Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why Prepare (and what we are preparing for)

Just one look at the headlines and we know that the potential for a natural disaster, economic catastrophe, personal tragedy or social unrest is great.  You hear the axiom "be prepared", but what exactly does that mean?  How do you start? What are your preparing for?  Is preparedness really necessary?

Every year, in all parts of the globe, natural disaster strike unsuspecting people, leaving behind remnants of lives mangled by acts of God.  Vast amounts of people become refugees, relying on governmental agencies for their daily survival.  Floods wash away dreams and homes, gardens and animals.  Fires devour lives and livelihoods.  In some countries, civil unrest and war tear at the very fabric of family and village life and leave inhabitants clinging to what little they have.  Here in America, we are fortunate to still live in a land of plenty.  We have the opportunity to provide for our families and build a hedge of protection against natural disasters and other potential life changing threats.

My husband and I used to live in the Greater Seattle Metropolitan area, and learned firsthand how essential preparedness is, and how few people know it or live it.  Many years ago, my husband was a volunteer firefighter with a little fire station on the east side of Lake Washington.  The Seattle area was buffeted by a HUGE windstorm, leaving the city crippled.  It was the middle of winter and temperatures were quite cold.  My husband and I bundled up our then 3-year-old daughter, packed into our 4-wheel drive Chevy truck and headed to the fire station using the back roads.  We made it about 4 miles and were confronted with a long line of stopped cars and people desperately trying to contact the local fire station on their cell phones.  There was a tree across the road.  When I say tree, I am being generous.  It was more like a large stick, but I'll call it a tree for the sake of argument.  Not one person had a chainsaw, hatchet, axe or even a pull strap or chain to pull the tree out of the road.  There was abject helplessness.  Without the help of the local civil servants, these folks were unable to reach their destination.

This was truly an "ah ha" moment for my husband and I.  My husband, although raised in the city, had a can-do mountain man mentality, and I had been raised in the outback of Idaho.  I grew up in the mountains were everyone had a chainsaw, shovel and six-pack of beer in their truck.  Anytime there was a downed tree, you would see fresh sawdust, remnants of branches, a couple of beer cans and a cleared road.  There was no waiting for someone to rescue you.  You just took care of business.  The windstorm in my Seattle back yard really opened my eyes.  Not everyone here had the wherewithal to take care of themselves.  Mostly it was from the lack of planning and a lifestyle of relying on governmental agencies for the most basic of daily necessities.

My husband, explaining that he was a fire fighter, sawed the tree into movable chunks and got on with the business of getting to the fire station.  This was our lesson in Preparedness 101.  We realized that we needed to be prepared.  We did not want to have to rely on some nameless agency or charity to care for our needs.  We did not want to be a drain on an already overloaded system.  We wanted to be beacons of hope in the chaos of uncertain times.  We chose to become a "Paratus Familia", a prepared family.

In our desire to become prepared, we found that preparedness is a way of life, rather than a list of supplies to buy or skills to acquire.  Preparedness requires logical thought, troubleshooting skills, planning, a perserverant attitude and most of all a reliance on God.

Preparedness requires that you identify what you are preparing for.  Despite common thought among some experts in preparedness, it is impossible to prepare for every eventuality.  This is where the phrase "know your enemy" comes in to play.  You need to carefully examine your situation and determine who your enemy is.  For example, do you live in hurricane country?  Do you live in an area that is frequented by firestorms?  What about extreme cold or heat?  Are you in a large urban area that has a high possibility of civil unrest?  Is it possible that you could lose your job tomorrow?  Could circumstances render you unable to afford food and water for your family?  And then there are the big scary threats.  Nuclear war, bio/chemical threats, martial law - basically the scariest parts of the bible.

Once you have identified the most likely potential threats to you and your family, then you can begin your preparedness planning and preparation.  Things to consider are food storage, water storage/purification, defense, power systems, medical necessities, hygiene, charity and spiritual encouragement.  You need to begin to acquire skills that will facilitate your long term survival - animal husbandry, gardening, cooking with stored foods, hunting and fishing, mechanic-ing, alternative energy, communications, canning and food preservation, and weapons skills, to name a few.  Every new tool or skill you acquire, you must put into practice.  It is not enough to have the tools, you must know how to use them.  Buying a back-up generator is great, but if the generator is faulty and doesn't work under a load, it is useless.  If you buy a Ham radio and get your license, but don't use it regularly, you can be guaranteed that you will push the wrong button, adjust the frequency incorrectly, forget what all of the controls do and you will be completely incommunicado.  Use it. Use it.  Use it!

Why should you be prepared?  You should be prepared because there may be a hurricane, fire, flood or snowstorm in a neighborhood near you.  You should be prepared because the economy may tank leaving you jobless and homeless.  You should be prepared because our government may spiral out of control and render our population little better off than slaves.

