Letter Re: Finding a Family Oriented Survival Retreat

We are a devoted Christian family located in N.E. Oklahoma who are looking to encourage, help, and possibly connect with other families that are like minded. My wife and I have been preparing since we have been together (1999). We now have three young children, and are very family oriented. We homeschool and even home church. Despite the fact that some ‘hard core’ survivalists cringe at the thought of caring for little ones, we love children and consider them a blessing, and we believe that it is an honorable duty to be able to provide for and protect them. Besides ourselves, we also have two other family members who are part of our core group. For the last year we have invested all of our time, energy, and extra funds into preparing for what is coming. We prayerfully approach all of our decisions, and realize that ‘unless the Lord builds the house’ all of our efforts are vain. We do not believe we have all the answers as to what is coming and how to best deal with it, but we feel confident in stating that if we seek the Lord with all our hearts that he will direct our path. We do believe that the evidence shows that what we see happening to our nation is part of God’s plan to bring judgment upon this wicked backslidden people. As I’ve heard it said before ‘if God doesn’t judge this nation, than he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah’.

Logistically, we are in good shape in most areas. The Lord has blessed us to be able to accumulate a large food supply (2-3 years), gardening supplies, food processing and preserving equipment and supplies, lots of various outdoor gear, water purifiers of all sorts, bug-out vehicles, medical supplies, rechargeable batteries, and also guns and ammo. Areas we are working on presently are communications, power independence, more medical knowledge and gear, and other various training to help ‘hone’ all of our skills. I agree with JWR that gadgets and gear are useless without the skills to use them.

My biggest area of concern right now is location. We have a fairly secluded spot with acreage, but there are three major issues we have discovered:

1) We still have a mortgage on the place that cannot be quickly paid-off (too much, too little time). Which, when the economic crash comes, would put us at the mercy of the government controlled bank (due to bail-outs). This would cause us to have to relocate at a time of tremendous risk to our family. (This is not wise) We do have a ‘plan B’, that will be discussed on point 3.

2) Mentality of the populous: After living here for five years, we have come to the conclusion that most people in this area, sadly, even many who claim the name of Christ, are either lazy and dependent upon government programs to sustain them, or have no apparent discernment and therefore see no need to prepare. That means that they will likely succumb to the pressure and do the bidding of the powers that be, and/or they will come knocking demanding another ‘free ride’ from those of us that are prepared. (A great example of this can be found in Matthew 25, The Parable of the Ten Virgins) . Either way that spells trouble and possibly an armed confrontation, which we are ready and willing to withstand, but we realize that at this point we are under-manned. This is not a good situation for our Family Orientated Survival Retreat. Our philosophy is to avoid all potential armed confrontations if possible, but to be willing and ready to defend when necessary.

3) Physical Location & Plan B: This particular area of Oklahoma, though it is very rural and has a longer growing season, is very difficult to farm. Because we are in the foothills of the Ozarks, the soil is extremely rocky and very difficult to cultivate. We had to bring in top soil to be able to start our own garden. It also gets extremely hot in the summer months, so irrigation would be critical to keep crops from withering up & dying. That requires a whole separate set of logistics that would need to be sustainable during a crisis period. If we had to leave the homestead under adverse conditions, there’s Plan B.

Plan B is to retreat into the plentiful woods surrounding my area, but here is what I have discovered. There is a tremendous amount of poisonous snakes and spiders inhabiting the terrain, and even worse, there is also an innumerable amount of ticks and chiggers out there to torment even the casual traveler or hiker. Even though statistically the ticks in this area predominately do not carry Lyme disease, there are other diseases that can be transmitted by these tormenting Arthropods. My family and I have suffered many other physical reactions from the bites of ticks and chiggers. You can scarcely walk out into the grassy area of the yard during the warmer months and not get infested by ticks, chiggers, or both. We even looked at some retreat property in the mountainous terrain of N.W. Arkansas and found the very same problems with these nasty critters. Even with good repellents you can still get attacked, and realistically, if you are on the run how much repellent can you carry with you along with the rest of your critical supplies? The thought of having to hide a family with little ones in the deep woods of this area for any extended period of time worries me. When we first moved here I thought this area would suit our needs well, and for our present needs it’s worked out okay, but simply put, this is not what would be considered an ideal area for survival.

