Echoes From the Campfire

There was never any reason to be careless.”
              –Charles G. West  (Hell Hath No Fury)

    “You may be asking why I changed my plan. Do you think I make my plans carelessly? Do you think I am like people of the world who say ‘Yes’ when they really mean ‘No’?”
              –2 Corinthians 1:17 (NLT)
I have enjoyed finding these little nuggets of some of the heroes of the faith.  Those who dared to live their faith despite the threats, torture, and death.  Here is a story, again from Robert J. Morgan, about Joseph Alleine.

         He was a man dedicated to the task.  While a chaplain at Oxford his friends would complain that he neglected them for his studies.  To which he replied, “It is better they should wonder at my rudeness than that I should lose time; for only a few will notice the rudeness, but many will feel my loss of time.”  By the age of 21 he was devoting every moment to studying, preaching, and evangelizing.
         In 1655, he began pastoring a church in the western part of England.  He married but continued on with his duties.  “Joseph habitually rose at 4:00in the morning, praying and studying his Bible until 8:00.  His afternoons were spent calling on the unconverted.  He kept a list of the inhabitants of each street and knew the condition of each soul.  ‘Give me a Christian that counts his time more precious than gold,’ he said.  At the beginning of the week, he would remark, ‘Another week is now before us, let us spend this week for God.’  Each morning he said, ‘Now let us live this one day well!’
         “But his time was nonetheless cut short.  The restoration of England’s monarchy in 1662 resulted in the Act of Uniformity, removing 2,000 preachers from their pulpits in a single day.  Most preached their farewell sermons August 17, 1662.  Joseph, however, continued preaching.  The authorities descended, and on May 28, 1663 he was thrown into prison.  His health soon declined.
         “‘Now we have one day more,’ he told Theodosia when he was finally released.  ‘Let us live well, work hard for souls, lay up much treasure in heaven this day, for we have but a few to live.’  He spoke truthfully.  He died on November 17, 1668, at age 34.  But he had spent his years well, outliving himself not only in the souls he saved, but in the book he left, a Puritan classic entitled “Alleine’s Alarm”.”

This man was dedicated to the Lord and to the task which he was given.  He definitely understood the words of Paul, “Act like people with good sense and not like fools.  These are evil times, so make every minute count.  Don’t be stupid.  Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do.”  (Ephesians 5:15-17, CEV)
Ponder This:  “If history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good.  Or if it records evil of wicked men, the religious listener or reader is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God.”

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Daughter?” I thought to myself.  It was hard for me to imagine that Billington had a daughter.  I knew he had been married, but didn’t know what happened to his wife.  I figured he was a widower.  It made me wonder why she was trying to find him.  I had never seen her in Durango before.
    I went and got a room for the night, then grabbed a bite to eat at the eatery across from the hotel.  The train didn’t leave until 9:00 in the morning.  The men, and Billington, had to be traveling on the room with a wagon.  It would take them at least two days to get there, actually closer to three.  I would be there waiting for them.  But now, the daughter, that was another angle.
    The next morning I was up and at the eatery.  The little place had on the menu, huevos rancheros, and that made me smile.  There was a young senorita waiting on the table and she brought me a cup of coffee and took my order.  While I was sitting there, sipping my coffee, in walked Billington’s daughter.  She looked around for a table, and I stood up and asked, “Join me?”
    She looked around the room again, and then walked to my table.  “Thank you, sir,” she said.  “I recognize you from the train.”
    “Yes, my business here fell through, so I’m headin’ back to Durango.  How ’bout you?”
    “I was told that my father was in a hospital in Santa Fe.  Upon my arrival I found that he decided to check out and was traveling back home,” she paused when the waitress brought her some coffee and took her order.  “Since he is not here, I’ll travel back home to see him.”
    Taking a sip of my coffee, I wondered why she said he had “checked out.”  Maybe the doctor didn’t tell her the full story.
    “Where is home?” I questioned.
    She hesitated before answering.  “Well, actually I’m from Salt Lake City, my father lives in Durango.  I came to surprise him with a visit.”
    There was no more conversation as the waitress brought my breakfast.  It had eggs, piled with some red sauce on top and the rest of the plate was filled with frijoles.  There were plenty of tortillas on the side.  For a quick instance, my mind went back to a trail pard of mine from years ago–Hidalgo.  He would make tortillas in camp.  
    “I’m sorry, I’ve been so rude,” her voice brought me back to reality.  “My name is Lillian.”
    “Glad to make your acquaintance.  Miles Forrest is my name,” I took another bite, swallowed and washed it down with some coffee.  “May I ask, if your father lives in Durango, why are you here in Santa Fe?”
    She coughed, and it seemed as if she didn’t know how to answer.  “I didn’t find out until I arrived in Durango, that he was traveling.  I had hoped to catch up with him, and spend some time traveling with him.”
    “Well, I hope you catch up with him,” I said.  
    Giving a little smile she ate the last of her boiled egg, and started to rise.  I stood up to help her out of her chair.  “Thank you, for allowing me to sit here,” she looked around again.  “I’m not used to this,” she paused, “this kind of culture.”
    I sat back down as she walked away and started drinking my coffee and pondering what she said, or rather what she hadn’t said.  She knew her father was in the hospital as I had seen her there.  
    It was time for me to leave.  It was a fifteen minute walk to the train station and I wanted to be there in plenty of time.  Hopefully it wouldn’t be crowded.
    Within the hour we were pulling out.  I didn’t see Lillian on the car, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t on the train.  There was another passenger car and also one with private rooms.  I’d take me a walk later to see if I could spot her.
    A few hours later I was in Taos.  I went first to the telegraph office to send a wire to Molly, telling her I would be home, most likely tomorrow, then on down to the Wells Fargo office.  The clerks looked surprised to see me back so soon.  I filled them in on what I knew.  Then the thought struck me…

