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Heal a Hurting Heart - Volcanic Eruption

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(Page 1 annd 2)


Volcano Warning


The BIG Blow!


The Morning After




Life in the Home


Good  and  bad secrets


Life in the Tent School


Giving my life to Christ


I'm a new creature


I'm in the Lords army


Free at last


I'm sorry




Peace like a river


He watches over us

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CHAPTER 1 – Volcano Warning

"Cameron, no school tomorrow, the radio says the La Soufrière volcano  is about to blow, its RED ALERT " my Mother announced the news.  "Hurray! No school!" I thought to myself.

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Being seven years old  and  in Primary School, I much preferred playing in the river with my dog or going to the beach, or hiking in the forest, to school work!

"The Prime Minister says no work either it is serious" my Mother continued. " It's the first time in 42 years, it could billow volcanic ash two-mile-high the ash could blow as far as Barbados " mum told me.

Mum was busy gather supplies, she said it was in case we had to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. She had to remember Granny's specific needs, including medication. I told her not to forget Puppies special needs, like dog food, a bone and drinking water. Mum seemed more interested in drinking water for the family and I was running around drawing water from the well and Granny was boiling it up and putting it in large containers. "Put in the bleach" mum kept saying.

Uncle Camilo had obtained extra batteries and everyone was busy charging their cell phones. Someone from America had once sent us a solar charger for phones and Uncle Camilo was clutching it like his life depended upon it!

Granny was busy putting all our important documents in a waterproof container, it was taking a long time because every time she came across a birth certificate, it always seemed to have a long story behind it.

And the marriage certificate had stories about the great day, even the Passports had to pondered over, page by page remembering all those trips to far off lands and other Caribbean islands.

Aunty Lisa was b usy putting items into bags include things like blankets, towels and clothing. Boxes contained all the extra tinned foods that Uncle Camilo had got from the market. " Things are selling out the shelves are bare" he told mum. "This is a crisis , don't forget the first aid kit, the mask and gloves and hand sanitizer. "

Mum said we should make up a Family Disaster Plan , in which each person has a role and knows in advance exactly what to do and how to work together in case of emergency. She said we had to take the time to talk through the plans so everyone understood, and make sure everyone has a copy of all the relevant contact details in their wallet.

All of a sudden I felt very lonely and ignored, all the adults were busy doing important things and I was told to just ' go away ,' I felt very rejected and alone. I wondered where my Dad was. He did not live with us or even in our village. He worked in the Arrowroot flour factory . I did see him though, as he would bring bags of food for my Mum. He would sometimes talk to me on her phone. Even thought dad was not here I know I was important to my mum and dad. Mum was always telling me "Cameron you are a special boy"

She always told me God knew me and would quote the Bible "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart" It always made me feel special and I tried to remember this now as everyone was rushing around preparing for the BIG Volcanic Blow.

But as time went by I started to get frightened, I wish Dad was here, no one seemed to have any time for me, so I went outside to find Puppy and we sat together and watched the dark smoke billowing out of La Soufrière volcano, there were flashes of lightning, I could occasionally feel the tremors, they had been going on for days now. It made my tummy wobble, sometimes it made me feel sick and giddy.

On the news they had said these tremors were a vital clue about what is going on in the 'belly of the beast' and that is how I had come to think about the towering mountain that I had grown up in the shadow of all my small life - a great big beast about to eat us all up!

The air was stink like when Puppy was naughty and made little smells! I couldn't stand it any longer I grabbed her and went to hide indoors.



CHAPTER 2 - The BIG Blow!

We will never forget that afternoon, the Prime Minister came on the radio and informed us that the "water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace closed because of the smoke and thick plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere ".

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An official added: "we are covered in ash and strong sulphur scents pervade the air ..." There goes Puppy again being smelly I thought, I was holding her close and  hoping no one noticed she was inside!

The entire family huddled around the radio listening to flash news warnings. Granny kept repeating how it was in 1979 when she was just a young girl before she got married and on and on she went! Even thought it was only the afternoon and I would usually only now be getting home from school it was dark outside. There was lightning, thunder and rumblings and shakings and it was raining small rocks. The noise on our steel roof was deafening, I was terrified. but no one knew. I put on a brave smile and acted like nothing was happening!

"We have to evacuate" was the order, " we are in the red zone ", it was always green where we lived so I couldn't understand what they meant but with that all the 'grown ups' grabbed the emergency supplies. I found my coat  and  put it on pulling the hood up tight. I held on to P uppy  and stuffed her inside I grabbed my backpack, mum put a mask on my face and we stepped out into the dark, smoky, afternoon I shall never forget. We had to get to the Primary school. Even though I walked on the side of the road mud was everywhere, Aunty Lisa was holding Uncle Camilo's phone shining a light for me, squeezing my hand so tight it hurt. Mummy  and  Uncle Camilo were following, carrying Granny at least I thought they were....

