Thomas and Nita Horn own a publishing house, have eight grandchildren and live on a ranch in rural Missouri.

Tom, a semi-retired minister considers himself a reasonable man with a well-balanced outlook on the future.

But since September 11, 2001, he and his wife Nita have been stockpiling emergency supplies and encouraging others to do the same.

“Following 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina it was abundantly clear that it is dangerous and even naive to expect government agencies to swoop in to save everybody in the event of a major emergency,” Horn explained. “But in 2017 we learned things are getting much worse for disasters, with the last 12 months being one of the most destructive and costliest years in our history, including three major hurricanes—Harvey, Irma and Maria—not counting tornado outbreaks across the Midwest, flooding in Missouri and Arkansas and wildfires across California that are still burning. Now we are hearing from federal authorities that it is only a matter of time – when, not if – a catastrophic event could make all these pale by comparison. Experts have placed even-odds on a terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) inside the United States within the next five years and our military is ramping up now for what could turn into a nuclear war.”

Horn, a veteran minister of over 40 years and owner of SkyWatch TV and Defender Publishing is part of a growing trend where regular people—doctors, mechanics, laborers, receptionists and others—are preparing to survive should a natural or man-made disaster strike.

Theirs is not an extremist community hole up in underground shelters teaching bizarre or cultic ideas.

These “preppers” (as they are called) are regular folks that have seen what is happening since 9-11, experienced their 401(k)s falling apart as the economy soured, witnessed the aftermath of back to back natural disasters, which only seem to be more intense and frequent, and decided to take the future into their own hands.

“These are average people holding down regular jobs who understand the world is not the idealistic place they might have once thought,” Horn said. “The proliferation of weapons technology in the hands of terrorists and recent unusual weather patterns have made them aware how things can suddenly go wrong. They are preparing to survive whatever may come.”

Avoiding the run on supplies

SkyWatch COO Joe Ardis started out ten years ago pulling stock from the company’s online warehouse shelves. He recalls what happened in 2001, when the nation was gripped with panic and survival merchandise suppliers were inundated and ran out of stock in one day.

“It was a nightmare getting services and products,” Joe said. “The number-one supplier of emergency food was receiving 10,000 orders per day and within one week was back-ordered for over six months. At the radiological laboratory where we get Potassium Iodide Tablets (Potassium Iodide shields the thyroid from radiation damage in the case of nuclear contamination), the U.S. military flew in and purchased every tablet KI4U had in stock – millions of pills – leaving the public without a supplier for some time.”

Joe explains how the lessons of 9-11 led the private investors he works for to form the wholesale emergency supplies outlet in order to amass in a single-source platform what the public needs to stock up on before another crises occurs.

Business has been booming for such companies lately, with long-term storage food producers and survival gear manufacturers shipping product as fast as they can make them, testament to the result of a growing body of people agreeing on the need to prepare before something happens and stores sell out again.

“Our business has doubled each year for the last eight years,” Joe acknowledges. “Especially our Mountain House freeze-dried foods and Wise Foods, which some consider the best among sportsmen. They are affordable and have a 30-year shelf life, so this product really sells itself. Next to that, our commercial gas masks, Berkey water filter systems, hand-crank devices like NOAA radios and similar survival gear has been flying off the shelves.”

Church leaders advocate preparedness

Being prepared to survive under a variety of scenarios including a layoff, severe weather, global pandemic or terrorist attack is just common sense say Church leaders.

Some preppers foresee a time they call TEOTWAWKI, an acronym that means “the end of the world as we know it.”

Horn says, “It is wise council when preachers advocate disaster readiness to their flock. The Book of James measures faith by personal action, and Hebrews 11:7 describes true faith this way: ‘By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house.’

“God told Noah that He would destroy the earth by a flood. He gave Noah instructions on how to be prepared so that he and his family could survive. Noah didn’t know when the flood would come, only that it was prophesied, and he prepared for it. When the Flood arrived, he was ready. His faith in and obedience to God’s word, his survival instincts, and ultimately his preparedness actions saved his family and preserved the human race.”

Horn believes the parallel between Noah and today is worth noting. “As it was in the days of Noah,” he cites Luke 17:26-27 concerning the last days. “Noah’s actions should define the modern believer’s responsibility, including the need for spiritual and physical preparedness.”

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