Chapter 1: The War Is Over!
The year was 1918. The Great War still raged overseas, and most people in the world were tired of it. Times hadn't really changed much, and people sat and waited for their loved
ones to return home from the war.
Mid-November had come to Atlanta, Georgia. Fall had arrived and the colorful leaves fluttered to the grassy ground and covered it. The temperatures were cooler and it was quite
breezy, and Thanksgiving was right around the corner.
Two teenage girls, Samantha Parker and Elizabeth Martin waited anxiously for Thanksgiving to arrive. They waited impatiently for the big dinner and when friends and family came
over. Thanksgiving was definitely their favorite holiday.
"Only a little over a week 'till Thanksgiving arrives!"
Samantha and Elizabeth walked down Peachtree Street, talking about the upcoming holiday.
"I can't wait!"
"Neither can I."
They walked on in silence for a little while, until Elizabeth spoke up and said, "I wish all those fighting overseas were here with their families for Thanksgiving. At least
Tommy's back, but it'd be best of all if everyone was together for the holidays."
"You're right," Samantha replied.
Then, suddenly, a newspaper boy came running past them, yelling the best news of all: "The war is over! The war is over!"
Samantha and Elizabeth exchanged surprised glances. They stopped the newspaper boy and asked him, "Really? It's over?"
"Yes," he answered. "Heard it right from the mayor. He got a telegraph from D.C. sayin' it ended today."
"That's great!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "Now everybody really can be together for Thanksgiving!"
"Wounded soldiers are gonna be pouring into the city, so there's gonna be a makeshift hospital opening where the old shoe store used to be. You know, down by the theatre."
"Yes," Samantha said. "We know where that is."
"They're gonna be needin' a lot of help, too," the paper boy replied.
"Elizabeth and I'll be glad to go and help," Samantha answered.
"I've got to be spreadin' the good news now. See you 'round town sometime."
"So it's really true!" Elizabeth said excitedly. "Let's hurry home and tell the folks there!"
"Right behind you!" Samantha replied. She followed her friend home, both of them yelling that the great war was finally over.
Samantha and Elizabeth burst inside the Martin house.
"The war is over!"
Mrs. Martin and Johnny came running downstairs.
"Yes," Elizabeth answered. "It's finally ended!"
"We heard it while we were in town," Samantha added. "A newspaper boy was running down Peachtree Street spreading the word, and we stopped him and asked him where he heard it.
Said the mayor got a telegram from Washington with the same news. War's over."
"That's great," Johnny said.
"It's a miracle from Heaven," replied Mrs. Martin.
"We're going to tell the others," said Elizabeth. She and Elizabeth ran out of the house and down the street to the Parkers'.
Mid-week came, and the makeshift hospital had been opened. Returning soldiers poured into the city and were moved into the hospital, waiting to be treated by a doctor.
Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal got together that Wednesday and prepared to go visit the soldiers. They baked cookies and miniature pies to take along with them to give out to
the wounded. The girls also took their Bibles with them, realizing that a reading of a Scripture verse would be by far more better than any handful of cookies or slice of pie.
Leaving the Parker house at lunchtime, Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal headed for the makeshift hospital in a rush. They knew quite a few who had left home to go fight in the
service, but weren't sure if any soldiers were there that they knew.
The three girls entered the hospital cheerfully, but stopped abruptly at the sight of how crowded the place was. Hospital beds filled the place and nurses scurried back and
forth, caring for the wounded.
The girls walked towards the area with the most hospital beds. They didn't know most of the people, but Samantha and Elizabeth saw a few from close to home.
From bed to bed they went talking to the soldiers and giving them cookies. They read at least two Bible verses, John 3:16 and the favorite of the soldier, if he had one.
As Samantha was walking down one of the shortest rows of hospital beds, she spotted one soldier shoved into the corner away from the others. It was the only bed in that part of
the room, so Samantha decided she'd go and visit the lonely soldier.
"Hello," she said.
The soldier turned over in his bed, but didn't reply.
"I came here with my friends to visit the wounded," Samantha continued. "Would you like a cookie?"
"Sure." The soldier reached out and accepted the cookie that Samantha had offered.