Suddenly the light went out  and  something hit my legs we were in a mudslide.  I fell over  and  felt myself being sucked away by the thick mud.. All I heard was "Camo Camo" my head banged into something. P uppy  put her foot in my mouth, that's all I remember!

CHAPTER 3 - The Morning After

I woke up under a car, kind of jammed against the tires. I was wet  and  had mud and volcanic ash in my mouth  and my head was hurting but thank God I was alive.

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I woke up under a car, kind of jammed against the tires. I was wet  and  had mud and volcanic ash in my mouth  and  my head was hurting but thank God I was alive.  I could not really work out where I was. I could see the sea  and,  where the ravine usually was, there was a big river, with great big stones a nd  grey ash everywhere. It was raining and you could not see the road because of the mud and ash. I had a big lump on my head.  And  where was my  puppy ? I called her  and  looked  and looked but she was nowhere to be found.

People were standing in the street just gazing, like they were lost they wore masks and goggles and it looked like it had snowed, covering the cars - except it was horrible grey ash! I could not understand how I had got to the Bay. Our house was much further up the ravine, or so I thought, I could hardly remember where I lived, I was muddled, then I thought I saw puppy  down by the sea  and  I went to look, but it was a bigger dog. I was lost, I couldn't remember my name or anything!

Whilst I was there on the stony beach, a policeman in army uniform called to me. I asked him if he had seen my  puppy .  The Policeman took me to the 'Shelter'  and  I expected to see my mother, Aunty Lisa, Joey  and  Granny. He gave me to the nurse instead. She touched my head  and  said I had to go to the Hospital in Town. I thought maybe my mother was hurt  and  so I was going to see her. People were just sitting  and  staring, some were having difficulty breathing and were being given oxygen through a funny looking mask. One lady was bawling a lot. I heard someone say she had lost her baby girl that seemed careless. I thought someone should help her look for her. The Policeman said we would have to go to the hospital by boat, the roads were blocked by boulder. Someone gave me some roasted breadfruit and fried jack fish ; it was the best thing I had ever eaten.

On the way back to the bay we went past a crushed car with a massive boulder on the bonnet and  I heard a whimper. I saw a tail. I told the Policeman "stop please I think that's Puppy"   and there under the car was  Puppy  wet  and  muddy covered in grey ash but there......

I picked her up  and  hugged her tight she was shivering. The Policeman said Puppy could come as well at last something good had happened to me in this dismal, grey, dowdy day.

The Policeman told me I was a champion and not to focus on what I had been through I was to focus on where I was going in life - wherever that was - the Hospital right now, unless this boat sank!  

I remembered a story Auntie had told me about a flood and how she was saved by floating in a bathtub, I could just imagine Puppy in a flood, and I was thankful that I was in a wooden boat speeding along with Puppy's ears flying behind her!

CHAPTER 4 - The Hospital

We went on the boat to Police Headquarters. Someone gave me some Banana Fritters?? and  I shared them with  Puppy . A young policewoman gave me a string to tie round  Puppy 's neck so I did not have to carry her all the time. 

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Then the policeman took me to the Hospital. It was quite a long walk up a steep hill  and  there was lots of mud and ask and  a funny smell. I looked at Puppy and wondered if she was up to her usual tricks! I saw a helicopter coming over my head with a flag underneath. The Policeman said it was a British Union Jack flag and that it was stuck under the helicopter was so people would know which countries were helping. There was metal roof sheeting everywhere and  cars were blocking the road sitting where the river had put them. Some people seemed to be carrying a lot of shopping which was odd as the shops were mostly flooded out. Everyone seemed dazed and lost.

When we got to the hospital there was a nurse who was vexed  and  said that  Puppy  could not come inside Casualty! I was tired  and  sad. I wanted to see my Mummy  and  my Aunty  and  my Granny  and  Joey! I said I did not want to stay here. The Policeman said it was OK and that he would hold  puppy  for me whilst I went in with the Nurse. I thought I was going to see my family, I looked in the room but there was just a little girl crying, an old man who was very still  and  a very pregnant lady moaning. There was a young boy like me with did not seemed to be able to breath and had funny tubes stuck up his nose! The nurse took my temperature and put a tight thing round my arm  and  then put a clothes peg on my finger. She said I had to see a doctor. 

The doctor looked very tired. She said she had been there for 24 hours, all the time from the first volcanic eruption, but no one had come to relieve her. She said that I had "con cushion" or at least that is what it sounded like. She said I should go home  and  rest. I told her our home was gone  and  I did not know where my family members were. She called the policeman in  and   Puppy  peed on the floor. You can imagine the nurse was not happy! 

