Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:
Do you get our FREE Magazine?

From Urban Life to Homesteading

August 12, 2021

Dear Mr. Pearl,

I watched your YouTube about UFOs and men’s hearts failing them for seeing the things coming on the earth. It was the first time I realized that even though Christians will not go through the Great Tribulation, there are likely to be some seriously hard times leading up to it.

The entire world has gone crazy. There are so many bad things happening that everyone I know says the tribulation will be soon. After watching your YouTube, my wife and I talked about moving to the country so we can better protect our children, but we do not have the slightest idea where to begin or how I would make a living in that environment. I wish you would do a video on how, what, when, and where.

Mike answers:

At 75 years old I have seen wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and volcanoes, disease, and all manner of other terrible things befall humanity. In times past we were concerned about communism and other political breakdowns, and for a while the world held its breath over the threat of nuclear war, but today the most serious threat to the family is deep within. All over the world evil is called good and good is called evil. There has never been a time so perverse, so repulsive, so ready for damnation except in the days of Noah. We all know how that turned out. I will answer your question with an edited and modified version of something I wrote a few years ago. At the time of the first writing, I could clearly see the downhill slide of society, but the scale and the speed of utter wickedness is more than anyone could have imagined.

Forty years ago, even before it looked like the country would descend into anarchy or civil war or totalitarianism or financial collapse, before it was obvious that social engineering and overregulation would prevent us from living our convictions, I was concerned about keeping my family in a position to survive a collapse of society. I arranged my entire lifestyle around the notion of survival. Today parents have to be on constant guard to keep sexual predators from snatching their children. Even child protection services are often involved in systematic sexual abuse of children. For this God will not have mercy.

When I was in my teens, I knew several “whacky” adults who followed the John Birch Society. I passed them off as conspiracy nuts.

Wikipedia says of the John Birch Society:

“The organization identifies with Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution and economic interventionism. It opposes practices it terms collectivism, totalitarianism, and communism. It opposes socialism and fascism as well, and asserts it is infiltrating the US governmental administration. In a 1983 edition of Crossfire, Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.”

In the fifties and sixties, the warning cry was against creeping communism. The USSR was spreading its philosophy around the globe, and our leaders spoke of the “domino effect.” One by one the countries in Asia and Africa, and even our neighbors 90 miles away in Cuba, were falling to the “Reds.” At the time there was serious concern about an eventual communist invasion of our homeland that would take away the liberties granted to us by God as denoted in the Constitution.

I must confess, back in the late sixties and early seventies, I saw nothing that indicated our freedoms might be at risk from within. The prophets crying doom seemed to be fringe indeed. Then the USSR dissolved and sought democratic reform. We won! Our republic would survive. No communism for us.

With the fall of the USSR and the arrival of the prosperous eighties and nineties, the John Birch Society and other like organizations faded from the public eye, appearing to be discredited prophets now irrelevant. Little did I know that the “communists” would not come to America in landing craft and parachutes; they would come from our universities, be called “progressive,” and be voted into office by the people who wanted government to be the source of their prosperity. Our personal family awakening came when the progressives (socialists) tried to engineer our family for us.

By the seventies, Deb and I had begun homeschooling, a practice unheard of in Memphis, Tennessee. After three hostile visits from child protective services (CPS) with threats to take away our children, we were beginning to wonder about a 1984-like scenario and Big Brother. Could the John Birch Society and its kind be right? We were pressed to form plans to escape the hands of those who “knew best what was good for our children.” The kids knew the signal that meant they were to go to the basement, climb up on the washing machine, open the window quietly, and slip through the woods to an old, abandoned barn about one mile away and wait for their grandparents to pick them up and take them out of state to a secret location.

After several visits and warnings from CPS, a certified letter delivered by a sheriff notified us to bring our children and appear in the judge’s chamber on Monday morning at ten o’clock. No way were we going to place our children in such a vulnerable position. We stowed the children for hasty departure from the state and went to see the judge alone. It was the first volley in a battle we fought and eventually won due to knowing state senators and representatives who intervened, but it did not give us any confidence in the goodwill of what I had discovered to be our evil socialist government.

We had raised the kids in the country, fifteen miles outside of Memphis, providing them with a pond in which to swim, free access to the woods and bottom lands, hunting and fishing, planting a small garden, and working in my wood shop. They had many Christian friends, most of whom were young adults who shared their interests. We were part of a strong ministry of winning the lost to Christ and building them up in the faith. The kids saw God save thousands of people and change their lives. They knew God was the center of it all.

