July 2017 MAP Update
| P.O. Box 128 | 575 US Highway 250 | Savannah OH 44874 | Office: (419) 962-1515|
|Personal Greetings and Updates, By Joe Keim|
Our little family continues to grow and expand. David and Rachel (Keim) Garwood had a little boy whom we now know as Jack. The little fellow is doing well, and so are the parents and little Miss Lily. Esther and I are always coming up with innovative ways to fill in as Grampy and Grammy. On the other hand, our son, Jonathan, was introduced to a gal named Havilah; they fell in love, got engaged and are planning a fall wedding.
Since January, Esther and I have traveled to various parts of the country and spoken in 15 churches. This month, we are traveling to Columbia, MO, to do a ministry update. While in Columbia, we plan on spending some extra time with Vernon and Felicia Schlabach, who have been working on establishing a ministry to the Amish in the Midwest. During our seven-day trip, we are scheduled to meet up with a lengthy list of Amish, former Amish, and donors.
The Amish are Calling MAP
Paul Miller, who serves on staff, recently found an Amish phone directory that lists thousands of Amish households and businesses across the US. This helps explain why the ministry is constantly receiving calls from Amish people who are seeking help from someone outside their own community. To help you understand why an Amish person would reach beyond their own community, here are a couple examples:
Missouri: Hi, my name is Henry. I’m one of three Amish men in our community who has been put in charge of caring for a mother and her 11 children. The husband/father, who poisoned his first wife to death, is serving a 25-year prison sentence.
For us to visit the father in prison, the state required photo IDs, which has always gone against Amish beliefs in our community. However, after several meetings, we convinced the state to give us photoless IDs. For a while we could visit the father in prison, but then other Amish communities began to threaten us: “If you don’t take those photoless IDs back and have the state wipe them off their computer system, we will sever our fellowship with you. This lead to many more meetings between Amish communities, and finally we took our IDs back and had them removed from the system.”
Like so many others who are pressured to live under the rules of the church, Henry, age 48, had enough and wanted to leave the Amish. The only problem was that his wife was not on board. For those reasons, Henry picked the phone up and cried out for help. I encouraged Henry to study 1 Cor. 7:12-16 and set aside the fact that he was Amish and living under the law; he needed to concentrate first on his relationships with the Lord and his wife. With that, we sent Henry and his wife resources to begin building on these two relationships. While in Columbia this month, Esther and I plan on visiting Henry and his family.
Indiana: Hi. My name is Polly. My husband I live in a very conservative Amish community where the gospel is not preached. Through a series of events, my husband and I heard the gospel and got born again. After openly sharing the gospel with others in the community and getting caught doing Bible studies, the church excommunicated us. Even our own siblings cut us out of the family circle letter and have turned their backs on us. My husband and I listen to all your sermons on the phone lines and have been helped immensely. Can you send us other resources that will help us better know who we are in Christ and how we can minister to our family and church friends? Polly believes they are missionaries within their own culture.
Former Amish Cemetery
The Amish have their own fenced-in cemeteries, normally located on someone’s farm. When someone passes away, the body is taken to a local funeral home for embalmment and then returned to family members within a day. For the next two days, the Amish will sit by the deceased body day and night until burial is over. The total cost for a coffin and rough box is $500.
As more and more Amish leave their communities and move into our area, some of us have felt the need to start our own Amish-style cemetery and buy Amish-made coffins to save on funeral costs. In June, about twenty of us met at William and Jenica Keim’s place to further discuss and share ideas with others who left the Amish. Five people agreed to serve on a committee and do some further research and development. We did learn from an Amish coffin maker in Holmes County that he would be willing to sell us coffins and rough boxes for the same cost he charges others in the community.
A Used Van for MAP
We would like to publicly thank Ohio Women for Missions for their $11,000 gift to help MAP buy a van for the ministry. They worked very hard all year to raise the funds. In May, Esther and I were invited to Fostoria, OH, where these women excitedly handed the check to us in person. Our hearts are running over with gratitude and humbleness. The van will be used to help taxi the former Amish. It will also be used for other activities related to ministry travel. Thank you, Ohio Women for Missions, for your sacrificial gift.
