Magi Journey - Persia News/Excerpts
Magi Journey – Persia is complete and is available on Amazon. Persia completes the Magi Journey trilogy and brings redemption through the return to Jerusalem of the Jews in Babylonian captivity, and it brings the Magi Family face to face with the Messiah. The redemption story is complete.
Magi Journey - Persia News/Excerpts
Magi Journey – Persia is complete and is available on Amazon. Persia completes the Magi Journey trilogy and brings redemption through the return to Jerusalem of the Jews in Babylonian captivity, and it brings the Magi Family face to face with the Messiah. The redemption story is complete
Magi Journey - Persia
Magi Journey – Persia contains the same Magi Family from books one and two, traveling from Persepolis, Persia to Bethlehem. The family faces the perils of the desert and the Roman Legion outposts that surround Israel. The historical tale the Magi teach their children while on the journey begins in 600 BC with the birth of Cyrus and follows his meteoric growth as a king and ruler. It also follows the ancient Magi Family as they face the difficulties of life in Babylon.
Below are excerpts from Magi Journey – Persia:
Agradates – North of Ecbatana – 590 BC
It was April, and in the gentle valley north of Ecbatana,
wildflowers filled the valley in red, violet, white and bright yellow shades.
There was a gentle breeze coming from the north, and the temperature for April
was slightly chilly, but the sun warmed the boys playing in the valley.
Argadates, ten years old, tall for his age, with high
cheekbones and penetrating black eyes, spoke to the children surrounding him.
“I shall need a castle built as quickly as possible. Fravarti, see to the
Fravarti, the son of Artembares, a nobleman from Ecbatana,
visited the village with his father, who was taking a census of the region.
Fravarti decided it would be more fun to play with the village children than
sitting around all day. “I know we elected you king, Argadates, but you must
remember I am the son of a nobleman, and I do not take orders from a cowherd.”
Argadates studied the boy, “I understand, Fravarti, if you
would rather not play. You and the other boys elected me king for the day, but
you may go to your father if you have changed your mind and would rather not
play the game.”
Argadates was good at reading people, and his goad worked,
“Very well, Argadates, you are king but remember when you speak to me, you
speak to a nobleman.” Fravarti pointed to five boys, “You boys, gather limbs
and grasses to build a castle. We will build in the center of the clearing.” He
said, pointing to a flat spot.
The boys gathered limbs and grasses, and in short order, a
modest hut stood in the center of the clearing.
Argadates reviewed the castle, inspecting it inside and out,
and pronounced it, “Excellent.”
“Men, we have a castle to protect us from the weather and
our enemies, but we have nothing to eat,” Argadates stated as regally as
possible. “Gather your weapons. It’s time to hunt.”
The boys cheered loudly. This was their favorite part of the
game. The younger boys all had slings and stones. They formed a group and would
hunt hares and birds. Argadates and the older boys picked up spears. They would
hunt a Carpathian wild boar, a dangerous animal with large tusks usually
weighing more than 300 pounds.
“What of me?” Demanded Fravarti, “I do not have a weapon.”
“Have you hunted with a sling before?” asked Argadates.
“Of course not. Noblemen do not use slings. We train with
swords and spears.”
“Have you hunted boars before?”
“No, but I have hunted tigers with my father. I’m sure a
boar will be little trouble compared to a tiger.”
Argadates pointed at one of the boys, “Give him your spear.
You are a beater today.”
The boy looked down at his spear, hesitated, and finally
gave it to Fravarti.
The two groups split up, and the older boys crossed the
clearing and entered the woods to the south. The forest was not dense, but it
had areas of thick undergrowth. The boars would lay up in the thickets during
the day and hunt for food at night. The boys needed no instruction. They
entered the woods, spread out, and formed a large circle. When everyone was in
place, they began to walk toward the circle’s center, yelling and banging their
spears against nearby trees. Fravarti walked to Argadates right.
A large hare jumped out of a thicket and raced at Fravarti.
Fravarti jumped but never raised his spear. Argadates saw the boy’s eyes were
wide; he was pale and sweating. Argadates knew instinctively the boy had never
hunted before. Argadates moved closer to Fravarti to protect him. They
continued walking, and the circle narrowed.
The boys were now slightly hunched over with their spears
pointing forward and leveled. They stepped forward with their left foot and
kept their right foot planted and pointing outward. They were bracing
themselves. They then drug their right foot forward and stepped with the left
again. When the boar broke cover, they would have little time to react.