"What's your name?" asked Samantha.
"Grant," the soldier replied. "Ma told me once she named me after General Grant, the Union army commander, if you know who I'm talking about."
"I know about him," Samantha said.
"My great-granddaddy on my mother's side fought in Grant's army," Grant answered. "Her family always supported the Union, but ma moved down here to Atlanta from Chicago right
after my dad died."
"Your daddy died?" Samantha asked.
"Yeah," Grant said. "I was ten when it happened. Dad got killed while working in a factory; the place exploded."
"That's too sad," replied Samantha.
"I don't remember too much of it," said Grant, finishing the last of his cookie. "All I recall was that the kid next door came running over saying the factory'd exploded and
that nobody had survived. Then ma sat down on the couch and started crying."
"I feel so sorry for you," answered Samantha. She tried to think of something to change the subject. "How did you get here in the hospital?" she asked.
"Stepped on a mine out on the battlefield," Grant answered. "The doctors say I'm lucky to be alive, and they think I'm going to have to have one of my legs amputated."
"That must have been terrible," Samantha said.
"Sure won't fun when it happened, though," replied Grant. "I done told them doctors they ain't cutting me to pieces. They insist on it, but it ain't going to be happenin'."
"You know, Grant," Samantha said. "An amputation can save your life. My brother had to get his arm cut off, and it saved him."
"I'm going to the grave in one piece," Grant answered.
Samantha thought to herself that she had made the soldier mad by discussing the possible amputation, so once more, she changed the subject.
"Do you have a favorite Bible verse?" she asked.
"No," answered Grant. "Never really went to church. Last time I can remember going was for my daddy's funeral."
"Well, would you like it if I read you some verses?" Samantha said.
"Go right ahead, but I won't know too much of what you're reading," Grant replied.
Samantha opened her Bible and turned to the book of John. She read John 3:16. Then she began to read the Christmas story, even though the holiday was over a month away.
When Samantha was finished reading, Grant asked, "I do know Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, but I still don't understand it all. I've heard that other verse you read me
all my life, but I don't get how one person over a thousand years ago died for me, today."
"I'll help you understand," Samantha replied. "Before long, you'll be quoting Scripture verses from memory, and going to church every Sunday you're able." She looked around and
saw Elizabeth and Chrystal standing by the doorway and figured that her friends were ready to go. She turned and said to Grant, "I'd better be going now; my friends are waiting for me. I'll see you
"All right," answered Grant. "Bye."
"Bye." Samantha walked to where Elizabeth and Chrystal were standing.
On the way home, Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal discussed the stories of some of the soldiers they had visited. Elizabeth had met a soldier who knew someone who fought in the
Battle of the Somme. Chrystal had talked to a soldier who had flown a biplane, that had been shot down by the enemies. Samantha told about Grant and the possible amputation.
Nighttime arrived, and the three girls planned to have a sleepover at the Parkers' house. They decided on going back to the makeshift hospital the next day, and visiting the
"So, Samantha," Elizabeth said. "That soldier you met, Grant, he's not a Christian?"
"He says he's not," Samantha answered. "But I told him I'd teach him some Bible verses and stories."
"That's pretty bad in his situation, an unbeliever refusing an amputation," Chrystal added. "He could die or something."
"That's what I'm afraid of," Samantha replied. "Nobody should die without having a chance to live."
"You're right," said Elizabeth.
Morning came, and before going to the hospital again, Samantha,
Elizabeth, and Chrystal did some volunteer work around the neighborhood. Nobody had really asked for help, but the girls decided to make the neighborhood beautiful by picking up trash on the side
of the dirt road, and pulling weeds in the flowerbed in front of the Parker house.
Then, once through with their job, the three girls stood back and admired their work. They agreed that the place looked better, with no weeds and trash to take away from the
After brushing the dirt off of their dresses, Samantha, Elizabeth, and Chrystal headed for the hospital. They didn't bring any cookies or pies this time; they only brought their
Elizabeth went to visit Lyndon, the friend of the soldier at the Battle of the Somme. Chrystal went to visit Dwight, the pilot gunned down by the Germans.
Samantha headed back to the bed in the corner, where her new friend, Grant, was laying.
