Preparedness is not about being a hermit, or a Rambo-like survivalist. And there might not be much time left for you to get one of your most critical assets in place--Your Community.
There’s a component of preparedness that I fear most preppers omit, either because they don’t understand the value or they refuse to understand the value. And that’s the COMMUNITY.
While the headlines have been full of plenty of reasons to remain somewhat private about the extent of one’s preparedness efforts, it’s also had the unfortunate effect of causing many to create a serious vulnerability—that of being all alone or at least insufficiently strengthened by having plenty of like-minded people to help amidst a crisis.
You don’t have to watch an episode of Doomsday Preppers to see one example after another of people who are tight-lipped survivalist types who prepare to harm anyone who threatens their safety and survival. I can’t help but thinking of a Rambo movie whenever I see those types. But the problem is that Rambo is a made up Hollywood nonsense that tries to make us believe that if you’re buff enough and numb enough in your heart you can survive anything all by yourself. Out of all of the episodes that have aired on National Geographic’s show, Doomsday Preppers, there have been less than a dozen scenarios in which the persons being featured reached out to the community. In fact, there have been several episodes in which it was considered “heart stopping drama” for the featured prepper to reveal to their very best, and likewise very shocked friend, the extent to which they’ve prepared to feed or defend themselves. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but this surreptitious approach to panic-free preparedness isn’t going to earn you any “X-Factor Points” and I don’t care what kind of military training you’ve got. The lone survivalist will have a very short shelf-life in the midst of a real crisis.
I can make this statement unabashedly because military history, Biblical history and scriptural admonition, logic, and my own real life has played this type of scenario out over and over again, and the reality is something very different indeed.
#1: Military History: For starters, any military defense and offense strategy will show you that 16 capable persons is the minimum number of people you need to properly defend an area, 24/7 over the long-term. Sure, you’ve seen Red Dawn actors do it with far less for a longer period of time, but again, Friends, this is real life I’m talking about here. You need at least one person to watch each direction (north, south, east and west) in 6 hour shifts in order to avoid fatigue and ensure that you’re being properly defended. Even the special forces teams go into an engagement with a minimum of 4 persons, typically, so that each direction is addressed, but keep in mind that such special forces missions are typically for a small window of time, not every day for a year, which is why that team of 4 would need to be a team of 16 over the long-term.
#2: Biblical history (scriptures) and scriptural admonition: The scriptures convey a great deal of war strategy scenarios that support my first position, but you’ll also note that the scriptures constantly using the word “GATHERING”, and that the righteous will be gathered for safety. I’ve yet to see a word relating to being an anti-social hermit in the midst of a crisis or a prophesied crisis. While there are examples of people going off on their own to gain spiritual clarity occasionally, there aren’t any instances of enduring trials on one’s own. Furthermore, since I’m speaking with regards to scriptural issues, let’s also recognize that in all of the verses that prophesy of the trying times that will be present in the last days and amidst the tumult leading up to the Second Coming, we’re never told that the principles of charity, service, comforting those in need of comfort, and other Christlike attributes are suspended merely because life is getting difficult. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; we're told to prepare in many of the scriptures specifically so that we CAN take care of our neighbors who will be fleeing to us for shelter and nourishment both temporally and spiritually. We’ll not be able to fulfill either of those needs if we keep thinking that we only have to watch out for our immediate circle of family or friends.
I realize that there are some that feel like they’re barely making it just trying to prepare for their immediate family. I don’t claim to know your personal circumstances, but I do know God, and I know that He never gives us a commandment without also giving us a way to fulfill that commandment. So that’s between you and Him in HOW you’re going to get yourself in a position to support your own family, as well as those the Lord might direct to you in troubling times.
#3) Logic: My husband and I were in the 2nd episode which was broadcast on the first night of the first season launch of Doomsday Preppers. It’s been more than 2 ½ years since that broadcast and yet I’m still getting all kinds of e-mails and letters from all over the world. National Geographic kept holding “polls” asking their audience who was their favorite prepper; time and again my husband and I were named “fan favorite” even when the show was into many of the subsequent seasons. Now I’m not some gorgeous model, so I know that’s not what drummed up the votes. Rather what I keep reading in the polls and in my inbox was that we seemed so “real” and “not crazy” for one, but that we also included our community rather than making everything we did some kind of states secret. In fact, nearly everything that they presented in our segment was highlighting us working with the community. Firearm lessons; rape prevention course, Preparedness Pro dinner party, teaching neighbors how to learn various skills. In fact, you reading this article is the direct result of our desire to reach out to help a community become more self-sufficient, not just focusing inwardly all the time.
(You can see our episode on Amazon Instant Video. We're Episode 2 of Season 1 Here:)
YES, there are things that one should keep to themselves for their everyday security and protection from a strategic standpoint, but if we look at things logically we can understand that the more people we reach out to educate and help get more self-sufficient, makes our job of enduring a community wide crisis a heck of a lot easier. I also say “every person I get involved in preparedness means one more meal I get to keep under my own roof. If you don’t want to be faced with the desperate pleadings of everyone around you to feed them, then for crying out loud—TEACH them to be self-sufficient. Give them every opportunity you can to embrace that mindset, and for Pete’s sake, do it in baby steps so that they can digest it instead of talking about who really bombed the World Trade Center and what the government is spraying in the air!! Baby steps, friends, or they’re going to end up being your problem one way or another when a real crisis comes.
