July 2014 Newsletter
| P.O. Box 128 | 575 US Highway 250 | Savannah OH 44874 | Office: (419) 962-1515
|Personal Greetings (Joe Keim)|
In January, each one of us shared our goals for 2014. And at this point, we’d like to give you a six-month update on how things are progressing.
We do this for several reasons. First and foremost, we would like to thank God for calling us into this ministry and than providing each one of us with the necessary gifts to do the work. Secondly, we not only love, but deeply cherish every single one of you who co-labor with us through giving and praying. It is not only our duty but desire to be accountable to you. Lastly, it helps us stay on track and focused.
So, without further ado, here is a glimpse of the 2014 halfway point:
|2014 Goals: Six Month Follow-Up (Joe Keim)|
Goal 1. Amish Awareness Conference: God tremendously blessed this event. Since then, we have received several invitations from churches to come and do an Amish Awareness conference. The following are on the calendar for 2014: (1) Awana Family Conference in Meadville, PA – September 20. (2) Hanover, IN - October 17-18. (3) Huntsburg Baptist Church in Huntsburg, OH – October 25-26. We are grateful and excited to see that several conference attenders are stepping out in faith and teaching the book, “Amish: Our Friends, But Are They Believers?” as an elective in their church this summer. Last, but far from least, former Amish Vernon Schlabach and his family are feeling led of God to enter the Amish and former Amish mission field. Vernon left the Amish and lived in our area for several years before attending a Bible college in TN. Over the years, we have talked much about the desperate need to evangelize and disciple Amish for Christ. In April, Vernon attended our conference and we prayed over him. We will keep you updated, and in the meantime, ask that you put Vernon, Felisha, and their family on your prayer list.
Goal 2: Plowman’s Academy: We currently have over 90 students. It is encouraging to see many students request the lessons for their family members and friends. It is great to hear student testimonies, too. Here is one: “These lessons have helped me so much. Thank you! One way they helped me is to understand Scriptures like I didn’t before, and I believe that is God opening my eyes.” We hope and pray that the Plowman’s Academy will continue to grow and reach many Amish teens and adults with God’s Word. — by Paul Miller
Goal 3: Amish Voice Conference Line: We continue to gather Amish, former Amish, and non-Amish together for Bible discussions on the first Sunday night of each month. Our topics this year include: Faith and Works: Outward Appearance and Mode of Baptism, Excommunication and Shunning, What Is Worldliness?, Alcoholism and Testimonies, and Premarital Sex and Homosexuality. To listen to any one of our recorded discussions, please go to MapMinistry.org/Audio/Amish-Voice-Conference-Line. You can also join us the first Sunday night of each month at 8pm EST. Dial (267) 507-0240 and enter code 409703.
Goal 4: Housing: The housing project was the heart of our board meeting in May. We prayerfully decided that we need to somewhat change our focus from building to who will run this ministry (although building funds are still needed). The truth is, if we had the housing in place today, we couldn’t go on without someone being there to oversee the ministry. So, we are drawing up a ministry description and being completely open to who God might bring our way. If you read this and feel led of God to contact us for more information, please do so. Surely, if it’s God’s will for us to put this in place, He will also call someone to oversee it.
Goal 5: Other Ministries: The Bible Club and Amish Voice continue to go out by the thousands. In return, we receive weekly testimonies from students telling us that they placed their faith in Christ. We found a new publisher for the Amish Voice who is willing to print the publication for about half the price we were paying before; at the same time, they are willing to increase our pages from 12 to 16.
Each month, we meet at Perry and Mary Ann’s storage barn for worship, testimonies, games and food. Prayer meetings continue weekly. Almost daily, we receive phone calls, text messages and emails from people all over the U.S., asking if we can help. Sometimes they are Amish, sometimes former, and sometimes English helping others.
Goal 6: Financial Support: Since January, MAP has, at times, received special one-time gifts from people who love and want to be part of the work God is doing in Amish hearts. They seem to always come at a time when needed most, and serve as a reminder that God and His people are not done. Thank you, body of Jesus Christ! You have sown, we have planted, and God is continually giving the increase.
Partner with the Keims, click here.
|2014 Goals: Six Month Follow-Up (Jonas Yoder)|
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Ps 126:6).