Beyond Measure and New Beginnings
It’s finally happening! On June 6, Dirt Dawg began moving dirt and preparing the grounds for the bulk food and housing ministry. After three long years of planning and sometimes wondering if it would ever happen, we are finally seeing the vision of our board, donors, investors and prayer warriors unfold and become a reality. Many times, people have had to remind me that good things don’t come easily. Surely, that has been the case in this endeavor.
New Beginnings: 67 individuals and churches have helped us reach 72 percent of $350,000. Unless we are asked not to, we have continually added the names of each donor to the Legacy Wall.
Beyond Measure: 18 investors have pledged a total of 77.6 percent to help build the 6,000-sq. ft. bulk food store. To learn more how you can become an investor and help fill in the remaining gap, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (419) 651-6813. Maybe you are unable to help, but you know of someone else who could. Follow along as we build: /ways-we-serve/watch-us-build
Sharing Our House with Others
At the end of May, John and Noah moved out of our house and got their own apartment. Esther and I were both feeling good about the fact that no one was asking to move in. Five days later, we received a call from Emanuel, asking if he could move in. A day later, Daniel called and asked if he could move in, too. With that, we sat down with both young men and covered the guidelines of living at our house. They both signed the agreement and moved in. Emanuel is from MO and Daniel is from NY.
In addition to housing young people, we have also shared our time and house with friends and donors from PA, MO, CA, WV and OH. Esther does an excellent job making all people feel at home, and she likes to cook meals. We appreciate all the individuals and churches who come by for tours of the ministry. There’s nothing like seeing firsthand what is happening in little old Savannah, OH. You have a special invitation to come and take a tour. Just know this: Tina Duffield will do her best to put you to work when you come.
— Joe and Esther Keim
|Drywall and Direction, By Jonas Yoder|
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The hot humid summer of Kentucky is upon us! We have had unusually beautiful weather so far, but it is becoming evident that it will not always be so.
We were blessed once more with the mission team from south Louisiana coming this past week to help us on our house. They were able to get all the drywall hung on the ceilings and most of the walls. Quite a bit of mudding was done on several of the bedrooms. There is still much to be done, but it is exciting to think that we will soon be able to spread out and have enough bedrooms in the house for all the kids.
We are hoping to get several bedrooms done in the next couple weeks so the mission apartment can be used for its intended purpose. I am currently in contact with a young person needing a place to stay in the near future. I hope to be able to share more details next time.
I am currently on a two-month sabbatical with the prison and Job Corps ministry. I needed some time to step back for a while and reevaluate my time. It is easy to get extremely busy and miss the important things in life. I covet your prayers for clear direction for the future. It has been a good time of spending quality time with my family and being able to make some progress on our house addition as well. My prayer is that I can allow God to use me to the fullest, but that I would not neglect my family in the process.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we endeavor to fulfill the great commission.
—Jonas and Mary Yoder
|Bible Club Update, By Tina Duffield|
Our 2017 Bible Club promotion is going well. We have received 6,994 new names and sent Bible lessons to those children. We still have a box full of new names that we are working on. If you would like to volunteer some time and help us reach these children with the Bible lessons, let me know. We could sure use your help!
We have sent out 3,992 prizes to 2009 students who have reached a certain number of lessons completed. We have sent out a total of 42,500 Bible lessons so far this year. All of this, of course, is to lead children to Jesus. We are glad to report that we have received 121 salvation testimonies from our students so far this year!
Sponsor one or multiple students for one year.
We are thankful to all of you who pray, give, and volunteer with us.
We recently had a great group of volunteers join us for part of a day. Seventeen 5th graders and five adults from the Bible Center Church in Charleston, West Virginia, came to visit us. They toured the MAP building and helped us tape newsletters. Then they were headed on to Akron to work on a couple other mission projects. Thank you, Pastor Thompson and Bible Center Church for training your young people about the importance of missions!