"Hi, Grant," she said when she reached the bed. "It's me, Samantha."
Grant turned over in the bed slowly and said, "Hey, Samantha."
"Have you decided to get the amputation done?" Samantha asked, hoping Grant wouldn't get mad.
"Nope," he answered. "It ain't going to happen. Remember what I told you yesterday?"
"Yes," replied Samantha. "I remember, but your life depends on it. If that leg's blood circulation gets stopped, your leg will have to get cut off. Otherwise, it'll kill you."
"I know you're concerned about me," Grant said, "but I'm staying with my decision. I'm not having my leg amputated."
"Maybe you'll change your mind," Samantha replied. "Maybe you'll finally realize that your leg isn't as important as your life. Maybe you'll notice that you've got to decide
between one of two legs and one of one life and that sometimes you've got to do something, whether you like it or not. Maybe someday you'll see that..."
"There's not going to be any amputation!" Grant interrupted loudly. "That's final!"
"Grant!" Samantha exclaimed. "You're going to listen to what I have to say. I don't want you to wind up dying over some foolish decision of refusing an amputation. And if you
die before you can hear the message of salvation I've got to tell you, you're going to be in big trouble you'll never be able to get out of!"
"I don't believe that!" Grant said.
"If you'll listen, you will believe!" replied Samantha. "Now calm your temper and listen to me read Romans twelve."
Grant seemed to notice that he had no choice but to listen to Samantha and the twelfth chapter of Romans.
When Samantha was finished reading, Grant still seemed to ignore God's word. Yes, he didn't know what trouble refusing Christianity would be getting him into, but Samantha was
determined to convince him to go through with the amputation, and to convert him to a believer in God.
Chapter 2: A Life Or Death Situation
The next week passed by slowly, and Samantha made regular trips to the hospital to visit Grant. Monday came, and he still refused to have the amputation. Tuesday passed and Grant hadn't
reconsidered his decision. It was the same for the following days of the week; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Samantha was doing all she could to get Grant to change his mind, reading
Bible verses, talking about different things, but it seemed hopeless.
Sunday arrived, and the Parkers got ready to go to church. They left earlier than usual.
As they walked along, Samantha told Tommy about Grant and his situation.
"I wish he'd just go ahead and get the amputation over with," Samantha said.
"I know what he's going through," Tommy replied. "At first, I was a little nervous about mine, but I had to do what I had to do."
"Yeah," answered Samantha, "but he's determined he's not going to get the operation done."
"Maybe Grant'll come around soon," Tommy reassured. "It's not likely he'll wait much longer."
Samantha sighed. "I hope you're right, Tommy. "I hope you're right."
After church, Samantha parted with her family on the route home. She went to the hospital to visit Grant, and the rest of the family headed home.
"Hi, Grant," Samantha said when she got to the corner.
"Hey," Grant replied.
"You're awfully stubborn, aren't you?" Samantha snapped. "You need to have the amputation, now."
Grant said nothing, but turned over in his bed to face the wall.
"You'll learn someday," said Samantha. She whirled around and left the hospital, not even bothering to say goodbye.
Morning came, dawning a new day, bringing yet another chance for Samantha to convince Grant to save his life, both physically and spiritually.
This time, Elizabeth went with Samantha to the hospital. Samantha figured that maybe Elizabeth could help, but it wasn't likely. It seemed that Grant would listen to nobody, and
that he would rather die than save his life.
Samantha and Elizabeth left for the hospital, prepared for what was to come. They vowed not to leave until Grant either became a Christian or until he had the amputation done.
When the girls got to where Grant was, the soldier was still asleep. Samantha and Elizabeth didn't bother to wake him, they just went around and talked to the other soldiers.
After about an hour later, they went back to Grant's corner. Now he was awake, and he didn't seem a bit surprised when he saw Samantha walking towards him. Before she could say
anything, Grant said, "You just don't give up, do you?"
"Good morning, Grant," Samantha said, "and no I don't." She paused, and continued, "There's someone here I'd like for you to meet."
Elizabeth stepped forwards, and Samantha introduced her.
