounds.

                Wilbur had not been home, as he was out checking his fields. He was totally grief-stricken to learn that his daughter, Elly, had been lost to the gang. It was almost as bad as her dying.
                “Lord, Lord,” he begged in prayer that night, “ have mercy on her. She isn’t ready to die; please, save her soul, and bring her back to me, if it is Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
                A couple of miles away lived Iosag McShaw, a middle-aged man with whom Wilbur was acquainted.
                “Iosag,” Wilbur told him the next day, “I need your help. I’ve lost my daughter to pirates, and I don’t know how to get her back. I don’t have the money to pay the ransom.”
                Iosag thought for a minute.
                “I fear she’s not ready to die,” Wilbur added.
                “Have you told Luc about Elly?” Iosag asked.
                Luc was the young man who had expressed interest in Elly, whom Elly openly adored. Luc’s father was a naval captain in the area.
                “No,” Wilbur replied, “I haven’t.”
                “Leave it to me, Wilbur,” Iosag stated. “I’ll see what I can do.”
                “Thank you,” Wilbur said. “I’ll pray for you, and I’ll see you later.”
                After Wilbur left, Iosag immediately left for Luc’s place, and told him about the events. Though somewhat saddened, Luc eagerly agreed to join the effort to find Elly. Luc left to get a friend of his, Ian, while Iosag went to find Peadur, a former pirate and friend of Iosag. Peadur’s knowledge of the sea would be invaluable in this search.
                Iosag’s first move was to offer the pirates 10,000 pounds. They turned it down, and Iosag immediately offered 15,000. That offer was also rejected, and the pirates demanded the full amount.
                “We’re going to have to do it the hard way,” Peadur remarked as the five of them sat around Wilbur’s table.
                “You said it’s the Mo-de pirates?” Ian asked.
                “Yes,” Wilbur replied.
                “Aren’t they in Norway?” Luc asked.
                “They are,” Iosag agreed. “Peadur, do you know anything about them?”
                “They were responsible for breaking up the gang I was with,” Peadur replied.
                “Do you think you could locate their base?” Ian asked.
                “I think fairly easy, lad,” Peadur answered.
                “Might I come with you?” Wilbur asked.
                Iosag nodded his head. “I believe it would be a good idea if you came along.”
                The five of them prepared for the trip. Peadur bought a small ship and tinkered on it a bit so as to make it look a little like a Viking ship. The five of them left quietly so as to keep the pirates uninformed.
                They arrived on the shores of Norway about three weeks after they left Scotland.
                For weeks they searched for any signs of the Mo-be pirates, looking for any kind of a harbor or the pirate ship. Finally an older man suggested a location that they agreed to try.
                Iosag led the group, followed by Luc and Ian. Peadur and Wilbur brought up the rear.
                “There it is,” Iosag stated as he stepped through a small clearing. The five of them gazed up at the sight in front of them, illuminated by the setting sun. A high, rocky hill towered above them, topped with a mid-sized fortress. Six canons protected the west and south, while the other sides were out of sight.
                Iosag motioned the others to follow him. As they neared the hill, Iosag whispered, “Single file. Follow me, and don’t get spotted.”
                Iosag began the ascent, followed by Wilbur. Luc and Ian came next, while Peadur guarded the rear. It was a long, tedious climb, complicated by the rocks and the requirement to keep low.
                “Reminds me of Jonathan in First Samuel,” Ian remarked to Luc. “You remember, when he and his armor bearer snuck up on the Philistines?”
                “Only there’s about three more here,” Luc whispered back.
                Several minutes of climbing brought them to the top.
                They surveyed the walls to see if they could climb the wall. Finally Iosag motioned for the others to follow him. They slithered their way around until they neared the gate.
                “Luc,” Iosag whispered, “Ian. Go around to the other side, and wait for further orders.”
                The two nodded their heads and quickly moved. One guard stood at the gate, gun in hand.
                Iosag cautiously snuck closer, then raced for the guard. The guard caught sight of him, just as Iosag tackled him.

*                                             *                                             *                                             *                                             *

                Antoine paused briefly, and glanced at the children. “Shall I stop it there?” he asked jokingly.
                “No, please, go on!” they begged.

