Operation Auca

It was January of 1956 when five men were lanced on the banks of the muddy Curaray River by the savage Auca tribe. These five young men gave their lives for that highly primitive Ecuadorian tribe, but they did not die in vain.

Pennsylvanian Nate Saint and his wife Marj had come to the Oriente, the eastern jungle of Ecuador, in September of 1948. While in Ecuador they were blessed with three children. Nate was a missionary pilot who delivered medicine and supplies to stations around the jungle.

Jim Elliot, an Oregon native, and his buddy Pete Fleming from Seattle had come in 1952. Jim and Pete had prayed for years about where they should serve as missionaries. Jim heard about the Quichua (keech-wa) tribe in Ecuador and had prompted Pete to join him. Pete, who had a master’s degree in literature and planned to be a professor, left his new sweetheart Olive Anisole in Seattle with a promise to marry her later. Jim and Pete settled in Shandia (shan-dya), on the banks of the Rio Napo.

Elisabeth Howard, the sister of Jim’s best friend, had come to serve the Colorado Indians on the coastlands of Ecuador. Jim had known her since their college days in Wheaton, Illinois. They planned to marry one day, but when a major flood came upon Shandia and destroyed all of Jim and Pete’s work, Jim decided he should marry Elisabeth immediately. They had a small wedding ceremony there in Shandia. Together, Jim and Elisabeth met life in the jungle with determination and joy.

Ed McCully, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a good friend of Jim’s. He had met Jim at Wheaton College, where Ed had been a star orator and athlete. He accepted Jim’s challenge to be a missionary. He left for Ecuador in December of 1952 with his wife Marilou and their little son Stevie. They worked in Shandia so Jim and Elisabeth could start a missionary station in Puyupungu (poo-yoo-poongoo).

The following year, Pete went back to Seattle to marry Olive. They had a six month retreat before the two of them went to Quito for Olive’s Spanish training. Then they moved to Puyupungu to work at the missionary station that Jim and Elisabeth had started.

Roger Youderian, a decorated paratrooper in the US Army, had come from Montana to Ecuador in 1953 with his wife Barbara and his little daughter Bethy. They served in Macuma (ma-coo-ma) among the Jivaro (hee-va-ro) Indians of Southern Ecuador. Life was not easy among the hateful, unsaved Indians, but like the other missionaries, he did not give up.

Nate had heard about the Auca tribe years ago, when he first arrived in Ecuador. He wanted to share the gospel with this tribe, and had been looking for them as he flew over the jungle. He had heard that the Auca (ow-ka) tribe was so hostile that no one could get close enough to them to find out their real name. The tribe had been given the Quichua name “Auca,” meaning “savage.” The Aucas had been treated very poorly by the Spanish, and since then did not trust anyone outside of their tribe. Whenever an outsider came into their territory, the Aucas monitored their every step, watching for a reason to kill them.

When Jim, Pete, and Ed heard of the Aucas, they were also filled with a longing to reach them with the gospel. For years everyone worked at their missionary stations, waiting for an opportunity to share the gospel with the Aucas. Ed and Marilou had another boy, and were expecting a baby again. Jim and Elisabeth had a baby girl, and Roger and Barb were blessed with a baby boy. Life was good in the jungle, but they kept on thinking about the Aucas.

Ed and Marilou McCully decided to set up a missionary station on the Auca’s side of the Arajuno (a-ra-hoo-no) River at an abandoned Shell Oil Company reserve. The Aucas had killed three Shell Oil workers there about ten years previous, but Ed and Marilou were willing to take the risk.

On September 19, 1955, Nate flew to the McCully’s base at Arajuno. He asked Ed if they should go looking for his “neighbors.” Ed happily agreed to ride along in Nate’s plane. It was a nice clear day, but still Nate and Ed could see nothing but the ocean of green trees. Nate was about to turn back for more gas when he saw Auca huts! The next time Nate saw Jim and Pete, he told them the exciting news. All the men felt that God was putting things in place. Jim, especially, felt they should share the gospel soon with the Aucas. Pete felt they should not be hasty. The men discussed how they would share the gospel, if they were to do it soon, as that seemed to be the general consensus. They knew Nate’s plane would help them, but they prayed for further direction from God.

Jim heard that there was an Auca girl named Dayuma (dye-u-ma) living at a hacienda down the road near Shandia. In fear of her life, she had escaped the Auca village during an inner-tribal dispute. Jim met with Dayuma. She taught him some Auca phrases. She thought he was just curious about her primitive tribe. She did not know that he wanted to visit them. “Never trust them,” she told Jim. “They will appear nice and then they will turn around and kill.”

Jim and the other men were ready for action, and in October of 1955, they started “Operation Auca” when Nate and Ed went on a “gift drop.” Nate had developed a new technique of lowering a bucket from the plane. It had been helpful in delivering supplies to missionary stations around the jungle. Now Nate was using it to give his first message of goodwill to the Aucas. He lowered down a kettle and ribbons as Ed looked for the Aucas. They could not see any Aucas, so they set the gifts on a road in the village.

The next week, when they came to deliver a machete, the kettle was gone. As they lowered the machete, it dropped into the river, and several Aucas dove after it. When they came up, Ed started to yell through the megaphone, “Biti miti punamupa!” which means, “We like you. We want to be your friends,” in the Auca language. The Aucas called back, but Ed could not hear what they were saying. Ed kept on calling friendly Auca phrases. Nate did a gift drop each week with any of the men that could tag along. Sometimes the Aucas would send things back, like fruit, headdresses, or a parrot. The Aucas liked Nate’s gift drops. They would crowd in the clearing and wave happily whenever his plane appeared. The missionary men were excited.