Echoes From the Campfire

MEMORIAL DAY — a day to remember the fallen — those who gave their lives in service to their country.  My Mom lost a cousin on that terrible day in June 1944, on the beaches of Normandy.  My Uncle James died in 1966 in Vietnam.  Uncle Bobby, though not killed in action, served as a corpsman in Port Moresby during World War II.  He lost his mind seeing the death that laid around him.  He could not function in society and was placed in an asylum.  Finally, with new medication and treatments after nearly twenty years he was released but he still couldn’t totally relate in society.  He couldn’t drive, hold a job; things we take for granted.  Memorial Day is not a day of celebration, but rather a time of reflection.  
                         The Soldier Has Come Home

                           Lay the green sod on me
                           carve my name in stone,
                           lay the green sod on me
                         the soldier has come home.

                         Don’t mourn for me, my darling
                            don’t cry when I am gone,
                         don’t mourn for me, my darling
                            the soldier will come home.

                         My friends have gone before me
                         and laid their tired bodies down,
                         my friends have gone before me
                           to prepare the resting ground.

                           Let me go to sleep now,
                         to march and fight no more,
                           let me go to sleep now
                         I’m tired, my body’s sore.

                           So lay the green sod on me
                         put the wreath upon my stone,
                           lay the green sod on me
                         the soldier has come home.
                                –Barry Sadler
                          Last Full Measure of Devotion
                   In the long and honored history of America
                   There are names that shine like beacons in the night
                   The Patriots whose vision gave us meaning
                   Who kept the lamp of freedom burning bright
                   In the long and honored history of America
                   There are those that paid the last and final price
                   Who were called upon by chance, or desperate circumstance
                   To make the ultimate sacrifice
                   A grateful nation bows its head in sorrow
                   And in thanks for guaranteeing our tomorrow
                   The last full measure of devotion
                   That’s what they gave to the cause
                   The last full measure of devotion
                   And though they cannot hear our applause
                   We honor them forever and keep alive their story
                   Pay tribute to their lives and give them all the glory
                   The last full measure of devotion
                   Beyond the call of duty were their deeds
                   The last full measure of devotion
                   They gave themselves to serve the greater need
                   And for those who did survive
                   And came back home alive
                   They join in praise of comrades who were slain
                   And highly resolve, most higly resolve
                   That these dead shall not have died in vain.

Echoes From the Campfire

Times, winning the war is only the beginning of the battle.  After the bugles fall silent, there is always the long road back.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (After the Bugles)

    “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
              –John 15:13  (NLT)

                        Dusty old helmet, rusty old gun,
                        They sit in the corner and wait.
                        Two souvenirs of the Second World War
                        They have witnessed the time and the hate.

                        Mute witness to a time of much trouble
                        Where kill or be killed was the law.
                        Were these implements used with high honor?
                        What was the glory they saw?

                        Many times I’ve wanted to ask them…
                        And now that we’re here, all alone,
                        Relics all three of that long ago war…
                        Where has the freedom gone?

                        Freedom flies in your heart like an eagle.
                        Let it soar with the winds high above
                        Among the Spirits of soldiers now sleeping.
                        Guard with care and with love.

                        I salute my old friends in the corner.
                        I agree with all they have said…
                        And if the moment of truth comes tomorrow,
                        I’ll be free, or by God, I’ll be dead!
                               –Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy, the great hero of World War II, knew the horrors of war.  He saw and felt the sacrifices that were given on a daily basis by men who fought to keep their families and friends back home safe and free.  
    Memorial Day!  A day to remember those who sacrificed.  So in the midst of the fun weekend; the time with families and friends.  Remember why you are able to do so.

                           ALL GAVE SOME — SOME GAVE ALL!