How It All Started
Joe and Esther were born and raised in an Old Order Amish sect in Ashland, Ohio. At 17 years of age, both were baptized as members in the Amish Church. Not long after their 18th birthdays, a former Amish man shared the gospel with them; Joe and Esther realized they were sinners in need of a Savior.
Joe and Esther accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, married, and intended to continue living and to raise their family within the Amish system. However, they quickly learned if they wanted to believe their salvation was by faith, grace, and Christ alone, they must be silent about it or face excommunication and shunning by their family and the Church.
Nine months into their marriage, Joe and Esther made the hardest decision of their young lives; leave the Amish way of life, their family, and friends forever to live openly for Christ.
For a detailed testimony, please click HERE!
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel [the Amish] is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
As Joe and Esther prayed and fasted for the people so dear to them, they discovered that America's Bible believing churches sent missionaries around the world to share the Good News but, no one was sent to the Amish. Often, Joe and Esther would lie awake at night wondering who would go to spiritually rescue their people.
Each morning, Joe sat outside his factory job aching for his beloved people who were dying and slipping into an eternal lake of fire without hearing the Good News of salvation. What began as a burden, to see their Amish family and friends come to a personal relationship with Christ, became a divine call; to see every Amish person hears the clear message of salvation.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
In December 1999, Joe met with his pastor of 16 years, John Bouquet, to share how he and Esther felt God’s leading into full-time missions to the Amish. In February 2000, before his local church, Bethel Baptist, the congregation and more than 50 former Amish from as far as Kentucky and Pennsylvania, came to hear Joe share his burden and missionary call. That year, the Keims spoke in various churches, inviting fellow believers to join them in prayer and financial support. Within a year God provided the financial means enabling Joe to resign his job and, along with his family, engage in full time missions to the Amish.
Three-fold Purpose of MAP
1. Evangelize and Disciple Amish and Former Amish People:
This is being accomplished through personal witness, home Bible studies, home prayer meetings, the Bible Club, The Amish Voice, and the Audio Ministry. MAP also offers counseling and protection to those who are victims of sexual, mental, and physical abuse.
2. Assist older teenagers and young adults who have already left the Amish culture by providing basic Life Skills such as:
- Communicating with English as a second language
- Driving lessons for obtaining a vehicle operator's license
- Learning new cultural norms, expectations and social practices
- Applying for a Social Security card, completing employment applications
- Studying for high school GED testing, considering higher educational levels
- Preparing for job interviews, finding a residence, acquiring home furnishings
- Opening bank accounts and understanding practical financial management practices
3. Expand MAP all over North America
Since the establishment of MAP in February of 2000, the founders have traveled throughout the United States, presenting the ministry to local churches. The goal of MAP is to pass the burden on to others so that they, too, can help reach Amish people throughout the US and Canada.
For a more complete summary of the various ministries of MAP, please click HERE
The MAP offices are located in a 3,600 sq. ft. building, situated behind Bethel Baptist Church in Savannah OH. It is from this office building that several staff members and about 30 volunteers work out of. Since the MAP ministry is not involved with a mission's agency, they have established a 8-member board that is over the entire ministry. This board is made up of local pastors, former Amish, and close friends, who meet a minimum of eight times a year.
Note: If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to know more about the various types of presentations we do at churches, please click here.