Preparedness is not just for people that are holing up waiting for the end of the world.  Preparedness is for people who want to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and not dependant on the government.  Preparedness is for people who want to protect their families.  Preparedness is for people who see the signs of the times.  Preparedness is for you.


  1. Amen, sister.

    NoCal Gal

  2. I wouldn't make a good refugee, I'm too independent minded. I couldn't act appropriately abject and groveling. I guess I'll just have to fend for myself.

  3. Wonderful post...wishing I could get my own family to understand why we do what we do.

  4. Your preparation is driven by a genuine fear of the future. You do not trust the direction of your country and you do not hold the morality of your neighbors in high regard. You fear violence, dwell on the consequences thereof, and expend resources in an effort to demonstrate both to yourself and others that you are actually doing something about it. You are comforted by a hoard of supplies and a small armory. You take advice from prophets of doom and provide ear and lip to individuals and happenings that corroborate your general state of unease. You raise your children and spend the bulk of your life preparing and training for something that may never come to be.

    Why do you choose to live in this prison? Why not harness your God given talents to spread the Good News – to bring peace and comfort to those in pain, to bring hope to those in distress, to be a memorable example to many who have no one to turn to much less look up to?

    What if the future events you anticipate never come to be? Your food will rot, your metal will rust, and your batteries will run out of acid. Will you toil to replenish and maintain when He returns and then say to Him, I spent my time guarding your talent that I buried for I knew you were a hard man, reaping what you did not sow and gathering where you did not scatter?

    Stop doing the bidding of the prince of the air and choose to apply your resources, time and talents to build ever larger hoards’ of treasure in a place where guns and fences are not needed.

  5. J DeWaters, "judge not, lest you be judged." Luke 6:37.

    You assume much, where is the proof of what you accuse us? Survivalists are not people who forsake charity in the name of prepping. Quite the contrary. Many preppers also tend to those in need NOW, plan for them in our preparations, and do other good works while we also plan for the worst.

    NoCal Gal

  6. NoCal Gal, it would be interesting to see the proportion of “good works” vs “selfish prepping”. Not that I recommend “good works” as a primary motive but for the sake of discussion I’ll use the term.

    If one spends 50 hours a week to earn a dollar and then turns around and spends a good chunk of the discretionary portion of that dollar on prepping supplies and a good chunk of the remaining weekly hours on prepping work, there isn’t much left for “good works”. At the very least it illustrates that the primary motive is something other than “good works”.

    A common thread amongst the prepper and survivalist crowd is the quest for isolation from population centers and possession of land. Enola, as an avid participant in the movement demonstrates this. This tendency is indicative of a selfish motive where one essentially gives up on winning the hearts and minds of fellow man. This is further exacerbated by pulling children out of schools and training them at home. In doing this, they are like Jonah refusing to go to Ninevah. If God wants you to be the salt and light to the world, why do you shy from this role?

    The most important goal bar none is the saving of souls. If you focus on that, on doing the bidding of the highest authority, the least of your worries will be running out of food or getting killed when and if in some distant time society falls apart. Until that happens, plenty of capable and powerful people are bound in chains of fear and unease to actually do the work that really, really needs to be done. The prepping is a major distraction. Surely you are more valuable than a sparrow?

  7. J DeWaters said, " would be interesting to see
    the proportion of 'good works' vs. 'selfish prepping.'" Well you certainly know how to put your foot in it, don't you. You talk about "winning the hearts and minds of fellow man" yet you do so much to alienate peole here. Hypocritical or what, J? Your judgmental attitude has apparently no limits. Selfish prepping? Really? And just what is it you do that is so noble? I mean, besides making blanket accusations about people you don't know? It's quite evident you don't have a clue about preppers because if you did, you'd know many of us feel we are doing God's work, in ways He chose for us.

    Flamers and baiters such as yourself usually think themselves superior. Perhaps you'd be happier posting your comments on the Jugdmental Wannabe Saint's blog, I think they have room for one more sanctimonious troll.

    NoCal Gal

  8. Generalizations, denouncements, baseless assumptions, disrespect and glaring ignorance seem to be consistent and prominent features of the rantings we see posted here by J DeWaters. They smack of an unyeilding either-or, all-or-nothing rigidity that denies, denigrates and seeks to invalidate anything that doesn't conform to its own narrow view.

    How sad.

    But sadder still is the overtly self righteous prattle about soul saving we see accompanying these judgmental and decidedly misguided posts. It puts me in mind of the Pharisees praying loudly in the street and what Jesus said about it.

    It's no doubt useless to point out to this person that what they're doing does NOT equate to sharing the Gospel. It's not sharing anything of merit or value, for that matter. I think it is well to remember there is only One who can save souls, and that salvation comes by Grace.

