November 2016 MAP Update
| P.O. Box 128 | 575 US Highway 250 | Savannah OH 44874 | Office: (419) 962-1515|
In This Issue
|Housing Former Amish, By Joe Keim|
In July of 2015, Esther and I met the Yoder family—Jeptha, Fannie, Victoria and Shane—at Faith Baptist Church in Illinois. Since then, we have met a few more times in person and communicated weekly.
For several years, our Tuesday night prayer group prayed that God would send MAP house parents and someone willing to train for counseling under Healing of the Heart Ministries in Michigan. The Yoders, on the other hand, have for several years felt a need to get involved in a counseling ministry to former Amish. After two board interviews, the Yoders were welcomed to serve as house parents for New Beginnings Homestead, and are to begin counseling training in 2017.
Both MAP and the Yoders would greatly appreciate your prayers as we continue in faith, trusting that God will guide and provide.
|Amazing Grace, By Jonas Yoder|
What a great time of year! We just got back from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where we participated in the Amish Awareness Conference. It was our first time to tour beautiful Lancaster County with its rich farmland and the Amish horse and buggies constantly traveling up and down those roads. It all seemed very familiar, but also very different from the small community in central Missouri where I grew up. It brought a fresh awareness to us of the urgency to be active in reaching these precious people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the last MAP Update I wrote about Josiah, the young Hutterite man who got saved on his colony in central Montana. He and his sister, Sara, have since been able to leave their colony and are staying with an ex-Hutterite family who is helping them re-establish their lives outside the colony.
Josiah and Sara are very excited about all the new opportunities to freely study God’s word and be part of various mission efforts. Josiah and Sarah are both working on their GEDs while helping the family with their construction business and attending their host family’s weekly community Bible study.
The Lord is also moving in some great ways here in our local Amish community. A local pastor who had already been aware of the need to reach the Amish with the gospel recently contacted me. He had been the first one on the scene of a tragic accident. A buggy had been hit by a pickup truck. The buggy was wrecked, and the mother and five children were scattered all over the road and in the ditch. The mother and three of the children were seriously injured and were taken to local hospitals for treatment. Little Mose, who I believe was about 5 years old, was less fortunate, as he passed away at the scene.
Through that sad incident, the pastor was able to reach out to the community in a time of deep grief and need in a very meaningful way. He has built a very strong trust relationship with the whole community. He asked us to come and share with his church about the Amish people and ways to reach them with the gospel. The Lord then laid on his heart the idea to start a partnership with the Amish community and help them market their handcrafted items they sell at flea markets. From that, the Amazing Grace Gift Shop was recently opened.
The Lord has greatly blessed that effort already, and the Amish community is excited about how it may help them increase their sales. The store also provides many things that the Amish community will buy and use, such as dishes and other household items. Stay tuned for a longer story in an upcoming issue from the pastor and his wife about their mission effort.
Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support as we seek to serve the Lord among our Amish communities.
—Jonas Yoder and Family
|God's Grace is Sufficient, By Samuel Girod|
The Amish Awareness Conference is past and it was a great success and a blessing. Many hearts were touched. Unfortunately, we were only able to be there on the first day, because on the next day, about 50 miles farther east, there was an event to raise funds and awareness for I-cell disease. Polly and I went and met some more I-cell families and had a time of healing.
Thank you for supporting and praying for us. On September 13, Joanna Joyce Girod arrived! After our daughter was born (our first at-home birth), I immediately noticed that something did not seem right. We took her to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she was diagnosed as having the same disease as our Loretta (I-Cell disease). Though Polly and I were devastated, we know that God is in control and His grace is sufficient for us through it all.
It is such a joy for me to be a father and husband. It has been four years since I left the Amish and was gloriously saved by the grace of God. I can’t help but think back to when I was Amish and had no hope. God has truly blessed me with a wife and four children.
God and others minister to us, and we try to minister to others. Polly and I recently began having a weekly Bible study with a young newly-saved couple in our church. I had been praying that we would be able to help a young former Amish couple in the same way that Joe Keim helped me after I left the Amish. I cherish those days that we spent together learning about God and His word, in the same way that Glenn and Ida Yoder helped Polly. Pray for us as we mentor and disciple this couple.
I continue to pray for boldness and wisdom in witnessing to others, as this does not seem to come as easy to me as it does for some other people. God is helping me in this area, as I was recently able to witness to a friend of ten years, who had told me a few years ago that he did not want me to discuss politics or religion with him. Last month we were working together and God laid on my heart to share the gospel with him. I did. He listened, and I hope to continue to be a light and share what Jesus did for us every chance I get. I would like for you to pray for my friend. I hope that you are praying also for your own opportunities to tell others about the truth and love of Jesus.
We recently visited my brother, August, and his wife, Katie Ann. They had their fifth child a few months ago, whom they named Rebecca. In the Amish culture, when a baby is given the same name as another child or adult, that person gives special gifts to the baby. So, when our Rebecca heard about the new Rebecca, she was excited. Polly got something for our Rebecca to give, and we went and visited them and had a nice, but short visit. When we visit our families, my heart just cries out to God for Him to open their eyes.
