July 2016 MAP Update
| P.O. Box 128 | 575 US Highway 250 | Savannah OH 44874 | Office: (419) 962-1515|
In This Issue
|Five Day Ministry in Wisconsin, By Joe Keim|
Esther and I recently spent five days in Wisconsin. During that time, we met with several Amish and former Amish families and spoke in five churches. I evidently ate too many Wisconsin cheese curds; the day after we got home, I landed in the hospital for a week because of a second gallbladder attack.
Several days after returning home. We received a letter from one of the Amish families we visited: I want to apologize for letting you come into our house. We should have warned you where you stand. When you were baptized, you promised before God and the [Amish] church that you will help with the ordnung, and help vote and work until your death. Now you look and live like the world. There is still time, while you live, to come back and make peace with the church you left. There is a day of judgment coming. I so hope I can live up to what I promised and what my parents taught me with God’s help to my death.
About nine months ago, my good friend and a faithful supporter of MAP, Benjamin Szumskyj from Australia, asked: “What do the Amish believe about the doctrines of the faith?” I responded that they don’t really have a written statement of faith, but instead, many follow a list of man-made rules. Eventually, our conversation blossomed into nine people getting involved, each writing out a doctrine of the faith. The result will probably end up being a book titled, What Do Amish Believe? Each chapter is very focused and written to the Amish. The book is about 75% complete and should go to the publisher later this year.
Housing and Store Update
I would like to thank everyone who voted for their favorite names for the housing and store ministries. For the housing ministry you chose New Beginnings, and for the store you chose Beyond Measure. Since Beyond Measure was already used in Ohio, we added Market. We love the names and are excited that you played such a huge role in the naming process.
The building process has been very slow—much slower than I had imagined. Since our last update, we have received an additional $4,146 for housing, which brings us to a grand total of $160,760. We still need $92,455 to reach our goal. The store is being funded by investors. Thus far, investors have committed $200,000.
A Home to Three Amish Boys
This year, Esther and I opened our home to three Amish boys who left and needed a place to live. Steven came to us from MI. The day after he arrived, he had a job working for PJ Construction. Since then, he has come a long way and is making preparations to rent his own apartment.
On May 7, Sam came to live with us after falling off a roof and being in a coma for several weeks. His Amish father and oldest brother are in prison for incest and robbing Amish homes. Since his mother has had a few breakdowns, the police department and social services have placed two of Sam’s sisters with us in our home on two different occasions.
Next there was Mahlon who started contacting me on Facebook months before he left. On May 22, Steven drove to Ulysses, PA to pick Mahlon up. When Mahlon arrived at our house on Sunday morning, he had nothing but the clothes on his back. I gave him $100 so he could buy some clothes to go to work in the morning. Since then, we have been able to get Mahlon’s birth certificate and are in the process of getting a driver’s license and truck for him.
The last thing I do before going to bed each night is write out a devotional for the boys when they wake in the morning. We have been going through the book of Ephesians, a few verses at a time. Pray that God’s word would take root in their lives and bloom with eternal fruit.
Speaking Schedule and Conferences
Since January, Esther and I have had the privilege of speaking at fifteen churches in OH, KY, and WI. We also participated in a two-day Amish Awareness Conference and spoke to a group of health care professionals. On every occasion, we shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have nine more churches scheduled for the year.
A second Amish Awareness Conference is planned for October 14-15 at Lancaster Bible College in PA. Since seating is limited to 115, we are asking people to register early. Our website (AmishAwareness.com) is all set and ready for you to register. This would be a great time for you to do a mini-vacation in Lancaster, PA while enjoying the conference. 2017 conferences are being considered for OH, MO, and WI.
We are amazed and excited to see all that the Lord is doing through these conferences. Since our KY conference in March, three attending families have traveled to MAP to discuss how they can get involved in a ministry to Amish.
First: Abner Zook (former Amish) traveled all night from PA to discuss ways in which he could become more involved in the mailing ministry. He and his whole family have, at their own expense, been sending large amounts of resources out to all the Amish in their area. The Zook family would like to oversee a mailing ministry to all the Lancaster-type Amish. In May, their postage and publishing costs exceeded $1,000. If you have a heart for the Lancaster Amish settlements and want to get involved or help the Zooks with postage costs, let us know.