Whilst the nurse was shouting  and  getting a lady to come with a mop the police whispered in the Doctors ear. Then the Doctor told me to go  and  sit outside on the chairs with  Puppy .

After a long time when the Policeman came back with a Ju-C Red and a Ducuna for me. He told me that I was going on a big adventure. He also told me that they were looking for my Mum and Joey and Aunty Lisa and that very sadly they had found my Granny and she was not alive anymore.  He told me that I had to go to a nice Big House and wait to see what would happen. I was worried in case the people at the Big House would not like dogs. I began to cry I thought I might lose Puppy and I would be so lonely. I did not really understand what he said about Granny, " Crushed by a bolder " how could she not be alive anymore? The Policeman told me that he would tell them at the Big House that Puppy had to come as well. 

I felt lost and lonely, totally abandoned, all I really had to call my own was Puppy. I felt I just had to cheer Puppy up so I told her a story my Granny once told me.

It was about a Rottweiler dog called Orion, who officially recognized for his role in rescuing people during the tragedy years ago in another Big Flood. A mudslide forced Orion and his owner Mauricio Pérez to leave their home and go to a safer place. They came across a young girl trapped by turbulent water. Orion guided the girl to shore by swimming at her side, then jumped back in to pull a second girl out of the water. He then helped eight children climb to high place and over time he saves 37 people from drowning, ranging from a girl of 8 years old to an elderly man of 80 years old.  He was awarded the Medal "Honor the Value" and a certificate for the role he played. He also received plaques and medals from private institutions and governments, international tributes.

I told Puppy she deserved one of those Medals and one day I would give her one for sticking with me through this terrible volcanic eruption and all the mess we were in.

CHAPTER 5 – Life in the Big House

I was waiting at the hospital and suddenly, things happened in a rush. Some strange soldiers came,  and  the Policeman told me to go with them. I was pleased when I heard him tell them "the  Puppy  goes with Him - it's all he has left".  

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We went to the grass in front of the hospital  and  there was a helicopter already there.   The blades on top the helicopter were spinning like a fan and  it was very loud. The dust  and  leaves were blowing up and I could hardly see, I had a mask on and a tea shirt over my head. The policeman did me high five  and  gave me to a big soldier who made me do up my coat  and  put a helmet on me. He put ear plugs in my ears  and  a sort of life jacket on me, I held Puppy very tight ly. Two soldiers pushed me up some big steps into the helicopter. I looked back  and  waved to the Policeman. Then they strapped me into a seat,  and  they told me to tuck Puppy  in the seatbelt. A lady soldier told me this was a Wild Cat Helicopter. She was funny  and  blocked  Puppy 's ears when she said "Wild cat" as she said dogs like to chase cats! She had a red cross on her shoulder,  and  she said she was a nurse as well as a soldier. She said they were just giving me a ride to the Children's Home as the bridge on the way was gone  and  there was lots of rubbish blocking the road. I asked if my Mum would be there, but it was too noisy I could not understand her answer, I started to feel very alone and scared, but I had to be brave.

When the helicopter landed, they undid all the straps  and  took off the lifejacket  and  I got out still clutching  Puppy . It was further than I thought,  and  I fell down. I felt stupid as there were loads of children watching from the steps of the big house. They seemed disappointed that it was just me  and  Puppy, until behind me the soldiers brought out bottles of water  and  boxes of biscuits. "Come on Boy" said a Lady in an orange T shirt, "come away from that helicopter." She took me into the kitchen with P uppy   and  I heard the helicopter flying away. I never got to say goodbye to the nice Nurse Soldier Lady. 

The Home was huge. There were lots of bedrooms for boy's downstairs  and  upstairs there were lots more for girls.

The roof had crashed in with the weight of the volcanic ash, so the girls were all in just two of the rooms,  and  there were piles of wet dirty clothes and ash everywhere. There was a very big dining room  and  kitchen. I was in a room with three other boys,  and  I had my own bed. The home had a generator that was noisy, but it was nice to have light. There was no TV or Internet following the BIG Blow.  To save gas they just put the generator on from 6.00 -8.00pm then we went to bed  and  used flashlights.

The Lady in the orange T Shirt was called Miss Gloria, she said  Puppy  had to live in the doghouse under the building but that I could see her when I wanted. She gave me to a man called Mr. Johnson also in an orange T Shirt  and  he showed me where  Puppy  would stay. He even had dog food for her. He said their dog had got lost in the evacuation. No one knew about my Mum  and  Aunty  and  Joey. I told them the Police said Granny had died but they were looking for the others. Another younger staff member said she heard they were all gone  and said "accept her sympathy, the Lord is with you boy, all these things will make you strong" I thought that must be a mistake and at that moment I felt rather weak not at all strong. I asked for my Dad, but they said they heard that they were all gone. I did not think that could be right. 

