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The tender story of two boys striving to be "like HIM."
"We shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."
~ 1 John 3:2 ~

The Adventures of Leviticus and Mark
By Judith Bronte

In honor of the LORD, Who inspired and enabled me to write this story.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 ..... Mark

Chapter 2 ..... "Like"

Chapter 3 ..... Past and Present

Chapter 4 ..... Trouble In the Night

Chapter 5 ..... Responsibility

Chapter 6 ..... Christmas Surprise

Chapter 7 ..... In HIS Likeness

Chapter One: Mark

My fondest memories are of my childhood. The adventures that I had with a boy named, Mark, will always stand out in my mind as the best time of my life. I often wander back to that time. Back to the time when innocence came so easily.

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh." ~ Ecclesiastes 12:1 ~

Come with me this time.

For as long as I could ever remember, my name has always been Leviticus. I was the youngest of three children. My parents had wanted a large family, but had not the imagination to name us as we arrived. So,from the beginning, my name had been predetermined by rank of birth. The first child had the unique honor of being named, Genesis. Exodus arrived one year later. So naturally, I got Leviticus. Numbers was in the making. Mamma was due next December. She did not care to have a birthday and Christmas at the same time. She thought you should spread out the holidays to enjoy them one at a time. (Not to mention give her a chance to rest.) But who was she to argue against Providence. Besides, if Christmas was a good enough birthday for our dear LORD, it would certainly do for her dear Numbers.

As I said, Leviticus has always been my name. I have never had any reason to be ashamed of it, until now. My Sunday school teacher did not have the impediment of being shy. She did have many talents, but tact was not one of them. She always spoke what was exactly on her mind at that very moment. Needless to say, she more often than not, put her foot in her mouth. And just when you were trying to figure out how she had accomplished that maneuver, she managed to fit the other one in. It was generally known in town that you do not take Miss Dorm seriously. To do so, would be to believe her at your own risk. But I was new here, and did not know this vital piece of information. So when she called out my name in Sunday school with, "Leviticus!" I did not know what I was in for.

"Here!" I said this as I always had when the teacher sounded roll call.

To my surprise, a snicker went around the room.

"Leviticus, is that your name?" asked Miss Dorm.

"Yes mam," I answered timidly.

"However did you get that name? Seems to me it's not right to call anyone by a name of a book in the Bible. It's sacrilegious if you ask me."

("A prating fool shall fall.") ~ Proverbs 10:8 ~

She said this as she stared directly into my eyes as if expecting an answer. I had never thought that my name was sacrilegious, whatever that meant. But whatever it meant, her disapproving eyes told me it was not good. I blushed. I could feel all the eyes of the other children on the back of my neck.

Then came the moment that would change my life forever. I met Mark.

He whispered into my ear, "Don't worry. God doesn't mind. I should know. I was named after a book in the Bible, too."

Chapter Two: "Like"

The summer sun shone brightly on my head as I strolled down the city square. The exploration of every "new" place is a must for all twelve year old boys. I was busy exploring, when Mark tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hi, Leviticus. Would you like to see my thinking place?"

Mark was the same age as I, but he seemed older, somehow wiser.

"Sure." I had explored all the obvious places and was eager to go somewhere special.

He led me past the buildings in town and in the direction of the woods.

"Ever been in the woods before?," questioned Mark when he saw my apprehension.

"No, never. We don't have woods where I come from."

We came to an old hollowed out tree trunk. Inside moss grew abundantly on the floor and up the walls. The light shone inside, and it seemed very peaceful.

Mark was in a meditative mood, so I kept still until he wished to break the silence.

"Bless the LORD, all His works in all places of His dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul..." he muttered (more to himself than to me). I was surprised. This boy was odd. I had thought that I was odd, but Mark was downright weird. However, it was a refreshing weirdness. I was not used to such talk of God outside of my home. I had always longed to fellowship with someone "like". "Like" minded, "like" Christ, and "like" me. Mark was "like." The sweet Spirit of my new friend made me feel closer to God. It reminded me of a verse.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." I repeated this outloud.

Mark smiled. He understood. When I reflect on that first day in Sunday school, I think that mark sensed that we were "like."

Chapter Three: Past and Present

Three weeks had passed before I realized that I knew nothing about Mark. He went to Sunday school every Sunday. We would meet each other in the woods to explore, or just talk. But he had never said anything about himself. Finally, with some urging, I managed to get a few words out of him. Mark's parents had died when he was two, and he had grown up in the county orphanage.

"What's it like to live at an orphanage?" I was curious.

"We go to bed at 7 and wake up at 5." He said this casually but I heard pain in his voice. I was silent. I had unknowingly asked a painful question, just to satisfy my curiosity.

He stared at the trees as if in great thought.I wondered if my friend's great strength was the result of great testing. A tear rolled down his cheek and landed on my hand.

"What's wrong, Mark? Is the orphanage that bad?"

He wiped his face on the sleeve of his shirt.