#4) Real Life: Nearly 10 months ago my husband and I had a real life crisis on our hands. We’d been involved in a lawsuit against a major U.S. bank for unlawful actions on our mortgage and our title for years. It was one hearing after another with plenty of delays, etc. We’d been representing ourselves successfully for years, but in one, seemingly insignificant hearing, our life turned around real quick. While our case was not completely lost, we were still instructed that we had to leave our home, just before Christmas and pack 15 years worth of things, not to mention at least a year’s supply of provision within 96 hours!!! Needless to say, we were absolutely stunned. I remember asking myself on the way home from the courthouse “how in the world am I going to be able to pull THIS off?? Will this crisis be a lesson in how I’m still not quite prepared??” I’m here today to tell you that we WERE prepared!
To this day I still can’t even mention it without getting choked up when I recall the mountain of help we received at all hours of the night. The good news is we WERE indeed prepared. We didn’t see this ruling coming and thus we didn’t have an empty box brought into our home, let alone packed. But we were SO abundantly blessed by the fruits of our labors over the 15 years that we lived in that area. I can’t even count all of the times that we did things to foster friendships, camaraderie’s, block parties, BBQ gatherings, neighborhood fireworks displays, and helping one family after another move in and out of our neighborhood over 15 years. We invested in the lives of our neighbors and friends and family members in our home all of this time, and when we were truly in need of miraculous help, we got all that we needed both physically and spiritually speaking.
What may have torn other marriages apart or alienated us from our Faith, only drew us closer together in our marriage and friendship as well as and our relationship with the Lord. We received helping hands over the course of 48 hours in the amount of SIX HUNDRED+ HOURS of volunteer work to get us packed, moved, cleaned, and resettled in a new home all in the midst of overwhelming scenarios including the worst blizzard and snow-filled week of the winter! Not only that, but we found our NEW home unexpectedly surrounded by friends that I had been nourishing online for years via Preparedness Pro and supporting social media outlets. We even had SEVERAL friends come in from out of state to help us pack, cope, and breathe! I still can’t get over how incredibly blessed we were during this experience.
If I could share with you an enth of the miracles that were poured out on our behalf but it would require a book. But my purpose in writing this article is to remind us all that it’s simply not realistic to think that any of us can endure the tough trials that will come alone, neither physically nor spiritually. I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing life get a lot tougher out there lately. But with that I’m seeing a lot of people pull inward, to a lonely, desperate, self-preservation mode. But the only way that we’ll survive in peace and safety is if we bring others in, not lock everyone out, to the community mindset of self-sufficiency and preparedness. So take the time you have TODAY to build those relationships both with your neighbors, and with the Lord. You never know when you’re going to need them—desperately.
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Wow! What a story! I think I
Wow! What a story! I think I would have had a heart attack! I'm so glad things are working out for you. During times like these I'm finding that the Lord is working in many ways. We may not like it, but we are being put where we are needed.I keep telling myself to keep the load light and that "It's a gift to be Simple". Keep the Faith!
Kellene, I see many people
Kellene, I see many people developing what I call a "bunker mentality" which is similar to people isolating themselves rather than reaching out. Perhaps because I'm disabled I always knew I would need people physically capable of doing the work I can't and so I reached out and have made a few community connections that may work out in the future. Will it work? I have no idea, but I know that going without a community, I will cut my at best limited odds for survival drastically.
It's not all bad news becuase I have forced myself to reach out and met some really great people that have already helped me out. I have also found a few folks that are duds and know to stear clear of those types.
Thank you so much for sharing
Thank you so much for sharing this! Community is the #1 prep by and far. Lone wolf survivalist will end up dead. Besides who wants to survive and be alone anyway. By being an open public survivalist I have made more friends and enlarged my community.
Kellene, Thank you for this.
Kellene, Thank you for this. This is the one thing that bothers me about preppers...the stigma that you only watch out for yourselves and everyone else is the "enemy". Personally, I think that the Lord requires us to look out for and help one another. If a protagonist tries to rob our home, that is a different matter. But I will not turn away someone who is hungry if I am able to share some food. Your references to scripture affirm this: The Lord did not send Noah out alone to survive, the Jaredites and Lehi and his family were all going together to support one another. Plus, different skill sets are important, too. One person cannot know EVERYTHING necessary to survive. We need one another.
Amazing article and very
Amazing article and very timely. This Ebola thing kinda is freaking me out. I have been trying so hard to bring the neighborhood together in community, but it's so hard sometimes, I feel like a force of one.
Anyway, this article was just what I needed to hear and the house crisis brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing a vulnerable, sensitive situation with us.
Keep up the great work.
Absolutely true! I, too,
Absolutely true! I, too, have seen the value of community during good times and bad. You are also right in that it is usually not covered by prepper websites. Thank you for your insightful words.