I was beginning to feel frustrated, trapped and hurt. Pain started to take over my feelings, I had to find someone to blame. I started getting angry it seemed a way of releasing energy, it was my little protest to the loss of my family, it just didn't make sense, it simple wasn't fair and I wanted to lash out and hurt someone.

Nurse came to talk to me she wanted to know how I was f eeling physically, I told her I felt drained and empty. I seem to be having difficulty making decisions or staying focused. I was becoming easily frustrated and ended up arguing more with people, I was feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely and worried. This was bad, I needed help.


CHAPTER 6 – Good and bad secrets

Another problem was Mr. Johnson's. He always looked at me as if I was in the way and said I should not hug Puppy as I would get ‘Leap To Spring Osis’! And he told Jasmine, my only friend, to stay away from me. I began to avoid him. Then one Monday he just did not come to work any longer! I was glad he was gone.

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One day Jasmine told me she had a secret to tell me. We sat under the house with Puppy and she told me........she told me Mr. Johnson had left because of her. He had been trying to get her to do bad things. He told her that he would get her ready to have a boyfriend. He had been trying to touch her under her panties. He told her if she did not do what he said he would kill Puppy. She said she ran straight away and told Miss Gloria what he tried to do and the police came and took him away. She said Mr. Johnson was in the prison waiting for the court to decide on his punishment. I was so mad! How could he say he would hurt Puppy! I was pleased he had left as I felt like doing him something really bad, like punching him on the nose.

Jasmine said she knew what to do about Mr. Johnson's bad intentions towards her as it was not the first time. She said her mother's boyfriend had done something wrong to her before and she had told her Sunday School Teacher. She said that is why she was in the Home. As her mother did not believe her but the Sunday School teacher did. She said the Sunday school teacher told her to "tell the truth and truth would set her free" and that she had prayed with her, then she got brave and when the Police came with the Welfare officer she told them all about it and they were sorting it all out.

Jasmine said she knew that you should always run from people with bad intentions and tell someone. She said she knew now that some bad secrets should not be kept. She explained that “Good secrets” were like not telling about a surprise party or what was in a present. But “Bad secrets” were those where the person threatens you if you tell what they did and where they touch you. No one except your mum or the nurse should touch you where your underwear goes and then tell you not to tell anyone that is a bad secret to keep.

Jasmine said that after that experience with her mother's boyfriend she had been different. She said her Sunday School Teacher had told her that God loved her and that it was not her fault. She said she had decided to follow Jesus, He became her best friend. I did not know what she meant but I did know I was pleased Mr. Johnson was gone.


CHAPTER 7 – Life in the Tent School

After about two weeks in the Big House, which turned out to be a Children's Home, with more new people coming each day, the staff said the roads were clear  and  that we would have to go to school. 

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They made us walk about a mile as the bus had been crushed by a massive bolder. School was weird, no uniforms, no books,  and , because the metal roof had crashed in under the weight of the volcanic ash, so we were in a tent. Tents are funny things. When the sun comes out, they are hot, hot, hot  and  you have to roll up the sides. When it rains then you have to let the sides down again  and  be hot  and  sweaty again. Our tent had UNICEF written on it which meant that nice people from overseas sent it. 

In the afternoon foreign workers came in blue T shirts they said they were our friends  and  they set up something called a Child Friendly Space where we played games. Their names were funny  and  if you did learn them then they left for good! So, in the end we just called them "Miss"   and   "Sir"

I did not have any friends in the Home except for Jasmine. She was 12  and  was already at Secondary School so she did not come with me to the Tent School. She had lived in that Home for months before the Volcanic eruption. She would sit with me under the house  and  pet  Puppy   and  talk to me. I told her that I did not believe that my Mum  and  Aunt  and  Granny  and  Joey could all be dead. Granny was old so I could believe that she had not made it but not the others. I had dreams that Mummy was calling me,  and  when it rained hard and it sounded like rocks on the roof, the smaller boys would cry, and I would dream I was under the car covered in mud. (With Puppies paw in my mouth!)

The other children all seemed to know each other  and  the three in my room were all from the same village.  They called me 'Helicopter Boy" and  would make helicopter noises every time I came in. One big boy said that he hated people from my village  and  that he would poison my dog as she wasn't a fierce breed like a Pit Bull.

He loved Pit Bulls  and  so, after a while, that is what we called him, even the staff.  "Pit" became his name. Everyone would have a job in the Home. Pit's was to take out the garbage to the bins. He always made me do it so that he would not hurt  Puppy . He said he would tie a block round her neck  and  throw her in the sea. Sometimes I was very sad and lonely I would hide and cry quietly hugging Puppy my only comfort.