"Grant, this is my friend, Elizabeth Marie Martin. She's my age, sixteen, and she's got something she wants to tell you," Samantha said.
"Okay," Grant said to Samantha. He asked Elizabeth, "What do you need to tell me?"
Elizabeth, without hesitating, sharply answered, "Get the amputation done."
A disgusted frown came upon Grant's face, and he angrily said to Samantha, "Is that all you and her want from me? To cut me to pieces? Well, if that's so, then I've got nothing
else to say to you!" He crossed his arms and simply ignored the two girls.
"We're not leaving till you listen to us," Elizabeth said.
Grant didn't move, but snapped back, "Then you might as well pitch a tent ad move in here, because I'm not going to listen to a thing you say."
Samantha knew this would happen, and it truly did seem hopeless. Grant's words made Elizabeth furious, and she tried her best to hold her temper.
Samantha tried once more to talk to Grant. "This is a life or death situation," she said. "You could live at least fifty or sixty more years and live a long, healthy life if you
choose the amputation today, or you could die tomorrow and be on fire for all eternity."
Grant tried to ignore what Samantha had just told him, but it was impossible. He thought back to the explosion of the factory and what his father probably went through when the
place burst into flames. This made Grant reconsider what he had said, for he couldn't imagine burning forever, and ever.
"What do you mean 'be on fire... for all eternity'?" he asked Samantha shakily.
"There's a place, the opposite of Heaven, I'm not going to say the name of it, and if you don't turn your life around and start believing in God, it's a good chance you'll be
paying that place a visit, and you won't be leaving," answered Samantha.
"Is there any way I can get out of going there?" Grant asked.
"Oh, sure there is," Samantha replied. "Start reading the Bible, going to church, praying, believing in God, and having the amputation done."
"You are determined to get me cut to pieces!" Grant exclaimed loudly. "You were only making that mess up about burning forever! I should have known!"
"No I didn't make it up!" Samantha said. "That is a true place, and so is Heaven."
"I don't believe in superstition," Grant argued. "Now fly out of here, you little sorcerers, and take that nonsense with you!"
"Stop insulting the One who made this world!" Samantha yelled. Everyone in the makeshift hospital turned to see what the yelling was about, and a nurse came over to see if
everything was all right.
"These two girls keep bothering me," Grant said.
"He," Samantha interrupted, pointing at Grant, "refuses to have a life-saving amputation done. He keeps saying bad things about God and the Bible, and he doesn't believe that if
this badly amputation-needed leg kills him, he'll burn forever!"
"I'm sorry, miss, but I'm afraid you're going to have to leave," the nurse said to Samantha. "This young man doesn't want to be bothered, so we have to go along with his
"We refuse to leave until Grant here either becomes a Christian or gets his leg amputated," Samantha argued.
"If you don't leave here this instant, the police will escort you out," the nurse replied.
And straight against their wills, Samantha and Elizabeth were dragged out of the makeshift military hospital, by the police.
That night, Samantha and Elizabeth sat in the Parker's parlor discussing how to save Grant. It was going to be a very hard thing to do, and Grant was as stubborn as a
"What do we do to save him?" Elizabeth asked. Surely, she had run out of ideas, and she didn't know what to do to convince the young soldier to change his life.
"I don't know right off hand, but I'll think of something," replied Samantha.
"Yeah," said Elizabeth. "But we have to do something before it's too late."
The two girls remained silent for a short while, until Samantha jumped from the couch.
"I know what to do!" she exclaimed happily.
"What?" Elizabeth asked, very interested in what her friend was about to say.
"We'll pray that Grant changes," Samantha answered. "I know God will know what to do."
"You're right," Elizabeth said.
The two girls prayed a short prayer asking God that Grant have his amputation, and that he become a Christian. After they said 'Amen', they felt as if a weight had been lifted
off their shoulders, and they truly did believe that God would handle the matter.
"Now all we have to do is wait a couple of days and see what happens," said Elizabeth.
"Yes," Samantha replied. "We'll just have to wait and see."
Chapter 3: We'll All Be Together
Nighttime came, and all was peaceful in the capital of Georgia. The city lights shone against the dark and starry sky, and occasionally, a car would roll down the main street.
