Youth ministry programs
New Letters: January 14, 2014 to January 27th

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 14th

Dear Alex,

We are overjoyed to hear of your vision of heaven and seeing your friend, Kevin, and Mattpaul there. The vision gives us courage and your description is of a spectacular place.

The situation in Caperston is of developing chaos. Three days ago Mattpaul's father called me in and stated that he did not know whom he can trust. Since I was Mattpaul's friend, he believes he can trust me. He no longer trusts Zester and plans to speak to Pontos, the ruler, about putting him on trial for carelessly allowing Mattpaul to die of malnutrition. He asked me about Mattpaul's sister, Rachaeling. He knows that she has listened to Chi-hay-su speak and has been impressed. He was almost in tears and said, "Huchfee, I have lost my son. I cannot bear the thought that I will lose my daughter too. Will she also leave to follow Chihaysu?" I only responded that I did not know. I did not tell him of the message from Mattpaul. "There will be three new followers of Chihaysu. One will be unexpected and at least one will be a woman." We all wonder. Will the new follower be Rachaeling, Michaeling or Dawnling? And who will be the unanticipated follower?

There are rumors in the street about the death of Mattpaul. Some say he was assassinated. Mattpaul's father told me that I am to say nothing and that he will handle the matter. People are wondering why there has been no announcement of a funeral and the usual ceremony. Mattpaul was the respected son of the second highest official in Caperston. Usually ceremonies of someone like Mattpaul would be well-publicized but this time there has been no public announcement.

I will let you know more and I again thank you for sharing your vision of heaven with us. We are all comforted by the hope of this beautiful place.

Huchfee

January 16th

Alex and Tim,

We look forward to hearing from you and the events of your world. The teachings of Jesus, which you have shared, continue to encourage us in our growing faith.

There are new concerns I did not tell you about in my last letter. Last night Marcus met with us during a prayer circle at Michaeling's house. He asked us to pray for the Mountain Youth in particular. They are angry as they remember when Mattpaul spoke with them a few weeks before his death .They state that he was the only Valley Person they were sure cared about them. They have no faith in Pontos whom they blame for Mattpaul's death. Jonas was with Marcus at the mountain village and made a sketch of Marcus speaking with them. I am sending it to you. I hope you get it.

Marcus also told us of a rumor about Chihaysu. He had heard from a reliable source that Chihaysu was depressed over the death of Mattpaul and was planning a journey to an unknown desert beyond the mountain villages. Chihaysu confided that he is not sure how long he will be gone and he needs time to pray alone. They think it will be for several days.

At this time we need Chihaysu to come forward and counsel us and not to leave us for the desert. Please write. We need encouragement.

Huchfee


January 17th

Sketch by Jonas of youth at Mountain Village in Caperston received today. See below for the story...


January 20th

To my Caperston friends: I am worried about your world and I will pray for you. I have faced worrisome times but I now know that God was always with me. He will be with you too. I want to let you know that we received Jonas' sketch. He is very talented. Also - this may seem unimportant but one of our members asked about the homes of the mountain people. They have no chimneys. How do your people warm your homes without a chimney to release smoke from furnaces or from fireplaces?

I went to our youth group for the first time since Kevin's death. I was anxious but everyone was happy I returned. Laura had already told everyone that I had a special story to share. Then I told my story and my vision of heaven and of seeing both Kevin and Mattpaul being honored by Jesus himself. All the girls and even two of the boys were crying. Even our minister seemed emotional. Everyone wants to know about your story of Caperston . I will pray every night that all of you in Caperston will feel the presence of God in the challenging times you are facing.

Alex


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.

January 27th

Dear Alex,

Thank you for writing. I am thankful you found your way back to your youth group.

We are glad you received the sketch Jonas made. We agree that he is very talented. While meeting at Michaeling's home, Jonas reported that Chihaysu left two days ago for the desert. It is an area that no one from Caperston has gone. He took water, a sleeping blanket and some books. That is all. Jonas also reported that Chihaysu's mother, who lives in a mountain village, is ill with the AHT disease. This is the disease Dawnling had when Chihaysu prayed and the disease went away. But Dawnling was young and Chihaysu's mother is much older. Jonas is checking on her and, if she becomes weaker, Jonas stated he would leave for the desert to find Chihaysu and report that his mother needs him. We took some time to pray with him that God will guide himif he must make this journey. Marcus offered to travel with Jonas but he wanted to go alone.

Mattpaul's father spoke to me and made me swear to tell no one in Caperston what I will now tell you. He said that he went to the ruler Pontos and discussed the callousness of Mattpau's death, reporting that making Zester a trusted "youth representative" was a mistake. He recommended that Zester be demoted. Mattpaul's father stated that Pontos did not agree. Pontos spoke to Zester and found him to be a youth with potential to be an effective leader. However, Pontos recognizes the emerging conflict and 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. We are all surprised how much Pontos has elevated Zester, our classmate in school a year ago, to such a very high position in Caperston.

Mattpaul's father asked Pontos if I could replace Zester as his special "Youth representative". Pontos is considering this request. It is good to know that my best friend's father now trusts me.

You asked about the mountain people's homes without chimneys. There was a time we too needed chimneys but three generations ago our scientists discovered a way to make nuclear energy available in every home. We have a box about four times the size of our compols. It has a dial and we set it for "cool, warm or hot" depending on the weather. The box has wires that extend from it into the walls of our homes and the walls radiate warmth or coolness as needed. Don't ask me how this actually works. Mattpaul understood but, as you know, he is dead.

I look forward to hearing what is going on with your youth.

Huchfee

January 30th

Hi Huchfee and Caperston friends ...

I am Laura, Alex' friend and I am glad Alex gave me the e-mail address for the Christianyouthgroup.org site to which you have been writing. After reading all of the letters going back for so many months, I am convinced that God has called a special group of you together. You are brave and dedicated and I am not sure I could be so brave. I will pray for you.

I have one question after reading the story in the letters. You speak of Mattpaul's father all the time but you have never shared his name. He is an important man in Caperston and we are sure his name is special. Please share this with us.

We will continue to keep you all in our prayers; I look forward to your reply.

Laura


The story continues ...click February Letters

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