Nate started to look for a good landing spot in the Auca territory. He found a place to land along the Curaray River, and it was near the Auca camps. He called it “Palm Beach,” so that no one would know about their secret mission. Pete, Jim, Ed, and Nate prepared to depart from the Arajuno missionary station and land on Palm Beach on January 3, 1956. They started gathering bug repellant, food, toys for the Aucas, and other things they needed. They packed a portable radio so they could keep in contact with Marj Saint at their home in Shell Mera.

The men realized that in order for it to be a successful mission, they needed a fifth man. The men told Nate to tell Roger Youderian of their secret mission. Roger was willing to take the risks and join them.

Departure time came, but the plane could not hold all of them at the same time. Jim and Ed had to pull straws to see who would get to go first. Ed won, so on the morning of the third, Nate flew Ed to Palm Beach and left him there with the supplies. The others soon came. That afternoon, Nate flew over “Terminal City,” which was the name the men had given the Auca village. Nate used the megaphone to tell the Aucas to meet them at the Curaray River the next day. Nate and the other men waited on the beach, but the Aucas did not come the next day, or the next. The men waited impatiently, yelling Auca phrases into the woods, hoping for their voices to be answered.

On January 6, the day started as usual. The men each took their turns yelling Auca phrases into the woods. They called this “beach patrol.” A booming male voice answered them. An Auca man and two Auca women came out of the forest. The missionaries were so happy and greeted the Aucas in their native language.

Jim wasted no time in escorting the Aucas across the river to the camp. The missionaries called the man “George” and the younger lady “Delilah.” the older lady did not get a name. The men showed the Aucas a picture of Dayuma, the Auca girl that had escaped. That was a big mistake. The Aucas did not understand pictures or the pocket it was taken out of. The Aucas thought the picture meant that the men had eaten Dayuma. The Aucas enjoyed the toys, but the man, George, wanted more than toys. He wanted to fly in Nate’s plane. Nate agreed and took him for a flight. George waved happily at his jealous tribesmen. The visit went well, as far as the missionaries knew. George and Delilah left when night came, but the older lady stayed until right before the missionaries got up from bed. The missionaries were very excited. They thought the visit was a success. They hoped more Aucas would come soon.

The next day the Aucas did not come. The missionaries waited. Nate looked at the Aucas from his plane once in a while. He saw that the Aucas seemed fearful and confused. He did not like that. On January 8, Nate went to look at them again from his plane. He saw about ten Auca men headed toward Palm Beach. He was so excited. He called Marj and told her that he would call her at 4:35 p.m. “This could be the big day,” he told Marj over the radio as he flew back to Palm Beach to join Pete, Jim, Ed, and Roger. All the men were excited. They knew something big was going to happen that day. They waited patiently.

Marj Saint and Olive Fleming sat by the radio at 4:35. Barb Youderian and Marilou McCully were in Arajuno awaiting the news. Nate was never late with a call, but there was no news from Palm Beach. Minute after minute passed. The men did not call. The wives were worried, but they hoped their husbands were just busy with the Aucas. The next morning the wives called Elisabeth Elliot who was teaching school in Shandia. They told her that the men were missing, and that Johnny Keenan, another missionary pilot, was flying over Palm Beach to give a report. Johnny saw that Nate’s plane was damaged beyond use, and that the camp looked desolate. He couldn’t see anything else. Word was getting out quickly about the missing men. A search party of soldiers, missionaries, and a physician were sent to investigate the camp. The wives were certain at least one of their husbands had survived. Then news came from the Quichuas who had seen Ed’s body downstream.

The search team continued and finally came to the wives who anxiously sat down for the news. Four other bodies had been found in the river: Nate, Jim, Pete, and Roger. None had escaped. The search team had buried the men at Palm Beach. The wives were very sad, but they were filled with God’s peace that passes all understanding. They did not hate the Aucas for killing their husbands. They prayed that the Aucas would know God.

Marj Saint went to a new post in Quito. Marilou McCully went to the United States to birth her third child, joining Marj in Quito later. Barbara Youderian stayed in Macuma and continued work with the Jivaro Indians. Olive Fleming returned to the US and remarried.

Rachel Saint, Nate’s sister, came to Ecuador. In a few years, both she and Elisabeth Elliot were teaching the Bible inside the Auca camps. The Aucas wanted to learn about the men and their God after seeing angels dancing and singing over the men’s bodies on the beach. The Aucas said the angels were as bright as a thousand flashlights.


It was five years after the men’s death when the first Auca finally became a Christian. Soon after, the entire Auca tribe was praising God, even the natives who had killed the men. The Aucas now understood what the missionaries had been doing. They were very sad they had killed them. But the prayers of the missionaries and their wives had been answered. Operation Auca had been successful. The Aucas became nice to people. They are not called “Aucas” (savages) any more. They go by their original tribal name “Waodoni,” meaning “humans” or “men.” The Aucas live on, and so does the legacy of Nate, Jim, Pete, Ed, and Roger–a legacy of love, trust, and faith in God.

By Faith Williams

March 4, 2017


Caughey, Ellen. Some Gave All. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2002.

Elliot, Elisabeth. Through Gates of Splendor. Milton Keynes, UK: Authentic Media Limited, 2005.

Miller, Susan Martins. Jim Elliot. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, Inc., 1996.