After a long cold winter, it is refreshing to see all the fields and gardens growing lusciously with a promise of another great harvest. Is it not amazing how we are able to plant seeds in our gardens and sit back and watch God multiply our efforts! As God does in the physical, so He does in the spiritual. He has given us the seed of the Gospel and asked us to scatter it across the whole world. He has promised that if we are faithful, He will be faithful in multiplying the seed He has given us. So I must ask myself as well as you, “Have you sown any seeds lately? Have you seen God multiplying the seed that was sown?”
The first half of another year is gone, urging us to consider how quickly this life goes by, and how dedicated we must be to work for God while we still have time. We are making progress in reaching our goals that we set for 2014. We are continuing to speak in churches when we have the opportunity, and are gradually seeing our support increase, although we still have much more to do. I am spending time with God on a regular basis and learning to love Him more every day—especially as I see His love for me. That, in turn, causes me to see His love for others, increasing my love for them, and prompting me to be more earnest every day in reaching the Amish with God’s truths.
On Saturday, April 26 we had our annual Returning Hearts day at the men’s prison at Green River Correctional Complex in Central City, KY. We had around 20-25 former Amish and Mennonites volunteering with us as we took 37 kids inside the prison to spend a day with their incarcerated fathers for a day of reconciliation. It was awesome to see God working in so many different ways in the hearts of kids, fathers, and volunteers. It is hard to describe all the good things that transpire in the hearts and lives of people on a day like that. Because of that experience, we now have several new former Mennonites volunteering at the prison with us on a weekly basis!
Our Father’s Day picnic was on June 14. We cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for 950 inmates and about 200 prison staff and volunteers. After serving them lunch, we had the opportunity to share the gospel with them. We had several former Amish and Mennonite volunteers at that event.
May God bless you and thanks for your continued prayer and financial support for this ministry.
Partner with the Yoders, click here.
|2014 Goals: Six Month Follow-Up (Melvin Schrock)|
Greetings in Jesus’ name! Here is a ministry update from Turtle Lake, WI. At the beginning of this year, we set a goal to present the ministry in 24 churches this year. Currently, we have completed twelve presentations and have six more on the schedule. I, Melvin, am still contacting more churches to continue to reach our goal.
A special thank you to all those who have allowed us the opportunity to come in and share the burden that God has given us for our people and friends, the Amish. We are also very grateful toward those who have prayed for us and stood by us financially. Our goal is to one day be able to go into full time ministry. The need is great! Contact us, if you are interested in having us come to your church and do a ministry presentation.
Partner with the Schrocks, click here.
|Father and Son Reconciliation (Joe Keim)|
There is one thing becoming clearer to me than ever before, and that is, most young men who leave the Amish do so because of a damaged or lack of relationship between father and son. This leaves young men bogged down with emotional wounds and a tremendous amount of inner pain. If not dealt with early on and properly, this painful past turns into expressive anger, bitterness and a twisted view of what real relationships should look and feel like.
While the father stands his ground back home and makes it known to the son that he is not allowed to be part of the family, the wayward son bucks all authority he comes in contact with, turns to alcohol, drugs, sex and living the party life. Far too often, it leads to court appearances, jail and on occasion prison time. For that reason, I am starting to place a greater emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation before we begin to deal with the by-products that come from negative experiences in the past.
In May, one of our young men and I took a 5-day trip that took us out through MO, IA, and WI. We met with hurting parents, a deacon and several uncles. In each case, we had decent discussions, and forgiveness was offered on both sides.
Can I ask you to join me in prayer as we wait on more sons to make the difficult decision to take that first step toward asking forgiveness and making reconciliation with their father top priority? In most cases, a real transparent relationship with God is impossible until the earthly father wounds have been taken care of.
|A Safe Place for Amish Girls to Land and Transition (Joe Keim)|
Esther and I have a passion and a calling of God to come alongside those who need a roof over their head when they first leave the Amish. Before any one can move into our home, we read over a list of 16 guidelines that are signed by those moving in.
So far this year, we’ve had five girls come to stay with us. Miriam came in from KY, Ella from southern OH, Anna and Rachel from NC, and Ashley from Holmes County. While they’re with us, we help them find jobs, get their GED, driver’s license, a car, start up bank accounts and the many other things that come up. We also try and meet with each person on a weekly basis to discuss life. These heart-to-heart discussions are mostly unwritten and fall together as they may. Most often, we end up talking about love, dating, marriage, family, goals, salvation, and forgiveness, and encouraging them to keep on keeping on.
