Mitch slightly panted, still surprised from what had just occurred. He jumped when Josiah rolled over, with wide eyes. He had must have been woken up too.
“I feel as if I have just seen a ghost!” Josiah uttered.
Mitchell nodded his head. Oh how I wish I had my gun right now. Just for safety purposes! He looked toward the curtains again. Or at least for comfort purposes. He added to himself as he settled down to sleep again.
The next morning the boys retold the story to the rest of the family around one of the many tables in the dining hall.
“Boy! I don’t think I’ve been that terrified ever in my life!” Mitchell finished. He continued lowering his voice, “I sure wish I had my gun with me then, just for safety purposes!”
James smiled at his son. “Yeah, but remember son that we don’t put our trust in weapons for protection, but to the One who always protects us!”
Mitchell stared down at his plate, which consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, a blueberry muffin, and hash browns. He knew his Dad was right. “Yes sir. I’ll try to keep that in mind!” Mitchell turned toward Phil.
“Hey Phil! What are you looking at?”
“I was studying the different people in the room. There are a lot of interesting people.”
Mitchell instinctively began running his eyes around the room. He had met a few of the other guys here. There were several families of guys only, but there were also a few women, who were the wives of some of the trainers. They had already met Mr. Kent, Mr. and Mrs. Paton. And just that morning Mitchell met Mr. and Mrs. Hansom, Mr. Gray, Mr. Henry, Mr. Bates and Mr. and Mrs. Cades. All seemed agreeably nice except for Mr. and Mrs. Cades. Mrs. Cades looked as if her face had frozen into a continual frown. Mr. Cades seem to always have a sneering look. Mitchell shook his head. Best get over it since they are some of the leaders.
“Hmmm. It looks like that man is about to speak,” commented Josiah.
A six foot man, with a face of a leader, stood up toward the front of the room.
“Welcome gentleman and ladies to the For The Nations campus of training! My name is Daniel Bond overseer and president of For The Nations Training Team. We are so glad that all of you can join us on this adventurous trip!” from somewhere in the room came a boy’s excited “alright!” Daniel laughed.
“I’m glad to see so many excited. I would like to introduce the trainers to you and tell you your assigned units. This is much like a boot camp. Madagascar’s terrain is rough and this will require lots of physical strength. We’ll also need to work together as a team to get things done!”
Daniel proceeded to introduce all the trainers and began assigning units.
“Alderton, Campbell, Mason, Maxwell and Jone families, you are all in unit 1. Dale, Munford, Richard, Jacob and Severton families, you are all in unit 2. Brandenburg, Carson, Patrick, Seewell, and Lin families, you are all in unit 3. Kyler, Espineda, Middleton, Penning, and Wilson families you are in unit 4. And Matthews, Farley, Jannsen, Thatch, and Zee families are all in unit 5.”
“I guess we better move over there to Mr. Kent, Mr. Bates, Mr. and Mrs. Paton, and Mr. and Mrs. Holmes,” James suggested.
“Hello again!” Mr. Kent greeted them jovially.
“Hi!” Alec piped up.
“Hi everyone! I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Jason Bates. I am from Hampton, Georgia. I first heard of For The Nations as a newlywed. After much prayer and counseling with my wife, Lilly and we decided that getting involved with For The Nations was God’s next step in life for us. We’ve been serving here for five years now and have enjoyed every moment!” Mr. Bates truly looked like he enjoyed being at For the Nations. “Alright, let’s go around and introduce ourselves. Mr. Kyler would you start us off,” Mr. Bates glanced over to his clipboard and then to Mr. Kyler.
“My name is Buckley Kyler. In case you’re wonderin’ you can just call me Buck. I am married to the love of my life and have six children. My family and I live in East Texas. And these fine boys next to me are my sons. Boys, why don’t you each introduce yourselves?” Buck directed his focus on his sons.
“I’m Jackson, but I prefer to be called Jack. I am twenty years old,” Jackson commented, folding his arms. The tall boy standing next to him smiled.