A Daughter of the King

I’m not one of this world
I’m a stranger on this earth
for I have cleansed my path
According to your word

The world may think I’m crazy
Or maybe even insane
But I find my joy and peace
In Yeshua’s great name

I’m not being conformed
To this world that thinks evil’s fine
I am being transformed
By the renewing of my mind

And when temptations come to me
And say, “Come on, it’s fun!”
I will overcome these lies
By the power of God’s Son

God will deliver me
From the enemy’s hand with grace
“Look, I’m free now!”
I shout in the enemy’s face

I will sing of mercy and judgement
To you, God, I will sing
For you have taken me, a pauper
To be a daughter of the King

I will follow you always
No matter what others like
For straight and narrow is the path
The path that leads to life

-Scripture References-
Psalm 119:9
Psalm 119:19
Romans 12:2
Psalm 101:1
Matthew 7:14



I sing praises to God
I sing praises anew
I sing praises to God
All His words are true

He can deliver and He can save
He raises us up from the grave
He lifts us up from the clay
He sets us down on His way

He gives us food in its season
The beginning and latter rains
And when the good year ends
He gives it to us again

He is worthy of all praise
So extol Him in all your ways

The Trip

Life’s story is like a trip unknown
But during it we are not alone

Sometimes He will lead us on the highway
On the traveled, easy ways
And sometimes He leads us on bumpy roads
But He always with us stays

Whenever we need fuel
He will always give us gas
And when on the hard road
He will always help us pass

When to Him we disobey
And we go off the path
He will give us kind correction
And mercifully lead us back

Yehovah will always lead us
From day one and forevermore
Until the trip is over
And we open heaven’s door


A Vessel of Worth

Let no one despise
The fact you are young
For you have a calling
For the days to come

To shine God’s light
To the ends of the earth
To fight the good fight
You’re a vessel of worth

-Scripture References-
1 Timothy 4:12
Acts 1:8
2 Timothy 4:7


Like rain falls upon the field
Let Your word fall on my soul
Let it give me peace and joy
And make me perfectly whole

May Your Spirit fill me
May I never be the same
May I ardently work
To glorify Your name

May You like rain wash me
And make me pure and clean
Put Your mark upon my head
I would want it to be seen

So that I could proclaim You
My love for You never hide
And when people look at me
May they see You inside

This is my petition
This is what I pray
But my ultimate request is
God, please have Your way

Honesty is the Best Policy

Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a young man named Nicholas Sullivan. He had been orphaned at age thirteen when his parents died of a strange sickness. Now he was a peasant, living with his wife Alexis and their two children in a tiny shack outside Darcenea, the capital city of that kingdom. Nick had no education, so he had trouble finding a good job. The only jobs he found were unreliable, low-paying jobs.

Nick was walking down the street one day when he saw a woman with a purse go down the road. He asked her, “May I have some money please?” The lady looked at him with sharp eyes.

“No,” she flatly answered. “I am not spending any money on a  hooligan.”

“Oh, Miss,” Nick lied, “I am gathering funds for the Darcenea orphanage. They could really use some money. Would you please give?”

“The orphanage, eh?” the woman said, looking at his thin frame and tattered, dirty clothes. “So you are not some kid from the street? What is your name?”

“Nick Sullivan,” Nick said. “I am not a street kid.”

“I guess I will give,” she said, and handed him ten coins (which is worth one hundred dollars today).

“Thank you so much, ma’am. I will take it to the orphanage,” Nick said as he left. The lady was smart. She did her errands, and then went to the orphanage.

Meanwhile, Nick went  to his shack. He was excited. He called, “Alexis, I have ten coins to spend! We will not go hungry!”

“Great, Nick!” Alexis called. Then Nick told Alexis what he had done.

“Will they get me? Will she find out it did not go to the orphanage?” Nick asked Alexis.

“They probably will not, Nick,” Alexis said. They decided not to worry about it. They had a nice meal that night.

When the lady entered the orphanage, she inquired, “Hello, sir, did you receive a donation of ten coins today?”

“No, Ma’am,” the worker replied. “Do you wish to give?”

“Yes, but not right now,” she said as she stormed away. She ran to the royal castle and  called to the guard, “Someone stole from me!”

“Who?” the guard asked. “How much?”

“A kid named Nick Sullivan stole ten coins from me!” she replied. “He told me it was for the Darcenea orphanage, but it was not, so he lied and deceived me too!” The lady told them everything she knew about Nick and the money.

“We will find him and bring him to trial,” the guard assured her. She left, feeling very angry at Nick.

The next morning Alexis was in town to buy a loaf of bread. She heard the town crier calling, “Wanted! Nick Sullivan! Wanted for theft!” She bought the loaf of bread and ran to the old shack.

“Nick! You are wanted!” Alexis called. Nick took the rest of the money and hid it in a hole under his mat. They were scared. How had the lady found out? They sat there and waited, worried. Would they be found?

The next day some of the king’s soldiers arrived at the Sullivan shack.

“Hello,” Nick said. “What are you here for?”

“We have a warrant for your arrest, Mr. Sullivan,” one guard said. “Come with us.”

“What? I am innocent!” Nick lied loudly.

“Then prove it! You are coming with us,” he said as he led him away. Alexis took the hands of their two children, Joseph and Kate, and followed behind.

“Where is Papa going?” six-year-old Joseph asked, his little face looking up at his mother.

“He is going to court,” Alexis said.

“What is court?” Joseph questioned.

“It is where they do judgements,” Alexis answered.

“So they will judge Papa?” Joseph wondered.

“Correct,” Alexis said. When they arrived at the Darcenea court house, they took a seat in the back. “Quiet, children,” she whispered, her heart beating.

“Court is now in session,” the judge called. “We are here to try a case between Mr. Nicholas Sullivan and Mrs. Victoria Baldwin. Mrs. Baldwin, state your case.”