—Tina Duffield, Staff
|Aspire to Succeed, By Rachel Arnold|
Fifteen individuals have enrolled in our GED program during the past year. Eight of those students are about halfway through the GED program, and we want to congratulate the seven who recently completed the program and earned their GEDs. Those seven students recently attended a graduation ceremony, where the theme of the evening was about setting obtainable goals. All of our graduates this year put in a lot of study hours and hard work. The journey was not easy. There were times when many wanted to give up, but each individual pushed past these obstacles and worked hard to recover.
I am proud to introduce you to the class of 2017. Enos and Rachel Miller worked tirelessly through the year. Enos had a goal of becoming a fireman/EMT; not only did he achieve his GED goals, but he also completed EMT training. Enos’s brother, Emery Miller, Jerry Schrock and his brother, Levi Schrock, and Jeremiah Sacramone also earned their GEDs and are now either currently involved in their local fire departments or working toward that goal. Kathy Burkholder is a wonderful lady who came to MAP with her family. She wanted her GED so that she could homeschool her children. She achieved her goal and is now challenging her children to strive for their own goals! Allison Furin is a wonderful mother who wanted to finish her high school journey. She needed to get her GED by Christmas because she was moving. She worked hard and achieved this goal.
Although many individuals come to us with dreams of getting their GED, we want to help in any way we can. One of the main purposes of the ASPIRE program (formerly known as ABLE) is career training. The workforce is not just about having a high school diploma or a GED, but is also about how prepared someone is to work in the job field. The ASPIRE program can help students prepare for interviews, resume writing, and computer skills, and even help with career training.
—Rachel Arnold, Teacher
|No Vacancies; or, There is Room in the Inn, By Paul Miller|
Most of the ministry at MAP occurs outside the MAP offices. I only see a little bit of what goes on during weekends, nights, in homes, etc. How many of you enjoy when family or friends show up with little advance notice and want you to provide food and lodging for them? How would you like if strangers did the same? How many of us would be willing to let them in? That would take a decent amount of wisdom, hospitality, and courage, and a whole lot of patience and love.
For the past fifteen or twenty years, Joe and Esther Keim have experienced random visits from total strangers who ask them to feed them, take them places, let them stay in their house, and much more. Sometimes these Amish/former Amish show up with little or no warning. Usually, they have no idea how long they will stay. Often, after receiving love and help, they suddenly return to the Amish or spurn the Keims’ hospitality and guidelines in order to live a wild life (and then often ask them for help again when they get into trouble). There are some other kind and caring people who help in this area by providing transportation, temporary housing, temporary jobs, etc., but this is a difficult kind of ministry that takes a special kind of person.
Below is a very recent series of texts between Joe Keim and a young Amish man. When I read the conversation, I thought it would be good to share in the MAP Update to show part of what goes on in just another typical day in the life of Joe Keim. As you read, remember that Joe did not know the man. What would you do if a stranger called you and asked if he could stay with you? Below is the entire initial text message conversation.
Hey I’m thinking bout leaving the Amish, but I need a job first.
Where are you from?
What's your name, and how old are you?
Freddie Miller n I am 21.
Why do you want to leave the Amish?
I've been wanting to. I’ve left before.
Do you have a birth certificate and Social Security number?
U bet. I have my learner's permit.
What kind of work are you wanting to get involved in?
Lol! Anything I can get into.
How much experience do you have in construction?
Three years, give or take.
I have a brother that's looking for a worker. How would you get to Ashland?
I can get there. That's no problem.
I'm guessing you are looking for a place to live?
When would you be arriving?
I was thinking in a few weeks.
Probably the best thing then is to wait and see how things go for you. We already have two others living with us, but might be able to take in one more. Let me know if you want the job with my brother.
Ok bro, I will.
Have a good day!
Often there is not room to house everyone who needs a place to stay. That is one reason why the New Beginnings apartments will be so helpful. Continue to pray for Joe and Esther and MAP, and thank you for your continued giving and for all that you do. —Paul Miller, Staff
P.S. Freddie Miller suddenly decided to leave the Amish the next day.
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