    Keep up the good work, Enola Gay. I know you don't need my approval or validation, but do allow me to thank you for the many good things you share and the example you and your family set. I've read several of your posts and share many of your values and your commitment to pulling your own weight and then some. We do what we do for the same reasons.

    I know that you and most of the people here will join me in praying for J DeWaters' heart and mind, and to see that being well prepared here in this life is a lot like accepting and following Christ. Both are choices and both make us stronger in the here and now, and we do both in anticipation of the future. In both cases we hear unbelievers ask "What if you do all this and the anticipated future isn't what you think or doesn't come to pass?"
    Well, I'd say in that case, at the very least, we'll have lived a much better earthly life of principle and good stewardship, and will have lost nothing. But they, on the other hand, need to be asking what if they're wrong and we're right? In the immediate sense, if TSHTF, they'll very likely have a much harder row to hoe than we who are equipped and prepared, but moreover, in the sense that really matters most, their preparation for eternity, they'll have lost everything.

    Best to all,

    A. McSp.

  9. J DeWaters,

    You want my kids to be the salt of the earth? Not on your life. You send your children to the cesspool people call public education. I will keep mine at home hiding them under my wing. When yours fall to the wolves then you will understand. If you are blessed enough that they don't fall then get on your knees and thank God. It is hard enough to raise children who love the LORD. Throw in settings such as school and we are asking for trouble.

    I will be the light and the salt; to my children and to the world. God demands that one pays if a child still in the womb is killed. Can you imagine what He thinks when we throw our children to the world at such tender ages as 7, 8 or even 15?

    As for your thoughts on prepping, well, those are your thoughts. You seem to have forgotten that God led Joseph to prepare for the years ahead. I am not anywhere near as prepped as Enola Gay. I bet she approaches this issue with fear and trembling and leaning on the LORD.

    Ouida Gabriel

  10. JDW: Trust the country? The government? I so hope you are laughing. No WE DO NOT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT! What is there to trust?

    I trust God, I prepare because I am called by God to prepare for me, my family and then I prepare to help others. I volunteer in my community and church as does my husband.

    We give a large portion of our income to God's work. Because we want to, not because the Government tells us to, or where to give it. We know better where to give our money. The organizations and people who share our values, not the progressive's values...

    Our grandchildren do not go to public school. We all sacrifice to educated them without the influence of the government.

    Our food doesn't rot. We rotate. We are frugal, we experiment, we learn and we pass on these values to the next generation.

    It's a a wonderful way of life. It's hard work, but we're doing it on our own. We help ourselves and our family and our friends and our community.

    I love all these people, but when, not if, the collapse comes, those who haven't prepared will be trying to kill us to take what we have. The sense of entitlement most folks have will allow them to believe it's okay to do.

    If you choose not to prepare, that is your choice, but don't feel entitled to share in our hard work when you are hungry. We'll be busy taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

  11. Wow, Enola! Your post generated a lot of comments/discussion. I like to think of our family as as preppers, but we are no where near where you are. Our children go to public school, but we go to church, religious education, pray, and are active in our church community. We have secular/worldly people all around us and they are even our friends (we are working on faith with one family in particular who recently lost their son). That doesn't make our family any less valid as Christians.

    We try to live the best we can as models for our children, that we can live among worldly people, but have our faith, be modest, try our best to do for ourselves. We have 10 acres, animals, a garden and I love to cook and can. I am much less capable at sewing, but do some. My hubby is MacGyver (remember that TV show?). He can make and fix anything. So we do for ourselves as much as we can.

    We share our talents with others. We help others out. We also try to have enough necessities on hand that we can take care of ourselves. I believe God calls us to be prepared as Christians and to share our talents, time and faith with others.

  12. Heh. Prepping and having supplies on hand for emergencies is acknowledging that Ma Nature can be an eeevil witch. If you live in hurricane country, you should have supplies. If you live in an earthquake fault area (or, in the case of the New Madrid fault, hundreds of miles away) you should be prepared. If you live in an area where there are strong winter blizzards, you should be prepared.

    JDW, what skills have you got to trade in return for food if you don't have any supplies? Can you train a young horse to harness? Can you train oxen? Can you shear sheep? Can you tan hides?

  13. He's trying to say you don't trust God if you prepare. If you just do his work, God will preserve you in your trial.
    I trust God will go right on doing as he's always done. He has allowed natural disasters to happen, and societies to collapse, and wars to happen, and been there to offer salve after. He's warned us, from the beginning, to prepare for such things. We've been told enough times to build our arks, or store our sheaves or gird our loins.
    Here is an insidious voice, whispering: Relax, enjoy life. Following God's council will put you in a prison. You can't do the other things you like if you prepare.
    How many instances in history are there of Good and Godly people, unprepared, swept away in the maelstrom of persecution, war and disaster? How many innocents who loved God were not saved to continue his work, simply from privation?
    God will not save you simply for ministering to the barbarians. He expects you to sweat for your daily bread.

