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First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM by: Rami Scully

Part One Story: The Pilgrims endured seven weeks of storms during their harrowing trip across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 on their overcrowded boat, the Mayflower. Finally, they landed at Cape Cod.

They had to reassemble a 30-foot boat so that 16 men could scout out the land. The men’s good news was that they found a large iron pot containing 36 ears of corn, giving the Pilgrims their first tough taste of the food that would keep them from starvation in years to come. Their bad news was that Indians had shot arrows at them, and war cries could be heard piercing the night.

Building a town

Cape Cod was a deep harbor, so the Mayflower pulled in and stayed nearby, providing shelter and protection while the settlers laid out streets and built a common house in an open and easily defensible field. They erected a palisade around the area using wooden poles with sharp pointed tops. The soil was rich and at least 20 acres had already been cleared and made ready to plant. They recognized this to be God’s divine provisioning love. There were four spring-fed creeks, and they had their first taste of fresh water. People in England normally drank beer because of cholera and other water borne diseases.

The terrible winter

Although the Pilgrims took lemon juice to prevent scurvy, they were weakened by their trip. People started dying. They couldn’t stop work to recover from colds, which often turned to pneumonia or consumption. Between the time they landed in November until March, nearly half their people died. They lost 13 of the 18 wives. Only three families remained intact.  At one point, only five were well enough to care for the others.

Keeping on

Even the ship’s crew became ill. A boson who had scoffed at and abused them was ashamed to receive their help because he had never known compassion. He said, “…you, I see, show your love like Christians indeed to one another, but we let one another lie and die like dogs.’’

All of this difficulty strengthened their resolve, unified them and hardened their bodies, but their hearts remained soft and grateful towards God. Daily prayers were part of their routine, plus Sunday worship.

The surprise visitor

One day in March, while the men were having a defense meeting, they were startled out of their seats by a warning cry, “Indian coming!’’

Up their main street and into their common house walked a tall, loin-clothed Indian who loudly proclaimed, in perfect English, “Welcome! Have you got any beer?’’

(To be continued.)

What the Bible says about hard times

The Bible says, “Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer’’ (Romans 12:12 Amplified)

Today’s prayer

Thank You, Lord, for knowing and caring about me when I feel helpless. Thank You for preparing a way through my difficulties. Knowing that You know gives me hope. Amen.

Resource: Most of the information for this story is found in The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, a fascinating account of the early history of America.


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