Second: Jeptha and Fannie Yoder (former Amish) traveled all the way from IL to talk about their burden to partner with MAP as house parents for the New Beginnings housing ministry. They are also interested in training for counseling and helping run the Beyond Measure Market. This is a big and scary move for the Yoders and their two children. They covet your prayers as the Lord unfolds His eternal plan before all of us.
Third: Carl and Amber Lewis (non-Amish) traveled all the way from MO to discuss their burden to reach out to the Amish in their home area and surrounding communities. Amber writes: We've talked with our pastor a lot about our hearts, and he fully supports and backs us doing ministry to the Amish. We are meeting with our church's mission board this coming Sunday. We can't wait to visit you and discuss our next steps. We are still seeking clarity from God on a few things, but I really feel like He's opening doors.
—God’s best to you, the Keims
|Adding on for the Kingdom of God, By Jonas Yoder|
It is time for our mid-year update. The Amish Awareness Conference in Kentucky was a big success, and many who attended (including two Amish couples) expressed a desire to reach their local communities with the gospel. Many went home with a new vision and zeal for ministering to the lost.
I wanted to reach out more to my own parents and family. My dad has been battling prostate cancer for the last year. He is becoming weaker and has had to retire from being a bishop. I have visited my parents several times trying to reconnect with them and share my testimony. Pray for my parents, that they would soon see the light of Jesus.
We are currently helping Leanna, a young Amish lady who has recently been saved and has left her community. Pray for her, as she is trying to adjust to “English” life, but still needs a Social Security number, driver’s license, a place to stay, and more. Also recently, we were contacted by Sara, a Hutterite from Montana. She, along with her brother (who believes that he is called by God to preach) and a couple cousins, has recently been saved. They have been witnessing to others and need help adjusting to life outside the Hutterite colony.
We have recently acquired a small piece of property with a building on it that is well-situated for a farmers market. We hope to develop it to be able to offer an outlet for local Amish to sell their excess produce, which will in turn give us a platform to work with and develop relations with our local communities, in addition to having immediate job availability for these young people who have left their communities, until they are able to acquire the necessary paperwork to be able to get a regular job.
In 2007, our family of six moved from MO to a two-bedroom house in KY. Five children later, our nice house is bursting at the seams! Two of our boys are sleeping in an apartment in the upstairs of the barn, but we hope to use that apartment for housing for young people who leave their culture and community behind and need a temporary place to get established and adjusted.
In the past year it has become quite evident that it's time to think about how we can add more space to our home. As we were praying about our need for more space and lack of finances, our pastor received a phone call from a group of Christians in Louisiana looking for a place where they could bring a mission team for two weeks to build something! We had the mission team here the first two weeks in June. They built much of a 2,400 square foot addition which includes four bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room, and a new kitchen. There is still much to be done to get it finished, but they were truly a blessing from the Lord.
Our church has been very supportive and given generously toward the project. I am able to do much of the work myself and also have others who want to volunteer time on the project, which saves a lot of money on labor. Another $25-30,000 dollars for materials will be needed to complete the house and apartment.
Until next time, may the Lord find us faithful in his Kingdom.
|Cornmeal Mush, By Samuel Girod|
The year is half gone, and we have much for which to be thankful. We are working toward the goals we set for ourselves this year. We continue to grow in Christ. My wife, Polly, and I have devotions and study the word of God together every morning. I have finished the first three of ten Bible courses I hope to complete. We have presented MAP Ministry in eleven churches so far this year, and we plan to go to Tennessee this month for more missionary training.
Polly is pregnant with our fourth child—due on September 10 (my grandfather’s birthday!). As you can tell, we have been very busy and want to thank you for your continued prayers and support.