Everyone was tense and ready.
Argadates watched Fravarti imitate the other boy’s motions
and was pleased that he was learning. The boar broke cover one hundred feet in
front of them and ran full speed in three steps. The animal was running at a
boy to Argadates left. The boy dropped to one knee, planted the butt of his
spear in the dirt, and prepared to receive the boar’s charge. Suddenly Fravarti
threw down his spear and began running from the racing boar. The boar saw the
motion and turned to pursue the fleeing boy. Argadates threw himself in front
of the boar and barely had time to ground the butt of his spear. The boar ran
onto the spear, and the point sunk into his chest. Argadates did not have his
weight behind the spear, and all he could do was hang on and press the butt of
the spear into the ground as the boar continued to grind forward. Argadates was
drug along, unable to regain his feet. The butt of the spear finally slammed
against a small tree trunk, and the boar’s momentum drove the spear deep into
his chest, slicing his heart in two. In his death throes, his face was just
inches from Argadates face, and spittle and blood covered Argadates’ head. The
other boys ran in, stabbing the boar and dragging him away from Argadates.
Argadates rose unsteadily. He was scratched but otherwise
unhurt. The boys needed no instruction. They tied a rope around the boar’s hind
legs, hoisted him in a tree, and were bleeding him. They danced around the tree
as the boar bled, ululating and cheering. The boar was dead. They were alive,
and soon their bellies would be full. As the boys danced, they dipped their
fingers in the boar’s blood and painted stripes and circles on their faces,
turning the scene macabre.
Fravarti had stopped running and was watching the wild
village boys. He had never seen anything like this. His eyes were wide.
Argadates glared at him and pointed, “You,” he yelled, “gather firewood and
take it to the castle. Have a good fire going by the time we finish dressing
the boar. The warriors are hungry.”
Fravarti glared back, “Gather it yourself, peasant. Enough
of this stupid game. You have forgotten that you are speaking to a nobleman.”
Argadates yelled, “Bodyguards, arrest that man for insubordination.”
Four boys designated as bodyguards for the day rushed
forward and grabbed Fravarti by his arms.
Argadates turned to another boy, designated as his Cup
Bearer, and asked, “What is the punishment for insubordination, Cup Bearer?”
Without hesitation, the boy answered, “Ten lashes, my King.”
Argadates pulled the stock whip from his belt. The whip had
a long handle and a single leather lash about three feet long. Argadates walked
behind Fravarti and gave him ten firm lashes. Fravarti screamed as if he was
being killed and cursed Argadates and the other boys as Argadates beat him.
“Release the prisoner,” said Argadates.
Fravarti was shaking with fury as he backed away from the
boys. “You will all live to regret this day,” he screamed. Then he turned and
ran from the forest and raced back toward the village.
The boys finished butchering the boar and had enough meat to
take to their families. They built a large fire by the castle hut, roasted a
nice ham, and enjoyed the afternoon. Sated, they lay back, staring at the small
white clouds that formed various animal shapes in the clear blue sky.
Periodically a boy would point at a cloud and name an animal or person the
cloud resembled. The other boys would either agree or throw small pebbles at
Late in the afternoon, Argadates heard his name called, and
he sat up. Walking across the clearing was his father, Mithradates.
Mithradates reached the group of boys, “Come, Argadates, we
need to talk.”
“Yes, Father,” he said, and he followed as his father walked
across the clearing, through the small forest, and climbed a hillock that
overlooked the valley and the village.
At the top of the hillock, Mithradates stopped and scanned
his world. He was a cowherd and had been all his life. He cared for the large cattle
herds of Prince Astyages and the other nobles of Ecbatana. He was forty years
old, and he loved his simple life. He looked at the valley below and the
village beyond. He looked north and saw the large herds pastured with four men
surrounding the herd, keeping them safe from predators. What more could a man
want. Yet he feared all of that had changed today.
Mithradates sat on a large rock and told Argadates to sit.
“You beat the son of a nobleman today.”
“Father, we played the ‘king’ game, and the boys elected me
king, including Fravarti. First, Fravarti almost got me killed when he ran from
the boar during the hunt, and then he refused a direct order. He left me no
choice. If I had left the insubordination go unpunished, I would have lost the
respect of the other boys. Everyone knows the rules.”
