Re­mem­ber Squanto

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

Some­times there are events in his­tory that are so im­prob­a­bly, so highly un­likely, that to look back on them is to say, surely this was the hand of God. Such were the events around the Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tion at Ply­mouth, Mass., in 1621.

The story starts with Tisquan­tum — com­monly known as Squanto. He was a na­tive Patuxet. His tribal lands in­cluded present day Ply­mouth. In 1614 an English ship vis­ited the Mas­sachusetts coast and lured Squanto and 23 other Patuxet and Nauset aboard their ship.

The na­tives were bound, taken to the hold of the ship and car­ried as cargo to Spain, where they were sold as slaves. His­tory is silent on the fate of 23 of th­ese Na­tive Amer­i­cans, but one of them would make a re­mark­able jour­ney home. Squanto was pur­chased by kind-hearted Catholic monks. He was brought to a monastery, taught Span­ish and taught how to get around in the Euro­pean world, and fi­nally he was sent to Eng­land to seek pas­sage back to Amer­ica.

In Lon­don, Squanto found work, lodg­ing and learned English. Af­ter a few years he was able to get pas­sage back to North Amer­ica, by work­ing as an in­ter­preter for a trad­ing post in New­found­land. From there he was able to barter his way back to the Mas­sachusetts coast, promis­ing to act as an in­ter­preter for the English.

They ar­rived back at his home­land in 1619, only to be met with si­lence. The vil­lage was de­serted. The Cap­tain of the trade ship de­cided to go on to Jamestown. Squanto was free to go where he choice. He went in­land to the Mas­sas­oit tribe to seek in­for­ma­tion. He dis­cov­ered that two years ear­lier a dev­as­tat­ing sick­ness had killed ev­ery­one in his tribe. He was the only re­main­ing Patuxet. He de­cided to say among the Mas­sas­oit.

The next year the Mayflower set sail for the new world car­ry­ing over a hun­dred colonists. The plan had been to settle in Vir­ginia near the Jamestown Colony, where there would be time to build homes and gather food be­fore the win­ter.

But north-winds had de­layed the cross­ing and pushed the Mayflower off course. The Pil­grims came ashore along the Mas­sachusetts coast on De­cem­ber 21, 1620. They named the land, “Ply­mouth,” af­ter their home in Eng­land. Win­ter just about de­stroyed them. They hur­riedly built shel­ters, and there was not enough food.

ID and are is­sued a card that tells them when they can re­turn.

They com­plete per­sonal, de­mo­graphic and eth­nic in­for­ma­tion which is en­tered into the com­puter. They get a cart and make choices from the shelves equiv­a­lent to $50 to $60 in gro­ceries.

“We are try­ing to win them to the Lord,” said Van­derzwart. “Some peo­ple come for a sense of fam­ily be­cause they feel the love of Je­sus here.”

Last Septem­ber, Van­derzwart said they got down to three pal­lets of food left in the trail­ers.

Fort Gillem do­nated 800 boxed lunches — two pal­lets that stood high as the door. Days later, they gave two more pal­lets. Bell’s Gro­cery do­nated 12 pal­lets of food.

“That‘s the kind of things I have seen God do over and over again,” he said. “He con­tin­u­ously makes my jaw hit the floor.”

John Donaldson

Colum­nist

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