See Below: Chest of Visions:"a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides"Letters of March to June including: "The Last Vision: the Door Closes" and "The Last Letter" (see below)
Do you believe God opens doors? He also closes them. Read "The Last Vision" and learn the three questions asked (two about the future) and the answers given. Thanks to Jonas for the drawing of the event. See below - May 27th entry. God be with us all. Tim
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 March through June 2015 then summaries of the letters received between January 2014 and February 2015.
I know it has been awhile since I wrote. The events in Caperston have calmed down but my duties as chairman of the new leaders committee have not.
First I want to update you on Chihaysu. He spent almost ten days in the wilderness meditating and hoping for a vision. He did not have a vision but did have a dream on the last night there. We do not know all the details but he advised Jonas, who visited him twice while in the wilderness that his three questions were answered but he must travel to Romas before he can share their answers.
We do not know when he will return.
We had a celebration and almost all the people of Caperston, even the Hugapods, came. Pontos introduced his appointed leaders six of us. There were two Mountain People (Marcus and Dawnling), three from the Valley (Michaeling, Timus and myself) and one Hugapod (their leader Erbert). Jonas did a wonderful drawing which includes the leaders, Pontos and his secretary, Lindaling. I am sending it along with this letter.
We have had one meeting and after deciding how to identify problems to be discussed and solved, Pontos gave us a difficult one. What is he to do with Zester? Zester is still in jail and, you will remember, refused to apologize when Chihaysu offered to forgive him. Erbert suggested that he talk with him as the Hugapods have their forgiveness activities every afternoon but we decided to wait on making the decision. Racheling reminded us, as she always does, to pray about it and Marcus stated that we should wait until Chihaysu returns to discuss it with him.
So our first dilemma is before us and we want to be careful before advising Pontos of our recommendations.
So how are things on earth? Anything new happening- things seem so peaceful in your world compared to Caperston. And how about Matthew Paul?
Hi Huchfee ...
We know you have a challenge ahead regarding Zester. We believe on earth that even the greatest sinners have a chance at redemption as our God is by nature forgiving. But repentence is necessary. Just a few days ago the mother of a man violently killed by a famous athlete spoke to the court. She began by stating how much she loved her son and ended by saying to the murderer "I forgive you". The courtroom, filled with angry, vengeful people found itself transformed by this amazing display of grace by one so offended by the killer's actions.
I do not know if this story helps but forgiveness is a powerful tool that changes our world and it can change yours.
You asked about Matthew Paul. He came to our church on Easter Sunday with his foster parents with whom he has lived for many months. He seemed happy yet sad that he had not heard from his mother for so long. Our pastor spoke with his foster father while we chatted with Matthew Paul. He told us he still reads your letters to us and is glad Chihaysu is free. He also recognizes the similarity between his name and Mattpaul's name. He is proud to have a similar name because he feels Mattpaul was a special person. Matthew Paul states that he loves to play soccer which is our form of kickuml. He also states that he loves to sing in the children's choir at our church. While we were talking a member of our youth group sketched Matthew Paul and we are sending it to you. Let us know if you receive it.
Three Questions Answered: Dustin, Jesus, Future
May 27th... The Last Vision: the Door Closes
Dear Alex, Laura, Darren and Tim,
I write to you with excitement, hope and sadness. Hope because of the changes happening each day in Caperston, excitement because Chihaysu has returned and shared with us his vision and sadness because this will be my last letter to you.
Let me update you. You know of the committee of leaders Pontos put in place. Pontos has kept his word. We are not just representatives - we are real decision makers. One decision we made is to create one school for all people in Caperston. In the past there was a school for the mountain youth and a school for the valley youth. Hence the kickuml game between the mountain and valley youth which was the subject of Mattpaul's first letter to you. Now we are all one, all considered equals and I, myself, love it as I never considered myself as anything but equal to my mountain friends. We also made a decision regarding Zester. It was the result of Erbert insisting that forgiveness is best for not only Zester but for each of us. When we told Chihaysu, he agreed. So we will forgive him and hope that our forgiveness will soften his angry, frustrated heart.
I also want to share that Rachaeling and I have been spending time together. We like to take walks and talk. One of our recent walks was to Mattpaul's grave. We both cried a little when we got there but then realized that Mattpaul's spirit lives on with the spirit of Dustin and your Kevin. And they are all playing a great kickuml game in heaven. Here is why we know.When Chihaysu returned, he advised that he had spent seven days in the desert praying. He enjoyed a brief visit from Jonas but most of the time, he was alone. He felt close to God but had questions that he wanted answered. He said he observed a beautiful sunset on the last night he was there and felt a peace come over him.
That night he dreamed. He dreamed that he met Mattpaul and he posed three questions to Mattpaul. He said the dream was so vivid he remembered, he believes, every word spoken during the dream.
His first question was: is Dustin in heaven? Mattpaul answered, "Yes" then stated that Dustin is the best kickuml player on the team. Dustin and Kevin have become great friends and they particularly like to plan strategies and new plays for upcoming games. Mattpaul continued, "Remember we do not keep score when we play in heaven but that does not mean we do not want to play well."
