Three months have come and gone since we last left the teenagers. Upon further investigation, we find a well organized group of young people, who are quite healthy and strong looking. There is a village of reed houses with large baskets of fresh water at every door. Vines of fish are lined from house to house, drying in the air, with the salt from the evaporated water used to preserve their supply of food. A few weeks before a few of the guys went to explore the rest of the island and had discovered a source of fresh water so the tedious work of getting fresh water was now over. They all took turns bringing back the precious water and life had settled into a normal routine. A cave had also been found where they set up provisions for emergencies such as storms.
It was Anna and May's turn to bring some baskets of water back so they took off on the journey, not noticing how black the sky was turning during the middle of the day. The rain came down so suddenly it surprised the girls and blinded them. Getting a little nervous, they began to run as the wind picked up in intensity and blew the girls off their feet. Their baskets ripped out of their hands and they gave a little screech as they were pushed into a tree. Anna heard a loud crack and blacked out as her head struck the bark.
Anna woke up inside a warm, cozy cave, sheltered from the wind and rain, a fire snapping close by. May sat near Anna, holding her hand, waiting for her to wake up. Three other people whom Anna did not know sat by attending the fire. Anna sat up.
"Anna, oh, thank God! You are awake! I was so scared!" May gave her a hug.
"Where are we? Who are you?" she asked the strangers. One was a man with a full beard, and the other two were young ladies.
"I'm Susan. About six months ago a man named Greenhart brought us here. He thought we would die, but by God's grace we found ways to survive. We have stayed hidden for so long because we were afraid he would come back and do us in himself. We have watched you for quite some time, making sure you were okay. If you had needed our help we would have come to assist you, but you have all done quite nicely. Besides, Michael here was waiting for the right time to surprise you. He was not ready to see you yet."
Anna's eyes lit up. "Ready to see me? Michael? Michael Livingston?" she could not believe it. She looked into his eyes and saw the same old twinkle she always knew. "I can't believe it!" She stood up too quickly and would have fallen over if Michael had not caught her. "Thank God you are okay! We were so worried about you!" She hugged him, tears of joy flowing down her face.
"I didn't want you to know I was here, Anna. We were sent here for very different reasons than you were. We broke the law and were caught. I was very bad, Anna. I still am." His voice held a hint of sorrow.
"God can forgive you, Michael. He loves you and will forgive your sins if you will let him."
"I have sat in the woods and listened to you have your Bible studies. You don't know how many times I wanted to come out and ask you to help me see how He can forgive me. I want this Jesus, Who gave His life for me. Please show me how I can get Him into my life!"
"What about you, Susan? Do you want to know Him too?"
"Yes, as well as John here. We all want to know what we can do to change our lives. It has been a horrible mess, but we want to get it right with God."
The five of them gathered around and Anna took them on the journey to salvation. All three prayed for God to forgive them and they joined the family of God. It was an hour later when the wind stopped howling outside and everything grew peaceful outside. "Can we go out now?" Anna asked.
"Not yet," Michael answered. "This is only the eye of the storm. It will be back again in a bit and finish with another blast of heavy winds and rain. We might have time to reach your friends and take shelter before it hits though. What do you think, Susan?"
"From what we have seen in the past, we have enough time to make it to their emergency cave. Do you feel well enough to travel?" she asked Anna.
"I think so. My head hurts a little, but I don't feel dizzy anymore."
The five teenagers hurried through the quiet woods, avoiding fallen trees and branches that were strewn across the path. They reached the cave with five minutes to spare and the storm started again. All her friends looked up with relieved expressions when she and May walked into the cave with the three new people. "We are okay! And look who the Lord brought to us! It's my brother and his friends! They just got saved too! Isn't God good?"
Philip rushed over to Anna and gave her a little side hug. "I was so worried! Thank God you both are safe! It is truly a miracle! Even in the midst of storms God can do some amazing things!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It is a year later....never did the teens give up. Even when their homes were destroyed by storm after storm, their faith remained strong. No one ever got sick...in fact they all grew healthier than they had been away from the island. They all had forgiven Greenhart in their hearts, though it had been a hard thing to do, especially in the hard times. Anna's only wish was to somehow get word to her parents that she and Michael were alive and well.
It was a sunny afternoon and everyone was resting during the heat of the day. They were discussing how their lives had changed over the past year and they were wondering if they would ever get off the island.
"Remember the Scripture verse, "Perfect love casteth out fear?" There have been many times when we were afraid, but God pulled us through. He is and will always be, faithful!"
"Amen!" everyone agreed.
Not far away on the sea, Greenhart stood on the deck of his ship, gazing out toward the island. He had a group of prisoners below deck and he was preparing to toss them overboard, but he noticed some smoke rising from the island. "Tom!" he called to a sailor. "Take three other men with you and check out the island. Report back to me all your findings, but do not let anyone see you!"
Two hours later the four men returned and reported that they had seen eighteen people sitting around a fire, dressed in skins. Greenhart frowned and stared at the smoke, deep in thought. A sneer slowly formed on his face. "Get the prisoners out from below and throw them overboard. We will spy on them and when they least expect it we will give them the punishment they deserve! Stupid, Christians! Won't they ever learn?"
Tom appeared beside Captain Greenhart looking pale and frightened. "What is it, Tom? Where are the prisoners?"
"They're...they're gone, sir!"
"What do you mean, gone? How could they have escaped? Find them, NOW!"
Tom hurried away, but the group of new prisoners was nowhere to be found. Only their chains and handcuffs marked the place of where they had been. Greenhart ordered all of his sailors to search the entire ship, as well as the island, but to his dismay, nobody was found. "Leave no stone unturned! Find those stinking Christians! They can't hide forever!"
All day they searched. They found the village, food and water supply, and even unfinished baskets lying around the fire, but no bodies. Finally, a frustrated and confused Greenhart ordered everyone back to the ship and sailed off, fading into the distance.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Anna sat up. Where was she? She shook her head, trying to clear it from the fog. Had it all been a dream? She opened her eyes and saw the familiar surroundings of her room. It had seemed so real! She lay back on her pillow and tried to clear her head. Her nose felt stuffy and her head ached. "Thank God it is Saturday and I won't have to miss school because of this cold." She lay thinking about her dream. What had happened to the people on the island anyway? She came to the conclusion that they had been raptured away. After she got dressed she went downstairs to the kitchen where her mother was fixing breakfast.
"Good morning, dear. You don't look too well. Are you feeling okay?"
"I'm a little stuffed up, but I'll be fine. Where's Dad?"
"He had to work today. It will be nice when he can stay home on Saturdays."
"Do you want me to help you with anything?"
"No, that's okay. Why don't you just relax and I'll call you when breakfast is ready. I am making pancakes."
"Sounds good to me," replied Anna as she headed into the family-room. She sat down and glanced at the clock. It was 7:50. She looked down at the table beside her and noticed the newspaper. A shiver ran down her spine and her hands grew cold. She had a strange feeling that this had all happened before. She knew there was only one way to find out. She picked up the paper and opened it to the last page; the article would have been on the bottom right of the last page, but it was not there. She let out a sign of relief as her mother entered the room carrying a cup of tea.
"Here you are, Anna, dear. I fixed you a cup of tea to help that little cold...why, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I'm all right, Mom. It's just that I had a strange dream last night and it all began with an article in the newspaper. I was relieved that I did not see it in today's paper."
"It wasn't about a new law being enforced, was it?"
Anny suddenly felt faint. "Why do you ask that?"
"I wanted to show you something. I pulled the last page out of the paper when I was reading it. It thought you should know. It's on the table in the dining room. It's entitled, "New Law to be Enforced..."