"I manage.It's harder on others. At night, you can hear some of the children cry, who still remember their parents. That's when the Comforter helps me the most. He brings Scripture to memory and I recite it outloud for the others. It quiets them down, but it pains me to know they hurt so much. When I grow up, I will start an orphanage of my own. But I will run mine with love and mercy, not indifference. 'Love worketh no ill to his neighbor.'"

"First Corinthians 13:4 and 5 says, 'Charity... seeketh not her own,'" I said with a grin.

"' Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things,'" smiled Mark. We often played this "game". Batting verses at each other, nonstop, was a favorite pastime of ours.

I admired my friend's courage. His ministry was in the orphanage.

"Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."
~ Hebrews 13:3 ~

But even as Mark smiled, a strange premonition came over me. A feeling that something prophetic would soon take place.

Chapter Four: Trouble in the Night

Summer slipped into autumn, and the trees in the woods exchanged their robes of green for red and yellow gowns. "Let ... all the trees of the wood rejoice." I kept busy at home helping Mamma to prepare for the expected, Numbers.

Neighbors protested that, Numbers, was not a fitting name for a boy. But Numbers it would be, boy or girl. "If, Numbers, is a good enough name for a book of the Holy Bible, then it's more than fit for my baby," reasoned Mamma. She often thought things through that way.

Mark and I would sneak off into the woods once in a while, but even he was kept busy. The orphanage needed repairs but the necessary funds could not be raised, so they made do with what they had. All the children were moved out of the damaged left wing, into the right. More than a few of the kids looked up to Mark, as a kind of guardian. When they cried, he comforted them. When they fell, he bound their wounds. "Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me." ~ Matthew 25:36 ~

That was Mark.

One night, I was awaken by a pounding fist on my window pane. It was a small boy from the orphanage. He often followed Mark around.

"Leviticus, can you come?" His small frame was trembling.

I got dressed in such a hurry, that I forgot to ask the tiny messenger what was wrong.

Five minutes later, I was standing before Mark. He was bent over a boy, who was lying upon a bed. He looked a little younger than me. The boy's face was bloody in places.

"Thanks, for coming, Leviticus. Does your mother know you're here?

"No, I went through my bedroom window. Why?"

"I can't let anyone know what happened. I need your help. Come."

Mark crossed the floor to a door that was on the far wall.

He led me to a room that had beds lining one side of a wall. The other side was littered with debris. I looked up and saw the moon through a hole in the ceiling.

"Andrew was sleeping in that bed over there, but I figure he'll be ok. I brought you here, because you know more about this than I . Do you think you can fix it, Leviticus?" Mark said all this very calmly, and with authority. I had never seen him like this before.

"Why all the secrecy?," I repeated, for he had avoided my question.

"Every year this orphanage receives less and less money from the government. If they thought that this building was not fit to live in anymore, we would be without a home."

"They wouldn't just throw you out on the street," I protested.

"Leviticus, they would do anything to save money, including that. Most of the time, there is no caretaker here. We are left alone because it costs money to have someone around full time. But for the grace of God, we would be on the streets by now."

I realized that these children owed their lives to a twelve year old adult.

I inspected the roof carefully. "The damage is minimal. It will take a few days, but I think I can do it."

Mark smiled,"I knew God would provide a way. 'But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'"

Mark put me in charge of fixing the roof. We started that night. The roof had to be repaired before a representative from the government could inspect the building and declare it unfit. I assigned five boys to clear away the debris, while I measured the hole. Water had rotted the roof boards away, causing the collapse of a section of paneling. It sent splinters of rotted wood, spiked with nails, down to the floor, barely missing one of the beds. Thankfully, the beam had not given way and the integrity of the structure was still sound enough that I could work around it.

Early next morning, I set out to scavenge for materials. I remember that my mind was in constant meditation, and my heart entreating with God to make it work. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." ~ Psalms 1:3 ~

Chapter Five: Responsibility

There was a kind of excitement in the air. I was in charge of a big responsibility. The biggest I had ever had. Even better, I was to keep it a secret. Mark wouldn't allow me to even tell my mother. I noticed that he was protective of those kids. Some of that was rubbing off on me. It felt good. I felt like an adult. However, with the responsibility came great pressure. I asked God for guidance, every moment that I was not searching for materials.'The LORD shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.' I never let on to anyone that I was on such an important errand.

By five in the evening, I had successfully gathered everything I needed. God had fulfilled His promise. He had supplied all our needs.

That night, the work began. Several times, things did not look to good, but God always provided a way to escape 'that we might be able to bear it'. By early morning, the roof was done. I had thought that it would take longer.

Little did I know, that God had His reasons for the timing. That very afternoon, a government official showed up, unexpectedly.

He didn't notice a thing.

"Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever."
~ Psalms 106:1 ~

Chapter Six: Christmas Surprise

The last leaves of autumn had fallen, for winter was on it's way. December 25th loomed ahead. Mamma would be due on Christmas day. Genesis, Exodus, and myself, eagerly awaited Numbers. Since Mamma would likely be giving birth on Christmas day, we decided to celebrate Christmas late. Mamma did not feel like celebrating right now. This pregnancy had been a hard one, and she was looking forward to the birth.

