The safest place to be in a crisis is right where God wants you to be. That’s why we began with spiritual preparation for end times.
While it’s essential to be spiritually prepared, it’s also wise to be physically prepared for the troubled times ahead.
The bible speaks of this in Proverbs 22:3 –
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (NIV)
Are you prepared for a crisis? Would you be able to survive in your home without any outside help? – No power, water, communication, internet, access to food and medical support? How would you do if you had to live out in the wilderness?
It’s good to think about these things.
So what can you do to get prepared?
Richard and I are not “survival experts”, but we have lived in the country for a long time, camped a lot, and always look for ways to be more self-sufficient. The purpose of this post is to share our experience with you – and I’m sure there are people out there who know more and have more experience than we do.
Disclaimer aside, let’s get onto it…
How to physically prepare for end times
Physical preparation involves a mind-set of self-sufficiency. This can be developed even if you don’t live in the country. You will never be perfectly prepared for a crisis because you can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen, but some basic preparation is better than none at all.
Great preparation is a mix of gear, supplies, skills, practice, and planning.
Having the right gear when facing an emergency can be the difference between comfort and misery, and at worst, life or death. This is by no means an extensive list – hard-core survivalists would include knives and a bunch of other stuff.
- Good, durable shoes
- Warm underwear (depending on the season and country you live in)
- Warm jacket
- Wool socks
- Sleeping bag and mat
- Bug spray
Over the years we have found certain things really useful on our extended camping trips as well as living in the country.
- Vinegar – for cleaning – soak citrus peels in vinegar for 6 weeks and use the liquid as a household cleaner or ant deterrent. It has a bunch of other uses too.
- Plastic cling wrap
- Buckets – 1x 20L, 1x 5L – useful for washing clothes or yourselves, carrying wood or water etc.
- Food grade containers for water.
- Water filtration system
- Garbage bags – you can never have too many of these.
- Bug spray (citronella oil is a good natural option)
- Coconut oil – good for oil pulling and can be used for medicinal purposes (more on this in a moment) and cooking.
- Honey – great for eating but also useful for healing wounds and soothing sore throats. It doesn’t expire and has natural antibacterial properties similar to hydrogen peroxide.
- Himalayan salt – aside from cooking it is useful for making fermented foods like kimchi or saline solution for wounds.
- Heirloom seeds – non-hybrid seeds. You want to be able to save seeds from the plants you grow, and you can’t do that with hybrid seeds.
- Good gardening tools
- Tools: axe, shovel, gloves, cable ties, duct tape, knife, lighter, etc
- Diatomaceous Earth – great for your vegetable garden
- Heavy duty foil
- Epsom salts – good for a detox bath, making your own tofu, or boosting your vegetable garden with magnesium (wondered why your lettuces are bitter? They’re short on magnesium).
- Flaxseed – used in charcoal poultices as well as eating (a good laxative).
- Batteries, torch, candles, lanterns.
- Needles and thread
- Soap and yes, toilet paper! (Read on for a natural alternative).
- Start a garden – even if it’s in pots.
- Get strong – physical stamina is essential for survival.
- Learn to cut hair – not essential, but pretty useful and saves money!
- Learn to cook from scratch or over a fire.
- Learn to go to the toilet in the bush. Yup. This is important. Being afraid to go out in nature can be a huge hurdle and being comfortable with it may save you a lot of unnecessary discomfort. Richard figured out a way to squat that is quite comfortable and taught it to our kids when they were small. And just this week we found a natural alternative for toilet paper – an air plant called Old Man’s Beard (I suggested it and Richard tested it! He says it works great! J) (Contact us if you want to know more about the squatting thing.)
- Learn natural remedies (more on this below).
- Get over fears of bugs and dirt. A lot of stress comes from just not being used to certain things. This can be overcome just by the power of your mind. Rational, healthy thinking will enable you to drink water that isn’t crystal clear, eat food with a few bits of grass or dirt in it, or sleep in less-than-ideal surroundings.
- Learn to make your own yeast for bread. (Contact me for the recipe if you’re interested.)
You learn new tricks for survival when you just do stuff.
On a camping trip in Namibia, we got really, really cold on a few of the nights. The guys were sleeping in their hammocks up a tree and I was in the tent, but we all nearly froze. We learned how to wrap our jackets around the outside of our sleeping bags to give our feet a bit of extra protection. Not only did we learn something new but we toughened up a bit (me especially – and it’s all in the mind).
Learning to endure cold, hunger, and discomfort is not something you can learn from a book. It comes by experience.
Here’s how you can practice for tough times:
- Stop eating out. It saves money. (Thanks to the pandemic we’ve had some good practice with this one!)
- Learn to shop every second week or even once a month. Learn to live with what you have in your grocery cupboard and if you run out then wait till your next shopping trip. This will take thinking, planning, and practice. I usually follow this rule: 1 on the table, and 1 in the grocery cupboard. When I take the one out the grocery cupboard the item goes on the shopping list for the next trip to town.
- Learn to shop in bulk. It saves a lot in the long run if you can afford the initial outlay. The Red Cross suggests having a 3-day supply of food for evacuation and 2-week supply for home in the event of a crisis. Others suggest always having a 3 month supply of food. We’d go with the 3 month option.