I would like to ask you to pray about the following:
May God bless you,
—Samuel Girod and Family
|The MAP Board and Jerry Gess, By Joe Keim|
Esther and I appreciate those who serve on the MAP board. Not only are they spiritual leaders, but they have great business minds and offer a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. Above all, we want to honor Jerry Gess, who is stepping off the board at the end of this year. He is the only original member left and has served faithfully since our very first board meeting took place on July 28, 2000. Thank you, Jerry, for the thousands of hours you have put in MAP! Thank you for continually standing on the Word of God! We honor you and will always cherish your leadership and impact you’ve had on MAP.
|Always Learning, By Rachel Arnold|
We have been offering GED (General Educational Development) classes at MAP for almost two years now. The journey has not been easy. Through many prayers, some wonderful individuals donated some computers, and last winter we began partnering with the ABLE (Adult Basic and Literacy Education) program in Ashland, Ohio. Through this partnership, we were able to get some much-needed curriculum support, as well as some help alleviating the cost of the GED test for students.
Our classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. every week. We average six students in the classroom and five students online. Students can choose to sit in the classroom for instruction or study at home using an online program.
The GED exam costs each student $120 to take all four parts, but through the ABLE program that cost is cut to $40. We also are able to provide gas vouchers for those in need to get to and from the testing centers. On average, a former Amish student will spend eight months studying for the GED. This seems like a long time, but students are learning material in eight months that most learn in four years.
During the 2015-2016 school year, we had six students take and pass the GED exam. Three students whom I would like to highlight are former Amish and had been studying at our MAP office location. Henry Schrock, Enos Miller, and Kathy Burkholder each came to MAP with various needs, but all three wanted to earn their GED. Henry Schrock has since enrolled in college and is currently working towards his bachelor’s degree. Enos Miller is currently pursuing volunteering for the local fire department. Kathy Burkholder has used her GED to help homeschool her children. All three of these students worked hard and motivated each other.
This new school term already has proven to be a success. We currently have nine students, both in the classroom and online. If you or anyone you know wants to learn more about our GED program, please call our office at (419) 962-1515.
— Rachel Arnold, GED Teacher
|New Beginnings Housing Update|
Donations for New Beginnings Homestead project continue to come in. We want to thank the Ashland County Community Foundation for their recent $10,000 grant. Thank you, too, Lori and youth group at Liberty Bible for the $522 you guys raised. We have some of the best supporters in the world. Your generosity has brought us to $172,736 so far.
We are preparing to send information packets out to churches and individuals in the coming weeks.
This continues to be a big undertaking for all of us; however, we are fully convinced the Lord is in it. If you are in a position to get involved, we welcome you to contact us. If not, we encourage you to pray with us on a regular basis.
To request a packet, please contact me personally.
Joe Keim, Executive Director
Cell Phone: (419) 651-6813
|Beyond Measure Market Update|
In October, we sent out about one hundred packets detailing our vision and needs for Beyond Measure Market. Since the store is a for-profit entity, we are not legally allowed to receive donations; therefore, we are seeking investors. To date, individuals have committed a total of $275,000. If you did not receive a packet and are interested in the details, please let us know. We have extra packets left over.
As mentioned in previous updates, the store will help pay for the expenses of housing single Amish girls, provide a place for them to get training, and give them an opportunity to make a small income during their transition.
To request a packet for either project, please contact me personally.
In addition, I would gladly connect you with our board or attorney.
Joe Keim, Executive Director
Cell Phone: (419) 651-6813
|Amish Awareness Conference, By Joe Keim|
Another Amish Awareness Conference has come and gone, and boy, was it great. It was outstanding! For some, it was the second or third conference they attended. One single lady from China had tried to attend our Ohio conference but couldn't work out the details. This time, however, it came together for her. Not only did Dan Sheng share her salvation testimony with us, she came forward at the end of the conference and prayed over another lady that surrendered her life for Amish ministry. Later, she informed me that was the first time she ever prayed in the English language while in public.
Every one of the speakers shared with great passion and boldness. The former Amish testimonies were heart breaking. We were challenged to never give up on people, even if it seems impossible. One of the local pastors in Lancaster, Chuck Vuolo, reminded us how important it is for us to always and continually stand on Scripture as our only authority. While the unsaved and religious people often stand on multiple authorities, including man-made church rules, traditions, and opinions, we must, as Christians, fight the devil’s lies with the Living Sword.
Where do we go from here? What next? Well, it appears the Lord is already opening at least two, maybe three other areas for conferences—OH, WI, and MO. If you’re reading this and have an interest in doing an Amish Awareness Conference in your area, please let us know. We have a small booklet—Amish Awareness Conference Planning Guide—that provides all the guidelines and details of putting one on. It’s not that difficult and it’s life-changing.
— Joe Keim
|New Book Project|
We are getting very close to publishing our next new book, “What Do the Amish Believe?”
Each chapter focuses on one important biblical topic, and is essentially an Amish and Mennonite systematic theology study.
In addition, each section includes a closer look at what the Bible teaches concerning each topic, making this an informative resource for those who wish to know more about the plain people, and a helpful book for Anabaptists who wish to better understand what they themselves are being taught and believe.
Help us with publishing costs
Our first printing will cost approx. $4,000. For a donation of $25 or more, we will send you a signed copy when it comes out later this year.
|MAP Volunteers - Dick and Lois|
Many of our volunteers are retired. This picture shows Dick and Lois, who have for years been faithful. Several days a week, they would get in the car, drive the 30 minutes to MAP, and do whatever Tina asked them to do. At 89 years old, Dick would sit and stamp addresses all day long. He was a man of few words. In September, the Lord called him home. We miss him and his smiles. Pray for Lois as she continues her journey without Dick.
— Joe for the team