Day Nine Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We continued our journey through the desert while Tomas inspected the villages along the road. We agreed to reconvene in the desert to the east of the last village two days hence.

Elijah thought that the day after should land us at the crossroads where we first met Jezer. At that point we could decide whether to  return on the side to the west of the road, or retrace our steps to Babylon.

Our discussion out of the way, we trudged on in silence. But now a new thought was stewing in my mind.

Finally, I asked Elijah why we just did not wing to Babylon on the Spirit to check my hunch.

He replied that he had already asked.

Day Nine Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We encountered no one today. Not even a lone sheep without its shepherd. Tomas returned to ask if we should head back into villages nearer the road.

At first, Elijah refused his suggestion for he believes our friends are held up somewhere in the desert.  But he at last relented and said if Tomas was moved to do so, he was free to go off on his own.

Tomas, hesitated, for he wanted us to go together. And stated he would be very reluctant to be out of contact with us.

I was touched by his love and concern, and took pains to assure him that nothing untoward was going to happen to any of us. Remember whose we are.

Day Eight Hundred Ninety Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

No news yet as to the whereabouts of Meesa. Before she left, she said only that she wouldn’t go further than some villages north of Damascus.

Well, Jezer has been there and back. But reports nothing concrete about her. Good or bad.

However, some people told him stories about strange people in their villages who have come and gone lately. He thinks that if she heard the same rumors, she would have stayed in the area to check them out.

When we heard this detail, we decided we had to go and look for ourselves. But Jezer prevailed upon us to stay put and give her another day to make her way back to us.

Elijah considered this wise counsel.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The villages we passed through yesterday and today were quiet and almost empty, for their inhabitants were out laboring in the fields. The requisite posters of Stan increased in number as we grew closer to Damascus.

And as we were getting closer, Elijah and I strategized about our entry.

We decided that we would hold up at a distance and observe the patterns of movement into and out of the city.

It would also need to be an out of the way site, the better to seek the Spirit’s direction.

We have noted already that at certain times of the day the road traffic slows due to an increase in vehicles and backs up. This may prove an important factor.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Town police rousted us from our sleep this morning. We had chosen a place too close to the town for their liking. Thus we were a little earlier on the road than planned.

It worked to our advantage as we made good progress being the only ones on the road at that hour.

Ahead we could see a series of villages nestled along the road surrounded with fields under cultivation.

I debated with Elijah whether or not to leave the road and go around them. He felt no need or compulsion to do so. I wanted to avoid anything like yesterday that could hold us back again.

We concluded that walking in the fields would bring unwanted attention to ourselves.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We no longer had the road to ourselves. People passed us by in both directions. With the desert behind, small clumps of civilization were huddled around wells and their denizens were going about their business from place to place.

No adults paid us any attention. Only the children in the villages threw themselves in our path. But turned away when they saw we had nothing to give them.

We also had to watch out for vehicles. The best walking was on the paved road, but not when they came by. Especially the tanker trucks delivering water to out of the way places. We never saw them in villages with wells.

We were both silent preparing ourselves for the ordeal ahead.

Day Seven Hundred Ninety Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Only a few hundreds from the villages gathered at ours, prepared to set out. Mei was disappointed that so many were choosing not to go. I came along side to encourage her and remind her that it is always this way. And to remember to rejoice that some have responded to the call.

Elijah led us out, first to the city. There the Captain met us. Thousands were prepared to accompany him. It was obvious the authorities had been holding back more than Raj P.

P was surprised to see in their number a couple of his former jailers.

After a brief discussion about our marching order, Mei led off with her people, then the Captain’s.

Lastly Elijah and me.

Day Six Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As soon as we had things sorted out yesterday we parted notwithstanding the daylight and the heat. The ex-soldiers headed back the caravan track in search of a northern branch that will return them to their villages.

We continued west to answer our call.

We pushed on after nightfall and put as much distance between ourselves and our last camp as possible.

A wind storm lent a helping hand. It blew in from the north and crossed the track behind us on its way southward, obliterating all signs of our passage. We all pray that our recent companions were not swept up in it.

I called a halt only a couple hours into the new day.

Elijah required rest.

Day Six Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We settled into the new camp with the intent to stay a while. Elijah cannot pass up any opportunity to build people up spiritually. I concurred.

We learned that though they have been branded deserters, they repudiate that label arguing that they had not enlisted but rather had been forced conscripts.

They feel thankful, however, for the experience. One after the other told me that they never would have encountered Yeshua otherwise.

To a man they desire to return to their villages. And have remained in this place while deciding their course of action.

It is clear that to do so, they shall have to return via the caravan trail.

Elijah wants them to collect their people and move west.

Day Four Hundred Ninety Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Many of the villages we are passing have lights within. And dogs which bark at us. A few even chased us. But not for long. When Elijah turned on them, staff in hand, they stopped in their tracks and bolted for home.

The image of Stan continues to haunt us. His visage stares out from posters plastered on walls throughout the villages and towns. Some have incense burning before them and offerings of bits of fruit. It turns my stomach. Elijah does not even deign to look.

Some are wary of us. Most are just curious.

Elijah learned that there is excitement about the upcoming census. And I learned that the prospect of renewed global communication is all the buzz.