- Have a “nature” day as a family – cook over a fire, bake bread, don’t use any technology or electricity.
- Learn to fast. You may have to go without food for an extended period and that can be quite scary if you have never experienced it.
- Go camping
- Learn to have a bucket wash – Richard and I have it taped so that we can wash our entire bodies, including feet, in as little as 3 litres of water (we could do it with less, but 3 litres is “luxury” when you are carrying all your own water on a trip in the wilderness). We’ve even “washed” in a puddle of water we found in the rocks in the desert. Bear in mind this “washing” is more like wiping. J
Planning is always the most important part of any endeavour. Put some thought into how you and your family can prepare for the times ahead.
- Start developing an independent mind-set. Plan how you can become as self-sufficient as possible.
- Prepare mentally for living in the country if you plan to move out – you will see less people, it will be quieter, there will be noises and animals you are not used to. Generally, there is less stimulation and less support. You will be responsible for your water supply, plumbing issues etc.
- Create an emergency packing list. I went through every room in the house and made a list of things I would grab if I was in a hurry to leave – books, photos, bedding, important documents, strong shoes and a warm jacket. Obviously the situation would determine what I would grab, but it helps to think about it before the time.
- Make digital and hard copies of important documents.
- Think about different scenarios and talk about them as a family.
- Get alternative electricity if possible.
Knowing how to grow and preserve your own food is empowering and satisfying. It gives a sense of security and freedom. Here are some aspects of gardening that are helpful to know about:
- Natural pest control – learn how to protect your plants with natural bug sprays made from ingredients you already have.
- Companion planting – some plants attract good bugs for the plants around them and others attract bad bugs. Learn what to plant together and what not to.
- Healthy soil – healthy soil creates healthy plants. Learn how to build your soil up.
- Mulching – feeds the soil, keeps the weeds down and the moisture in.
- Food preservation – freezing, canning, drying, pickling – prolonging the life of the food you grow is important.
- Edible wild plants – learn about what you can eat when you’re out in the wild or your garden is not producing.
Knowing how to use natural remedies and plants for healing is both comforting and useful. These remedies are not meant to replace medical advice, we are sharing what we have learned and what works for us.
- Aloe vera gel – good for sunburn, ringworm, skin rashes.
- Calendula gel – promotes cell growth which means it’s great for healing wounds – this is our go-to remedy for wounds.
- Tea tree oil – excellent for fungal infections.
- Hydrogen peroxide – the medical world advises against using this for cleaning wounds because it destroys healthy cells along with bacteria, but Richard and I have both had wounds that would not heal until we used some hydrogen peroxide (sparingly). Just saying – we’re not medical professionals.
- Charcoal – great for diarrhoea, vomiting, and snakebites. Make poultices from this for detoxing the liver. Tablets work well for toothache or abscess – hold the tablet inside the cheek against the tooth/abscess and let it dissolve.
- Onion poultice – on the feet for getting rid of toxins, on the chest for lung ailments (especially Covid-19).
- Arnica gel – for bruising and the best burn remedy I have yet found.
- Mommy salve – What’s this? A home remedy from Richard’s grandmother for drawing pus or splinters. Equal parts bees wax and coconut oil, melted together and then cooled. Use a little under a Band Aid and watch it draw!
- Mud for beestings. Make sure the sting is out and then smear mud on the spot. If you don’t have water to make mud, then use saliva. If the sting swells and itches, do hot and cold treatments on it (immerse the site in hot water for 3 minutes, then cold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times). Crushed plantain is also good for bee stings – if you can’t crush it then chew it for a bit and put it on the sting. (It’s edible, but be sure you know what you’re chewing!)
- Clove oil (for toothache)
- Garlic oil for earaches – made by chopping fresh garlic and standing in olive oil overnight before using. Warm it slightly before putting into the ear.
- Hot and cold immersion treatments – for itchy bee stings, wound healing, sprains, etc.
- Hot and cold showers – boosting immune system when suffering from colds and flu.
- Steaming for congested sinuses. Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water in a bowl and inhale the steam through the nose. Cover the head with a towel. Warning: only use a few drops of eucalyptus oil! It’s potent!
- Sniff salt water for blocked or infected sinuses. Blow the nose gently, one side at a time.
First Aid Kit
This is not a comprehensive list – but these are the things we have in ours.
- Charcoal tablets or powder
- Topical antihistamine cream for bites/stings
- Medical gloves
- Savlon/Dettol for disinfecting wounds
- Pain medication
- Prescription medication
- Antihistamines for allergic reactions
- Vitamins – D, C, and zinc (boosting immune system)
- Vicks Vaporub
- Gauze, tape, Band Aids, bandages, cotton balls
- Steri-strips/butterfly wound closures
- Magnifying glass
- Feminine hygiene products
- Safety pins
- Needle – for removing splinters or opening blisters (we’ve found the type used for injecting is the best)
- Razor blade
Getting physically prepared for tough times is wise. Trusting in our preparations is not.
Noah was a survivor because he trusted in God, not because he trusted in the ark. Yet, without the ark, both he and his family would have drowned.
While we do our part by thinking and planning for the times that lie ahead, we must trust fully in God to lead us.
Read part 1 Spiritual Preparation for End Times
What have we missed? What would you include? What questions do you have?