See Below: Chest of Visions:"a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides"New Letters: February 6 to February 27, 2015
Beginning with an e-mailed letter one year ago, twenty two letters were received from young people in the far off land of Caperston. Twenty one were from a young man named Mattpaul and the last, received on December 10, 2013, from his best friend, Huchfee.
Much has been happening in Caperston involving the teachings of a "prophet" named Chi-hay-su and the imprisonment of the writer of the first 21 letters, Mattpaul. The book, The Chest of Visions, records each of these letters, telling the story of Caperston, while reflecting on the way of life of its inhabitants.
The story continues. We list the most recently received letters from February 2015 then summaries of the letters received between January 2014 and January 2015.
Dear Michaeling ... we are so happy to hear that Chihaysu is free and look forward to hear of what should be good news from Caperston. We had an unusual Friday night meeting because of bad weather predicted for the upcoming Sunday. I am happy to report that most of the youth group members are reading your story on the Christianyouthgroup website and want me to share how the freedom of Chihaysu is an answer to their prayers. Imagine that - we can pray for people in a parallel universe and our prayers are answered. What a great God we both have.
You asked about Matthew Paul and we do not have any current news. Our pastor was at our meeting and he stated that he will contact the pastor of the church where Matthew Paul attends with his foster family. Our youth director stated that maybe some representatives of our youth group can visit Matthew Paul at his church. We hope so. Once we hear more we will let you know.
Dear Laura, Alex and friends
Thank you for writing and we, in Caperston, are hoping that you will get to see Matthew Paul soon. We will be meeting with Chihaysu tomorrow and he has let us know he has two important announcements to make. We will let you know after we meet with him. We think one has to do with a visit to Romas but have no idea what the other will be.
Dear Laura, Alex and friends
Chihaysu never ceases to amaze us. We met with him two days ago and he announced that he will be leaving for Romas in a few days but he has some important business to do. First, he asked Sav-ed if he will take over and lead us in his absence. It is a big job and he wants Sav-ed to pray about it , letting him know in a few days. Then what he said shocked us. He said that, after spending time with the Hugapods, he learned something from Erbert and his people. He learned how powerful forgiveness is. His last piece of business, before he travels to Romas, is to meet with Zester. He wants to tell Zester that he forgives him for all that Zester did to him.
We all responded, "No, don't do this. If there ever was an enemy it is Zester." Chihaysu replied, "Yes, he was our enemy but if he is ever to be our friend and companion I have to begin to reach out to him and forgive him".
I need to really think about this. It took all of my courage to testify against Zester at Chihaysu's trial and now he and I are to forgive Zester? Maybe I need to speak with Erbert myself.
Dear Friends from Earth,
Chihaysu met with us a couple of days ago and expressed his discouragement that Zester refused to accept his offer of forgiveness. He states that he needs time to reflect on this and other things and will be going to the desert, the area where he first met Cle-as a year ago. He hopes meditation and prayer will help him overcome his discouragement.
It has been a long time since I have written and I regret that I have not kept in touch. I must say that I am very happy with the recent turn of events in Caperston and I am hoping for the same with Matthew Paul. Did you get to see him at his church?
I particularly enjoyed reading about the basketball-like abilities of Erbert. My team, the New York Knicks, could really use Erbert for their team this year. They could probably use some of his teammates too.
Forgiveness is a difficult topic. I applaud Chihaysu for reaching out to Zester. Maybe, in time, Zester will accept his offer.
May God be with us all as the trials in our world continue. Horrible things are happening to people who believe in Jesus. There is uncertainty as to how to respond. Please keep us all in your prayers.
The story continues with Letters received in March. Please click: March 2015 letters
Past Letters Summary
On January 14th Huchfee reported that the situation in Caperston is of developing chaos. Three days ago Mattpaul's father called him in and stated that he did not know whom he can trust. On the same day Huchfee reports that Pontos plans to give Zester a new position - to supervise the palace guard and the police force of Caperston. Zester will now report directly to Pontos himself. Later in the month Jonas reported that Chihaysu had just left for the desert. It is an area that no one from Caperston has gone. He took water, a sleeping blanket and some books.
