Youth ministry programs
New Letters: January 14, 2014 to March 25th

Beginning with an e-mailed letter on April 28th, 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 10th, 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. Now the story continues.

January Letters

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 January 16th Marcus asked us all to pray for the Mountain Youth in particular because they are angry as they remember when Mattpaul spoke with them a few weeks before his death.

Then, on January 27th 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.

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. All the Caperston youth were surprised how much Pontos has elevated Zester, their classmate in school a year ago, to such a very high position in Caperston.

In the same letter it was learned that Mattpaul's father asked Pontos if Huchfee could replace Zester as his special "Youth representative". Pontos is considering this request.

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.


February Letters

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.


for correspondence received and published in April 2014.

Click April Letters

March 5th

Dear Huchfee ...

We had a youth meeting last night and several of us are reading your letters. They requested that I write to you. First of all, let me talk about what a church is. Yes, it is a meeting place and it could be called a holy place. Our churches are often decorated with symbols of our faith and, when entering the building we call a church, worshippers receive the feeling of peace.

But a church can also refer to a group of believers. So just like we believers on Earth, those of you in Caperston are God's Caperston church. You do not have to have a building to be a church.

We have been talking about forgiveness at our youth meetings and how the ability to forgive releases us from anger. We learned about a group of faithful people who reached out to a wife whose husband murdered several of the children of their group. It was amazing to us how forgiving they were. It has helped us accept Kevin's death a little more.

We all look forward to hearing more of the events in Caperston.

Laura

March 10th

Dear Laura and friends,

Thank you for sharing the forgiveness story and for telling us about the two types of churches. It is nice to know that we are the church of Caperston. Chihaysu met with his nine remaining followers two days ago. I showed him your recent letter and he was interested how the people were able to forgive when people were unfairly killed. He then told us that he struggles deeply with his mother's decision to be buried in the House of the Dead with his father. He has been teaching that the welfare of the soul after death, not the actual burial place, is what is important. However, after much thought and prayer, he remembers advising Mattpaul to honor his father and mother. Likewise he will respect his mother's wishes and petition Mattpaul's father, Pav-ed, to consider his mother's request even though she is a mountain woman.

We have other concerns. Marcus visited the Mountain Village where he was raised and reports that the youth are becoming increasingly agitated. They are planning to get together to walk around Lake Gael to Pontos' residence. As you know they were making posters with drawings and sayings on them, demanding to know what happened to Mattpaul. When Mattpaul was alive some of the youth doubted his sincerity. But when he died for his faith, they knew every word he stated was true. He did love the Mountain People. In death he has become their hero.

Michaeling is getting some of us together for a prayer meeting tonight.I will write back soon.

Huchfee


March 21st

Alex and Laura,

We had our prayer meeting last night. Michaeling organized it and invited all 28 students who graduated with Mattpaul to attend. She also invited Marcus. 22 of the 28 graduates came.

Michaeling began by sharing her most vivid memory of Mattpaul - of him waving from the boat with Jonas and Levi before the storm. Her second remembrance was of kneeling by the plaque at his grave which read, "Mattpaul ... God and all those in the mansion of God ... know how faithful you have been ... and how you have brought light into our world". She stated that his faith gave her faith and she believes that he has not died in vain. She introduce Marcus as his best friend amongst Chihaysu's followers. Marcus began with great energy. "God has called us together to remember one of our friends, strong, caring and faithful. Mattpaul believed what Chihaysu is teaching and was brave enough not to compromise. May God fill each of us with similar strength. And with visions of a better and more equal Caperston".

The youth clapped and Marcus continued, "Mattpaul and I went to a mountain village and spoke at a school. The youth questioned Mattpaul's sincerity and asked, "Where is this God that you speak of? Why does he not come to speak to us himself?" Mattpaul did not know what to say but later he and I prayed for an answer. We later spoke to Chihaysu who advised, "God does not come himself because he is in the heart of every believer". Mattpaul used to say, "We believers are God's light of love in the world."

Michaeling then spoke and said that we have much to pray for. She gave everyone a candle and said, "When you pray, light your candle then speak with God. Let us see how bright the prayers to God will make this room." Fourteen of those present lit candles and prayed. Marcus then concluded. "God ... give us both determination and patience. Change may come slowly but we believe it will come because it is your will for Caperston." After he finished the lit candles were blown out, one at a time. Michaeling's candle was last. Before she blew it out Marcus stated, "Our friend Michaeling was the first youth to be baptized by Chihaysu. She will lead the Valley Youth by her gentle but determined ways. Leave your candle burning as we leave this place." She did and we all marveled at how much light came from her one candle. It brightened the room with hope and determination.

Huchfee

March 24th

Dear Huchfee, Michaeling and friends,

We had our youth meeting last night and I told everyone of the events in Caperston. Our group was very interested in the prayer exercise with the candles. We will try it at our next meeting.

We are going to keep you in our prayers, not only in our youth meeting but every day at our homes. We look forward to hearing that things are improving and that the Mountain Youth and Valley Youth will find a way to work together for change.

Laura


March 25th

Hi Laura,

Chihaysu called us together to choose a new follower to replace Mattpaul. He stated that he wanted another youth to replace him but none of us were ready to accept the challenge. He knows we are believers and understands the risks a youth would take to join the group. He then decided to chose a man named Annad to join. He is married and his wife is in agreement with this special task he will take on. They reside in one of the lake houses and are quite wealthy, which allows Annad to join Chihaysu as both he and his wife Jewel work for the Caperston bank. When he is away, Jewel will be able to do his work.

Chihaysu asked Annad to watch over the funds that he and his followers have received as donations. He trusts that Annad's work at the bank gives him experiences to keep good records of funds received and expenditures made. Some of the funds were earnings made by followers taking small jobs while they went about Chihaysu's work.

We youth do not have much money but Michaeling and I have decided to ask youth to donate one denorite each at our meetings. These will be given to Chihaysu. Since I have one of the better paying jobs amongst youth, I will give two denorites each time we meet.

I told Chihaysu that your group is praying for us, particularly that the anger of the Mountain Youth will subside. Chihaysu then told another story of the man Jesus. At his execution, when he was dying, even though he did nothing wrong, he asked God to "forgive them for they do not know what they are doing". Chihaysu states that we must remember the sacrifice Jesus made for people on earth as well as Mattpaul's sacrifice in Caperston but we also must tell the story of forgiveness to the Mountain Youth.

Huchfee


The story continues ... click April Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in April 2014.


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