“I’m William. You can call me Will or William, it doesn’t matter much!” He tipped his cowboy hat at Mitchell and smiled a friendly smile. Mitchell smiled back.
“I am eighteen. And am grateful to God for allowing my family and I to be here,” William finished.
“The name is Jonathan. And as you might have guessed, call me Jon. I am sixteen,” Jonathan winked slyly at Josiah. He and Josiah had already met, but Jonathan wouldn’t tell Josiah how old he was. Now Josiah just shook his head.
“And I’m Edmund or Ed!” chirped a young boy next to Jonathan. He was also wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
“I’m 1,015 years old!” and that completed the Kyler family. Mitchell laughed along with the others as this fun family introduced themselves.
“I will go next. My name is Javier Espineda and this is my son Marcus. He is fifteen,” a short, dark skinned man near Edmund announced. Marcus gave a very quiet hello and the introductions continued.
“My name is Karl Middleton and my two sons are named Jedidiah and Gideon.” Karl had a wide grin that reminded Mitchell of the way his Dad looked when someone just did something nuts.
“Hello! I am seventeen,” Jed gave a little wave.
“And I’m fourteen,” Gideon commented, with an up-to-some-trouble look. His smile was much like that of his father.
“And last, but definitely not least, my name is Tim Wilson. This is Lawson and Lew, yes they are twins. They are eighteen. And my son Louis, here is twelve.” Lawson and Lew looked nearly identical, with the exception that they weren’t wearing matching clothes. James went next and introductions were complete.
“Alright now that we all know each other’s names I am going to give you all a workbook which is going to be for the spiritual strength classes we will be having later this week. As most of you know we will not only be helping the people, building etc. we will also be sharing Christ with all those we come in contact with!” Mr. Bates explained.
The next five days passed quickly. Every morning all got ready, read their Bibles and read through an assigned section in the workbook. Then everyone would do a morning workout together. Breakfast came next and then everyone would start training in various areas of the campus. They were taught emergency response, to navigate through jungle-like terrain, to climb over walls and trees with ease, survival skills, first aid, scouting out land and construction work. As much as each of them didn’t appreciate being sore from all the physical training, each one enjoyed the work. Character was being built and enforced during training, especially respect. Each man was to respond to the leaders and squad members by calling each other “sir.” Mr. Bates explained it was a way of showing honor and treating others equally. James also noticed that each of his sons were maturing in different areas where there was a lack of maturity and was continually thanking God for the work He was doing in each of their lives. Friendships and respect for squad members rapidly increased as each day passed. There were struggles and consequences but each member found out that sometimes there are others who are more accomplished in a certain area then themselves.
James and Buck became fast friends, as well as both of their sons. It didn’t take long for Mitchell to get to know Jack and William more. It seemed like they had known each other for years. Sadly, Mitchell didn’t have many good friends his age in his home town and now relished happily in having some good friends. They were soon playing jokes on one another!
One day while Jack, William, Mitchell, Josiah, Jedidiah, and Lawson were on a group scouting mission practice, Jack slipped a fake snake and small recorder into Josiah’s backpack. Josiah had turned his head away from his back pack, being seriously engaged in a conversation about dangerous creatures with Lawson. Jack sneaked quickly back over to William and Mitchell.
“The recorder should go off in about ten minutes. Hopefully, by then we will be heading back to HQ.” Jack winked at William. William just shook his head. Mitchell pretended to have a bit of a coughing attack.
Sure enough, ten minutes later they were all walking on the trail back, when a sudden hissing noise, exactly like that of a snake, was heard coming from Josiah’s backpack.
“Hmmm. It seems that noise is coming from this large pocket here….” Josiah zipped the part open and suddenly cried out. Jack and the others burst out laughing, when Josiah pulled the fake snake and recorder out of the backpack.
“Gee! You guys are mean!” Josiah yelled at the others as they walked on, still laughing. He shook his head. Jack is going to pay for this..this…embrassment!