Please Turn to the Text
By Joe Keim
November 29, 2013
The following article shows some of what often happens in the life of Joe Keim. It tells how he and a young Amish man have been communicating by texting over several months, some of the challenges involved, and why Mission to Amish People is so much needed. Some of the names and locations have been changed for privacy reasons. The bold font contains the words of Alvin Martin, the Amish man, while the regular font shows the communication of Joe Keim.
Hey, Joe. I read those verses that you told me to read.
Thank you, Alvin. Now I have a question: according to those verses, what must happen if a person wants to see the kingdom of God?
He must be born again!
Yes. That is what God's Word clearly says. So as you stand before God now, I have to ask: are you born again?
Well, the way my dad told me, being born again means to get baptized, and I haven't yet been baptized.
You should ask your dad sometime to show you where he gets from the Bible that baptism is how a person is born again.
Is there any other way for a person to be born again? I don't know the difference because that's what I was told. :(
People come up with all kinds of different ways. Some believe you have to be baptized or go to church. Some believe you have to belong to a certain church denomination. Others believe being born again happens over a lifetime. Others believe it happens on a certain date at a certain place. It sounds like a confusing mess doesn't it?
Yes, it does. I guess I believe that if you live for God every day of your life, then you are born again. My dad wants me to join the church, and I have no desire to join the Amish church because I want to be free and serve God instead of having to be under all the Amish rules and only do what the bishop wants me to do and not so much what God wants us to do.
Thank you for sharing your desire to follow the Lord and know what He says rather than follow man-made rules. Go back to John chapter 3 and read verses 5 and 6. You will find that it talks about two births. Can you read these verses and explain how the two births are different?
Well, the way I understand it, one of the births is of water and spirit and the other is of flesh. Now I might be wrong, because I could hardly understand it.
You are mostly right. Verse 5 talks about a "water" birth and a "spirit" birth. Verse 6 confirms this when it says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." So-there is a first birth that is made of water and flesh. This birth allows you to be born into the physical world. The first birth happens at a certain time and a certain place, meaning the birth was an event, and not a long process that took three days or one week. Every year you celebrate that birth-day. The first birth also allowed you to become a Martin. You are not a Miller, because you were born into the Martin family. Now, Jesus came along and said, "Alvin, this first birth may have allowed you to enter a physical world and become a Martin, but it will not allow you enter the kingdom of heaven and become a Christian." If you want to become a Christian and enter the kingdom of heaven, you must be born again. Or you might say you have to be born a second time. The first birth was made of water and flesh but the second one is-what? The answer is in verse 6. Not flesh, but...
Spirit. Is that right?
You got it. Just like you were born into the Martin family and became a Martin, so you must be born into God's family to become a Christian. Does that make sense?
Yes, it does. Would I have a place to live if I'd come up there?
If you do leave the Amish and come to our area, I would really like to have the opportunity to mentor and work with you. I'm doing that with some others and it's been great.
Yes, that would be ok with me. Can I leave here as soon as possible?
I don't personally pick people up but might be able to connect you with others who have left the Amish.
Thanks, dad. LOL. Or that's how it seems sometimes. It's good to have someone to depend on at times like this.
I understand. I did text John about a job and place for you. As soon as he gets something together, he'll let you know.
Ok. Sounds like the most awesome thing I've heard in my life.
Note: Alvin did leave the Amish and come to our area for help; however, I (Joe) never met him in person. He was only out for one day before his dad found out where he was, and came and got him.
-Six Months Later-
Hey Joe. This is Alvin Martin from Lancaster. Don't know if you remember me or not. I'm the one that lived with Ben for a day and then went back to the Amish. How are you doing these days?
Yes, I remember you, Alvin. Always wondered what happened to you. I am doing well. What happened that you went back so quickly?
Well my dad called me and had the usual line that I'm going to go to hell for sure if I stay out in the world. It seemed like my dad might try to cause trouble for me, so I decided rather than causing Ben any trouble, I'd just go home. When I got home, they took me to a (Amish) mental facility, because they said my mind is messed up. Well, that wasn't the truth, but I got put on mental medication and they tried time and again to tell me that I'd go to hell for sure if I leave. But I found a job and I have plans to leave again next week. As you can imagine, I've been through a lot of tough situations the last few months, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions; but GOD has helped me a lot and is still helping me.
Wow! That is such a sad story, Alvin.
We have a wedding here today-our neighbor girl. We had a wedding last week, too, and there was a beer party. The older people called the police and told them to watch for us, so nobody is going to drag me there again. LOL. If I want to get a driver's license, I had better not get in trouble. I'll probably get laughed at, but so it is with the Amish youth :(
Alvin, I can honestly say, I am always impressed by how you think things through. You are a wise young man. I hope your day at the wedding goes well and you don't get laughed at. Even if you do, well then those guys really weren't your friends, anyways. Real friends care about you and your likes, and not the other way around. May the Lord give you courage to stand!
Thank you. And we all know that the Lord doesn't appreciate wild parties, anyways. I can honestly say I have only two friends down here and I went to school with them, but still they would rather party than go to church. :(
I know what you mean, Alvin. When a person gets to a certain age, he wants to make his own decisions without others telling him how to live. Sadly, many make poor choices and end up with painful scars that last a lifetime. A few would dare look ahead in life and choose wisely. You are one of those few..
Thank you, Joe. You make me feel better. Ha Ha.
Please pray for Alvin. Like so many other youth, he has limited access to the outside world, other than his phone which he hides. We are not so much concerned that he leaves the Amish as we are that he knows and accepts Jesus as his Savior and Lord.
-- Joe Keim
« Back to Articles