In the following days, we continued to receive rain, too much rain. We were unable to plant new seeds because the fields were rain soaked and muddy. We knew that we needed to plant the seeds soon otherwise there would not be enough time to grow another crop before the cold season set in. We (they) prayed to the gods, the false gods, for the rain to cease and the sun to shine to dry out the fields. The rain finally stopped. After a couple of bright sunny days, the fields were dry enough to plant our seeds.
Gideon and the other leaders, knowing that the cold season would quickly arrive, concluded that another sacrifice must be rendered to the gods to appease them and to implore them for good weather so we would have sufficient food for the cold season and next year’s growing season.
My heart froze. Not another young girl to be sacrifice. I pled with Gideon and asked if there was not another way. He stared at me in disbelief and demanded to know if I listened to the prophets again. I informed him that I had not recently listened to the prophets, but felt truth to their message. Gideon’s anger rose to epic proportions. He hit me, again and again, then left me for dead. It was my dear son Shule who found me. He later informed me that after finding me, he prayed to the true God for help, then ran for a healer. The healer took me to his home and used herbs to help revive me and to help my injuries to heal.
Before coming completely back to my senses, I thought I heard the healer praying to the true God. As soon as I opened my eyes, he stopped praying. I begged him to continue to pray for me; his secret was safe with me. He looked at me with disbelief; I whispered that I believed in the true God.
The sacrificed occurred while I was recovering from my injuries. Another beautiful young girl, only 6 years old, was taken to the temple for her heart to be given to the gods. Again, all in our city celebrated. I was so grateful that I was unable to participate in the sacrifice and the celebration. It was almost worth the beating to not have to attend the celebration and the sacrifice with Gideon.
Our recently planted seeds began to grow. The fields were beautiful as the green plants grew, producing food to sustain us. We did not receive much rain, but our crops still flourished as the ground was sufficiently moist from the previous rains.
About one week after the sacrifice, another horrendous storm blew in bringing devasting winds, torrential rain, and then ice, not hail, but ice! No, not ice! It was too early for a frost. Our crops were not ready to harvest. A freeze would kill our crops.
The next morning, as we all gathered to determine the damage, Gideon again, wanted to blame the prophets and those who listened to the prophet for the damage. He angrily sought me out (I was no longer living in his house because of fears for my safety). He blamed me for the ice storm. Several people stood between me and Gideon, protecting me and telling Gideon that I was not to blame and to leave me alone. Gideon went on a rampage, blaming the prophets and their God for all the destruction.
We were all very concerned and fearful about how we would survive the cold season. We did not have much food left in storage and many of our animals were killed in the hailstorm. We knew we needed to carefully ration what food was left. Some people in our city were caught stealing food from others. Surprisingly, Gideon and other ranking people in our city made a declaration that anyone caught stealing food from anyone would be imprisoned and possibly put to death.
Gideon sent people to various cities around us asking if we could purchase food from them; most everyone was in a similar predicament as we were. Some food was brought back along with seeds for the next season.
The cold season was unseasonably cold. We had enough wood to keep us warm, but not enough food to help sustain us. My 11-year old daughter became very sick and passed away. There were not enough healing supplies to help her heal. In fact, many people in our city became sick and died. In a way, it was a slight blessing as there were fewer people to feed; but oh, how we mourned the loss of our people, our family, our friends. I grieved over the loss of my daughter and worried about my three remaining children. They were becoming so thin, weak, and frail. Inwardly, I prayed to the true God for them.
Finally, the temperatures warmed enough to plant seeds. We planted with great hope for a bounteous harvest. People in our city prayed to the gods for rain. I inwardly prayed to the true God for rain. None came. Our plants sprouted but then withered away in the dryness. The natural grasses did not grow well, so more of our animals died. My 10-year old son became sick and died. My heart broke! How could I continue to live. Two weeks later, my 9-year old son fell ill and passed away. Now, it was just Shule and me with so little food. My strong, brave strong Shule, now 7 years old was so frail. I feared for his health. He continued to pray to the true God for rain.
Gideon became violently ill and died. I cannot say that I was too heart-broken over his death as he created so much grief and pain. After his death, I decided it was time to talk to the people about the true God and to encourage praying to him. We had already lost too many of our family and friends. Rain was not coming. Our newly planted crops were withering away. Our animals were dying. If something did not change soon, we would all die.
I started talking to my neighbors. I told them that maybe it was time to pray to the prophets’ God and ask for forgiveness and ask for rain. Some thought I was crazy, but others took to heart what I had testified and decided that they would begin to pray to the true God.