I didn't do too well in the Tent School; my mind was easily distracted, and I got muddled up at times and couldn't concentrate. I wish I could remember where I use to live, I guess it was that bump to my head!

Some nights I would dream about my old home, Puppy and I were playing by the river and dad was home for the weekend, it was such a good dream. I was told that sometimes God can talk to you through a dream. I wondered when my Dad would come and rescue me.

CHAPTER 8 – Giving my life to Christ

"Come  and  meet my Sunday School teacher Camo!" So, the lady who had helped Jasmine 'tell the truth' had come to visit. She was pretty  and  she smelled nice.

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She had a guitar  and  played songs with the children. She gave us Bible story books  and  crayons to colour. She said that Jesus could sleep in the storm when he was on a boat. I thought that was incredible!

I could not sleep properly in a comfortable bed as the memory of the Big BLOW kept troubling me in my dreams  and  I kept secretively crying for my mother. She told us that Jesus had a special power not to be afraid  and  not to hate people who hurt him. She told us that because Jesus loved us, He died on the cross  and  wanted to help us to be friends with God  and  have power not to be afraid  and  not to hate people. She said we had to decide if to follow Jesus or go our own way and do our own thing.  She said the way to become a Christian was to Repent  and  Believe in Jesus the Son of God.

I thought this sounded interesting I have always wanted special powers!!! Also, I was very troubled about how much I hated Pit  and  Mr. Johnson too!

I knew God had saved my life that afternoon the volcano erupted, and the day turned to night and it rained rocks  and  I really needed to be able to sleep free from the fear of another eruption, with that dragon spuing out fire and smoke. I decided to give my life to Christ  and  to be a Christian. I am not a great reader but the Bible Books had loads of pictures  and  the Sunday School Teacher said that God loved everyone whether they were top or bottom of the class, good or bad, pretty or ugly, that Jesus still died for them so they could "tell the truth  and  the truth would set them free" She taught us about Noah who had survived a flood and how God had put the rainbow in the sky to give us all hope that He would never destroy the earth by flood again. I liked that story because I had seen a big rainbow when I woke up under the car that awful day. People had been warning of some BIG Wave that might come so I was glad that God made that promise.

Pit somehow heard that I had put my hand up when the Sunday School Teacher prayed. He straight away said I was a Bible bashing Christian. He said Christians were selfish, only helped their own church people  and  taking people's money. He said he would kill  Puppy  then I could pray for him to be raised from the dead. I felt myself getting red I just wanted to punch Pit on the nose! That night I remember the boys in my room were especially tormenting with their helicopter noises  and  saying that nobody wanted to be friends with Helicopter Boy.

I pulled the sheet over my head  and  asked God to switch on those magic powers as right now all I could think about was all the bad things I wanted to do to those guys. It started to rain this time just a drizzle as it hit the steel roof the little boys remembered the little rocks that had rained down on us and they started to whimper. Eventually I went sound asleep I dreamt about Noah in the Ark and God sending the rainbow. I so wanted to believe that God would not send another flood or for that matter another volcanic eruption. One was enough for me in my short lifetime. Granny always reminded me of the 1979 eruption, it never seemed to leave her. She never seemed to have got over it. Was it going to be like that for me? All of a sudden, I felt so lost and lonely all I really had to call my own was Puppy, she made me smile, but then I remembered I could call on my new friend Jesus. I was excited about meeting the Sunday School teacher next week and learning more about this life with Jesus.


CHAPTER 9 - I'm a new creature

Next week Jasmine and I were the first in Sunday School, I could hardly wait to learn more. She had told us this week we would learn about a butterfly that really started out as a fuzzy little caterpillar.

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I didn't like caterpillars, my dad had always warned me that they ate lots of his vegetables in the kitchen garden, I knew I didn't like them they were ugly, no one would say that caterpillars are beautiful. A caterpillar is a worm -- and worms are not beautiful! In fact the only good thing about worms was that you could put them on a hook and go fishing. Jasmine squirmed when I told her my fishing stories, with wriggling worms.

But then I learnt in Sunday School that one day the caterpillar spun a cocoon about himself and stays there for several weeks. Just hanging upside down, occasionally twitching, who would imagine that anything good was happening. But it was like the caterpillar was being born again and when it comes out, it is no longer a caterpillar, it has been miraculously changed into a beautiful butterfly, it was a new creation.

But it took time, it was like the caterpillar died in the chrysalis or cocoon and eventually the butterfly emerged but it was a struggle.

One day Puppy and I were in the field next to the Children's Home and we saw a chrysalis hanging from a twig, it started twitching and cracking open. We watched as the butterfly struggled to get out. It made me think of all the struggling I had to do over the time since the 'big BLOW' when the Soufrière exploded . I later learnt that a butterfly must struggle out of its chrysalis to start the blood to flow into its wings to make it strong and able to fly. It must do this to complete its life cycle into a butterfly. I felt I wanted to help the struggling butterfly but by assisting the butterfly and helping it to free itself, I would never let it fully develop and fulfill its destiny. I would actually be hindering it and prevented it from becoming who it was meant to be.

