July 2015 MAP Update
| P.O. Box 128 | 575 US Highway 250 | Savannah OH 44874 | Office: (419) 962-1515|
In This Issue
|Bible Club - Volunteering Joyfully (By: Linda Echelberger and Tina Duffield)|
Several years ago, our Adult Bible Fellowship (Sunday school) class at our church in Ashland, Ohio, decided to support MAP. That morning, as we learned more about Mission to Amish People and the Bible Club, I felt a stirring in my heart that this is where I was supposed to serve.
What a blessing it has been to see the Bible Club students begin to understand that it is all about Jesus and not about keeping rules or how to dress. I hope to be able to serve here as long as the Lord allows. —Linda
Tina adds: It is a great joy to have Linda helping us. She is always willing to do whatever we need her to do, and she does it joyfully! We hope that Linda continues to help us and make us all smile for many more years!
Tina continues: I wanted to give an update on the Bible Club. Every year, we have a promotion to encourage the students to faithfully do their lessons. Prizes are a good incentive for encouragement.
In January, we started the “Ardent Andrew Promotion.” Ardent means intensely devoted or enthusiastic. Andrew was one of Jesus’ disciples who brought others to Jesus. We wanted our students to be enthusiastic about sending in new names and earning a prize, and then we would be able to send the new names a Bible lesson. We are pleased with how successful the promotion has been. We have received close to 6,000 new names and over 1,600 names that were already students, but just needed to get back into their lessons.
Bible lessons were sent to all of these children, and 1,548 of our students earned a prize. They have done well!!! The total cost for our promotion has been $4,650, and we still have a month to go. The Bible lessons that we send out are very clear in presenting the Gospel and in teaching the truth of the Bible, so the more our students do their lessons, the more of God’s word they are getting. Keep up the good work, Bible Club students!!!!
|Quitting My Job So I Could Work (By: Esther Keim)|
As of April 30th, I no longer work a full-time job. There were days and weeks when I just got too overwhelmed trying to keep up with traveling, prayer meetings, Bible studies, weddings, conferences, housing guests, etc.
After working full-time for the past ten years plus trying to do ministry, I finally came to the point where I realized I could no longer keep up with everything. Getting older doesn’t help, either!
God gave me complete peace about letting go of all the benefits and extra income. Even though I do have a part-time job, it is a lot more flexible and less demanding time-wise.
I have been able to travel with Joe for a five-day mission conference and a three-day weekend, plus many weekday meetings and evening counseling sessions in this first month away from my previous job. I have also helped the two girls who are staying with us with many of their needs. Neither one has a car or a driver’s license. I have been helping them with jobs, setting up bank accounts, shopping, and more, and I am so thankful for my adopted dad (Jerry Gess) and several others in helping out with transportation as well. One girl works second shift; the other works third shift. They both work at Liqui-Box, my former place of employment, which is a small factory in town that makes bags to hold liquids.
I am looking forward to seeing all that God has in store for the future, as I claim His promise in Philippians 4:19: My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
|Samuel, Benjamin, And Prison Ministry (By: Jonas Yoder)|
Hey folks! Warm weather is once again upon us here in Kentucky, making a great time for summer picnics and family vacations! Speaking of which, we recently had the opportunity to attend a family reunion of my Dad’s brothers and sisters, many of whom I had not seen for 15-20 years. Those attending were mostly Mennonite who had left the Amish many years ago. Many of them are involved in various missions, including prison ministry and foreign missions. We had a great time of fellowship and watering of family roots! Unfortunately, my Amish aunts and uncles (including my parents and siblings) did not attend.
A highlight in the past month was hosting Samuel and Polly Girod and their family for a Sunday night. Many of you may know who they are, as Samuel is one of the young men who left the Amish and got saved in Joe’s office several years ago. They attended church with us Sunday night and met Benjamin Yoder, a young former Amish man who is staying in our apartment. As Amish often can, they soon made connections through people they both knew in the past, which ended up with an evening at our house with food and fellowship. The main topic of discussion was salvation through faith alone in Jesus. As we discussed it at length, Benjamin came under conviction that he had never fully trusted Jesus alone as his Savior. Right before midnight, he cried out to God for forgiveness and believed in Jesus as his Savior. Surely the angels in heaven rejoiced as another soul was added to the kingdom of God!
On June 6th we had our Returning Hearts celebration at one of the men’s prisons where we had the privilege of bringing about 20 children to see their incarcerated fathers who have spent the last several months reconnecting with their children and families through letter writing and prayer. What an awesome experience to see fathers reconciling with their children. One father got saved during the event, and another got to spend the day reconnecting and sharing Jesus with his eight-year old daughter whom he hadn’t seen in four years. We were blessed to have here for the event a group of ten volunteers from my sister’s church in Tennessee.
I have come to realize that I need more space for my office. My current office is in our apartment, which is quite limited in space and does not allow for much privacy. A 12 x 20 portable building is currently under construction for my new office. Also, our apartment is not fully trimmed and finished. I am able to keep costs to a minimum by doing much of the labor myself, with the help of my boys. Approximately $5000 is needed to complete these projects. I would like to ask you to consider praying about giving financially to complete these projects.
Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support. We would not be able to accomplish what we do without you!
—Sincerely, The Yoders
|Amish Church Buildings (By: Joe Keim)|
Most Amish church services are held in homes or barns, depending on the time of year. That’s because the Amish believe it’s worldly to meet in church houses like the rest of the world does. However, in Somerset County, PA, those traditions and beliefs are not the case. Recently, while participating in a mission’s conference, Esther and I visited some Amish in that area and were amazed to find three plain looking church houses scattered throughout the community. While there, we learned some interesting facts:
Like some other Amish communities in the U.S., Somerset County deals with a higher-then-normal rate of physically and mentally disabled children. Why? Because of too many cousin marriages. The bottom picture shows two schoolhouses right next to each other. The smaller one in the background is used for disabled children; the bigger one up front is used for all others.
While in the area, it became quite obvious that the large community of Amish in Somerset County, PA are very religious. Members of the church follow a long church list of do’s and don’ts that govern every area of their lifestyle. This list of do’s and don’ts clouds over the simple message of Jesus Christ that one must be born of the Spirit.
Please pray for the non-Amish believers in the area who have a burden to reach this entire community of Amish with the gospel. Later this year, we plan on sending Bible lessons and the Amish Voice to each family. And as always, it is not our desire to pull Amish away from their community. It is, however, our undying passion to reach every child and adult with the gospel, and then disciple them in the Word of God. Please pray!