Lastly, Laura from New York, in the letter published on January 30th, asks Huchfee for the name of Mattpaul's father. He is such an important man in Caperston yet all the letters simply refer to him as "my friend's father".
Click January Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in January 2014.
In February, letters were received describing the meeting of Princess Cle-as of Romas with Chihaysu. She makes him a threefold proposition - see letter of February 10th. In addition, in the letter of Feb.26th it is revealed that Mattpaul's father is named Pav-ed and he has requested that the Ruler of Caperston, Pontos, appoint Huchfee to be the official "Youth Representative" in place of Zester, who was promoted to the position of overseer of the police.
Click February Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in February 2014.
In March, letters were received describing concerns. "Marcus visited the Mountain Village where he was raised and reports that the youth are becoming increasingly agitated." In addition,Chihaysu appointed a new follower, Annad, to watch over the funds that he and his followers have received as donations. Lastly, Michaeling led Caperston youth in a candle ceremony stating "When you pray, light your candle then speak with God. Let us see how bright the prayers to God will make this room."
Click March Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in March 2014.
Turmoil has come to a head in Caperston. Huchfee reports in his letter of April 7th that the Mountain youth were confronted by a group of the palace enforcers led by Zester. More specifically ... "Suddenly and without warning Zester called out, "Charge", leading the attack. The Mountain Youth had no weapons and began to run but the soldiers did not stop. The soldiers caught those who were not fast runners and began spearing them. We were told that ten youth were wounded and fifteen were killed. Seven of those killed were girls and Zester was seen stabbing two of the girls."
We are awaiting further news of the unrest in Caperston.
Click April Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in April 2014.
The month of May brought great drama to Caperston ... "Another leader among the Mountain Youth called out, 'Then we will banish this traitor from our Mountain home. Go, traitor,' and he gave him a shove. 'Go live with your wretched Valley People'. He gave him a second shove and Dustin fell."
Shortly afterwards Dawnling cried out, "How could you do this to my and your dear friend Dustin. Don't you remember how you were all fed because he shared his lunch with you at the meeting with Chihaysu?"
In response the other youth became remorseful. They cried out, "We did not know what we were doing and now more blood of Mountain Youth has been shed." Jonas and Pav-ed were amazed at the influence Dawnling had over the Mountain Youth as their anger turned to repentance.
Later a valley youth spoke out, "Pav-ed, it is wise to listen to what Chihaysu is saying. If this God is within him and his followers, then we should respect this. If this God is simply something of their imagination, then the things being taught will soon become past memories."
Click May Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in May 2014.
During the month of June only two letters were received but the second letter was a shocker. Huchfee reported that Zester called out " You weak, old man, what good are you?" I had, by now just arrived on the deck in the back of the boat. Zester pointed his finger at Pav-ed chest and repeated, "You weak old man" then, suddenly pushed him backwards over the side of the boat. He was unaware that I witnessed what he had done. Read below for more information on the impact of this crime... the murder of the second most powerful person in Caperston by a classmate of Huchfee!
Click June Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in June 2014.
July LettersWe learned Pav-ed did not die as follows ... "Suddenly he had a vision... of Mattpaul, who stated, "I am well father, in heaven. Will you now believe? Believe father. God has called you to be the new surprise follower of Chihaysu. Believe and you will be saved." Pav-ed called out, "My son ... I believe" .
Click July Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in July 2014.
Much has happened in August. Most prominent were two things: the visit to Romas by Sav-ed and Jonas at the request of Princess Cle-as. Secondly there was the decree by the Ruler Pontos that he approved the request of Zester to take Rachaeling as his wife. The marriage must occur within 50 days of Pontos' decree and the thought is distressful to Rachaeling, who loves Huchfee and is not favorable of Zester at all.
The Good News of the month was the results of the Mattpaul Memorial Kickuml Game.
Click August Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in August 2014.