*                                             *                                             *                                             *                                             *

                “Now you open this gate and you can live,” Iosag told the guard.
                The guard knocked on the doors. Iosag motioned for the others to join him.
                As the gate opened, Iosag waved his hand at Luc, who tackled the guard inside, pushing the gate even further. The others rushed in.
                Though there wasn’t all that many pirates, the few that were there weren’t going to let these infiltrators get away with anything. A few fired at Iosag and his friends, and a risky duel ensued.
                The noise brought Elly to a small window, from which she watched in horrified suspense. Finally, when Wilbur broke out of the group, Elly called out: “Father! I’m here!”
Crash! The door burst open and Wilbur rushed in.
                “Father! You’re here! You’re really here!” Elly exclaimed.
                “Oh thank God,” Wilbur called, “He’s preserved my daughter.”
                “Yes papa,” Elly agreed. “The Lord has preserved me.”
                Just at that moment, Iosag stepped into the room.
                “Iosag?” Elly asked. “You’re here, too?”
                “Ian and Luc came, too,” Iosag replied. “But I’m afraid Luc was killed.”
                Elly blinked. “Luc gave his life for me, much like my Saviour,” she remarked sadly.
                “Has God called you, my daughter?” Wilbur asked, catching that last part.
                “Yes, papa,” she replied. “And I have answered.”
                “Luc’s alive! Luc’s alive!” Ian called.
                The others rushed out.
                “Luc!” Elly called.
                “I’m here, Elly,” he replied weakly.
                Elly dropped to her knees beside him.
                Wilbur gazed up to Heaven. “Thank You, Lord, for giving me back my daughter, and for sparing Luc’s life. Thank You, Jesus.”


Oh, You’ll See…

“Good evening,” Pastor greeted us as we walked up to the door.

            “Good evening,” we replied.

            “Mr. Short-hand,” David greeted us. “I see you must have gone to the beach; your hair is wet.”

            I felt my head. “Yeah, I guess it is,” I stated. “Yes, we went to Biloxi with the Martins.”

            “Something fun to do,” David agreed.

            Several families had already arrived, since we were a little late (around 6:20 instead of closer to six).

            The service soon started, and then Brother Jesse Homes had the floor.

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One Day

“Well,” I began after we climbed into the car that Friday night as we headed to the hotel, “that was a good one, too.”

            “Yes,” Felicity agreed. “It was. What a sad view to believe.”

            “Not much different from Post-Trib,” Steve observed. “In both cases, you get to die.”

*                                  *                                  *                                  *

            “There,” Steve said, setting the case in the trunk. “Mama packed an extra set of clothes for today.”

            I nodded my head. “Alright,” I said as I checked to see his fingers were out of the way before shutting the trunk. “Everyone ready?”

            We climbed in the car, prayed briefly for safety today, and started up. Backing the car up,  I put it in drive and we wheeled out the parking lot.

            “This glad morning since the night is o’er/ We’ll drive away,” Steve started our travel version of I’ll Fly Away. The children had one verse so far that they had modified (or murdered—not sure which).

            “We’ll drive away, drive away (Oh glory!)/We’ll drive away/When night’s done (Hallelujah!) by and by/We’ll drive away!” they finished.

            “Could we sing the real song?” Susie asked.

            Felicity began the song in her alto voice, “Some glad morning…”

             We sang all the way to the Martins’, and arrived about three minutes early.

            “Good morning,” Ed greeted us as we walked to his door. Ruth, David, and the twins stood just behind him. Emily and Anna emerged from the kitchen.

            “We take our shoes off,” Ed stated when I caught sight of seven pairs of socks standing around. “Keeps the house cleaner.”

            “That’s what we think too,” I agreed as we took our shoes off. “We take our shoes off at home, too.”

            Just then the Millers emerged from their various locations.

            “Good morning,” Antoine declared. “You all are a little early.”

            “A little, I guess,” I stated.

            “But breakfast is almost ready,” he stated. “If everyone wants to head to the kitchen.”

            We marched our way to the kitchen and sat down. After Ed led in prayer, I glanced around in the kitchen. Six adults: Ed and his wife, Emily; Antoine and his wife, Anna; and Felicity and I sat like islands among the sea of children: my three, Steve, Susie, and Joel; Ed’s five, Anna, David, Ruth, Rachel, and Rebecca; and Antoine’s six, Sharon, Adeline, Luke, Timothy, Lisa, and Esther.

            The breakfast was well done: fried eggs, scrambled eggs (which was a good thing—Felicity and Susie both can’t stand fried eggs), sausage, biscuits, gravy, and hash browns. Condiments included ketchup, mustard, grape, peach and strawberry jelly, and butter. And to wash it down, the Martins had water, juice, or milk (including chocolate syrup—much to Steve and Joel’s delight). All ate well, and there was some leftovers, which, (upon Ed’s insistence), we agreed to take when we got back. Ed read two chapters from Revelation after breakfast.

            After eating and reading, the sea of children (ranging in age from about eighteen to four)scattered throughout the house (and outside), while we adults prepared to leave.

            Once dinner (uh—the noon meal, that is) was ready, Antoine called the children in to finish getting ready. “Remember to get extra clothes so you have dry ones,” Emily instructed. “Oh, by the way,” she added, turning to me, “do you need clothes?”

