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.”