The recent Amish Awareness conference was a great success, and many people are burdened for, praying for, and reaching out to the Amish people. In April, our family attended a missions conference in Croswell, MI. We stayed with Bob and Sherry Wagner and family. There are many Amish in the area, and we were excited and grateful to hear that Bob’s sister, Charlotte, often witnesses to them. While there, we had something for breakfast that I had not eaten since I had left the Amish, and it brought back many memories from my mother making it as I was growing up—cornmeal mush! As soon as we got back home, we bought some, and we all—even our children—love it!
In May, our children got a virus and our daughter, Loretta was in the hospital for two days. In June, our family attended a New Order Amish wedding (Polly’s cousin, Rebecca) in Michigan, and while we were there, a born-again Amish man asked me to come and preach in his church in Middlebury, IN. We had been planning to visit Stephen Schmidt and some other friends in Goshen, so we went to the Amish man’s church, where I and a friend preached. We had church in a garage, and we sat on benches like we did when we were growing up Amish. While there, we visited Polly’s grandmother (whom Polly had not seen in five years), and also visited some of Polly’s uncles, aunts, and cousins.
We also saw Joseph and Stacie Graber at Polly’s cousin’s wedding. The Grabers are the ones producing the documentary film called Breaking the Silence about the Graber family and Amish history and heritage. I had the opportunity to preview the movie, and I have to say it’s the real deal. The movie should be ready soon, but Joseph Graber would like us to pray for God’s will that a television network will be found that will show the film.
I would like to request prayers for us as well. Pray that our Amish families get a change of heart and believe the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that more people and churches would allow us to come and share our burden. Contact us if you would like to pray for us, support us, or have us present MAP Ministry in your church.
Until Next time, God bless.
|I'm Glad I Came, By Jane Copas|
After retiring from a fast-paced office environment, I enjoyed about 18 months of staying home and doing whatever I wanted. Last September, though, our church bulletin contained an insert about an open house at MAP Ministry and a call for volunteers. My husband suggested that this might be something I could do, and I wanted to help others, so I went to the open house. I learned that this was a very busy place, sending out thousands of Bible lessons a month to over 40 states.
I was anxious to volunteer. Tina told me that whatever hours I could work would be appreciated, so I have been here ever since. I expected to be stuffing envelopes, and there is plenty of that to be done, but primarily I grade lessons. I have a part in teaching the Bible to children again, and I don’t have to use my voice. There is nothing more important than teaching the Bible to those who want to learn.
Ninety-five percent of the lessons are from children ages 4-18, but there are also adult students. The prayer requests, comments, and pictures children send us can be heart-breaking, encouraging, and even entertaining, such as the little girl who drew herself going out to milk the cows.
Most volunteers help out wherever they are needed on any given day, so in addition to grading lessons, I also input computer data, put prizes together, stamp lessons and envelopes, and yes, stuff envelopes!
It is great to be part of this ministry, sowing seeds for eternity. So far this year, we have received over 100 salvation testimonies from our students, and have send out over 31,000 Bible lessons! An added bonus to volunteering is having the opportunity to work with so many interesting, inspiring, and fun people. Every day is an adventure.
— Jane Kopas
|Beyond Measure Market, By Rene' Budd|
When asked to help gather information for the bulk food store, I was both excited and nervous. I have eight years of experience in managing a store that was already built, but that is not the same as trying to gather information to help plan and start a bulk food store. This has been both a learning and growing experience.
We have spent many hours traveling to different bulk food stores, speaking with vendors, and collecting needed information to try to come up with an estimated cost regarding the expenses and necessities regarding the daily operations of a store like the one we are planning.
While collecting this information, I became even more excited when thinking about working with some of these young former Amish ladies, nurturing them as they transition into the English community. It is more than just helping them learn the job, understand the product, and know how to act and be social in the work place—it is also about helping the girls realize that we are here to help them grow spiritually and fulfill their needs while they learn strong Biblical and social values.
As children of God, we are here to help others. What better way to help these former Amish transition, than to give them a place to feel needed, to be fed (spiritually and physically), and to be taken in, while giving them a sense of independence that they need? A lot of prayer has gone into this, and if it is God’s will, we will continue to move forward.
— Rene’ Budd