This week we are in North Carolina, tomorrow we will be going to Alabama, and then on Wednesday, we will be back home in Missouri! The trip has been amazing, went all kinds of cool places and met many awesome people, made new friends, and had new experiences :) Thanks to everyone who has funded it and helped us along on this journey! Without you it would have been impossible!
And this week, I am posting the final part of "The Lady and Her Story". To those who have followed it while I have read it and read the posts, thank you so much!! I hope you enjoy this final piece :)
4 hours later, the meeting was arranged and everything was prepared. The local Mexican federalies were hidden around the meeting place, and Dad, Sam, Nicki, Ben, and Hope were ready.
Mrs. Willis seemed to stand alone in the rainforest, harmlessly waiting for her children.
Sure enough, Jack and Rosy came walking up with Penella between them.
Penella's blue eyes sparkled and a smile graced her face at the sight of her mother. Her chestnut colored hair was matted, and her dress torn in several places. There was blood on her dress and bruises on her skin, but she was beautiful to her mother.
"Mom!" She cried.
Mrs. Willis began to have tears in her eyes. "Dear Penella...Rosy, Jack. I've missed you all..."
"Yeah, Mom, hand over the papers." Jack demanded, rolling his eyes.
Mrs. Willis slid one from her hand and handed it over. "I will give the rest once you let Penella go." She stated firmly, straightening up.
"Feisty now, are we, Mother? You're in your 70s. We can make you give it to us," Jack smirked, taking a step forward...
As soon as he did, he tripped and fell over. "Ah!"
Mrs. Willis stepped back and Penella looked around at the ground. A little piece of twine was tied around Jack's feet and when Rosy stepped forward, she tripped as well, and the twine grew tighter.
At that moment, Dad, Sam, Nicki, Ben, and Hope jumped down from the trees.
"What were you saying, Jack?" Dad asked.
"You!!" Jack's eyes were alight with fury, "I knew it!"
Dad chuckled, "Did you think I would just tell you?"
"I did not," Dad retorted sharply. "I simply acted innocent. Now, I think its time justice got served."
And right then, the police stepped out of the woods, guns ready.
Two cops ran over and pulled the fighting brother's and sister's arms back, handcuffing them at the wrists.
"Jack and Rosy Willis," One spoke, "You're under arrest."
Jack emitted a frustrated "Augh!" while Rosy groaned.
"I knew this would happen eventually," She muttered.
And Penella ran into her mother's arms, tears streaming down her face.
Caitlen watched Penella and Mrs. Willis, tears on her face as well as a smile. Quinn finally has her daughter back, She thought to herself silently, sighing quietly with happiness.
A week later, the Hunt family was back home--and with Penella and Mrs. Willis at her house. Mrs. Willis decided it was time to hunt for the treasure her husband had given her, and she wanted the family who had helped her get her daughter back to come help her find it.
Dad smiled. "Quinn, that's kind of you, but I think Ian wanted only you to find it."
Mrs. Willis laughed, "Son, I am going to be seventy two. At least let some of the children come help,"
"Well..." Dad looked at Mom. She smiled.
He turned back to Mrs. Willis with a big grin on his face. "Alright then."
Cheers erupted from behind him, where all of the Hunt kids had been waiting in anticipation of Dad's answer.
"Everyone except Jamie and Justin can go," Dad grinned.
Mrs Willis went into the living room with a smile on her face, the five older children and Penella following her.
"So where is it?" Ben asked excitedly.
"In the woods, near my house," She said, flipping through the papers. "It isn't very hard."
"How about we load into the four-wheeler and trailer and go down there?" Sam suggested with a smile.
"I'm ready!" Mrs. Willis laughed, and looked at her fifteen-year-old daughter. Penella smiled hugely and squeezed her mother's hand.
Less than an hour later, the little group was in the woods, at the very place where Caitlen had found the first package.
She chuckled now, looking around. "Ah, memories," she whispered to herself--then stopped. A mark on a tree caught her eye...
Didn't Mrs. Willis read in the letters about a tree mark? she thought to herself, going towards it.
And sure enough, there was a little arrow pointing downward. "Guys!" She called over, falling to her knees and moving the dirt away.
Everyone ran over, asking questions.
She pointed to the arrow without looking up. Her hand felt cool metal as she brushed away more dirt, and she gasped as a small plaque appeared when she brushed the dirt away. Everyone behind her gasped as she finished cleaning off, and Caitlen moved out of the way as Mrs. Willis knelt there, teardrops falling down her shining, awed face.
The plaque read: To my beloved Quinn, I love you.
She went to lean against it on her hands, and it suddenly lifted like a door on a springing hinge.
Inside was a 1-ft deep metal compartment as wide as the plaque. And in there was a large bag with an envelope on the top.
Mrs. Willis' hands were shaking as she tore open the envelope.
She read it quickly and a large gasp escaped her lips.
"What is it, Mother?" Penella's soft voice questioned, her now clean, beautiful chestnut curls falling over her shoulders and down her back.
"Your father passed the Willis Manor to you and me!" She cried.
Penella's eyes widened, "Grandma and Grandpa's place??"
Mrs. Willis nodded.
Penella squealed and hugged her mother. Then she backed off, "What's in the bag?"
Mrs. Willis smiled, "Sam, could you pull that out please?"
He reached in and was shocked to find that the small bag was so heavy. He lifted it with some effort and set it down on the ground in front of Mrs. Willis.
It was opened by Mrs. Willis' trembling, white hands and everyone looked inside.
Gold coins, jewelry, gems, and a book lay inside.
Mrs. Willis gasped as she lifted the book out.
"Ian's Bible," she breathed, her eyes overflowing with tears. She opened up the first page, and inside was a note. It read,
"Quinn, darling, please read this book. It will change your life. I have notes inside about what I learned the last days of my life--the Father's true name, and his Son's true name.. about the Bible being a whole, unified book, and so much more. Just read, sweetheart, and remember, He loves you more than I ever could have. I love you -- Ian."
The stunned group made their way back to the Hunt home, showing Sara and Matt the notes, treasure, and everything. Quinn offered for them to take some for themselves, but they kindly turned her down.
"We helped you to not gain riches from this world, Quinn," Matt told her, "But to help you find your daughter and for eternal riches."
"I'm going to read my Bible and find out what Ian is talking about," Quinn smiled, "Thank you so much for your help."
He and Sara smiled, "It was our pleasure, Quinn," Sara replied. "We love you, and are so grateful you have your daughter back." She smiled at Penella as she spoke, "Take care of your mother, sweetie,"
Penella smiled, looking at her aged mother, "Oh, I will, for sure,"
A few minutes later, after many tearful goodbyes and promises to visit, Penella and Quinn Willis returned home to the Willis Manor.
The Hunt family gathered in the living room. They all sat silently, each in their own thoughts. Ben spoke up first. "Well, that was an adventure."
"Yes, yes it was," Dad chuckled. "Who knows, maybe we'll have another one."
"I doubt there are more old ladies in the woods near us with secret pasts," Caitlen laughed. The rest of the family joined in.
"Ah, yes, but there are small adventures... like taking care of the sheep that got out while we were gone!" he announced.
There was a groan from every child--even the older ones.
"Again?!" Sam cried.
"Again," Dad laughed.
Nicki sighed. "Stubborn sheep."
Dad chuckled, "Let's offer a prayer of thanksgiving to Yahweh for his protection, and then let's go corral some sheep," he smiled, looking at Mom.
Mom looked at him lovingly, "Sounds good, honey,"
And the family bowed their heads for prayer.