But by 1988, with five children and the oldest having gone through puberty and one other not far behind, knowing the time of great temptation for the children was approaching, we’d had enough of the rat race and of trying to provide artificial community for the kids.

It was time for a wild, crazy adventure of homesteading. I was new at most of it, so we made a lot of mistakes, but we learned as we journeyed. We logged with borrowed mules, sawed our lumber on a homemade sawmill, and built our house, barns, shop, and outbuildings with used or surplus materials. We cleared new ground, plowed, strung fences, milked cows, chased chickens (trying to recover their eggs), grew our vegetables, killed deer for our meat, ground wheat and corn for our bread, and generally lived very poor, plain lives. We loved every minute of it and the kids grew strong and resilient.

None of our neighbors went to public schools or public churches. Every kid had to work hard all day long. They met at the swimming hole in the late afternoons and sometimes spent their days exploring the wooded ridges within a five-mile radius. The kids never went to a mall or movie theater. We did get a 15-inch screen and a VCR and on occasion let the kids watch 101 Dalmatians, The Sound of Music, and other such movies until the tapes wore out.

In the evenings we played checkers and “bored” games (spelled correctly). The girls sewed while the boys constructed spear guns or glued fletches on their arrows or practiced their fast draw. We had Bible reading and told Bible stories. Two or three nights a week we had Bible studies with other families with the kids listened attentively, participating as they were able.

I took any kind of job I could get where the boys and girls could work with me, building barns and outbuildings, laying stone, or cutting hickory sticks for sale to rustic-furniture makers. The boys got a small percentage of what we made—7% and 5%, based on their age and abilities. In the spring and summer we grew organic vegetables and sold them in Nashville. That is the most difficult way to make a dollar. In the end I think I made about $2 an hour, and the kids got about $2 a day. I tell you our story to show it is not only possible to make a complete life change—it can and should be one you embrace and enjoy. But what you do, do quickly.

Fear Not

There is a very dark curtain coming down over our nation as well as the rest of the world, yet it should not cause us to fear. Hard times on the outside do not have to translate into hard times on the inside. We do not want to be numbered with those whose “hearts [are] failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body…” (Matthew 10:28). And again he said, “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). And again Jesus reassures us, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Caring for Our Own

But just because we have peace on the inside and can overcome the world does not mean I want to be thrown into the fiery furnace, or go hungry, or be vulnerable to a political system hostile to traditional family and Christianity. It would be foolish to sit on my faith and take lightly the apparent coming adversity. We should prepare but not panic. We should plan while we pray. We should get ready but remain steady. While laying up our treasure in heaven, we should lay up a store for the day of famine here on earth. God warned the Egyptians of hard times coming, and their preparations saw them through the days of dearth. Noah received a warning of coming judgment and “prepared an ark to the saving of his house” (Hebrews 11:7). In Matthew 24:16 Jesus warned the Jews of this coming persecution, saying, “Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains…” Fleeing and surviving is God’s command to believers. While believing in God’s care and provision, we can save him a miracle by using the brain he gave us to take care of ourselves.

If you are a parent or are responsible for the safety and security of others, then you have an obligation to be prepared to feed, shelter, and protect them in adverse circumstances.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

Have you considered what it might take to secure their safety? Are you prepared? There may come a time when you cannot “Google it,” or to do so will put you on the radar.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? . . . Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28, 31).

I have always felt it was my responsibility to maintain a limited store of basic foods and make preparation to have plenty of water on hand and some fuel for my vehicles and tractors. A generator, tools, and the ability to defend my family are priorities. But my perspective is quite different from the so-called survivalist who prepares a bunker stored with food and ammunition.

The heart of my preparation is and has always been knowledge and skill. The best preparation for adversity is not in the stores you maintain but in the knowledge and skills you possess. It is better to be resourceful than to have resources. Knowledge is better than gold and goods. Your ability to assess your surroundings and adapt to them is something you take with you when you are stripped naked and left for dead. A man dependent upon his storehouse of treasures is necessarily a fearful and anxious man.

Begin Preparation

Prepare your mind by learning and practicing any skill that might be needed in difficult times. Where you live will dictate areas in which you need to be prepared. If you live in New York City, you will need different skill sets than if you live on the bayou in Louisiana.

