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.

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                “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.”

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            “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.

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          “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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