September LettersHuchfee reported that Pontos sent Zester to arrest Chihaysu for speaking out against him. We are told that he also arrested the man Timus for being the first in the crowd to clap for Chihaysu's speech. Pontos declared, "I am the ruler and there is no God to set rules that challenge my rules". With Chihaysu arrested, we need Sav-ed more than ever. There are now 35 days to the marriage of Zester and Rachaeling." On Earth Laura reported that Julia and Matthew Paul are still separated as Julia continues to be homeless. The judge continued Matthew Paul in foster care for six months!
Click September Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in September 2014.
October LettersSav-ed remains in Romas for a longer period of time then expected. Several of Chihaysu's followers watch over Rachaelling in North Woods. On one occasion Marcus and Rachaelling befriend the seven to eight foot tall Hugapods. Their leader, Erbert is even taller. During the same period of time Chihaysu and Timus remain in jail. An earthquake shakes the jail and the doors break open but they remain singing the hymn "Praise Him" taught to them by earthly friends.
Click October Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in September 2014.
November LettersEarly in November we read ... "Marcus stated that after the dancing event a week ago he spoke with one of the Hugapod leaders, whose name is Erbert. Erbert is also the best player at the basket shooting game. He is eight feet four inches tall and a good jumper. In the game Erbert made 22 out of 23 drop shot attempts and led his team to victory 59 to 54.. Then on November 25th we learned ... Dear friends, We are all sad.We visited Ammed last night. He was very ill but very gracious. He said, "I am ready to go". He then closed his eyes and a wisp of a cloud like substance arose from his body.
Click November Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in November 2014.
December LettersPeople in Romas do not know what to believe and Sav-ed told Jonas to return to Caperston to let us know that he does not know when he can return. Chihaysu remains in prison and the rumor is that, in the New Year, he will be put on trial for speaking out against the ruler Pontos.
Click December Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in December 2014.
January 2015 LettersThe trial of Chihaysu is held with Pontos being the judge. As it reached its climax Zester interjected, "Pontos, who will you believe myself, your favorite appointed official, or Pav-ed who disgraced you by drinking and then falling overboard when the mission, you sent us on, was about to begin?" He then pointed his finger at Chihaysu who suddenly stood up . Zester said, "It is this man who has filled citizens of Caperston with lies. They do not know what to think and who to believe".
Pontos replied, "You are right Zester. Even I do not know who or what to believe."
Click January Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in January 2015.
Join the Correspondence!If you would like to write to Huchfee of Caperston and/or to Alex of New York, it is simple. Write your thoughts in an e-mail to Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org and your thoughts will be published in this story and probably responded to by Huchfee and/or by Alex.
New Book Review from Goodreads
Jun 16, 2013 ... Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite rated it 5 of 5 stars
"The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston" by Tim Ferguson is a well-reasoned, well-written, and intelligently conceived allegory for use as a Christian Youth Group Study Guide. It is bound to be considered quite "awesome" by the Youth Groups which use it, just as it is bound to be considered controversial or even blasphemous by older generations, which often comprise church leadership.
However, if it is recognized for what it is - an allegory - it should be seen as no more controversial than "Pilgrims Progress", which no doubt faced a lot of opposition when it was first released. It should also be conceded that ANYTHING which helps youth understand the Gospel better is a good tool to be used for that purpose.
"The Chest of Visions" is crafted as a totally new concept for involving today's youth in Bible study. Borrowing from the contemporary popularity of Science Fiction and Fantasy fiction novels, comics and movies, the author has devised a correspondence across parallel universes between several teen-aged individuals on two different planets in two different universes.
The correspondences are prompted by the appearance on the planet Caperston of what amounts to a missionary, spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. At first glance, one might assume the missionary is intended to imply an appearance of Jesus on another planet, by which He intends to extend salvation to the residents thereof. That is NOT the case, however. The missionary, Chi-hay-su, repeats a number of Jesus' sermons, and selects a number of "followers" who seem as if they are meant to fill the role of the Apostles, but in reality Chi-hay-su has HEARD the Gospel himself, believed it, and is doing what he believes is the most efficient approach to reach his entire planet FOR GOD. If read in its entirety, and considered prayerfully, "Chest of Visions" should be acknowledged as a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides. It has my stamp of approval, for whatever that's worth.
For more information on "The Chest of Visions",
please click: Letters from the Past