“Nick Sullivan stole from me!” she called. “He said he was giving it to the orphanage, but he did not! I went to the orphanage, and the man said that they had not gotten my ten coins. Nick stole them!”

“How do you defend yourself, Mr. Sullivan?” the judge asked.

“How? I am innocent!” Nick called. “Check my house and see that I do not have her money!”

“We shall do that,” the judge said. Then he called an intermission so that the king’s soldiers could search the shack. Nick and his family sat together with guards watching them. Nick and Alexis were concerned. When the soldiers came back, the judge entered and everyone took their places.

“Have you found any evidence?” the judge asked the soldiers.

“Yes, your Honor, here are Mrs. Baldwin’s coins! We found them under Mr. Sullivan’s mat!” one of the guards said.

“Are these your coins, Mrs. Baldwin?” the judge asked.

“They are mine, all right,” Mrs. Baldwin said. “But I only see nine. Mr. Sullivan must have used one to buy something.”

“Is this true, Mr Sullivan? Do you admit to your crime?” the judge called.

“No, I am innocent!” Nick called.

“How do you prove yourself?” the judge questioned.

There was silence in the room as Nick slowly bowed his head. “I can not,” Nick admitted. “I spent that coin. I am sorry.”

“Sure you are!” Mrs. Baldwin called. “I don’t trust you.”

“Neither should he be trusted,” the judge said, “after what he said to us! Send him to jail until we have a judgement. He is guilty.”

Nick looked at Alexis shamefully and whispered, “I have done wrong. I hope you will be okay while I am in jail.”

“We will be okay, Nick,” Alexis said. “I love you.” Nick was taken to jail.

The next morning, Nick’s jail cell door opened. “Come out. They have made the judgement,” the guard at the doorway said. Nick promptly left the old, dark cell and went to the courtroom. He saw Alexis and his children, but only for a moment before he was taken to the front of the room.

“The judgement is, Mr. Sullivan,” the judge solemnly said. “for stealing and lying in court, three weeks in the labor camp by the coast of the sea. No exceptions. Your wife and children can come if they want to. You will leave on the next train. Mrs. Sullivan, will you be going?”

“Yes, your Honor,” Alexis said.

“Then go, pack your bags,” the judge said, and the guards led them to their house.

“Alexis, what are you getting yourself into?” Nick questioned as they went to the shack to get their stuff. “You are pregnant and you are going to a labor camp? Are you sure this is right?”

“I would never leave you, Nick,” Alexis answered. Then they packed their bags and went to the station. They got on the train and left.

“What is a labor camp?” Joseph asked.

“It is a place where Papa can work out his debt,” Alexis answered.

“Oh,” Joseph said and looked at his mama. “Will I have to work?”

“Some, but not more than usual,” Alexis assured him.

At the end of the day they arrived at the labor camp. The camp sergeant told Nick, “You must work all the time. You shall fulfill the tasks I have planned for you each day. You shall sleep when you can, but you must fulfill the tasks. If you do not, you shall take a beating and do the tasks the next day, in addition to that day’s chores. Laziness is not accepted. By the end of the three weeks, Mr. Sullivan, you are to have cleared all of the debris off these dirt roads leading to town.” Then the sergeant showed him a map of all the roads he needed cleared. Nick thought it was a lot of work, but he could do it. Soon he got to work, even though it was nighttime. “I can already tell that you are a hard worker,” the sergeant said. “Good job.”

“Thank you,” Nick said. Before long it was suppertime, and Nick went to eat.

He ate with his family, and met the other families there at the camp: James and Marie and their two children; Charles and Sarah and their little boy; and Adam and Samantha and their three children. Then the Sullivan family went to their shack to sleep.

Nick worked hard to clear the roads. Alexis also worked hard, but not as hard as Nick, for she was far along in her pregnancy. One night Nick came to the shack. “I am doing well on my work,” he said. “I shall have it all done by the end of the three weeks.”

“Great, Nick!’ Alexis said. “I am so proud of you.”

“I will pay Mrs. Baldwin the money, with extra, when I return,” Nick said. “I am sorry for what I did. It was wrong of me.”

“Oh, Nick,” Alexis said. “I feel the same way.”

“I am glad we are together in this,” Nick said.

“Yes, Nick,” Alexis said. “We are together in sorrow and in joy.” Thus they continued to work side by side. The children had to be cared for, for they kept on wandering off the roads.

“Joseph, go get Kate,” Nick would say, and then again a few minutes later Joseph would have to get Kate again.

“I help you, Papa,” Kate would say.

“Sure,” Nick would say. Kate would then rake the ground a little before trying to leave again.

One day Alexis could not work any longer. She did things in the shack, watched the children, and rested.

Nick worked very hard. He observed that the others were not working hard enough. They would always say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Adam and Samantha worked some, but still only enough for the day. Marie and Sarah, the other two wives, just stayed inside and did not work outside. Nick tried to encourage them to help their husbands. He did not want to see the men be punished. But they would not listen.

When the three weeks were over, Nick was ready. The others were not.

At noon the inspectors came. They told James and Charles that they both had to stay another week and finish their tasks. Adam and Samantha were told to hurry and finish his tasks so his family could leave the next morning. When they looked at Nick and Alexis’s work, they said “Good job. You did it all! I will take you back to Darcenea with me.” The Sullivans were so happy. They went on the train from the coast back to Darcenea.

Nick set off to making a more honest life for himself. He did not trick or steal in order to get money. He was honest and told people he was poor. He ended up getting even more money that way. Alexis had a baby boy, and named him Emmet, which means truth.