“Apparently, Fravarti thought he was exempt from the rules,
and so does his father, Artembares. Artembares is a counselor to Prince
Astyages and one of his closest friends. He wants you flogged or worse, but only
the prince can give the order. He has commanded that you and I appear before
the court in Ecbatana in one week. King Cyaxares, the prince’s father, is
campaigning in Lydia, but the prince will hold court.”
“I understand, Father. I am sure the prince’s punishment
will be equitable to my offense. I am only ten years old. He may flog me, but I
can accept that.”
Mithradates’ shoulders slumped, his head drooped, and then
he looked up, “There is much you do not know, and I can hide it from you no
longer. Everything will come out in Ecbatana. Have you ever wondered why you do
not look like your mother or me?”
Navid walked to the corral. The Scouts were there when he arrived. They had tacked their horses, but no one had mounted. All conversation stopped as Navid approached.
Navid looked at the 24 Scouts. These were men he had ridden with and trained for years. They were the best of the best, known for their tracking, stealth, and combat skills. Only the best warriors in the Family were chosen for the Scouts.
“Well, what do we have here?” asked Navid.
Tiz spoke, “The men wanted the details on what happened in the desert, and I told them to wait for you so that we could do this once.”
“Good idea, Tiz. Let’s discuss this once, and then we’ll not discuss it again. Why don’t you begin.”
“The first part you already know. The slave traders captured you, Utana, Nura, and five others. I picked eight Scouts and Sasan to form a rescue party. Your sister, Fahnik, refused to be left behind, and she joined us carrying Baildan’s ancient sword.”
“How could father have let her go?” asked Navid.
“There was no stopping her, and he knew it. He had Smithy stay up all night modifying the sword for her.”
“I thought it looked different.”
“For brevity, I will condense things,” Tiz said, “Sasan did all of the planning, B and Hugav did all the tracking and scouting, and I executed Sasan’s plans. We focused days one and two on eliminating outriders and killing their guards at night. The slavers responded by sending out a party to hunt us, which we eliminated, and the next morning we burned the tents of the slavers. Through death and desertion, the slave traders had decreased from 200 to around 60 after four days.”
“How did you know the slaver trader’s numbers?” asked Navid.
“Hugav scouted the camp on day five and had a pretty accurate count. As expected, on the evening of day five, a massive sandstorm formed west of the slave trader camp.”
“What do you mean, ‘as expected’?” asked a Scout.
“Before I left, I asked Pari to pray for a sandstorm in five days. I knew we would need a diversion and cover when we attacked. What we got was not what I expected. The storm was massive, and without hesitation, the men rode straight into the teeth of that storm. The storm was supernatural. After we entered the slaver camp, the storm surrounded the camp, but it was calm within the camp. Fahnik went to the slave pen and freed the prisoners. The rest of us fought the slave traders. They attempted to surrender, but the freed slaves killed any still alive.”
“Fahnik didn’t just free us,” said Utana, “she killed the blacksmith. We needed tools to get the chains off, so Fahnik went to the blacksmith shop. The smithy was there, and he was huge. He used a long-handled sledgehammer, but Fahnik was so fast he couldn’t hit her. Finally, he tried to grab her, and she cut off his hand. She continued to dance around him. She got behind him, jumped up, and cut his head off. She cut off his head.” Utana stood there shaking his head from side to side in bewilderment, “How did she do that? I couldn’t have done that. One blow.”
“I think that covers our events,” said Tiz, “now tell us what happened to you, Navid and Utana.”
“You all saw the capture,” said Navid, “and things were extremely uncomfortable in captivity. Six of us, including Utana and me, were kept in the slave pens and targeted as slaves on rowing ships when we reached Sidon. Fortunately, they kept Nura and Hayat with the slaves destined for harem duty and treated them well. My hatred of Khalil and Sheikh Malek grew daily, and I became angrier and angrier. Then on days four and five, I was chained to a slave named Liyana, a Zulu from southern Africa. Some of you have met her. I mentioned the Messiah, and she wanted to know all about Him. I spent the next two days explaining the Scriptures to her, and I was no longer angry. I remembered the Psalm, ‘Be angry, and do not sin, ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.’[i]”
“How could your anger have gone away? If they had beaten me as they did you, I would have been furious,” said one of the Scouts.
Navid smiled, “God brought to mind His prophets who had suffered much in His service, and I realized God was using me. What right did I have to be angry? Then, as Tiz said, there was a supernatural sandstorm on the evening of day five. I looked east and saw the Magi riding toward the camp. I looked to the heavens and felt total peace. I felt the Spirit of God moving within me. I reached down, grabbed my chains, and pulled them apart. I don’t know how I did that. You know the rest of the story, we killed Sheikh Malek and Khalil, and now we are together again.”
