To my Mother

I dedicate this book to my mother, who read to us from Kipling, Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Mother took requests. How many times did I ask for “the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought single-handed, through the bathrooms of the big bungalow”? So many times that, when I learned to read, it … Read more

The Land

When the idea of Elijah as a real person touched me, I thought I knew something of his land. In 1964, Delphine and I toured the Holy Land for three weeks. In 1984-85, we worked at the archeology dig at Oboth, the Rift Valley oasis where Moses headquartered about 1300 BC (Numbers 21:10). When we weren’t … Read more

How old was Elijah?

Elijah painting by Tilemann

In museums, paintings such as Tilemann’s show Elijah with bald head and white beard.

Yet, for 36 years he delivered messages to three kings.

  • King Ahab reigned for 22 years – “neither dew nor rain”
  • King Ahaziah reigned for 2 years – “die in your bed”
  • King Joram reigned for 12 years – “bowels will drop out”

In 866 BC, most people died before their fiftieth birthday, so I started Elijah at twelve.

If Elijah could build a world, he’d make one where little boys threw wicked slave traders over cliffs then ran to the edge and watched them bounce on the rocks. . . .

Light played off a blade lying next to the hammer and tongs. He ran a curious finger across its bright edge then slapped his long, skinny waist. How cool to strap on a sword for their next trip to the King’s Highway.

Dad frowned. “Not for my son.”

Elijah shrugged. Maybe twelve was too young. He would ask next year.

The Boy Who Closed the Sky, Page 11

What would you tell twelve-year-old Elijah?


The camel who?

In camel caravans, who holds the rope? The camel merchant? Camel herder? Camel caravanner? I guessed “Camel leader.” Wrong. As purple wine puddled in the leaves, the camel puller sniveled. “Supposed to last to the Sinai.” Elijah turned his back on the puller and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sun. The … Read more

Where’s Red from?

A red-haired slave trader tosses Nathan over their donkey and shoves a little girl to the ground. The only things Elijah knows are the point of a knife is pricking a hole in his throat and the man’s breath stinks. Yet Elijah’s father knows where the man is from and how to handle him. The … Read more


Whom can we trust to help children? We trust the people of In Better Hands because Walt and Wanda Schulz go to help them in person and send them money. I grew up with Wanda (nee Brugger) Schulcz in Spring Arbor, Michigan, and Vickie lived across the street from Walt and Wanda. So we think they are honest and use … Read more