One day Alexis saw a plant near their shack. She and Nick both thought that it looked edible, so they decided to try it in a salad. It was very tasty, so they sold it to others to make money. The business went well, and soon Alexis had a garden of the plants. They named the special plant “Sullivan herb.” They were not as poor any more.

One day news came that the king of that country, King Randolph, had died. He had left the kingdom to his great nephew. The nephew was somewhere in the country and had to be found. Nick wondered why this nephew was so hard to find. Nick was in town one day when he heard the town crier calling: “The great nephew of King Randolph has been named! If anyone can find Nicholas Sullivan, tell the authorities!”

“Well, it’s not me,” Nick thought. “There must be another Nicholas Sullivan. Strange.” He left to go home.

A few days later Nick was holding baby Emmet and watching Joseph and Kate while Alexis was in the front yard selling Sullivan herb. Some soldiers came over. “Hello, soldiers,” Alexis said. “Would you like some of my herbs?”

“No, ma’am, but do you know a Nicholas Sullivan?”

“Yes, he is my husband,” Alexis replied. “He is right over there.” Then she pointed.

“Hello, is this about the new king?” Nick asked.

“Yes,” they said. “It is. What was your mother’s name?”

“Her name was Jane,” Nick said.

“Jane Andrews Sullivan?” they asked.

“Yes,” Nick answered. “How did you know?”

“Because she is the niece of King Randolph!” they called. “You are the one we are looking for!” Nick was utterly shocked.

“How did she become a peasant then? How come I did not know about this?” Nick asked.

“She married a peasant,” the guard said. “And she must not have told you.”

“We did not talk much, and she trained me not to ask too many questions,” Nick said. “She never told me she was the king’s niece.” Alexis’s eyes bulged.

“You are the king, Nick?” Alexis bravely uttered. “And I am queen?”

“Yes,” Nick said happily. He wanted to be king, and was very excited.

“Wait. We will have to check your record first,” the soldiers said, and left.

Nick and Alexis wondered what they would think of Nick’s previous stealing of Mrs. Baldwin’s money. “We paid her back and did not do it again,” Nick said. “We should be okay.”

“I hope so,” Alexis said. “Because I want to be queen!” They waited.

The next day the guards came back. “We have checked your record and we found that you have stolen before,” one guard said.

“Yes, indeed,” Nick said. “But I would never do it again. I am terribly sorry and I always try to be honest now.”

“That may be so,” the guard said. “But we need a lot of proof of your new found honesty if we are to trust you.”

“He has changed drastically. He would never steal now!” Alexis said.

“We need more proof,” the guards said.

“Then stay today and ask all the guests that come to our store how honest Nick is,” Alexis said. “You will see I am right.”

“Okay, we will do that,” the guards said, so they did. They asked every guest about the honesty of Nick and Alexis.

“Oh, they have not done anything wrong,” one lady said.

“Oh, they are very honest,” another said.

“They are as honest as can be,” another said.

This went on all day. At the end of the day the guards said, “You did steal, but because of how honest you are now, you can be king.”

Nick was so happy, Alexis was bouncing up and down, and the children were excited.

And so, the next month Nick became king and Alexis queen, with Joseph and Emmet as princes and, not to be forgotten, the darling Princess Katherine. King Nicholas was a very good and honest king. He did what was best for the kingdom, and his subjects were very proud of their king. He had honest and peaceful relations with other countries as well.

King Nicholas and Queen Alexis went on to have more children. They trained them to be honest because, after all, honesty is the best policy.




I looked slowly down at my dress. Do I look fancy enough? I wondered. My dress was red satin with a black satin sash, but still I wondered if it was grand enough. I was going to a party at the Hampton House, an elaborate home in the middle of town that was owned by my Papa’s boss. He and his family were having a party to celebrate summer, and they had invited our family.

I was a shy girl of fourteen, who did not have much self confidence at the time. My good mother had tried to teach me to have some more faith in myself, but I was still unsure of myself. “Mama, do I look okay?” I asked.

“Yes, dear, you look lovely,” Mama said, looking fondly at me.

My identical twin Alisina, who had been fixing her hair at the mirror, walked toward us. Even though we are identical, our personalities were quite different. Alisina was always cheery, with a big smile on her face, but I was very shy and rarely showed my timid smile. “Oh, I am so excited!” Alisina called. “Are you excited, Marina?”

“Yes,” I said, quietly as always, but inside I was not so sure about this party. I knew that Mr. and Mrs. Richards, the owners of the Hampton House, had invited many people, and I did not like crowds.

Then we heard Papa call, “Get in the wagon, children!”  We hurried down the stairs and to the wagon. Our other siblings, eleven-year-old Josiah and nine-year-old Clara, were already in the wagon.

“You all look so wonderful,” said Mama as she eyed our outfits of blue, pink, and red. Every strand of hair and every curl was combed and tamed. Mama was pleased. We drove away to the Hampton House. We are the only people with a wagon now, I thought as I saw all the cars driving through the streets of Savannah, Georgia, our city. But then I counted three other wagons on the short ride. Dust blew from the streets as the cars drove by. I tried to keep my dress clean. I was still very nervous that I would not be fancy enough for the party.

“Alisina, make sure you don’t get dust on your dress!” I called above the roar of the cars.

“I will just brush it off when we arrive,” Alisina replied. Alisina is so carefree, I thought. I don’t want to be seen in a dusty dress.

We soon arrived at the Hampton House. Alisina brushed the dust off her dress quickly and ran, her brown waves flying, to the Richards’ dog Nannie. I chewed nervously on my brown braid as I stood hesitantly on the brick front porch. A butler greeted us and let us in. Alisina ran to join us.