    PS-- It is NOT the job of children to minister to anyone. They are to learn and grow. They teach only when they have fully learned. If they encounter children who wish to know of God, they should joyfully take their friend to one (an adult) who can maturely judge how to teach.

  14. "It is NOT the job of children to minister to anyone."

    EXACTLY. I don't know of any denomination that will send a Missionary out without any training. In my own denomination, missionaries are required to hold graduate degrees and also have at least two years' training after that before they are sent out.

    How, exactly, can an impressionable 5-year-old child hold a faith that he/she barely understands under the onslaught of anti-God teachings of many public schools?

    "Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." I began to stand on this promise when I finally pulled my kids out of public school. They salt the neighborhood now because they are taught daily to "take up the cross and follow" Jesus.

    When they were in school, they had no witness, because two hours of instruction a week at church and brief discussions over dinner were overwhelmed by the messages they were receiving at school.

    "If salt loses its saltiness, wherewith shall it be salted?"


  15. Here is an interesting thought for women. In all of the instruction for women in the Bible it never says for us to go out and start minitries, volenteer, head bible studies, or work outside the home.

    Read Titius 2, and The Psalm Virtouse wife and you will see that God's instruction to us women is to love our husbands and children and work in the home! The responsibility of women is not to go out and prove our Christianity to others but first and foremost to honor God by caring for our husband, children, and home. That will be the greatest testement to God's power to transform lives. And part of caring for a household means preparing for the future and ensuring the health and life of our family. If you look at the Virtuose Wife most of it talks about that women working for the future by preparing food and clothing. It doesn't talk about her working for others, but working for her family. Only when she has cared for all the needs of her household does she reach out her hand to the needy.

    But how can we help the needy if we are needy ourselves?

    Also God's word says that only a fool never prepares for the future. There are many verses that speak of preparing for hard times and being wise. God does not say that we will always live happy perfect lives, in fact he says we will see trouble, pain, and persecution. What He does say is that He will always be there with us, and that we will go home to be with Him in the end.

    I think the problem with people like J DeWaters is that they have lived in our very privledged country for too long. We live in unprecidented luxury and safety in America. Also many Christians believe that just because they are Christian nothing bad will ever happen to them. This in fact is preached in many churches! That if you are a good enough Christian God will always bless you and you will never know pain or illness.

    So my question to that thinking is this. What about all those Christians in war torn countries that have endured starvation, torture, murder, and disease? Why didn't God protect them if He promises (in your opinion) that we will never suffer? Were they just not good enough Christians? And if then you say that God doesn't promise to protect us from worldly evil, why do you assume that you will never personally expierence hard times?

    The fact is that many people are just too scared to really admit that bad stuff can happen to them and they hide behind different excuses to keep from confronting that fear.

  16. Meaning no offense to the Christians here..

    I'm not even a christian and Mr. J DeWaters has managed to annoy me.

    I know from my studies that JWEVE (pardon that really bad Latin) strongly admonishes his children to be good husbandmen of their flocks and fields and families. Evin an old pagan such as myself knows christian charity can only occur when the christian has something to be charitable with.

    Why am I put in mind of the story of the old lady during the flood, when her neighbor comes by in his truck and offers her a ride to high ground, she refuses saying 'the lord will provide'. Then when the water rises and someone comes by in a boat and offers her a ride to safety, again she refuses saying 'the lord will provide'. Then when water rises so high she has to perch on her roof and a helicopter comes and offers her a ride to safety, yet again she refuses saying 'the lord will provide'.

    Then, when the water takes her and she stands before the throne of god asking "god, why did you forsake me?" he replies, "First I sent a truck, then I sent a boat, then I sent a helicopter and all three times you refused my aid."

    God has provided great abundance around you and expects you to do something with it.

    And most prepers do a whole lot more with their talents than the non-prepers who bury them.

    -Old Barbarian Pagan Preper.

  17. Old Barbarian Pagen Prepper;
    Welcome! How right you are. We do believe that before we can be charitable we need to have something. I have come to the conclusion that J. DeWaters has never read any of my other posts. Our family strives to do everything to the glory of God. Part of the reason we have chosen to prepare is so that our home can be a place of refuge, hospitality. In that hospitality we can minister to peoples bodies while we minister to their soul. Thanks for your input.


  18. I am a new "prepper" and I am not a christian. I feel that as I learn the skills needed to be prepared for possible troubles, I can SHARE those skills with others who want to learn. I can help others locally with performing those skills. Be it hurricane, bomb, or economic collapse...I can do SOMETHING to help my family, my friends, and my community even if they don't follow the same spiritual path as myself.

    Blessed Be, For all to see.