What God showed me was that what He does, sometimes in our lives, is to allow the struggle, the hurt, the process because we must fight to become fully who we are meant to be.

If He stepped in to help during the most crucial part in our lives, we would never become who we were made to be. As I pondered this thought out came the butterfly, flying away . with Puppy in the chase, she chased that butterfly all around the field until she eventually fell into the ditch, which was filled with muddy volcano ash water, you should have seen her she changed from a white puppy to a brown/grey dog! "That's it Puppy you are going to have a bath even you will become a new creation."

The Bible says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" When we invite Jesus to come into our heart, we become a new creation. God doesn't just clean us up, He makes us into a new person.

So now when I find myself in a huge struggle or fight, I can have hope. I now understand that this could be in the most important part of my life that will make me into who I am destined to be. I know that Jesus is with me and what I am too become is so great that all I have been through and am going though will pave the way for what I am to become. Strong, free, and soaring high with beautiful, colorful butterfly wings to carry me onto the next adventure of life with Puppy.


CHAPTER 10- I'm in the Lord's army

I was so excited because today the Missionaries from America were coming to visit us in the Children's Home. We were told they were brining lots of toys from America, I could hardly wait, even Pit was excited and seemed in better mood than usual.

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When they arrived I was given a brand new skateboard and not only that but all the protective gear needed to keep me safe.

They told me the first thing was to make sure I had the right kind of shoes. I know you wouldn't go skating in a pair of cowboy boots, would you? Your shoes should have a flat bottom to help you get a better grip on the board. Next, I was told every skateboarder should wear a helmet. You might think that wearing a helmet makes you look like a dork, but, believe me, it is the smart thing to do. Another thing you will need is pads. It is important to have pads to protect your elbows and knees. Now that I had all the right gear, it is time to go skateboarding. Even professional skateboarders make sure they have the right protective equipment.

Just as we need protective gear in skateboarding, the Bible teaches us that we need protection in life. The Bible calls it the armor of God and it tells us that we need the armor of God to protect us from Satan's evil schemes. We were taught this in Sunday School and marched around singing 'I'm in the Lords army' I loved it, Jasmine thought it was for boys only but we got to learn about the armor of God.

The belt of truth - The Bible tells us that Satan is the "father of lies," but he can never win if we will hold on to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord

The breastplate of righteousness - Satan can never harm us when we choose to do what God says is right

Feet fitted with the gospel of peace - Satan tries to create worry and confusion in our lives, but knowing Jesus brings peace

The shield of faith - Satan will try to plant seeds of doubt in our hearts and minds, but those seeds of doubt can never take root if we have faith in Jesus

The helmet of salvation - Jesus came from heaven to earth to save us from the evil one, if we accept salvation in Jesus' name, we will win the battle against Satan

The sword of the Spirit - the Bible, God's Holy Word, it is a powerful weapon against Satan.

I know no skateboarder should ever get on his board without the proper equipment, and I should never try to go through life without the armor of God.

CHAPTER 11- Free at last

That Sunday School Teacher came back again the next week and asked if any of us had any questions. I said "How do you turn on the magic powers?" She told us that God loved us and wanted us to be free from fear and free from hate.

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She told us we had to take our fears and tell them to God. She told us that God always listens to us  and  that one of the special powers is prayer  and  that this is like a private phone to God. She said this private phone is only connected to God. He must have millions of ears to hear everyone at the same time. She said that fears  and  nightmares are like ropes that tie us  and  that God can cut them if we ask him in Jesus name. We all made cell phones out of cereal packets and started talking to God.

Then she said that hating people was the opposite of what God wanted us to do. She told us it was hard to have love for God in your heart if your heart was filled with hate. She told us we could open the tap of our heart  and  say we are sorry  and  let the hate run out.  She said this is called repentance. 

She told us a neat story about a woman who did some bad things in her life. She didn't say what they were but we know that she was very, very sorry. She felt so bad in fact, that she went to see Jesus in someone's house-when she wasn't even invited!! She didn't know anyone, the people in the house didn't want her there but she was meeting Jesus! I imagine she must have felt very scared and very little. I don't mean little like she was tiny, I mean little like she was with people who were very important. She probably felt UNimportant. Not only did she go, but she knelt down behind Jesus and washed his feet WITH HER TEARS! Then she washed them with perfume.