The day came when Shule became sick. My dear, sweet and faithful Shule. I did not want to lose him. He was my anchor. If he died, then I wanted to die. In his weakened state, I knew that he would not last through the night without healing herbs and nourishment. I had nothing left to give him, no one in our city had anything to give him. All I could do was to pray to the true God.
I was tending to Shule when I heard a loud commotion outside. I ran to see what was happening. Down the street from my home, there were several wagons all loaded with food! I could not believe my eyes. How did anyone know that we were starving to death. I rushed to one of the wagon drivers and pled for food and herbs because my son was dying. A woman gathered some food and herbs from her wagon and followed me back to my home.
She quickly examined Shule, said a quiet prayer and gently gave him some herbs with a small amount of food and water. She told me that she would come back in a few hours to give Shule more herbs and food, but we needed to go slowly and give his body time to adjust to the food. She left to go help others.
These people were our angels. Only a true God could know of our critical condition. Our angels stayed with us for just a day, distributing food and herbs and most important, hope. And, my son; he recovered from his illness! I know that if these generous people did not come, I would have lost Shule that night.
Because of the angels who came, many of the survivors in our city began to doubt the gods they had been worshipping and started asking questions about the God that the prophets taught about. We did not know much about Him, but wanted to learn more. How could we do that? I mentioned to them that Shule and that I had been praying to the true God. Someone asked if I would pray to the true God for them. I uttered a simple prayer since that was all I knew how to do. I prayed that the prophets would come back and teach us how to really pray and I prayed for rain. That was my prayer. As I looked around, there were tears in many eyes; something was felt by all who listened to my prayer. It was a feeling of love, joy, peace, and hope.
Rain still did not come. The rivers and creeks were drying up. Soon we would also be without water. The food that the angels brought was about gone. However, because we gathered together daily to pray, we continued to have hope and faith that a change would happen.
A few more of our people became sick and died. We continued to pray, pleading for hope and for rain.
After our food supplies diminished and we tried to hang on to hope, another group of people came to us with several wagons loaded with food and supplies. We cheered them as they came into our city. The prophets came with them. Although we were physically starving, we first surrounded the prophets as we were spiritually starving. We wanted to know more about the true God they talked about. They were gracious in receiving us, but reminded us that we needed physical nourishment before spiritual nourishment. They distributed the food and supplies to us, those most desperate receiving what they needed first.
We celebrated the arrival of food and the prophets with a humble feast. I had been a part of many celebrations before, but this was unlike any celebration. We celebrated the gift of life as so many of our friends and loved ones passed away during our drought. Feelings of love and peace permeated everyone who attended.
One of the prophets, Noah, stood before us and began to teach us about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. Almost everyone there listened with strong intent. Unfortunately, a couple of my dear friends left; I suppose they were not ready to hear what Noah taught us.
Noah and the other prophets instructed us for several hours. They taught us, they answered our questions, they gave blessings of healing and comfort. Although it was several hours, the time seemed so much shorter. During the teaching, Shule enthusiastically ran up to Noah and told him that he wanted to be baptized. Noah laughed at Shule’s enthusiasm and promised him that he could be the first one baptized. Others of us expressed our desires to be baptized. Noah announced to us that they would baptize us the following day. We were ecstatic!
The next morning, a beautiful sunny morning, those of us who were ready to be baptized met down at the deepest part of the river that flowed near our city. The river was very low because of the drought, but there was one place that would be sufficient for our baptisms. Noah took Shule with him down into the water and baptized him. I was so proud of Shule! He glowed as he came up out of the water.
Noah then ask me to come down into the water and he baptized me. As I came up out of the water, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and peace that I had never felt before. Tears came to my eyes as I hugged Noah.
As more were baptized, clouds began to fill the sky. We prayed that these clouds would bring rain to our parched land. After the last person was baptized, the heavens opened and showered us with the blessing of rain! It was beautiful! We danced and sang in the rain. We knew that the true God heard and answered our prayers.
Noah established a church in our city where we worshipped the true God and His son Jesus Christ. We learned to obey the commandments and found great joy and happiness in doing so.
I later remarried to a wonderful man; one who loved the true God and served Him. We had three more beautiful children. Shule developed into a great leader in the church and the community. From the time he was baptized, he was completely committed to following and serving the true God. He taught many about Jesus Christ and His coming. With the gospel of Jesus Christ, we truly lived after the manner of happiness.