Around 1608 Captain Hunt and a group of English traders landed in the new world at Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade with them, the Englishmen took many of them prisoners and took them to Spain where they sold them as slaves.*
A boy, named Squanto, was bought by a kind Spanish monk who treated him with kindness, taught him to speak English and shared the Christian Gospel with him. Squanto eventually made his way to England where he worked in a stable. The owner of the stable, a man named John Slaney, took compassion on the young man and helped him make plans to return to America.
In 1619, a decade after he was kidnapped, Squanto returned to his home but his return was met with heartbreak. During his absence an illness had swept through his people and he had returned to find that everyone he loved was dead.
In 1620 the Pilgrims, seeking the freedom of worship and freedom from the influences of popular culture, sailed to the new world and landed at Plymouth, where Squanto’s tribe had once lived. As they settled in and began to build homes the leader of the tribe with whom Squanto now lived sent another English speaking Indian to greet them. Eventually Squanto helped them know how to fish and plant crops. He also translate a treaty between the new colonists and the Indians that lasted for 50 years.
According to the diary of William Bradford, the governor of the Pilgrims, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”**
Years later, as Squanto lay dying with a fever, Bradford wrote that he “desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto also left all his possessions to his English friends “as remembrances of his love.”
Squanto’s story is an amazing tale of how God turned tragedy and difficult circumstances to the good. Instead of dying with his people in the epidemic, God used the evil of his kidnapping to save Squanto’s life. Then God used Squanto to help save the lives of the Pilgrims, which helped to shape the future of our country. It is God’s goodness and provision even through difficult circumstances that we celebrate when we remember Thanksgiving.
As we approach the holiday season, let’s remember the true story behind the “feast.” And let’s remember that the Bible says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you” (1Thess 5:18).
The Bible doesn’t say to give thanks in just the good and pleasing things, but in all circumstances. A follower of Christ can do this because no matter what happens, even if you don’t understand why, you know the One sits on the Throne. We don’t give thanks because we like what happened but because we know to whom we belong and that our lives are in His hands. We know the character of God and how He has promised to “work all things together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
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Written and adapted by Kolby King from numerous sources.
*…it happened there had beene one Hunt … [who]seized upon the poore innocent creatures, that in confidence of his honestie had put themselves into his hands. And stowing them under Hatches, to the number of twentie foure, carried them into the Sraits, where he sought to sell them for slaves, and sold as many as he could get money for. But the Friers of those parts took the rest from them, and kept them to be instructed in the Christian Faith; and so disappointed this new and Devillish project.
A Relation of New England” in
Haklytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes:
In Twenty Volumes (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1906) 19:272-3
Find another detailed reference at: http://www.cupids400.com/english/about/squanto.php
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