            “Uh, no, thanks, we packed some,” I replied.

            “Alright,” she smiled. “Just wanted to make sure.”

            After everyone was ready, Ed led in prayer, and then we headed (after putting all those shoes on) to the vehicles.

            We followed the Martins and the Millers all the way to Biloxi, and then all of us drove to the beach. It was somewhat difficult to find a spot, being a Saturday, but we finally did.

            The rest of the day was spent there, with the typical activities. One time Antoine quoted a story I might have heard once or twice before:

            Antoine was helping some of the boys put together a sand castle. After it was finished, he stood up and remarked, “Reminds me of the story about the scientists.”   

            “What’s that?” I asked.           

            “Scientists told God, ‘With all our equipment and technology, we can do anything you can do!’” he began. “God said, ‘Okay, build a man.’ The scientists said, ‘Well, you built a man out of dirt, we’ll build a man out of dirt.’ God said, ‘NOPE! Get your own dirt!’”

            Everyone laughed.

            We ate around one in the afternoon. The Martins had packed lunchmeat, cheese, bread, sandwich condiments, fruit, and Antoine and Ed left briefly to pick up ice cream. Since they offered, I went with them. We picked up ice cream sandwiches at Wal-Mart and returned about twenty-thirty minutes after we left.

            After dinner (uh—the noon meal; well, maybe I should call it the afternoon meal), we played a bit more in the water, and then the children asked for a story. Antoine volunteered and then sailed off into a pirate story that I will try to share with everyone soon.

            As the afternoon became late, we quickly cleaned up and changed our clothes. Then we left for the church, after stopping briefly at the Martins’ house for the leftovers. It had been a great day with fellow children of God, and we all were looking forward to this evening.     

Not Mad

“Well,” I stated Friday morning as we finished breakfast, “how does McComb sound?”

          “Let me guess,” Steve replied, “it’s an hour and a half away.”

          “Approximately,” I replied.

*                            *                            *                            *                            *

          “Good evening, Amos,” Antoine greeted us that evening as we walked into the church.

          “Good evening,” I replied.

          “Mr. Short-hand,” Ed stated when he spotted us.

          “Well if I’m Mr. Short-hand,” I replied, “you must be Mr. Film, since you’re the ones filming.”

          “Could be,” he chuckled.

          “So how long have you known shorthand?” Antoine asked.

          “A little under a year,” I replied.

          “Like David said, that’s a handy skill,” Antoine agreed.

          I bit my lip.

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Dead Man

“Well,” I said that morning as we finished breakfast, “if everyone’s ready, we can leave for Slidell.”

          “Slidell?” Steve repeated.

          “It’s another city in Louisiana,” I told him. “About an hour and a half away.”

*                            *                            *                            *                            *

          “Good evening,” Pastor Mast greeted us at the door.

          “Good evening,” I replied.

          “Mr. Short-hand,” David greeted, coming over.

          “You all are early,” Pastor Mast observed.

          “It would seem like it,” I agreed, since only David and his family and the Masts were here.

          A couple of minutes passed and the Martins pulled in.

          “Mr. Short-hand,” Edward greeted me. “How do you do?”

          “Good, thank you,” I replied.

          “Name’s Edward,” he stated. “Though most call me Ed. My wife, Emily; oldest daughter Anna; our oldest son, David; second daughter, Ruth; and these are our twin girls, Rachel and Rebecca.”

          “Amos Kauffman,” I replied, and introduced the rest.

          “David said you’re housing the Millers,” Felicity remarked.

          “Sure am,” Edward agreed. “It’s a little strange with two Anna’s in the house; Antoine’s wife is named Anna, also.”

          “This must be Mr. Short-hand,” Antoine remarked as he neared the spot.

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Before…Or is it, After?

This morning as I waited for everyone to get up, I decided to write this story to explain how we got here. I intended to take the family to Slidell, Louisiana after breakfast, so I wrote this while Felicity took her shower   *                                              *                                      *                                              *

                Living in Kearney, Nebraska, has its challenges as well as its bright spots. With a population of over 30,000 (32,174 in 2013), it is a fairly large city, though only about 7% (in 2013) the size of Omaha. Owning a car lot on the southern side of town, I am able to work with my family and still make a living. This allowed us to travel to the conference, as I can make my own schedule.

                The used car lot was actually started by my dad, who sold his first car in 1981, two years after I was born. I began as a salesman in 1994, when Dad started me off in the business after I graduated from school. (We were Mennonites—they only go to about eighth or tenth grade for the most part).

                Dad quit a couple of years later and I got the lot. Felicity and I had met in the Mennonite church, and were married in 1999. Our oldest son, Steve, was born a year later in 2000. Susanna (Susie) followed two years later, and Joel came last in 2003.