Grant lay in his hospital bed, reconsidering what Samantha and Elizabeth had told him that afternoon. He was now torn between two decisions, to be saved or not to be saved. It
was like his conscious was telling him to listen to the girls and have the amputation, but a little voice in his head kept telling him to ignore Christianity and not have the amputation. Grant just
didn't know what to do.
Despite the disturbing thought swirling around in his head, Grant soon drifted off into a deep sleep. He was definitely tired and his leg was hurting, due to the rejected
It was not often that the young soldier had dreams, but the one he was having that night would change his life forever.
In his dream, Grant was on the battlefield. Bullets were whizzing past, and mines and grenades exploded nearby. Planes soared through the air, swooping very low and dropping
bombs. It was the Second Battle of the Somme.
Grant was terrified of the gunfire and enemy soldiers killing some of his closest friends on the battlefield with him, but he was there to protect his country, the United
States, and was determined to do so. He saw soldiers falling all around him, destined to go to the afterlife. Grant knew he could join them at any moment, and the thought of death scared him the
Then, suddenly, out of the blue, Grant felt something strike him. It was almost painless, and it came and went quickly, so fast that he almost didn't feel it. He fell back, and
slowly, lost consciousness. He heard himself yelling, "I can't die! I just can't! I'll never come back! No!"
That was the end of the soldier's dream.
Grant woke up, terrified from his dream. He half-screamed, and was shaking terribly. He called helplessly for a nurse, who came running from the office.
"What's wrong?" the nurse asked.
"I died!" Grant answered. "And I almost didn't come back! I got shot and I died!"
"Are you sure you're all right?" asked the nurse. "Were you dreaming or something?"
"No," answered Grant. "That happened! I swear, it happened!"
"Can I get you anything?"
"A glass of water and an extra pillow."
Grant stayed awake for the rest of the night, thinking about his horrible dream and surely, planning to get the amputation done.
Morning finally came, and Samantha woke up feeling that she needed to pay a visit to the makeshift Army hospital that afternoon. She felt that a weight had been lifted off her
shoulders, and that something about the sunlight shining through her window was different, and perhaps the day would be, too.
After breakfast, Samantha walked down the street to Elizabeth's house. Her friend came to the door when she knocked, and Samantha was invited inside.
"'Liza," Samantha said once she was seated at the kitchen table, "I think we ought to go visit Grant today."
"Why do you think that, Sammy?" Elizabeth asked.
"I feel like Grant has changed, " Samantha answered. "Like he's been converted or has decided on the amputation or something like that."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive. I want to go and find out."
"If you say so. Let me grab my coat."
Samantha and Elizabeth left the Martins' and quickly walked to the hospital. They were very anxious to find out if the young soldier had changed, and nothing would stop them
from getting there to see.
The girls entered the hospital in a rush, almost running to where Grant was.
"Grant!" Samantha exclaimed, "I felt like I should have come today. Something told me to come and check on you."
The soldier, who was sitting up in his bed, was surprised by Samantha's greeting. He thought that after what had happened, neither Samantha or Elizabeth would be so
enthusiastic, and Grant couldn't figure out why.
"Samantha, Elizabeth," Grant said, after taking a deep breath, "I've got something important to tell you."
"What?" Samantha and Elizabeth both asked at the same time.
"I've decided to have the amputation, and I've decided to become a Christian," Grant answered.
"That's great!" Samantha exclaimed.
"It sure is!" Elizabeth added.
"But," Grant interrupted, "there's only one problem."
"I don't know how to become a believer."
Samantha spoke up first. "Oh, that's easy," she said. "All you've got to do is close your eyes and pray a short prayer to God asking for him to forgive you of your sins, then
you're saved. It's that simple."
"Are you sure?" Grant asked.
"Look, Grant," Samantha said. "You've doubted long enough. Elizabeth and I will pray with you."
"All right," replied Grant. He, and Samantha and Elizabeth bowed their heads, closed their eyes, and Grant became a believer in God.
"So it's official?" Grant asked after the prayer. "I'm a Christian?"
"Yep," Samantha answered. You sure are."
Elizabeth said, "Yes, Grant, the angels in Heaven are rejoicing right this minute."