Ever since September, I had been saving any money I could, to buy a Christmas dinner for the children at the orphanage. I knew that Christmas had sad undertones for them, for Mark had made a passing remark about it once. Determined that this Christmas would be different, I secretly saved my money. It had not been easy. More than once I had a temptation to spend it on something I thought I really needed. But then came the thought of happy looks on small faces ... and the temptation would vanish.

I had now hoarded about fifty dollars. Since I had to be home for Christmas, I planned to celebrate it one day earlier. Christmas Eve morning found me wide awake. I had found sleep to be elusive, for excitement was in the air. It was necessary to get up early, for I had to go find Mark. I knew I couldn't do this by myself and keep it a surprise.

I will never forget the surprised look on his face!

"You're going to do what?"

"I saved $50 to buy everyone Christmas Eve dinner." I was ecstatic. Mark's reaction was worth the four month wait.

"The LORD provides again!" grinned Mark. "Well, let's go shopping!"

We had a wonderful time. The money was more than enough to buy a nice dinner. We even had enough left over to get everyone a small toy. They were eagerly inspected by small faces with runny noses. It was a full time job for Mark to keep their faces clean. And since this was Christmas Eve, everyone tried hard to please Mark. (Although with varying degrees of success.)

The meal was gobbled up, with great thanks to God for such a feast. Everyone ate to their heart's content. Then carols were suggested and everyone got to sing their favorites. It was truly a day to remember.

That night, when Mark and I parted, he grabbed my hand and shook it warmly.

"Thank you. " He was sincere.

"Thank the LORD." I was touched, but was determined not to let it show ... to much, anyway.

Chapter Seven: In HIS Likeness

Well, that's the way things usually happen. You plan for it, change your schedule, and then it doesn't happen." Mamma had said this at least five times today.

It was Christmas Day, and there was no sign of Numbers. Everyone was nervous and excited. I had to get out of the house.

I enjoyed my long walks in the woods. Today, the ground was muddy, for it had snowed lightly the day before, but not enough to outlast the sun. My path led me to our tree. I had not gone there on purpose, for my mind was still in the house.

Beside the tree, was Mark. He was praying. Not wishing to disturb him, I backed away a few steps. I could see his face. You could see the love he had for the LORD, so clearly written there. "The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." ~ Numbers 6:26 ~

A twig betrayed my presence. Mark turned and looked at me. Then the strangest thing, that ever took place in my life, happened. He had just turned to look at me, when I saw a look of amazement cross his face. He turned so pale, I got concerned.

"Mark, are you alright?" I had approached him, but his eyes were still fixed straight ahead.


His lips parted, and I heard him speak with a voice so full of awe and reverence, that the hairs on my arm stood straight up.

"Do you see Him?"

"See who?" I looked at where he was looking, but saw nothing.

"It's Him." Mark said, this so longingly that his eyes filled with tears.

I realized that Mark was seeing something that I did not, for it was heavenly.

"Who?" I half knew the answer before he said, "JESUS."

"What is He doing?"

"He is smiling and beckoning me to come with Him. He's so beautiful."

Mark was in utter awe. When I realized what this meant, I knew what to do.


I said this knowing that my best friend, in the whole world, was going to leave me. But if Jesus wanted him, who was I to say, no?

Mark's feet moved forward, slowly. With every step he took, he grew more spirit-like, until I could see the trees right through him. He turned.

"Goodbye. Till' we meet again, my dear brother."

He waved, and then vanished from my sight. I would not see him again, until I too, would be called to Heaven. I walked over to the place where Mark had stood. All that was left, were his footprints in the soft ground. The lump that had been growing in my throat since Mark had turned pale, started to choke me. I panted for air. Sinking to the ground, I prayed. "And he said unto Jesus, LORD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom."
~ Luke 23:42 ~

My prayers were interrupted by Genesis's voice calling me home.

"Mamma's time has come! Go fetch Doc Wilson. Hurry!"

Genesis turned back toward home, running at full speed. My thoughts momentarily forgotten, I ran to get the doctor.

That day passed by in a hazy blur. A life had departed and a life had entered into this world, in one day. The next day, I had more time for reflection. Mark was a lot like Enoch. He had pleased God, and God had loved him so much, that He took him. I would often go to that spot in the woods, where we had fellowshiped together. We had been "like". Now he was more "like" Christ than I could possibly imagine. I hoped someday to be "in His likeness" too.

After Mark had departed, I picked up where he had left off, in caring for the orphans. And when I grew up , I sought for, and received, the legal responsibility to care for the children, and the orphanage, that Mark had been raised in.

That is the way we should be. We should pick up where our Master left off, and be about our Father's business. "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
~ John 9:4 ~

~ 1 John 4:7 ~



You may republish this without permission, provided it remains free, accredited and unaltered. Copyright © 2008 Sarah Fall (aka Judith Bronte).