Essay sidebar: Should I prepare for Y2K?

By Gary Fakhoury and Barbara Fakhoury

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va.--The accompanying essay (beginning on page 18) is principally about preparing our minds for the possible chaos Y2K may bring, about focusing our faith upon the only One to whom it belongs, our God and Father.

But obviously, since we are still in the flesh, it will be difficult to serve God next year if our basic physical needs are not met.

So, many ask, should I prepare physically for Y2K? Or should I trust God to provide?

The Bible answer is yes. We should prepare as we can, and we should trust God for that which we are unable to do for ourselves, just as we normally do.

Clearly, Scripture shows that preparing for hard times is wise.

Joseph's example

Joseph personally saved an entire region of the world--and Israel itself--by stockpiling Egypt's foodstuffs for seven years. No doubt he would have been called an extremist by many today.

The book of Proverbs admonishes us to "go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise. Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).

Also, we're told that "a prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3).

In general, the Bible teaches that God expects us to take responsibility for our physical well-being.

Paul speaks

Paul told the Thessalonians: "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

In spite of his many church obligations, Paul himself practiced what he preached. He "worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you" (2 Thessalonians 3:8).

People who are intentionally not preparing for Y2K, with an eye toward begging from others if things get bad, should not expect God's kind hand upon them in a time of trouble.

The Scripture has spoken. We are to do all we can to avoid being a burden to others.

In addition to this, God expects us to fulfill our obligations to our dependents.

Paul instructed Timothy that, "if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8).

Strong words, those!

Playing the parlor game

But, many wonder, how do we prepare for an event that is so uncertain? Do we prepare for a weekend storm, like the government recommends? Or for 30 days, like some church leaders have been suggesting?

After long deliberation on this subject, I can say only that if Y2K's eventual impact is entirely unknowable now (and it is, for all the reasons given in the accompanying article), then setting an arbitrary amount of time for which you will prepare seems inappropriate.

Doing so is the practical equivalent of a prediction.

What if in your particular locale you end up needing freshwater for, say, 60 days, but you kept only 30 days in reserve--simply because that was the number that was handed to you?

You'd be terribly sorry if you could have easily saved more but simply didn't for no better reason than that you (or someone you trusted) arbitrarily decided to keep around only 30 days' worth.

After two years of wrestling with this issue, we've come to believe Y2K preparation is not about predicting exactly how many days of supplies you'll need. That is akin to a parlor game, like trying to guess in August who'll win the next Super Bowl. If you're right, it'll mostly be dumb luck.

We believe it's really about serving your conscience and answering to your God, to whom we will all give account.

For us, Y2K prep has been about knowing we are doing all our resources will allow to provide for our three little boys so that if it doesn't turn out to be enough we can know we did the best we could with what we had and we can meet our Maker with that confidence in our hearts.

If this is the correct approach, and we believe it is, then the answer to the original question is this: Do all you can with the resources you have, then entrust your life and the lives of your loved ones to God.

That's all any mere human being can be expected to do. After all, "God knows our frame," and He certainly knows how insane this whole Y2K situation is and our own individual financial, physical, geographical and logistical limitations.

A final word

With that in mind, we offer our own personal favorite Y2K information and preparation resources. (We have no financial connection to any of them.)

But let us offer a word of caution for you analytical types who like to study everything to death before you act: You don't have time for that with this one.

Unless you're a fearsome speed reader, you'll find yourself on Dec. 31 a fabulously informed Y2K academician with no capacity to cope with its effects. What good can that possibly do you?

The time is already here to get very practical very quickly. If you're going to prepare, there's a lot of work to be done and not a day to waste.

There are already significant bottlenecks in obtaining important items, and that will only increase as Y2K procrastinators finally get moving.

So, while we have included some informational titles and sites, our suggestions here are purposely skewed toward practical preparation.

A year ago this list might have read differently. But this is late 1999. If you're going to act, you must act now.

One more thing: Most of the Y2K information and preparation resources that exist are Internet-oriented to a significant degree.

We are sensitive to the needs of those without personal computers and Internet access, but it is simply the case that the Internet will speed up your preparation time enormously.

As the year winds down, more and more people will want to do what you are trying to do. For their sake and yours, it would be good to stay out of their way if you can.

If you are not yet "wired," you would be well served in this endeavor if you can utilize the Net-connected computer of a neighbor, friend or local library.

It is our prayer that these resources will serve as a blessing to you and your family in the potentially trying times ahead.


Time Bomb 2000, by Ed and Jennifer Yourdon, Prentice Hall. Ed Yourdon's software-engineering credentials are impeccable, but here he and his economist daughter have written an accessible overview of Y2K. The Yourdons make no predictions but offer possibilities for two-day, one-month, one-year and 10-year failure scenarios in each major economic sector.

Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown, by Stephen Jay Gould, Harmony Books. Mr. Gould's wit and intellect shine in this little volume as he explains exactly how we got the absurd time system we have.

Spiritual Survival During the Y2K Crisis, by Steve Farrar, Thomas Nelson. If I had time to read only one Y2K book, this would be it. Mr. Farrar fully explains the cause, nature and gravity of the problem without hyperbole. His motto: "Faith is the refusal to panic." Also includes an excellent section on Christians and self-defense.

Making the Best of Basics: A Family Preparedness Handbook, by James Talmage Stevens, Gold Leaf Press. This is the only book you need in order to find out how to provide for your family in times of crisis, from home food storage to water storage to basics of cookery and self-health.

Y2K news and information Web Sites

Home storage supplies

You may find the best option for you is to buy bulk foods (not dehydrated) from local food co-ops or health-food stores and store them yourself.

These people have the storage supplies you need as well as water-storage solutions.

Bulk foods by mail

If you cannot find the bulk foods you need locally, try

Catalog merchants

Lehman's Nonelectric Catalog, phone (330) 857-5757, Published in the heart of Amish country, this is the premier catalog for nonelectric tools and household gadgets. Do not delay ordering; Lehman's is busy these days. Be sure to ask how long it will take to fill an order.

Cumberland General Store, (800) 334-4640. Another outfit that features many manual tools you thought were things of the past.

Ready Made Resources, (800) 627-3809. A small outfit that seems to have been a bit overwhelmed at times over the past year. Some of the best prices available, however, on dehydrated, storable foods, plus many self-reliance-oriented books, tools and gadgets. Check on time frames.

Nitro-Pak Preparedness Center, (800) 866-4876. Storable foods, water solutions, tools, books and more.

Emergency Essentials, (800) 999-1863. Same as above, with more of an outdoor and camping orientation.

Alternative-energy merchants

Real Goods Renewables, (800) 919-2400. All manner of energy-saving products and renewable-energy equipment. None of this stuff is cheap, but these people know their business and are helpful.

Jade Mountain, (800) 442-1972. Same as above.

Gold and silver merchants

Franklin Sanders, (931) 722-3135. Widely regarded and recommended, competitive prices.

Camino Coin, (307) 537-6885. Same.

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