With all that said, I stated above that our main concern is location. We believe that it is expedient for us to look for another location for our group. Here is a breakdown of important items that must be part of finding the ideal location.

A) Safety

Because we are family orientated and have small children, we must try to establish the safest location possible, preferably making that location your primary residence. Also, your location must be set up to be able to best provide for the needs of families, which includes children of all ages. Number one priority is safety, that means being safely away from the hordes, safe from looters, and safe from tyrants and their minions. Think about what it was like when you and your spouse were first married, and how easily the two of you could just ‘up and go’ when you wanted to, but now that you have children all of that has changed, and, depending on the number of children you have, it can be a major project just ‘packing up’ for church! Now imagine what it would be like if your retreat was about to be, or was being overrun by a group of attackers. How fast could you and your family, with all of their necessary gear, move to safety? Would you even be able too? That is why the best way to protect your little ones is to gain an ‘advantage’ by choosing the optimal retreat location now while you still can. This may mean sacrifice and teaming up with others, but what is the alternative? This deserves careful consideration on the part of all concerned parents and retreat members. Even if all cannot be permanent residents, there still needs to be a concerted effort by several families to establish the best scenario possible. Therefore the Family Oriented Survival Retreat must be remote enough to be avoided by most, but reasonably accessible to the members who are not full time residents. As most realize, moving a family to a safe location during times of crisis can be very difficult and dangerous. There are so many potential hazards that can occur during a ‘bug-out’ situation that time and space cannot allow for them to be written here. Not to say it’s impossible, but it is a notable risk. Therefore all families that cannot be permanent residents should strive to be located as close as possible to the retreat location.

B) Team Work

The Family Oriented Survival Retreat location must also be properly manned and defendable. This means that one family by itself is not enough, no matter how remote you get. We all need help, and we should all want to help others. This is how all truly great institutions have worked, this is how Christianity works, and this is how a Family Oriented Survival Retreat must work. This is probably the biggest stumbling block of all, because Americans are generally selfish, we only think about ourselves and that’s the way we plan. We generally don’t try to work with other families to create a better situation for all. I realize that we must be discerning about others, and character does matter, but if you haven’t found the people you are looking for in your immediate area than maybe it would be advantageous to look for others outside your area. The bottom line is that there are others out there who would be great to work with and have the right mind set, but maybe like yourselves, don’t quite have the financial means to buy a big remote property, and even if they did, they wouldn’t have the man power to make it work. That’s why we need to connect with others somehow, maybe even set-up a forum for people to be able to discuss these matters and potentially find other like minded families too work with.

C) Relocation

This leads me to my last point, and that is location, or maybe better stated, re-location. After studying several areas and reading the articles written by Mr. Rawles and others, it seems that the Northwestern region of the U.S. may be the most plausible place to look. There are several important factors to consider and for sake of space I would just recommend checking out this comprehensive write-up [by JWR] that goes into greater detail on the subject. I have spent time talking to a few realtors and others in Northern Idaho and in Northwest Montana, and my impression is the basic mindset in these areas is geared more toward that of the survivalist. There also seems to be a greater sense of community as well. If this is true than it could go a long way in a crisis. But regardless, this may be a good place for a few like minded families to band together and create several Family Oriented Survival Retreats. This would pool resources, skills, and abilities and would increase the chances of surviving the coming years.

I realize that a lot more can be said on this subject, but I challenge those of you who feel moved to look into these things to put it to prayer, and if you would like to share your thoughts or are interested in pursuing a Family Oriented Survival Retreat you can contact me at: quityourselveslikemen@yahoo.com. – David M.