Grant didn't reply, but smiled, knowing that he now had a new family, with an eternal Father, and a new home in the Heavens, for all eternity.
Wednesday passed, which brought Thursday, which was Thanksgiving. When the first sunrays lit up the morning sky, Samantha and Elizabeth were awake. Samantha had spent the night
at the Martin's house, and that's where Thanksgiving dinner was to be held, instead of Stone Mountain.
But at breakfast, Samantha and Elizabeth were beginning to feel sad that Grant couldn't have such a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner as they were to have that afternoon and
evening. It was bad that Grant couldn't come to dinner; he would be confined to the hospital for at least a couple more days, but why not bring Thanksgiving dinner to Grant, instead of Grant coming
to dinner. This set the girls to thinking.
Samantha and Elizabeth waited until the right moment to bring up the subject, and the time came when they saw Mrs. Parker go into the kitchen to wash the dishes.
The girls casually walked into the kitchen and sat down at the small table. They kept silent for a while, until Elizabeth sighed and said to her mother, "It sure is a shame that
Grant can't have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner like we're going to have today."
Mrs. Martin turned around and asked Elizabeth, "What do you mean?"
"He just had the amputation done, so he'll be in the hospital for at least a few more days, and the hospital doesn't have good food like we have here. Grant's bound to long for
that roasted turkey and ham we're going to have here, and he's going to probably have some lousy, watered-down mashed potatoes and gravy. Sure is a shame," Elizabeth sighed.
"That's quite a good point you've got there, Elizabeth, "Mrs. Martin replied, "but you said so yourself that he can't leave the hospital, so what should we do?"
Samantha stood up and said, "Why don't we bring Thanksgiving to Grant if Grant can't come to Thanksgiving?"
"Why, that's a fine idea, Samantha!" Mrs. Martin replied. "We can bring everything to the hospital, and I'm sure there'll be enough for every soldier and civilian that's there."
"Great!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "Samantha and I'll go tell the Parkers."
Evening came, and the Martins and the Parkers took their Thanksgiving dinner to the hospital. Chrystal and her family went with them, and they brought biscuits, a casserole, and
a cake for dessert. A table was set up next to Grant's hospital bed, and it was topped with a flowing tablecloth that reached the floor.
Once the food was set on top of the big round table, it was a quite catching sight in the middle of the dark and dim-lighted hospital. Soon, everyone was gathered around the
table, including Grant. The young soldier had been moved to a wheelchair, and was planning to get a wooden leg in place of the one that had been amputated.
Mr. Martin said the blessing over the food, and then everyone began to eat. The feast was big enough for every soldier in the hospital to get some food.
"It's so great for everyone to be together like this," Samantha said as she sliced a big chunk of ham.
"Yeah," replied Elizabeth. "It's like we're all one big happy family."
"That brings up an idea," Mr. Parker said from his place at the table. "Let's all tell what we're thankful for this holiday season, and most of all, the year."
"Sounds like a good thing to do," complimented Mrs. Parker.
Starting with the soldiers at the front of the hospital, everyone said what they were thankful for, most soldiers thankful to be alive.
Then came Grant's turn. He was nervous, because his turn came last, and he wasn't sure what to say.
"Go ahead, Grant," Samantha said when she noticed her newest friend was nervously quiet.
Grant hesitated, and then the words began to flow. "I'm thankful that I'm a Christian now, and that there is a God up in Heaven, and that He loved me enough to let His Son die
on the cross. It's been so hard keeping all this bottled up inside me, and I'm glad now that I can tell everyone. And not only am I thankful for that, I'm thankful for all the wonderful friends
that are around me tonight. I'm thankful for everything."
Grant's small testimony had everyone speechless. Samantha and Elizabeth were on the verge of crying, for the soldier who almost died was now alive, and his message moved them to
Samantha said shakily as she put her hand on Grant's shoulder. "We know you are," she said as what seemed to be a tear trickled down her cheek.
"And you're going to live... forever," Elizabeth added. "We'll all be together up in Heaven. One great big happy family. Everyone. Regardless of race, religion, and who you are,
we'll all be together someday. We'll all be together."
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