Chihaysu's second question was: is Jesus, God's son, coming to Caperston just like he came to Earth many generations ago? Mattpaul's answer was clear. It was no. When God sent his son to Earth so that people could be forgiven, it was not just for people of earth. It was for people living in Caperston or for people living on any planet in any universe. This is why God arranged for the communication between those of us in Caperston and you on Earth. When Chihaysu responded to the code in the Chest of Visions and began reading the words of the man from Earth named Matthew, God knew he needed to explain His plan for all of creation. So he allowed us to communicate by giving Mattpaul the proper codes to connect with Tim and his Christian youth website. We thought it was a lucky coincidence but it wasn't. It was God's plan.
And that plan included one death of His son for all creation.
The last question Chihaysu asked was about the future of Caperston. What can we expect? Mattpaul stated that God has declared that the communication between Earth and Caperston is to cease. Mattpaul stated that God declared, "I have opened this door of communication between the people of Caperston and my followers on Earth. You have shared with each other and enriched each other. Now you must go your separate ways, though you will meet again in heaven just as Dustin, Kevin and Mattpaul have met. With the help of my Spirit all, who believe, on Earth and on Caperston will continue to grow in their faith through prayer, making a difference in their worlds. I will leave the communication open for one letter from Caperston to Earth and one letter in return from Earth. Then, at an unknown time in the future but after all living on Caperston have passed on, I will bring this correspondence to the knowledge of your descendants and open the door of communication one final time."
So this is my last letter. We, in Caperston, have been blessed by your letters and your friendship. We will never forget you - all of us will remember, Michaeling, Rachaeling, Dawnling, Marcus, Sav-ed,Timus, Chihaysu and myself. We bid you our best wishes and have confidence that we will meet again - in a different place as Dustin, Kevin and Mattpaul have met.
I am sending one last drawing by Jonas - a drawing of Chihaysu's dream.
God has allowed one response from you and we look forward to it. Please tell us the status of Matthew Paul. And thank you for the drawing. We all think he looks a little like Mattpaul. Also Chihaysu said we should ask Tim something he has learned about "uncertainty". I do not know what that means but we look forward to your response.
Our love is with you, our friends from earth, always.
The Last Letter: June 9, 2015
Dear Huchfee, Rachaeling, Michaeling, Dawnling, Marcus,Timus and Chihaysu,
I have corresponded with Alex, Laura and Darren and they have agreed to let me write the last response. Alex and Laura wish to say their youth group considers all of you to be part of their group. They will continue to pray for you though the correspondence is over. Darren states that he has read your story over several times and each time his faith is inspired by your perseverance in your own faith. You are on the top of his prayer list.
We, on earth, are excited for the wonderful changes which have come to your world. These changes occurred because you put your faith into action. It is something we on Earth have learned from you. We are excited that Chihaysu is free and available to continue to inspire each of you. We are glad that Sav-ed is safe and wonder about the impact of his trips to Romas but, since this is our last correspondence, we will never know. We understand that there will be one last contact years from now and I will make sure that all of our corresponding letters are documented for those in the future to read and review. Will it be our great grandchildren or even descendants further in the future to hear again from your descendants? We do not know.
You asked about Matthew-Paul and we have exciting news. His mother, Julia, was found. She was with a cousin living a distance away. Things had become very difficult for her and she called her cousin who picked her up, took her home with her and made arrangements for her to get treatment. The treatment required a placement in a facility. Julia never forgot Matthew-Paul but did not want him to know about her placement.
It took a long time for her treatment to help her overcome her troubles but she did. She was released about twenty days ago and returned to her cousin who states she appears to be herself again. She had her first conversation with Matthew-Paul last Sunday afternoon and we understand, after a few more phone conversations, a visit is planned. They have a long way to go but a wonderful re-connection has taken place.
You ask me about "uncertainty". I guess Mattpaul is referring to a discussion we had at a recent church meeting, when we faced the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" We read an emotional statement from a young boy with a deadly disease we call cancer. He is in such pain but he does not blame God for his misfortune. Rather he states that he was unfortunate to get the disease but fortunate that God is there to help him fight it.
Then we looked at what science has to say. There is a theory called quantum mechanics which states at the level of the most basic of sub atomic entities, something called quarks, that the rules of the "quarks world" are very different than ours. It would take many pages to explain this but, in essence, the theory is this: our world, at its most basic principles, is filled with uncertainty. For instance, these quarks can be in two places at the same time and no one really knows where they are or the speed at which they move from place to place.
Why would God create a world with uncertainty? I believe the answer is simple: He wants to give choice to His creation. We can chose to reach out to Him or reject Him. If there was no uncertainty, there would not be choice. And if there is no choice, there really isn't a relationship and relationship is what God seeks from us.
I hope this makes some sense and is helpful.
So we say goodbye with our words but not with our hearts. We, on Earth, are better people for knowing all of you on Caperston and we love you all - very much. God be with us all as we follow His calling.
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 2015 Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in January 2015.
February 2015 Letters
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.
Click February 2015 Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in February 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