If I lived in New York City, I would move as soon as possible or at least have a place prepared BEFORE it is totally necessary. If you don’t have family or welcoming friends in safer areas, buy a run-down, cheap farmhouse on a small piece of land and make it a family project to fix it up as a vacation house and a survival enclave when needed. Get to know the locals and learn your way around the community. Be sure to have a good bicycle for each member of the family and a small trailer to haul water and provisions behind the bicycles in case there is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), which would knock out your transportation.

Most of us do not live in the heart of big cities. Yet there remains a sense of insecurity when we imagine what appears to be coming. No matter where you live, you need to have the skills to live off the land like the pioneers and mountain men did 175 years ago. You may live on a farm right now, but what happens if you are chased off of it by government thugs or overrun by people from the cities? Can you just walk out into open country and survive with some measure of comfort?

There are many books, YouTube videos, and websites on survival skills. It is not enough to view them; you must practice. Make it a family hobby to first watch or read together the how-to and then practice what you learn. Your children will love learning all this, and they will be a real help if they have learned along with you. Have the children learn to build a fire and cook on it. Build a fish trap from old chicken wire or from willow branches. Go ahead, catch some fish, and then cook them in the wild. It will do the whole family a world of good. The thing about survival food is that it doesn’t have to be good enough to be sold in supermarkets. A cup full of minnows will add sufficient protein to your wild salad soup to sustain the entire family. Wild game is quite limited and will disappear rather quickly when a number of people begin to depend on it, but ponds, streams and lakes contain an endless supply of protein—turtles, frogs, fish, even snakes and lizards. And it is a lot easier to trap fish than it is to catch a squirrel or rabbit. Having seeds and knowing how to grow a garden is essential for everyone. Simple foods like turnip greens saved thousands of lives after the Civil War because they grow fast and in cool weather, then store in the ground. SEEDS and a little know-how are key.

Depending on one’s knowledge and skill instead of on a hoarded store is most liberating. I will have nothing to steal, nothing to protect. If a man wants to take my cup of fish or my basket of wild plants, I will let him have it and go gather some more. I can give to any who ask of me and never run out, for God supplies my needs through nature.

There are hundreds of books (books will not disappear if there is an EMP, so make sure you have several on hand) covering all the skill sets you will need, but you must have hands-on experience to gain the confidence that takes away anxiety and fear. Become a practitioner of the wilderness arts.

Where to Begin?

Start camping out or buy that old farmhouse and make it your “little house on the prairie.” Learn to identify edible plants. There is an app for your phone that will identify any plant you photograph. But you must learn before the phone service is terminated. Half of the plants growing in a field can be eaten. The other half will make you sick. You have to harvest and eat them now if you are going to be ready. Learn to use hand tools as well as power tools. Build something. Construct a temporary shelter out of materials you can forage—old carpet, plastic, cardboard, trees and branches, scraps of wood lying around. The kids will find it more fun than anything they have ever done. Take the family hiking and exploring. Learn the wilderness around you—water supply, caves, building material, abandoned buildings that could be commandeered in hard times. Keep on hand the tools that would be useful—chain saws, crosscut saws, axes and hand saws, hammers and sharpened knives and machetes. Rope and wire are handy, as is Gorilla tape. A small amount of chicken wire to make fish traps would be useful. Outdoor cooking pots and pans, matches and lighters, flashlights, a small solar panel to charge a radio and flashlights. I have a Geiger counter and keep iodine on hand in case the unthinkable happens.

Learn how to treat disease and wounds without modern medical help. Learn how to gather and use healing herbs. Right now, begin growing something to eat. You can grow vegetables in a one-gallon pot sitting in a window. You can grow an entire garden on asphalt by using bales of straw. A garden 10 feet by 16 feet will feed two people all the vegetables they can eat. Most people start their gardening experience with a plot that is too big, and the labor is so intensive they give up. Become a student and a practitioner of growing your own food.

Come What May

So if the worst does happen, our generation will not be the first to suffer deprivation or persecution. The writer of Hebrews indicates that the trials that come upon us are to give us the opportunity to become overcomers, to crown us with glory, to build faith. He says of sufferings, “all are partakers” (Hebrews 12:8)[K1] [NO2] .

The writer of Hebrews dedicates an entire chapter to those in adversity who did not fear but established a testimony of faith.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

(Hebrews 11:32–12:3)

And, while we are on the book of Hebrews, my latest book is a commentary of Hebrews. It will come in handy when you are living in a makeshift shelter in the woods.

Happy survival till Jesus comes.

Leave a Reply