We stepped into a grand tile foyer. Strains of music came from the parlor. A beautiful wooden staircase climbed to an open hallway above. Mr. Richards and sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Richards came from the parlor just beyond the foyer. I was so amazed by the house that my face was aglow like Alisina’s. “Alisina!” Elizabeth called, giving me a hug. I blushed slightly.

“Good day, Elizabeth,” I muttered.

“Elizabeth!” Alisina called, as her eyes caught sight of her friend. Then Elizabeth realized she had mistaken me for Alisina. I was too shy to be acquainted with Elizabeth previously.

“Forgive me, Marina,” Elizabeth said sincerely. I nodded politely as Mrs. Richards walked over.

“Greetings,” Mrs. Richards said. “Don’t you look pretty?” she continued as she looked at us children.

“Thank you, ma’am,” we all said in unison.

“Now which one is Alisina and which one is Marina?” she asked.

“I am Alisina, she is Marina,” Alisina answered.

“You two look so alike. Come along to the drawing room,” Mrs. Richards said, leading us through a beautiful dining room with a globe in the corner and beautiful curtains, then through double doors into a drawing room with windows all around. There on the couch was Grace, who was the youngest Richards at nine years of age. She was wearing a pretty pink dress that looked lovely with her blonde hair. She stood up to greet us. She and Clara were friends, since they were the same age. Then we greeted the Richards boys, Walker and Oliver, but soon all of the Richards family left to greet more guests.

I sat shyly on the settee while Alisina looked happily out the window at the guests who were arriving. “Alisina, you don’t want them to see you,” I said, not wanting to draw attention.

“Why not?” Alisina demanded, her brown eyes laughing. I shrugged. Elizabeth came and led us back to the tile foyer to meet the other guests.

I shyly greeted the guests. Many of the older ladies had stylish dresses with chiffon overlays. Their large-brimmed hats were decorated with flowers or feathers. But the young ladies had simple dresses like mine. I don’t look too bad, I thought hesitantly.

Alisina was very outgoing, speaking to the other guests with Elizabeth and Clara. Josiah and Grace joined a group of children who were playing cards at the dining room table. I sat down to watch the game as the dealer started to pass out cards. He dealt to me, thinking I wanted to play. My heart raced. I did not want to play cards, but yet, I did not want to be rude. Then a boy came over and said, “I want to play!”

“You can take my place. I do not know how to play,” I said bravely.

“Okay,” he said and sat down in my place. I sighed and watched while standing at the side of the polished oak table. Then I looked and saw Alisina spinning the globe.

“Alisina, be careful,” I said quietly.

“Why?” Alisina said. “Be careful for what?”

“Be careful that you do not damage the globe,” I replied.

“You are silly, Marina, to worry so much,” Alisina said quietly.

Then Elizabeth came over and said, “We are going to play croquet!” The young people headed outside to play. I slowly followed at a distance, so as not to be confused with the people who wanted to play. I stepped out onto the brick back porch and then onto the stone pathway around a beautiful fish pond. Alisina followed me. She started stepping on the rocks around the pond.

“Stop, Alisina,” I said. “You might fall in the pond.”

“Do not worry,” Alisina replied.  “These rocks are large.” And she continued into the garden, balancing on the rocks there. I walked around the path and stood watching the game. Alisina went to play croquet. Soon it was time for supper. Mr. Richards said the blessing. I took my plate inside. I was not interested in being outside with all the other people. I was also concerned that my manners were not refined enough. I sat at a table by the kitchen where the Richards family ate when they had no guests. As I finished my meal, I could see the young people coming inside to the parlor. Some of the young ladies took turns playing the piano. When I entered the parlor, Alisina turned to me and said, “Marina, you should play the piano.”

“No, Alisina,” I gasped.

“Why not?”

“Because I am shy,” I whispered.

“You play the piano?” a girl asked.

“Please do play,” another girl said.

“Marina James, please do play,” said a lady.

“Play, Marina!” called Clara.

“Yes!” Alisina called, looking at me with an encouraging smile. I tried to feel confident, but I was still shy. I blushed brightly. Then I realized it would actually save me embarrassment by playing the piano, so I played my best song. My fingers knew what to do, and I did not make one mistake! I was so happy!

“Take a bow, Marina!” Alisina called, so I took a bow. I was so thrilled.

“That was really good,” Elizabeth said, smiling.

“Thank you,” I replied. I felt like I was walking on a cloud. The compliments boosted my morale. I played more songs on the piano later in the evening, and I even joined others to play games. It was such a wonderful time. For the rest of the night I did not think of my dress, my shyness, or my worries. I was just enjoying myself. For once I felt like Alisina, carefree and joyful. That was one of the loveliest nights of my life.

Now I am happy. I try not to worry, and I try not to be abashed. I am gaining confidence to use the talents that God has given me. I do not want to hide my talents like the man in the parable did. I want to be brave and bold as I share God’s blessings.

Chapter 10: A Surprise

One day Rebecca woke up early. She slipped out of bed and got her dress on. She soon realized that she could not button it up by herself. Her sisters usually buttoned it for her, but they were asleep. She opened the door a crack and peeked out. She was hoping to find someone to help her. She saw no one but Rose at the table downstairs. I must be up really early, she thought as she stepped out the door and closed it. “Rose, would you come and help me button my dress?” Rebecca asked.

“Why do you need my help?” said Rose in a mocking tone.

“My sisters are asleep,” Rebecca explained. “Please come.”

“Can’t you button it yourself?” Rose questioned.

