Of course, our story didn’t really end there. In a way, this was just the beginning.
It took the brothers two full days of exploring the Gerald R. Ford just to figure out how to operate it and get everyone organized. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the living quarters aboard that aircraft carrier ended up being far more comfortable than anything most of us had lived in for weeks. There was enough food on board to feed an army for months, and the ship’s robust nuclear reactor and reinforced hull were welcome upgrades to the leaky, diesel-guzzling Cornelia.
            Then there were the subsequent four days spent sailing up the Atlantic coast to New York, an exciting time spent reliving our stories of deliverance. We ran into other friends along the way too, many of them aboard damaged vessels similar to our old cruise ship, and each with his or her own incredible tale to tell once they joined us aboard the aircraft carrier.
            On the third day of our journey, the brothers organized a special meeting. It was held right on the carrier’s runway, our numbers now well above four thousand. We huddled around bonfires made of driftwood and debris carried by the tide and listened as a handful of brothers gave talks and experiences.
Each evening after dinner, wide-eyed children would gather around Luke, asking him to relate, once again, just how the angel had destroyed all those bad soldiers and weapons.
            We reunited with our brothers at a port in Manhattan where we docked and deboarded. Much of New York City had been cordoned off by the brothers due to chemical and radiation contamination, but in the safer areas to the north, a sort of refugee camp had been set up for the brothers coming from overseas. This is how life began for us in the New World.
            Alas, not all of our stories could fit into a single book, and with the current rationing of paper we had to edit much of it out. Luke and I decided to write in the present tense to capture the thrill and uncertainty of our experiences, from the moment he responded to that Kingdom Hall fire in our hometown of Haliford down to that last, unforgettable day of deliverance in the Atlantic. If our readers find the tense confusing, we apologize. Perhaps we’ll do an updated version in a more traditional style once paper becomes widely available again.
            In any case, we hope you’ve enjoyed our story. We know there are many more like it out there, and we hope to hear yours soon. In the meantime, we will continue to keep busy with the New York restoration crews as we eagerly await Walter’s resurrection.

-Amy & Luke Harding

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