“He pulled the chains apart,” mumbled Utana, “he pulled them apart as if they were a single strand of hair. He pulled them apart. Then Fahnik cut off a man’s head, and I sat there helpless. I did nothing.”
Navid walked over and put his arm around Utana. The other Scouts mounted and left the corral.
“Utana, God chooses whom He will. We do not choose: He does. You have nothing of which to be ashamed, and I have nothing about which to brag. God was working, and He accomplished His will.”
“Still, I wish He had chosen me to do something.”
“He did, Utana. You gave me courage. He used your kind heart and strength to inspire me. All I could think about was saving you and freeing the others. We all played a role, my friend.”
[i] Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah”
Davi agreed, and the two men rode into the city. A large crowd had assembled around the image. Davi and Pera dismounted and moved to the edge of the crowd. Next to the 90-foot-tall golden image stood the open furnace. A ramp led from the king’s platform to a stone structure in the center of the furnace. The walls of the furnace were ten feet high. A square stone structure was also ten feet high in the center of the furnace. There was a gap of ten feet between the stone structure and the furnace walls. The gap had been filled with wood and was blazing brightly.
At a signal from the king, all the musicians played their instruments. It was a cacophony of discordant sounds. The minute the music began, everyone fell and pressed their head to the ground. The music stopped playing, and everyone looked up, but no one saw Pera and Davi because all eyes were on the front row, just below the king’s platform. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as they were known to the Babylonians but who Davi knew as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, stood unbowed.
Davi saw several of the Chaldean court officers gather around the king. They were speaking and pointing at the three unbowed men standing below them. The king called for the three men to come onto the platform. There was a short conversation, and the king became furious. He screamed at his servants and had the attendants add more wood to the furnace. Around the furnace, the builders had affixed bellows to the outside of the walls on all sides. Large shirtless men manned the bellows, and they began to pump furiously. Davi saw the heat waves rising higher and higher.
The king screamed again, and his bodyguards surrounded the three men and bound them with thick ropes. Six bodyguards dragged the three men to the furnace and rushed down the ramp, throwing them onto the stone structure in the center. The bodyguards turned to run back up the ramp, but the heat was so great that their clothes burst into fire, and they fell from the ramp into the furnace.
Davi wanted to cover his eyes, but he could not take his eyes off the furnace. The three men were still standing; their clothes were not on fire. Suddenly a fourth man was standing with them. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were unbound and walking and talking with the fourth man. Davi’s mind tried to process what he saw, but he could not reconcile the furnace, the three men, and now a fourth man.
Pera said in hushed awe with absolute surety, “He is the Angel of the Lord.”
It was as if the piece of a puzzle had fallen into place, Davi’s mind understood what he was seeing, and he fell to his knees. The crowd was completely silent.
King Nebuchadnezzar jumped to his feet, conferred with his counselors, and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out from the fire![i]”
The three men walked up the ramp, through the raging inferno, and stood unbound before the king. The king looked into the furnace, but the angel of the Lord was no longer there.
The king walked to the front of the platform and decreed in front of the assembled congregation. “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”[ii]
Davi could not believe what he was hearing. The king stood next to the 90-foot golden image he had erected, decreeing that he would punish anyone who spoke against Jehovah. The dichotomy could not have been stronger.
Davi stood, “Look at the king’s counselors. They are furious. The outcome was the exact opposite of their expectations. Instead of destroying Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they have strengthened their position with the king. God is truly amazing.”
“God has shown us many wonders in our lifetime,” said Pera, “but I have never witnessed anything like this. Are you ready to head back to the compound?”
[i] Daniel 3:26-30 “26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
[ii] Daniel 3:28-29
They walked, separated by a chasm Asha could not cross, for most of the day. Late in the afternoon, Fahnik fell to her knees and sobbed uncontrollably.
Asha rushed to her and knelt facing her, “Fahnik, my love, talk to me. It breaks my heart to see you in so much pain. What is it?”
Fahnik sobbed for several minutes before she gained enough control to speak, “God hates me, Mother. He hates me.”
“God hates you?” asked Asha, “Why would God hate you? He loves you.”
“I am a murderer, Mother. A MURDERER.”
