The time came when Shim decided to go to war with us; the purpose was to take over my Father’s throne. We prepared, as much as we could prepare. We fought hard, we prayed hard. Too many of our people were killed in battle. They were fierce. They fought like dragons. They killed my wife, two of my children, some of my siblings, other extended family and many close friends. They burned our homes, our churches, our businesses. We fought back, we were just trying to preserve our way of life, our freedom. Our fighting seemed in vain as more and more of our people were mercilessly slaughtered.
Too many of our people died. My father called a council which included his family, generals, a prophet, and other trusted associates. He did not want to see any more deaths; he wanted the slaughter stopped. They prayed; they pled with God. They begged for help. They questioned why God was not helping them. As they knelt in prayer, pleading with God, each member of the council felt a sweet assurance from the Holy Spirit that they would be okay, that God was with them more than they knew. All members of the council recognized what they needed to do. The slaughter must stop. We needed just to give my evil brother the throne. We knew that we would be taken captive or even killed; but deep down, we knew this was what God wanted us to do and somehow we would be blessed for this. My father never ceased to amaze me with his unwavering faith and devotion to God. Although he knew the consequences of this decision, he had complete faith in God that they would be protected and preserved.
However, before surrendering, we realized that we needed to stockpile weapons and hide them in an obscure location. Shim and his people would surely take our weapons from us, but we would eventually require a way to fight back, when the time was right. We employed our weapon makers to make as many weapons as they could in a short period of time, a few short weeks. They worked hard, they prayed hard as they made an unusual amount of weapons in just a short period of time; thousands of swords, bows and arrows, and other various weaponry. We found a place, hidden away in an obscure hill , where we concealed all the weapons. We worked swiftly and discretely to avoid any of Shim’s people finding us. Before we left the hiding place, we prayed that the angels would protect the weapons and prevent Shim and his people from discovering them.
After the weapons were securely hidden, my father sent a message to Shim saying that he would give Shim the throne if he would stop the bloodshed. Shim responded saying that he wanted the head of my father, otherwise he would not stop the killing. My father was about to willingly go to him, but my mother sent an urgent message to Shim, pleading with him that he would spare the life of my father. Somehow, miraculously Shim agreed not to take the life of my father but instead to bring us all into captivity, and Shim would have control over us. We would be given a place to live, to grow our crops and our herds, but we would have to give Shim one-half of all our increase. We would not be allowed to pray or to worship God in any way. Shim would not be able to promise us that his people would not abuse us in anyway, but at least we would be alive, and have food to eat. My father again called the council together; we prayed for a different solution, yet, felt peace that this would be right for now. We dreaded the possible abuses that could happen to our people, but felt a promise that if we remained faithful we would be protected. That didn’t mean that we would be protected from any type of mistreatment, but even if any of our people were abused or harmed in anyway, they would be quickly healed.
We delivered the message to Shim, agreeing to his demands. His people allowed us to retrieve our flocks, herds and seeds, then escorted us to a very barren land; a place that no one had ever lived because it appeared so desolate. We felt discouraged, yet were reminded to have faith. There were thousands of us, warriors, workers, women, and children.
Guards were placed all around the land, hundreds of guards. They were armed with whips, knives, and swords. If anyone was caught praying, they would be whipped. So, we prayed in our hearts; we poured out our hearts to God. If anyone was caught speaking about Jesus Christ, or anything considered a spiritual nature, they were whipped or beaten. To avoid punishment and to continue to talk about Jesus Christ, we learned to talk in a type of code. We were fortunate that one of the children, a young boy, was able to hide some scriptures in his case of personal belongings before we were brought into captivity. We had no idea how Shim’s guards missed that; we knew that it was a blessing from Heaven. We were very careful with those scriptures; we did not want to lose them. I, myself, carefully made a hiding place for them, so when the guards came around to check on us, the scriptures would not be found.
We learned that an angel came to the young boy, the nephew of our church leader, and told him to pack the scriptures. The angel told the boy that he and the scriptures would be protected. The boy grabbed the scriptures without telling anyone and packed them with the few personal belongings that he had. For whatever reason, we knew it was a blessing from God, that the guards did not check the boy’s belongings.
Life in captivity was tough. Guards would strike us for no reason. They raped our young women, even our older women. They were completely deprived of the spirit of the Lord. Shim would come around and beat on our father, and even our mother. It was heart wrenching as we felt powerless to help them. Nevertheless, as promised in our council, each time someone was mistreated, they were quickly healed by the power of God.
Even though the land we dwelled on was barren and desolate, it produced amazing crops. Our flocks and herds thrived. We had more than we needed, even after giving Shim more than one-half of our increase. We felt blessed. We knew the Lord watched over us.
Despite Shim’s wealth and the wealth of many of his people, and the taking of our crops and herds, they did not thrive as much as we did. Their crops did not produce like ours produced; their flocks and herds were adequate, but not great. We knew that we had been blessed by our loving God.
(To be continued…)