You can imagine how the other people in the house felt. One of them got upset with her and with Jesus! Simon the Pharisee didn't think Jesus should be letting her do that. But Jesus not only let her do it, he told her that her sins-all the bad things we do in our life-were forgiven. She was able to leave with a happy and peaceful heart. There were so many lessons to be learned from this story, firstly the woman did something wrong and wanted to make it right. I could think of lots of things I had said and done that I wish I could now make right. Jasmine told me this is what Jesus wants me to do. If we do something wrong, what could we do to make it right? What are some things we could do to make it better?

The other thing we need to get from this story is how Jesus reacted. Did Jesus throw the woman out? Did he say-"you did something wrong, leave me alone?" What did Jesus do? He let her stay, he let her ask for forgiveness, and then he forgave her. It's important for us to do the same.

I decided to give it a try. After all, what had I got to lose except horrible dreams, bad feelings  and  loneliness? I gave God my fears, my memories of that scary storm, the sadness  and  the loneliness. Then I gave God the anger  and  the hate. It wasn't easy but I chose to stop hating  and  to forgive those mean kids  and  even Pit.

Then I remembered Mr. Johnson  and  his threats to hurt  Puppy   and  I thought of him in the State Prison  and  I even decided not to be angry with him any more too. I was free at last, free to forgive.

CHAPTER 12– I'm sorry

I just have to learn how to say 'I'm sorry' it just doesn't seem to come naturally; Pit has made my life a misery and I have been mean to him as well. How do I say I'm sorry?

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These were the questions I was asking myself, Jasmine and our Sunday School Teacher. She told me that sincere apologies can lead to forgiveness, which takes the sting out of hurts. I knew this was necessary in a happy, healthy life. But I had to learn how to say I'm sorry, how to apologies and really mean it even to someone like Pit, because up until now I was glad, I had punched him on the nose. Then I learnt the "three Rs" in a successful apology:

1) Remorse: Feeling sorry for the action.

2) Repentance: Expressing what's in your heart.

3) Recompense: This is when you try to make amends, which is not always possible, but always worth a try.

I knew "I'm sorry" means nothing unless it comes from a repentant heart. So, I first had to ask God to forgive me for being so nasty to Pit.

I had read in Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to each other, sympathetic, forgiving each other as God has forgiven you through Christ.

So, I had no choice but to go and find Pit and tell him how sorry I was for punching him in the nose. "I'm sorry Pit. I blew it. I was wrong, please forgive me Pit." Guess what Pit put his hand out and we shook hands, it was the beginning of the healing that was so needed.

I felt better after unpacking all those superpowers, but I was still lonely...... That night I dreamed of my Dad. He was looking for me in the mud and all the nightmares and fears of that terrible afternoon and night when the dragon volcano stole Granny, and the hot burning lava gobbled up our house, it all came flooding back, but then, in my dream Jesus came walking into my room and turned on the light and I wasn't afraid anymore and Jesus took my hand and led me outside. There was dad and he and I and Puppy started playing on a lovely green lawn outside of a beautiful new house, it was a good dream, and I woke up feeling good inside.


CHAPTER 13– Daddy

Miss Gloria  and  the other adults in orange T shirts were always asking me what I remembered about where I came from.

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I told them my name  and  my village  and  my Mum's name Camel Roberts but I could not remember Granny's real name or Aunty Lisa's or Joey's other name.  I told them my Dad was Ronnie Joseph. That is why I am Cameron. Cam - Ron.

They told me that the Police said that they did not find my Mum  and  that the house had been covered by lava. I kept hoping it wasn't true. They said they would try to find my Dad.

Then one day Miss Gloria came into school  and  said I had to come 'now, now, now!' I was worried that maybe something had happened to  Puppy  or that she had escaped  and  chewed up someone's shoes. It would not be the first time. She said no, I had a visitor. I went into the office  and  there was a very dirty tired looking man with a beard. It was Dad.....He held his arms out  and  we just hugged  and  hugged. He said he was sorry, that he had only just found out where I was as he had been told I was lost with my Mum  and  Lisa  and  Joey. He had walked for days to get from the other side of the island to get to our village.  He said that people said that the whole family was lost. Then he met that Policeman from the first day  and  he told him I was alive  and  in the Home. As I listened, I realized that it was true my Mum and all my family had been engulfed by the hot burning lava, I cried  and  cried  and  cried  and  then

Miss Gloria suggested I take my Dad to meet  Puppy . 

When we sat under the house my Dad gave me a special present, all wrapped up, a Teddy Bear toy, soft and squidgy, little did I know how precious 'Teddy' would become to me.

Dad told me that he had been so sad when he thought that I was gone  and  that seeing me today was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

He told me that he was so sorry that he had not come before. He asked me to forgive him for not being there. Dad said our lives may have taken some strange twists and turns but the One who holds our tomorrows is still in control. It kind of reminded me of the story of Joseph in the Bible. Dad said that he had asked God to help him find me  and  now that he had, we would serve God together for the rest of our lives.  " And  Puppy"   I said

"You see it will all work out for your good in the end" Miss Gloria said.

