Absolutely Terrified! - an eleven year boy huddles in the remnants of a battered wagon that was once his families traveling home taking them to the land of gold in California. They were among hundreds of families dreaming of living in the land of riches and finding a better life in an new territory that just recently discovered gold - it is the Mid 1850's.
The young boy is the only son of his parents - a couple that immigrated from Sweden, had settled in the St. Louis area for a time and had decided to set out on a new adventure. As thousands of others, they were willing to risk the dangerous trip of several months in a covered wagon across hostile country. They had only one child - a boy named "Manly." Little did they know that at a very young age he would have to fulfill that name.
Only two weeks out from St. Louis along the Santa Fe Trail the wagon train was attacked and devastated by Indians. Manly's family and new friends were all killed. The boy was alone - the soul survivor. He lived for several days foraging amongst the ruins of the broken wagons. Scared, crying, filled with fear for his own life. He had no home, no family, no shelter, no where to go and no sign of help - yet he survived.
After many days another wagon train appears. Realizing that they can not leave the boy behind they gave the boy the job of herding the livestock (on foot), that travels at the back of the train. In about six months time, the young man (no longer a boy) arrived on the West Coast and finds work and a place to live.
Years go by and despite having no education (he can neither read nor write), Manly finds work in the silver mines in the Sierra Nevada mountains. His work ethic, energy, and ingenuity grant him favor in the mining industry and he attains the position of superintendent of regional mines. Having married with a large family he becomes a leader in the community of Dayton, Nevada. His job includes overseeing the transporting of raw ore from the numerous mines to the small, but growing cities in the area.
A local business man devised a scheme to make some quick money by placing a toll for the usage of the only road between two of the main towns in the area. He had purchased the land around the road and thereby seized the opportunity to tap into the riches being gained by requiring a price to travel through his land. The people are outraged and turn to Manly for an answer. After several attempts to reason with the business man fail, the survivor mentality of Manly creates a solution. With the help of the local men Manly cuts another road through the land. Trees were cut, stumps were removed, the land was leveled (too some degree) all within one night. A road about ten miles long was created in the dark of night. The business man declares foul, but to no avail. He soon rescinds the toll on his road and the people are free to travel on two good pathways.
You see, years ago the young boy who became a man learned not to be afraid or overcome when there seemed to be no way in a midst of a hopeless situation. He not only learned not to be afraid of the dark, but to work through it until the problem was solved. "God will make a way, where there seems to be no way." No one knew that lesson better than Manly. Why did he survive that devastating attack so many years before? Possibly to show an entire community that heaven is where our help comes from. And Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life for all of us who find ourselves lost in the wilderness of a dark world. Not only will God show you the way. He will light up the path and give you the means to accomplish the task. Fear Not, for God is with you always and He will see you through the darkness into the glorious light of a new day created just for you.