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Quick Repost

“Well,” I said as we finished breakfast Wednesday morning, “are we all ready?”

                “Almost,” Steve answered.

                “Where are we going today?” Susie asked.

                “Jackson,” I replied. “I thought we’d go to Jackson; it’s another hour and a half.”

                “Well let’s go ahead and go,” Felicity stated. “Did you want your water?”

*                                             *                                             *                                             *                                             *

                “Good evening,” Peter greeted us that evening as we walked into the church. “I’m Peter Burkholder.”

                “Amos Kauffman,” I replied, and introduced the others.

                “Do you have a ten-gallon hat?” I asked him.

                He smiled. “No, but I ought to,” he replied.

                “David told us you were from Texas,” I told him.

                “Where ya’ll from?” Peter asked.

                “Kearney,” I answered.

                “Oh!” Peter exclaimed. “That’s a long ways away.”

                “Only about seventeen hours one way,” I told him.

                “Wow,” he replied. “Seventeen hours.”

                “We’re staying here for the whole conference,” I assured him.

                “Well I’d reckon you’d stay here; you couldn’t drive back and forth,” he replied.

                Suddenly an idea struck me. “What hotel are you staying in?” I asked.

                “Motel 6,” Pete replied.

                “Really?” I asked. “Which room?”

                “It’s on the lower story,” he said.            

                I chuckled. “We’re on the upper story in the same hotel,” I stated.

                “Really?” he asked in disbelief. “That’s funny.”

                “So now I’m going to ask,” Peter began, “just because I’m curious, how’d you meet Pastor Mast?”

                “We get a newsletter from Antoine and his ministry, and he announced the conference,” I said. “David told us what everyone did and where everyone is from; we already knew about Antoine, but the rest were new.”

                The prelude began. We departed to our seats and sat down.

                After the opening, Pastor handed it over to Brother Daniel Shelley.

                “Good evening,” Brother Shelley began. “Please take your Bibles and turn to Revelation 22:20-21. Revelation 22:20-21. My title is ‘I Come Quickly’.

                “‘He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’   

                “Jesus gave John the vision of the Book of Revelation,” Brother Shelley began. “In Revelation chapter 1, we see Jesus appearing to John on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus tells him to write what he’s seen and what he’ll see down, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia. Now, I don’t believe this church-age thing; the system of belief that Martin Luther was the angel of the Philadelphian age or the Reformation era; or that this certain church ‘father’ was the angel for this age; or that age; or that this ‘preacher’—whatever his name is, William Branham, I think—is the angel for the Laodicea age. I do believe, however, that the churches represent the entire course of church history, but like someone else pointed out, the Rapture could only be imminent if all the churches were to represent a period of time until the Rapture. I believe that each church represents one age that began at a certain time and will continue until the Rapture, but the Rapture could have taken place during any church period. For example, the letter to Smyrna mentions ‘tribulation ten days’; I believe Jesus could be referring to the ten periods of Roman persecution. But at any rate, John was given this revelation concerning things to come.”

                Daniel looked around at the congregation.

                “How many of you here believe in Amillennialism?” he asked.

                No hands went up.

                “How many of you aren’t entirely sure as to what you believe about eschatology?” he asked next.

                A few hands went up; I almost put mine up. Felicity looked at me. We both had struggled with this subject before.

                “I believe it was Brother Antoine who asked about Mennonites and Amish; how many of you knew that both of those groups believe in Amillennialism?”

                A few hands went up, including ours.

                “Amillennialism comes in two varieties: Preterism and Historicism. Historicists believe that the Book of Revelation has or is happening progressively over the course of church history. According to their own definition, historicism ‘contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time’. David Koresh of Waco; Texas was an historicist. Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons are all historicists.

                “Mennonites and Amish (and a few others) are Preterists. Preterists believe that all the events in Revelation up to at least chapter 20, verse 6 occurred around 70 A.D.; Nero was the Antichrist; Jesus was the Roman armies; those white rocks the Romans catapulted at the Jews were those seventy-five pound hailstones mentioned in Revelation 16; etc.”

                Daniel took a drink. “We don’t have time to cover everything there is to cover about Amillennialism, but I want to cover a few things. Number one: the origin of Amillennialism. Amillennialists think that dispensationalism came from Darby, Scofield, and Irving; to the contrary, dispensationalism began with the Bible, and, more specifically, with the Apostle Paul himself. Four times Paul uses the word dispensation: 1st Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10 and 3:2 and Colossians 1:25. 1st Corinthians 9:17 says, ‘For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.’ Ephesians 3:2 says, ‘If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:’. So don’t tell me it was some heretics that started dispensationalism; it is founded upon the Bible and the Apostle Paul himself.

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