“No, can you button your own dress?” Rebecca retorted, feeling angry.

“I guess not,” Rose finally admitted, and came up the stairs to help Rebecca. “I am surprised your sisters are not awake, being that you talked so loudly,” Rose scoffed.

“They are sound sleepers,” Rebecca said.

Rose buttoned every one of the many buttons. As Rose went to leave, Rebecca noticed that Rose looked different somehow. “Are you okay, Rose?” Rebecca asked. “Why are you up so early?”

“What business is that of yours?” Rose retorted, her green eyes flashing.

“You are my sister. I care about you,” Rebecca explained. “Are you sick?”

Rose looked at Rebecca, her face showing fatigue. “Yes, I am sick, and tired too. I only got four hours of sleep last night.” Rose barked.

“I am so sorry, Rose, but please be quiet.” Rebecca said. “We don’t want them to wake up.”

“I am not being any louder than you!” Rose snapped, and left. Rebecca went to her bed and sobbed. She did not know why Rose was so mean. She was sad that Rose was sick. Maybe that was the reason Rose was so mean to her. Then a thought popped in Rebecca’s head. Maybe Rose was sick because she was pregnant! It was an exciting thought, but she could be wrong. Whether she was right or wrong, it cheered her up enough to go downstairs and help Mother, who was making breakfast by then. When everyone had their morning chores done, they all sat down to eat. Afterwards Rebecca went to the Bradley’s house.

The next two weeks were good for Rebecca. Everything went well at the Bradley’s, and Rose did not say as many mean things. When Rebecca came home one day, Mother, Annie, and Amelia were cooking; Sarah and Rachel were sewing; and Matthew and Benjamin were playing checkers while Ruth and Baby Joseph tried to take the checkers.

“Where is Rose?” Rebecca asked after greeting everyone.

“Rose is in her bed,” Mother said. “She feels sick.”

Rebecca started making some biscuits to go with dinner. Amelia snatched a bit of dough.

“Amelia!” Rebecca chided.

“You know I love biscuit dough!” Amelia said, giggling.

Ever since Amelia got engaged she has acted like a little girl, Rebecca thought. As she was rolling out the biscuits, Father, Gabriel, and Joshua came home. They had been working on Gabriel’s house all day and were very tired. Soon supper was ready and everyone but Rose ate. The meal was so delicious. Gabriel still had many stories to tell, so every meal was entertaining. It was a good night, but soon it was bedtime. Rebecca was lying in bed thinking about her day when she heard the door open downstairs. Then she heard Walter’s voice. She sat up and looked at her sisters. Annie was asleep, but Amelia looked wide eyed at Rebecca. They sneaked to the door.

“I will go downstairs,” Amelia whispered as she slipped on her dress for Rebecca to button. “It is Walter.”

Rebecca stayed by the doorway. She heard Father say, “Walter, what brings you here at this hour?”

“I came to talk with you and Amelia,” Walter said, as Mother walked into the room, and Amelia ran down the stairs. “My parents received a letter this evening from my aunt and uncle who inherited the family farm in Springfield, Massachusetts. They are moving from their home in Manchester for the weather is good right now. They said I could buy the property in Manchester if I am interested. I am interested, so I came to talk to you. If I am to buy the property, I would need to leave in three days, as they will be selling it to another if I am not there. They are giving me a reasonable price for it, and I have seen how lovely the property is. I came immediately to talk to you. Amelia, would you like to go with me to Manchester?  I would never leave you behind. It is a good farm, with a barn, creek, and a two-story farmhouse. Would you like it? I have enough funds to buy it. We could get married in two days. Then we could go off together and buy a house of our own. What do you think?”

“That sounds wonderful, Walter,” Amelia responded. “We will get married in two days and–” then she looked hesitantly at her parents and asked, “Is this okay with you?”

“Yes. It sounds wonderful,” Father said.

“I am so happy for you two,” Mother said, “Though I will miss you terribly.”

After Walter left, Rebecca went downstairs. She gave Amelia a big hug. “I can’t believe it!” she called, louder than she should have. “You are getting married in two days!”

“Quiet, Rebecca. The others are sleeping. But it is so exciting,” Amelia said as she grabbed Rebecca’s hands excitedly.

After a while Rebecca went back upstairs to bed. Amelia and Mother stayed downstairs talking well into the night.

The next day, Rebecca and her sisters woke up. Annie was immediately apprised of the news. She was so excited! They all went downstairs to eat breakfast. Amelia told the rest of the family the news. Everyone but Rose showed their excitement. As soon as breakfast was over, Joshua rode to town in order to tell all the guests that the wedding would be in two days, and to tell the Bradleys that Rebecca would be busy for the next three days. Rebecca wanted to spend as much time as possible with Amelia before she left.

Mother baked the wedding cake, and Amelia started packing. Rebecca volunteered to do the finishing touches on Amelia’s bright blue dress she was planning to wear for the wedding. Rebecca sewed quickly. She was excited about the wedding. They did not go to bed until late that night.

The next morning was the day of the wedding. Mother made hotcakes for breakfast, Amelia’s favorite. Then the girls went to their room to dress. Rebecca got on her Sunday best. It was a long red dress trimmed with lace. Annie’s dress was the same style, but with pink fabric. Rebecca cried as she buttoned Amelia’s dress. “This is the last time I will do this for you.” Annie cried too. The three sisters hugged. Then Rebecca and Annie stepped back and looked at Amelia. Rebecca said, “You look so beautiful!”