CHAPTER 14– Peace like a river

Dad and I along with Puppy moved back into the country side, it was where we were from, it’s where ‘we belong’ Dad told me. The wide open fields were a wecome to the cramped conditions I had know for so long in the Big House.

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Dad and I, along with Puppy, moved back into the country side, it was where we were from, it’s where ‘we belong’ Dad told me.

Dad started planting vegetables and keeping fish, goats and even rabbits to eat and distribute among the community. He taught me about Moringa and we planted it all around our property and all the animals ate it and were very healthy. We even drank the tea and began to feel stronger and healthier, dad showed me how you can purify water using Moringa.

Sometimes we would all go down to the river to play. Those times I felt most at peace, Puppy would splash around at the edge and try to pick up rocks from the river bed, when she did bubbles would come out of her nose! It looked so funny I would laugh at her.

Dad taught me how to swim in the river, I loved those times with Dad, he made me feel special and it almost made up for not having mum around. I began to realize how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

I continued to go to Sunday School and I learnt more about peace. This was a whole new experience for me. I learnt that Jesus said “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

But sometimes at the end of the day, when it was time to turn out the lantern, we still did not have electricity, and go to bed, I wanted to know that I was not alone in the darkness. That is where my Teddy Bear came to the rescue.

Dad gave me Teddy the day we were united at the Big House and at night Teddy was never very far away. Somehow, the darkness was not so frightening with "Teddy" in the bed with me, and Puppy sleeping at the foot of the bed in his ‘special bed’ that Dad had built for her.

Our Sunday School teacher told us something funny, she said "Know Jesus, Know Peace - No Jesus, No Peace."
That made me laugh out loud and it really said it all! If we want to know peace, we can only know that peace when we know Jesus, the Prince of Peace. If we don't know Jesus, we can have no peace.

That is how I was at the Big House before Jesus became my best friend and gave me that super power to forgive Pit and even that nasty man that threatened to kill Puppy and did nasty things to my friend Jasmine. I had no peace - only fear, bitterness, anger and loneliness but those days are now way behind me. In another life it seems. I had forgiven those people, it made sense to because not forgiving them is like drinking Poison yourself and expecting it to kill someone else!
I have moved on, now I have my Dad and my Heavenly Daddy and Puppy, what more could a boy ask for!


CHAPTER 15– He watches over us

As time went by the crops started to grow again, the bananas were bearing and there was more to eat. The trees were green again with leaves and some of the fruit trees that we thought were dead after the storm started to spring.

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There was a new sense of hope. Dad said that I was growing up, I was very pleased, I pushed my chest out and stuck my chin up in the air and went on tip toe to make myself a little taller. Dad said I was now his big boy, he had my back, he was watching over me.

One day I noticed that Puppy was growing up as well in fact she was getting very fat!

I didn't understand why until she started to pull leaves together and she found some rags in the shed and it seemed she was making a bed for herself under the house. Then she lay down and I sat down and watched over her as she gave birth to three beautiful little puppies. They were perfect except their eyes were shut, but Dad explained they were born that way and very soon he was right they opened their eyes and saw me for the first time.

What 'Fun Fabulous' days we had. Puppy and I playing with her new puppies, I just knew I could never be happier than I was those days. Puppy always watched over her puppies, she would pick them up and bring back into the shelter if they wondered off and that is when I began to think that my Heavenly 'Daddy' knows everything that I go through. There is nothing that happens to me that He doesn't know about. Just like Puppy He is watching over me. When I felt lonely and totally abandoned at the Big House, when everything seems hopeless, I began to realize that even then God knows and God cares.

And if I wonder off track a bit, He comes after me just like Puppy rounds up her puppies, so my Heavenly 'Daddy' comes after me, gives me a big hug and brings me back into the pack.

I was happy the sun was shining; all that nasty black volcanic ash had been washed away and the birds were singing, and a little sparrow came hopping up to look at Puppy's puppies.

Then it all came flooding back, the smell of 'Mama's Fry Bakes' and 'Coconut Sweet Bread' baking as Granny pottered around the kitchen in our 'old house' the one the Volcano turned to a burnt mess and I can hear her now, singing at the top of her old crackly voice .

"Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home?

When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy. I sing because I'm free! His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me."

And I wept with joy, I knew my hurting heart was healed and for the first time since that dreadful day that the volcano erupted, I sang that ol' ol' song I learnt at Sunday School.

"I sing because I'm happy.

I sing because I'm free!

His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me.

His eye is on the sparrow; and I know He watches me."

Not just sparrows, He watches over Dad and I

'And Puppy and her puppies'!




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