“Fahnik, you are many things, but a murderer is not one of them. You and the Scouts saved this Family and freed the slaves. God used the Scouts to judge the slave traders. All of you killed people in the raid. Does God hate the other Scouts? Tiz, Esmail, Hugav, does God hate them?”
“No, God doesn’t hate them. Just me. I murdered a young woman, Mother. She was beautiful, not much older than me, and I shot her. I see her face every time I close my eyes.”
“Why did you shoot her, Fahnik? Did you hate her?”
Fahnik looked confused, “No, I didn’t hate her. She walked up to the slit trench and saw the two men I had already shot lying in the trench. She turned quickly and looked around. I was afraid she was going to scream, so I shot her. It happened so fast that I barely had time to think.”
“You didn’t answer the question. Why were you at the slit trench? Why did you shoot her?”
“I was at the latrine to protect the Scouts. I was to kill anyone who left the camp. The Scouts were inside the slave trader camp, and if anyone returning from the latrine had seen them, they would have raised the alarm.”
“How was shooting the two men different than shooting the woman?”
Fahnik shook her head, confused, “I don’t know; it just was. They were men, warriors; they had attacked our family. I needed to kill them, but the woman had done nothing wrong.”
“So, you were there as a judge. Deciding who had done right and who had done wrong. Is that what Tiz told you to do?”
“You are twisting things, Mother. You know what I mean.”
“Yes, I do know what you mean. After the fact, you decided it was murder if you killed someone who might be innocent. But that is not the command Tiz had given you. You went with the Scouts willingly. You became a warrior and agreed to follow orders when you did. Tiz ordered you to protect the Scouts and keep anyone from sounding the alarm. That’s what you did. You don’t get to decide afterward, which people deserved to die, and which ones didn’t. You had one mission, to protect the Scouts.”
“Then why do I see her face every night when I close my eyes? She haunts my dreams.”
“She will for a while, Fahnik. You are a loving, sensitive person, and when you decided to become a warrior, you didn’t suddenly become someone different. You are still a loving, sensitive person, and killing bothers you. Especially killing someone you believe to be young, loving, and innocent. When you picked up the sword to fight against evil, God decided who would live and who would die. You are not the judge; He is. As commanded, you did what you had to do to protect the Scouts. Those who you and the Scouts killed face God’s judgment now. If the young woman you killed was innocent, she is with God in Paradise. If she was guilty, then she faced eternal damnation. You are not the judge. Now let’s talk about the smithy.”
“I murdered him, Mother.”
“Why is he different from the others?”
“When I went to the blacksmith shop, I was looking for tools. Then the blacksmith attacked me. He was huge and had a long-handled sledgehammer. I didn’t see how I would survive; I was afraid. I used my speed to keep away from him. He made the mistake of reaching for me, and I cut off his left hand. He was bleeding badly, he could only swing the big hammer with one hand, and he moved slower and slower. I got around behind him, and I knew I had two options. I could cut his hamstring, put him on the ground, or go for a killing blow. At that moment, all the hate in me boiled to the surface. I jumped up, swung as hard as I could, and cut his head off. I wanted to kill him. I didn’t have to kill him; I wanted to kill him.”
“And now you think God hates you,” said Asha. “You think He could never love or forgive you, and therefore no one else should love you either.” Asha leaned forward and pulled Fahnik to her, kissing her cheeks and forehead and stroking her hair. “Your mother loves you, Fahnik, and always will. God also loves you. You risked your life to save others. You never thought of yourself. He loves you, and He loves the fact that killing bothers you. You killed someone young and pretty, and that bothers you. Then hate boiled to the surface, and you killed the smithy. It was combat, Fahnik. The slave traders declared war on all mankind, and God ended their tyranny. You were His instrument. Let’s tell all of this to God.”
The two women knelt together, and Fahnik poured out her heart to God. Asha prayed for her daughter, thanking God for her safety and using her in a mighty way. They finished, and the two women stood.
When the Scouts arrived, a group had already gathered. The Scouts reined hard, and their horses skidded to a stop. Navid jumped down and ran to his father, who was already there.
“What is it?” Navid asked.
Jahan pointed to a shepherd staff lying on the ground.
“Whose is it?”
“You’re not going to believe it,” said Jahan, “it’s Hayat’s.”
“Not again,” said a stunned Navid, “not after everything she has been through; it just can’t be. First, the slave traders stole her, and now she has been taken again? Is there a sign of a struggle, animal tracks, blood, anything?”
“We haven’t seen any blood, but we were waiting for you to arrive to tell us what you think happened. We have tried to stay out of the area.”
