Here, finally, is chapter three in my story! If you haven’t read the whole thing, check it out here.
And now chapter three…
Tuskanah sighed as she picked up the small bag of her belongings. Tears clouded her eyes as she, with her family, slowly stepped away from the only home that they had even known.
“Let’s go.” Ecrea said. “We have to find a good place to stay the night.” He led the way, driving his small herd of cattle in front of him.
Hanewal nodded. She led their strong horse, which pulled a wagon that was filled mainly with food and farming tools. Tuskanah carried her bag of belongings, as well as some other more delicate things that would be damaged in the wagon. She led two sheep. Sabelet carried a bundle of blankets, clothes and medicine that would be useful during the long journey. She also led a large, black dog and a goat.
Sabelet took one last look at the village she was leaving. Then she turned her head forward into the vast wilderness, ready to face the adventure and hardships that were sure to follow.
When the sun had set, the little family had not found another village to stay the night in. In those days, the villages were often small scattered around the country in no particular order.
“We’ll spend the night here.” Ecrea said, stopping at a relatively flat piece of ground. Ecrea let the cattle roam a little. Hanewal tied the horse to a sapling and then lit a small fire. Taking some flour out of the wagon, she made a loaf of bread and cooked it carefully, along with some meat. When the meal was ready, everyone gathered around the fire.
“Let us thank the Lord.” Ecrea said. He and his family bowed their heads and he prayed. “Lord, thank you so much that you allowed us to live and to escape the village. Please protect us from bandits and robbers. Help us to find a new place to live before winter becomes strong. Protect us from the weather, Lord, please. Give us strength for the journey ahead of us. Thank you for your never ending love. Amen.”
Sabelet ate heartily but Tuskanah just picked at her food.
“Are you okay, Tuskanah?” Hanewal asked, looking at her daughter.
Tuskanah’s eyes filled again with tears. “I’m just not very hungry right now.” She tried to smile. “I think I’ll just go lay down for a while.”
She stood up and walked to the tent that Ecrea had set up. Curling up inside, with an animal skin blanket over her body, she sobbed quietly.
Sabelet hastily finished her meal and went to comfort her sister. Poking her head inside of the tent, she saw that Tuskanah was still crying. She entered softly and sat down beside her sister.
She gently stroked her Tuskanah’s hair and said, “Are you okay?”
Tuskanah sniffled. “No, I’m not.” She finally admitted. “I’m scared and sad and I don’t know what’s going to happen to us. I already miss my village and my friends. We didn’t get to say goodbye! I’m so…afraid of the future.”
Sabelet nodded. “I’m afraid, too, Tuskanah.”
Tuskanah looked up in surprise. “I didn’t think you were afraid of anything, Sabelet!”
Sabelet laughed softly. “I’m afraid of a lot of things. Before I came to Jesus, I feared everything. I would try to overcome all of my fears, but I was never able to overcome our gods. But then Jesus came into our lives and he took away my old fears. And now when I am afraid, I remember that he is in charge of everything. Trust him, Tuskanah, he is in control of our life and he has a plan for us in this.”
Sabelet stood up and walked quietly out of the tent, leaving Tuskanah with a slight smile on her tearstained face.
The next two weeks were hard on the family. They traveled through empty wastelands for about a week. Then they entered the large forest, where several villages were located. They came upon three villages. As soon as anyone heard that they were Christians, they were thrown out of the village. Snow began to fall thickly and the family began to despair.
Ecrea, Hanewal, Sabelet and Tuskanah sat around a fire, vainly trying to keep warm. They’re faces were all furrowed with worry.
Ecrea ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “I don’t know what we can do. They won’t allow us in the village if we are Christians!”
Tuskanah stared sadly at the fire as she said, “What if…what if we don’t say that we are Christians? They would allow us into the village and we could have shelter. No one needs to know that we worship Jesus. We can do it in secret.”
Sabelet looked in surprise at her sister. “But there are always the sacrifices to the false gods. If we didn’t do them, the people would be very suspicious.”
“Then we should just do them.” Tuskanah said quietly. “We don’t really have to believe in it.”
Sabelet opened her mouth to rebuke her sister, but Ecrea shook his head at her.
“Tuskanah,” he said looking at the downcast face of his daughter, “we can’t do that. It would be denying who we really are. We can’t ever go back to worshiping the old gods!”
“It isn’t really worshiping them, Papa, if we don’t mean it!” Tuskanah cried. “Would Jesus care if we gave some stuff to the false gods? We won’t be able to live if we don’t find a place to live!” Tears flooded her face.
“We will not even go through the motions of worshiping anyone other than Jesus.” Ecrea said. “We will just have to trust God to bring us to somewhere safe.”
“I’m sorry, Papa.” Tuskanah whispered. “I know it’s wrong to say all of that. I’m just really scared.”
Ecrea and Hanewal hugged their daughter.
“Don’t worry, Tuskanah.” Sabelet said with a slight smile. “I believe that whatever happens in this time, Jesus is with us.”