“Thank you, Rebecca,” Amelia said. “I am getting married!” Then the entire family left for the church. When they arrived, they saw two of their friends in the side lot arranging the food that folks brought. Everyone wanted to celebrate with the bride and groom after the wedding. They hitched the horses and went inside. Walter was already at the front of the church with the parson. The family sat at the front of the church while Amelia joined Walter at the front.

Amelia to Walter said their vows. Rebecca held back tears. “I now pronounce you man and wife,” the preacher said. Then they all went outside for dinner on the grounds. When the meal was over, Walter and Amelia left for a day in the country. They stayed overnight at the inn on the edge of town. The next morning Walter and Amelia came by the Peters home to get Amelia’s things.

Rebecca sadly said, “I wonder when you will come here again, Amelia.”

“I do not know,” Amelia replied.

“Goodbye, dear sister,” Rebecca said, as she hugged Amelia and cried.

“Do not be so sad, Rebecca,” Amelia said. “You can visit us sometime.” Then they all said goodbye and waved as Walter and Amelia rode away.

See complete list of chapters here.

Chapter 9: The Arrival

Weeks passed and the Peters family was ready for Gabriel and Rose’s arrival. Rebecca came home one day and saw a wagon in the yard. It must be Gabriel and Rose! she thought, and ran to the house excited. When she opened the door she saw everyone crowding around them. “Gabriel! Rose!” she called running toward them.

“Rebecca!” Gabriel said giving her a big hug.

“My, Gabriel, you have changed a lot since I last saw you,” Rebecca said, looking at her brother’s brown beard and hair which were longer than they used to be.

“That is what everyone tells me,” he said. “It is so great to see you all again. You all have grown so much since I last saw you.” Then Rebecca turned to Rose, who was talking to Amelia.

“Hello, and who are you?” Rose asked. Rose had striking black hair and green eyes, not blonde hair and blue eyes, like Rebecca had imagined.

“I am Rebecca,” she answered.

“ I am Rose,” she said in a low voice. “Nice to meet you.”

“Have you seen the room we made for you?”

“I have been told about it, but no one has shown it to me,” Rose answered, her green eyes darting around the room.

“Let me show you,” Rebecca said. As she lead Rose away, Gabriel and everyone else followed.

“Here it is,” Rebecca said, opening the door to the room. The room was very nice, with red check curtains and a bed with a quilt that Rebecca and Annie had made. Mother had also put her nicest chest in there. It even had a pretty rag rug in the middle of the floor. Rebecca was proud of how it all looked.

“It is a very nice room,” Gabriel said, smiling. Rose looked all around at the room.

“Very nice,” she said finally. Then Mother and Amelia went to the kitchen to stir the soup and make the cornbread. Everyone else went to the parlor where Gabriel entertained them with stories. Then supper was ready. It was so yummy. Rose hardly said anything, but Gabriel kept on telling them stories. He told stories of his journeys, the mines, and his life. They also told him some of their stories, but they were boring compared to Gabriel’s. After supper the stories continued in the parlor. During a story Rose leaned to Rebecca and whispered, “I saw that you were running earlier. Do you not know that running is improper?” Rebecca was utterly shocked at Rose’s boldness. Why was Rose scolding her?

“I know that running is improper, but I was so excited to see you, I could not help it,” Rebecca quietly answered.

“Humph,” Rose said and looked away. Rebecca was worried. Was Rose always going to be like this, or was she just weary after much travel?

The next morning Rebecca and her sisters got up and got dressed. Then they went downstairs for breakfast. Rebecca hurried and got the milk and syrup. Everything was normal until Rose came out of her room grumpily and stared at Annie, who was closest to Rose’s door. “Why did you wake me up?” she demanded, her eyes flashing.

“I did not know that I woke you up. I thought you would be up by now. Sorry. It is almost time for breakfast, so you had better get ready,” Annie retorted.

“I can not believe she treated you like that. If she did that to me I would tell Mother,” Rebecca said, aghast.

“I am going to let Mother enjoy Rose for now,” Annie said. “She has not been mean to Mother.” They had a good breakfast. Rose was quiet. Rebecca happily skipped to work that day, and every day. She was happy to get away from Rose’s continual remarks.

One day as she was leaving, Father said, “Rebecca, you are so happy to leave here. May I ask why? Are you having a good time at work?”

“Yes, I am having a good time at work,” Rebecca said hesitantly.

“And?” Father questioned, looking at her kindly.

“Father, I don’t like Rose,” Rebecca admitted.

“Why not, dear?” Father asked.

“She says mean comments to us girls,” Rebecca said, “but she never says anything when Gabriel is around.”

“I am sorry to hear that,” Father said. “She will only be here till Gabriel can build a house. Hopefully she will stop doing that. Stay away from her, if not.”

“Thank you, Father,” Rebecca said as she left for work.

The next night they had a party celebrating Gabriel and Rose’s arrival. The Parkers, the Olsens, Josie’s family, and Jacob’s family all came. Rebecca had a lot of fun, even though she heard some more remarks from Rose.

“Oh, I do like that dress design, but I would add lace,” Rose said to Blanche. “Get out of my way,” Rose said to Ruth and Mary. “Please quiet down,” she said to Abigail, Patience, Sarah, and Rachel. Rebecca was very displeased. Some other people heard her comments as well, including Father. When the party was over, everyone went to their rooms. Before going to bed, Rebecca wrote in her journal.

Dear Journal,

I am very sad that I have found out that Rose is unlikable, or at least she is very hard to like. She says mean comments, but not when Gabriel is around. I must try to like her, but it is so hard.

God grant me patience and kindness for my sister Rose.

With that she closed her journal and went to sleep.

See complete list of chapters here.