One of my readers mentioned to me, after reading last week’s installment, that Teenage!Merikay predates the popularity of bottled water, and that coke bottles back then were hardly ideal for storing large quantities of water. Okay, fair enough. It turns out that, in this case, I was wrong. Apparently the time of trouble is a lot easier to prepare for in 2016 than it was in 1964. That would be an interesting book title: preparing for the time of trouble through the ages. Somebody needs to go write this. Someone please write this.
On to the topic of the post.
We get more information about what’s going on in the world.
By way of the radio, we carefully followed the day by day events of the world: Insurrection in China, wars in Africa, missile bases being set up in Cuba, strife in Brazil, earthquakes, tornadoes, and terrible coastal storms, uncontrollable forest fires, and transportation strikes which were paralyzing whole sections of the country.
Again, Merikay is working off a checklist. In this paragraph she checks off:
- Wars and Rumors of wars
- lots of natural disasters
- people running to and fro. Or at least, trying to.
Most of that is pretty standard, until we get to the transportation strikes. Why would there be transportation strikes? What are they striking over? Maybe she doesn’t actually mean the workers are going on strike. Maybe she just means that transportation is being interrupted by all the natural disasters going on. I’m gonna be generous and assume she just worded it badly. So let’s move on.
A tornado struck near us….it tore up a whole section of the woods near the cabin and destroyed many, many homes. Roads were blocked, cars demolished, people killed or injured….we gladly invited some of the homeless people to come spend time with us. Although our cottage was small, we were sure we could take in some of the many who were wandering about with no place to go.
It would have been more interesting to show us this than to tell about it. I said I’d be nice, so we’ll set that aside. Mostly I’m highlighting this paragraph because I think it shows that Merikay and Pat have compassion for their neighbors. People are homeless because of a tornado, and they take people in. One of the things Fred Clark over at Slacktivist criticizes about the Left Behind novels is that the protagonists really only seem to help themselves. When people lose homes in Left Behind, there’s some vague one line comment about maybe setting up something at the church. When Merikay and Pat hear about homeless people, they take them in. I think it’s important to note that.
For the next week and a half we had between 9-15 people in our house.
We told them, whenever possible, about our religion.
So, here’s the thing. I want to preface this by stating that I am quite sure Teenage!Merikay did not mean for it to come across this way. But, imagine that you’ve just lost your home in a tornado. Your neighbors take you in, and while they seem a little strange, they don’t seem harmful, so you accept. However, you soon discover that your new hosts are very religious. In fact, they mention religion to you at every opportunity. Would you not begin to wonder if the reason they offered to help you was mainly so they could preach at you?
Again, I’m sure Real!Merikay didn’t think that way. And this is another reason why showing rather than telling would work way better. Because a surface reading of this doesn’t tell me that Merikay and Pat aren’t just helping out their neighbors as a way of witnessing to them.
Having brought along Junior Guides and Youth Instructors
Hang on. The Junior Guide and Youth Instructor existed at the same time? What?
Ahem. We will not get off on a tangent we will not get off on a– according to the all knowing Wikipedia, the first issue of Junior Guide came out in 1952-1953ish. So this magazine would’ve only been around for ten years at the time this was written. The Youth Instructor, on the other hand, was replaced by Insight in 1970. So there’s a good 20ish year gap where the Junior Guide and Youth Instructor co-existed. I had no idea.
Ok, let’s get back on topic.
Merikay tells us that these magazines, along with Ellen White books and Bibles, were constantly being loaned out to the people who stayed at their house.
Our small library became smaller, but we prayed earnestly that through these books, they would find the truth and accept it.
Ok, we are going to take a small side tangent. So, Adventists are really big on books. So much so that Literature Evangelism is a thing. Literature Evangelism takes a few forms. Sometimes churches do mass mailings of The Great Controversy. If you randomly find a book with that title in your mailbox, that would be why. More common is for students to earn tuition money by going door to door selling Ellen White books. It is believed that, in the last days, people will suddenly remember, “oh yeah, we have these books, let’s read them.” It is believed that these books will convert a lot of people.
Here’s a quote from Colporteur Ministry, Chapter 24
Searching With Prayer and Tears—I saw them holding papers and tracts in one hand, and the Bible in the other, while their cheeks were wet with tears; and bowing before God in earnest, humble prayer, to be guided into all truth,—the very thing He was doing for them CM 149.4
I swear I remember reading that Ellen White said that in the last days, her books would start glowing on the shelf. But I can’t find the quote and now I wonder if I’m not just misremembering.
Even as an Adventist, I always thought the only thing The Great Controversy was good for was an insomnia cure. It didn’t convert me, and I wondered how it could convert anyone.
Merikay and Pat, in this paragraph, are sort of like canvassers. Desperately hoping their books will be read, and that people will believe.
We go straight from hearing about this to being told that one day Mrs. Cooper rushes into the house, pulls Merikay aside, and tells her that the death decree has passed.
I just looked at her. It couldn’t be! Why, it was only the middle of July, just a few weeks after the National Sunday Law!
That…. was incredibly fast. A death decree, already? I was under the impression that penalties would slowly increase over time. First a fine, then a large fine, then imprisonment, then eventually, death. I’m not going to belabor the point. Merikay probably didn’t want the story to get bogged down, which it absolutely would have if the apocalypse had taken too long. I appreciate that Merikay doesn’t insert lots of random 2-4 year time skips like some books I’ve read. (Project Sunlight and Left Behind, I’m looking at you.)
Merikay tells us she remembers Elder Brown’s charts in Bible class. The close of probation was very very close to the enforcement of Sunday Laws.The two little lines are so close, they practically blur together in Merikay’s memory.
I’ve been told, by someone who had the same Bible teacher, that “Elder Brown” isn’t his real name.
Yes, the time had come. The time was now.
The subject of nearly every Adventist’s nightmare is here.
And if I don’t go back to studying for my finals, my nightmares will also become reality. Sorry this is so short. After finals we’ll get into things more.