by Jennifer Noelle Welch
At dusk, our automotive caravan makes a slow arc off the highway. Lavender light glints on our
vehicles: the RVs, in the lead, followed by pick-ups hauling water containers, a series of four-doors like plastic take-out boxes, and at the rear, a reclaimed school bus. Horns blare at us for
slowing the traffic that rockets through the corridor of strip malls and roadside scrub. Our
congregation rolls in a slow spiral over the faded paint lines of the Walmart parking lot before
coming to rest on the asphalt like an old-time wagon circle. Our prayers of thanks rise like
The news of the Rapture's approach blessed us with a new focus. K105.5 FM "The Light"
broadcast the End Date. With months to prepare, we followed the advice of the Elders on the
radio. We withdrew the children from school. Second vehicles and flatscreen TVs went the way
of the rummage sale. "Won't you come to church?" we exhorted our neighbors who came to pick
through our belongings. Hurrying away with our Kitchen-Aid mixers, they received our pitying
smiles. Only believers can perceive God's invisible spiritual warfare. Whatever we had been
before -- teachers, waitresses, doctors -- the coming Rapture made us His soldiers.
The Elders needed our donations for billboards, t-shirts, and TV ads proclaiming the End Date.
We cashed out any investments that placed faith in a future He hadn't ordained: mortgages,
college funds, bank accounts. We sold our houses, and last of all, the church and the land it stood
on. Uplifted by the Elders' constant prayers on the radio, we headed for the assembly point with
joy and trembling. Even if our hearts ached for our hometowns, our faces shone with the
conviction of being right with God.