Written by:  Allan Holden  all rights reserved

  After 11 years of doing this newsletter, it is getting harder to think of new treasure stories. Years ago I remember hearing people say that America's most valuable resource (treasure) is her youth. You don't hear that much anymore. In fact, America's youth today are seen by much of society as being valueless.

    Last year I purchased a shirt from e-Bay to wear on Right-to-Life Sunday that says, "American Holocaust; Hitler 12 million killed, Stalin 20 million killed, Roe Vs. Wade 47 million killed." That shirt is already obsolete. . . guess which number has gone way up.

    A few years back, maybe ten, a friend who works in children's ministries, asked me to build a model of Noah's ark. In his ministry, he travels from town-to-town and state-to-state doing Vacation Bible Schools. In Baptist circles, we say "V.B.S."

    "Uncle Tim" is what the kids call him. Each year he has a different theme for his V.B.S. programs. One season it might be an army theme-- he has a lot of fun with that one. Next year it might be a fishing theme. He has seven different sets, including a Noah's Ark theme. I built many of his sets and props.

    Tim knew that I would rather make model ships from scratch than do just about anything, including detecting, if you can believe that. But this Noah's ark sounded like a big project, one that would take a lot of work. I told Tim that I would build it, and he could use it, but only as a loaner.

    I was told the story of the great flood from the time I was a little boy. I had seen many artist renditions of the ark, but I still had no idea what my project should look like. However, I wanted, in the worse way, for it to look like the real thing.

    I started gathering books on the subject of the Ark and the flood and doing some serious research. But the only information I could depend upon was the information that Moses penned in Genesis 6:14-16:

14: Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15: And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16: A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

    There is a lot of information to be found here. One of the writers of a book on the Ark said that a better word for window would have been "vent" and "finish it above" would have meant at the top, just under the roof. Many modern buildings where livestock are kept are vented in this manner today.

    The newest barns at the Allegan Fair Grounds are vented like this and it is just amazing how well it works! That place can be loaded with cows, pigs, goats, horses . . . all creating fertilizer, and you can barely smell a thing.

    I tried to find out what gopher wood was, and where I could get some, but nobody seemed to know. I used to heat with wood back before it became popular. I would cut up any dead tree I could get my hands on, and sometimes I would get some poplar. Poplar is a soft, fibrous wood that burns fast and we called it gopher wood because as soon as you loaded it into the stove, it was time to 'go-for' more.

    I have a commercial account that I service located in Hamilton called Post Hardwoods. These guys have a huge sawmill operation and they handle hundreds of logs each month. They have 5 Fisher 1280-X metal detectors that are used to scan the logs. They prefer the 1280-X because it is waterproof and they can run it in rain or snow. They run the coils right over the dirty tree bark and they wear the coils out in pretty short order.

    I have helped these guys out many times, and I am sure if I wanted a load of hardwood, I would just have to ask.

If I had known the project was going to turn out so well, I would have used oak or alnut.

    It's interesting to hear people when they see it for the first time. The sad thing to me is, because of all the animals I guess, people find the whole ark thing to be cute. There are many items that you can purchase to fix up a baby's nursery with a Noah's Ark theme.

    The story of Noah's Ark does represent God's mercy, in that Noah and his family were saved. But it also represents God's judgement! Remember, at that time, the flood was the most catastrophic event ever in all of world history.

    Personally I believe that much of our landscape was shaped, not so much by glacial movement spread out over millions of years, as the scientists tell us --- but in a matter of days by receding flood waters.

    In one of the books about the flood, the author wrote about a river in New York State that flows into the sea. Divers say that you can follow that riverbed for hundreds of miles on the ocean floor; which indicates that the ocean wasn't always there.

    Here's another one to consider. Scientists try to explain the discovery of a prehistoric animal, found frozen in the northern ice shelf like this. Because the animal was discovered with food in its stomach that could only be from the tropics, they claim the earth went through some major climatic change. They suggest this was caused by the position of the earth changing.

Isn't it a little more logical to assume that this carcass floated to that location during the flood?

    People ask me, "How long did it take you to build your ark?" Sadly, I have no answer for that one. I wish I had kept track of the time. I worked on it a little here, and a little there, during the course of one winter. I had no plans, just an idea in my head.

    I purchased a bunch of pine boards and started ripping them into thin strips. The top deck of my table saw is about 4 ½ feet high and the sawdust pile reached from the floor to that height. You know, I am not sure that I could do it again, even if I really wanted to. I actually feel like I was being guided by some unseen force. I do wish I had made two, because I have received some pretty enticing cash offers from some ark collectors.

    After being asked a hundred times if the model was built to scale, my answer was always, "no." I had never thought about building it to scale, not for a second. Then one day, I decided to do the math.

    It is generally believed that a cubit is the distance from the averaged-sized man's elbow to the tip of his middle finger, or 18 inches. It is 19 inches on me, but most figure 18. So taking the Bible's dimensions, my project is not 'almost to scale,' it is exactly to scale, with the scale being 1 inch equals 1 cubit. "Coincidence," you say?

    My aunt Dicia has been entering things into the County Fair ever since she was a young girl back in her in 4-H days. She was really excited about the ark model and, for two or three years, she pleaded with me to enter it in the fair. Finally, she brought me all of the paperwork and showed me just how to decide which category to enter.

    The day I carried the ark into the display room, it drew a lot of favorable remarks, but in my mind it was just a chance to display it in public. I wasn't thinking of winning a prize at all. When I came in the next day, after the judging, I was surprised to see a first place blue ribbon, but shocked to see the purple ribbon for People's Choice. The only entries qualified for the Michigan State Fair are the People's Choice winners.

    I knew that chances of winning at the state level were pretty slim. After all, you are competing against the very best in the whole state. However, I thought it would be fun just to go to the State Fair and this was as-good-an-excuse-as-I-would-ever- have to go. On the last day of the State Fair, we arrived to pick up the ark and were surprised to see that it took the red, second place ribbon in Adult Woodworking.

    I was quite a celebrity; everyone wanted to meet the fellow who had built the ark. I had many of the ladies, who were fair workers, thank me for building the ark! I had some apologize for the second place ribbon and one said that the judges do not rate items with a Biblical backround very high.

       I started this whole article talking about America's true treasure, our youth. I cannot begin to count how many grandparents have come into my store with teenage grandchildren. When the grandparent spots Noah's ark, they light up with a big smile and quickly point it out to the teenager. Far too often this leads to embarrassment for them and a broken heart for me, as we discover that this high school student does not know anything about the flood or Noah's ark.

      Remember, in the late 60's, God was expelled from school. That's when the ones we had treasured so much started losing their sparkle