“Hugav, Tiz,” Navid called, “tell us what has happened here.”
The two men began walking in ever-expanding circles until they had covered 100 yards in every direction. Then they walked back to the group.
Hugav gave the report, “Hayat and the sheep came from the south to this point,” Hugav said, pointing to the staff on the ground. “From here, the sheep scattered in every direction. A set of tracks, single male, 170 pounds based on the depth, came from the west. There is a shallow ravine fifty feet from here. He lay in the ravine, watching her approach. After she passed, he came up behind her. There was a struggle. Then the male left carrying Hayat. Follow me.” Hugav said to the group.
One hundred yards from the ambush site Hugav pointed to a depression in the sand. “The man had a camel and made it lay down here. The tracks are clear, and there is little wind today. We will not have a problem following them. Tiz, did I miss anything?”
“No, your report is accurate, although I would say he’s closer to 165 pounds, and I also found the prints of either an upright bear or Jahan. Nothing else could have made tracks that deep,” Tiz heard a deep bass growl and quickly apologized.
Liyana looked out at the children. “This has been a long journey, and Rahim and Pari have taught you the history of the Magi Family. Which of you will become adults next year?”
Five children stood. Liyana smiled at them. “Tell us one thing you have learned on this trip and how it made you feel.”
One of the boys stepped forward, “Baildan, Baildan, Baildan…”
Liyana tilted her head to one side and narrowed her eyes.
The boy stopped chanting and looked embarrassed, “Baildan is my favorite. It is always hard for me to choose between him and Benjamin, but Baildan teaches me many things. He knew nothing about Jehovah, but he heard the Word of God from his brother, Meesha, Rachael, and Benjamin. Then he saw the Angel of the Lord pass through the camp of Assyria and kill 185,000 men in one night. He gave himself to God, started the Magi school, and founded the Magi Family. His courage and devotion are why we are in Jerusalem looking for the Messiah.”
“Excellent,” said Liyana.
One of the girls stepped forward, “My favorite is Meesha. Like Baildan, he heard the Word of God and believed. He studied with Isaiah’s disciples and recorded the Tanakh and the first scrolls of the Magi Family. At the end of his life, he helped Baildan form the foundation of the Magi Family in the Nineveh compound. Whenever you unroll the scrolls, I think of Meesha.”
The next child said, “My favorite is Jeremiah and King Josiah. I love King Josiah. King Josiah was only eight years old when he became king, and Scripture says he loved God with all his heart and soul. God sent Jeremiah and Josiah to Israel to give them one last opportunity to repent, and they were both faithful and did all God commanded. I hate the scene where King Josiah dies; it always makes me cry.”
“It made me cry too,” agreed Liyana.
The next stepped forward, “My favorite is Natan. He was a man of great courage. He sent his family to Babylon to save them from the siege of Jerusalem, but he stayed. He was willing to suffer and die if necessary to bring us the story of God’s wrath. He willingly submitted himself to the wrath of God. I don’t know of any of the great warriors in the Magi Family who had more courage than Natan.”
The last child stepped forward, “My favorite is Navid and Tiz.”
Liyana looked puzzled, “I asked about what you had learned.”
“Not everything I learned on this trip is in the scrolls – yet, but they will be. My father told me when we began the journey, Navid was against it. He did not want the Family to go. He did not believe God would guide and protect us. Despite his objections and lack of faith, he led us. Every day he was the point of the spear, riding in front of the Family, protecting us from harm.” He nodded at Navid, “Now look at him. He fought the Uxians at the Gate, he married Ava, the love of his life, Navid faced the Immortals without flinching, and in the power of the Spirit, he fought the slave traders with his bare hands. He submitted himself to God, and God changed him. God changed Tiz, too. We all know Tiz is a quiet man, always willing to follow. He never wanted to lead, but he led his men at the Gate, faced a crocodile in the Euphrates to save a child, and led ten people against two hundred slave traders. The most important lesson I learned on the trip is not in the Scrolls. I learned that God changed and used Navid and Tiz, and He will do the same for me if I give myself to Him.”
Liyana left the platform and hugged each child, and she thought, one day, my child will sit among these children.
Liyana was about to dismiss the children when someone suddenly cried, “Look.”
Everyone turned to the north and looked where the person pointed. There was a star, stationary over Galilee, that had not been there a few minutes before. A gasp went through the Magi Family.
 2 Chronicles 34:31 “31 And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.”