Every now and then, someone like Anna comes along who has never had any kind of birth record. This immediately turns into a year-long process before we can move ahead with much of anything in life. Ashley, on the other hand, was born English and adopted by an Amish family at the age of nine. She has a desire to find her birth mother. Ella went back to the Amish, Miriam moved on after six months. Rachel, who joined us mid June, is also waiting on birth records before we can get a social security number. Her long term goal is to become a mid-wife.
We are thankful for Rachel Arnold, who is doing an internship with MAP, and the many others who have helped with taxi service, jobs, counseling, GED and life skills.
This is the true story of Ora-Jay and Irene Eash, Amish farmers from northwest Montana whose lives changed in an instant when a semi-truck struck the family buggy, killing their two young daughters.
After the accident, the couple turned to their Amish community for comfort, but they remained haunted by the thought that they might not see their girls again in heaven. Would their deeds be good enough?
Eventually, Ora-Jay and Irene learned that grace---not works---was enough to ensure their place in eternity. But with that knowledge came the realization that they could no longer live in an Amish community that didn’t share this precious belief.
Could they sever their connection to the Amish family they loved? This is the story of their journey to the hope that is heaven, a hope stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life. Fans of Amish fiction will appreciate such a real-life look into the Amish community, co-written by bestselling author Tricia Goyer, and readers of all kinds will resonate with this tale of courage, resilience, and the redemption found in the grace of Jesus.
To read more about Plain Faith or to order a copy of the book, click here.
|A Hard-Working Blessing (Joe Keim)|
Bill Dunn walked into our lives after retiring and asked, “What can I do for God through MAP?” That was about six years ago. Since then, he has traveled all over the U.S., presenting MAP and giving updates. He has written and received numerous grants for various office projects and served as the head building contractor when we added on in 2013. We have all seen this man go from contacting donors, bankers, pastors, business men, to moving dirt, swinging hammers, organizing volunteer teams, to sitting with tears in his eyes because another soul gave his or her heart to Jesus Christ. Bill serves as V.P. of the board and so many other leadership capacities.
You might wonder what MAP pays him? Answer: Bill doesn't accept anything. Instead, he and his wife Debbie have been huge and active donors from day one. At MAP, we know Bill Dunn as a man of God with a heart the size of the universe. Truly, Bill Dunn is a gift from God and has taken MAP to levels beyond comprehension! We love you Bill Dunn, and thank you from the depth of our hearts. Your eternal rewards will be gigantic.
— Joe Keim for the team
|Why I Wrote The Miting (Dee Yoder)|
Once I heard the stories of the former Amish, I felt a desire begin to grow to share their journey with others. I realized there was much more than was visible on the surface of being Amish, and I could sense God tugging on my heart to write about the former Amish journey; but I resisted. I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. I wanted to get their stories down accurately and with heart. I didn’t want to add to the troubles many of my former Amish friends often experienced when they simply and honestly related their struggles: rejection of their truth. After a lot of prayer, I finally began the manuscript that would be published as The Miting.
Included in the book are stories which reflect the experiences of several former Amish after they left their Amish communities. The main character, Leah, is based on three wonderful young ladies I met through prayer meetings and other events MAP hosted. Together, their personalities and traits have been blended to create a lovely and heart-warming individual. I based the characters of Matthew and Naomi Schrock on the work of Joe and Esther Keim. I tried to share the commitment and strength of the Keims in their work with the former Amish, who often need just the right kind of boost and mentorship as they grow into their new “English” skins. I especially wanted to focus on the relationship Leah Raber discovers in Jesus Christ. For all persons, Amish or English, there is no better connection to establish than the one that comes from Him.
Because of my deeply held belief that The Miting is a work of the heart—a trust the Lord has placed in my hands—I decided long ago, before the book was ever sold to a publisher, that any royalties the book accrues will be donated to MAP Ministry. My Father blesses me daily with all I need. I trust He will continue to meet those needs, and I look forward to seeing how He blesses The Miting, and in turn, MAP Ministry. You can buy the Miting from Amazon.com and at MAP.
To read more about The Miting or to order a copy of the book, Click Here.
Thank Dee Yoder for your generosity, selflessness, and heart for the Amish and former Amish, MAP Ministry, and for your service in the kingdom of God. We stand in awe!
— Joe Keim and MAP