|PO Box 128/575 State Route 250 N, Savannah OH 44874 Office: (419) 962-1515|
|Forgiveness and Reconcilliation by Joe Keim
Ever since my early teens, my dad and I have had a stressed relationship. Dad was a man of dreams and many talents, which led him to getting involved in every thing under the sun. He was known as the community blacksmith, machinist, veterinary, dentist and doctor. He also owned a 200 acre farm, wrote several books and developed a burn salve that is now in most Amish households in the US and Canada. His salve has even gotten the attention of medical doctors in various hospitals across America.
In my struggle to find acceptance from my father, I found the Lord and received him as my Savior—a love and acceptance I had seldom experienced during my growing up years.
In 1987, Esther and I clung to our Savior and left our families and Amish community behind, knowing we would never return.
During the next 25 years, dad mailed us letter after letter, reminding us that we would end up in divorce, turn our backs on God and end up in hell. We were told not to ever come home for family reunions, weddings and funerals. Five years ago, however, two of my Amish sisters invited us and three of my brothers who also left the Amish to attend a family reunion. There are only two stipulations, they said: “you have to dress in Amish clothes and park your cars a mile away from the reunion.”
As the years went by, my heart ached for one more visit with my parents before they passed away. Several months ago, I asked my brother William if he would go with me, if I drove to PA where they had moved to a few years ago.
By the time we found dad and mom’s place way out in the middle of nowhere it was already dark. Both dad and mom were out doing chores, and when we walked up to them, they wanted to know what brought us there.
It would take up a small book to tell you all that happened during the next 18 hours, but in short, here is the email I send back home to our wives, children and prayer partners:
To all: Where do I start? We just left dad and mom's house. I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome and powerful our visit was. We got there at 9pm and talked until 3:30am.
Per their invitation, we got to sleep in their house. This morning we got up and ate a big mom style breakfast; of course at a separate table. And then we continued talking until 3:30 this afternoon.
We tried to leave at least 6 times and always got called back. The last time we tried leaving, we were already in the car and dad came out and asked us to come back to the house.
While there, we hugged each other, wept on each other's shoulder until our shoulders were completely wet. We apologized and forgave each other for all the pain we caused each other. At one point, dad and I wept on each other’s shoulder so loudly that people on the outside of the house could hear us. We held on to each other and made up for 25 years of separation. Even now as I write, the tears are running down my cheeks.
Thank you all for praying, and please go see your parents every chance you have. Love them! Hug them! They love us.
During our time with them, I asked if they would allow us to pray for them. They said, “that's fine”, however, mom said, “maybe we should let dad do the praying.”
We all knelt and dad prayed without a prayer book. He prayed and wept; all of us wept too. It was one of the most powerful prayers we had ever heard dad pray.
Brother William quoted John 3:3 and asked if they are born again. To which dad and mom replied, “we can say, we have a very strong hope that we are.” As much as we wanted to hear greater assurance, we did not hear it.
At the very end, dad said, “thank you for living godly lives all these years; I give my blessings to you and your families. Please tell your wives and children that we love them.”
As we walked away for the last time and got in our car to leave, William said, “after hearing dad pray and describe the new birth, our trust in their salvation rose from 20% to 90%.” We could tell, they struggled with the idea that we were so confident of our salvation.
What more could we have asked for?
Thank you Lord for all the work you did in both our hearts during the past 25 years. We messed up thousands of times but, today, we, the Keim family, rejoice together in the Lord Jesus Christ our blessed Redeemer and Savior. All praise and glory to our King! The painful past has been forgiven; we look forward to what lies ahead.
We are so glad that we were able make things right with one another before one of us laid in a coffin and it was forever too late.
There is so much more to write, but this in a small nutshell explains how our 18 hours went with our precious and beloved parents.
—Joe and William Keim
The day after we got back from visiting our parents, I started writing a letter to dad and mom, explaining all the things that God has done in our lives. Literally, tens of thousands of lives have been touched through the MAP ministry. No, it’s not being done dad’s way. And no, it’s not being done Joe’s way. It’s being done God’s way. He alone gets the credit for all eternity.
After my letter to dad and mom reached 15,000 words, I got this crazy feeling inside: this is not a letter; it’s a book. And some day, if the Lord tarries, you might get to read about the many things God has done and continues to do through clay vessels such as us.
Note: If you Google “John Keim B&W Ointment”, you will find that dad’s ointment information is all over the internet. When we were at his house, he informed us of two other natural remedies he is working on. One removes radiation from the human body; the other helps people overcome depression.
Hello Joe, In recent times I have read articles and watched a documentary on Amish communities. My heart went out to them and I could see the desperate need for the undiluted Gospel. I searched online for missionaries who are reaching out to the Amish communities.
I came across your website and have spent time going through the various sections. I am very impressed by the work you are doing and how God is using you and your wife.
I know that in God's Work there can be many discouragements, like the 79 negative letters, so I just wanted to drop a line to say that someone from Northern Ireland found your website, and is now subscribed to your newsletter.
God Bless, Ruth
|Lydia Miller, New MAP Volunteer by Bea Kennedy
Lydia Miller, a new volunteer with MAP, received Christ as her Lord and Savior while going through one of our Bible Club courses.
She started receiving the Bible correspondence lessons when she was still Amish; her sister-in-law, Esther, sent her name in. It was during her second Bible lesson in February of 2010 that she realized that just knowing about Jesus and His death on the cross was not enough; she must make it personal by receiving Him into her life.
Now that Lydia has left the Amish church, she continues to receive the Bible Club lessons in the mail. She says, “They are encouraging, and they help me to grow spiritually.”
Since Lydia’s family owned a tarp shop, a lot of non-Amish would come by for help. One particular gentleman visited a lot, and one day, he told her about a Christian radio station and handed her a Bible in English. For the first time, she was able to understand what she read, since it was not in German.
The radio and Bible helped her to grow in her faith. Her brother, who had also become a Christian, pointed out various Bible verses and told her to look them up for herself. He would say, “It’s there for you to see.”
Lydia says that her greatest desire is to follow God’s will and to learn more about the Bible and grow in her faith. As part of that growth, she was baptized recently. Speaking to her beforehand about her baptism, Lydia was a little unsure of what to expect, but she was also excited to be taking this important step of faith.
It has now been 2-1/2 months since Lydia left her Amish community, and as she puts it, “All those rules drive you away, I guess.”
As stated before, Lydia started volunteering at the office after seeing a flyer in her church bulletin. After grading and sending out the Bible Club lessons to other Amish students, she said, “I didn’t realize so much work went into this.”
Lydia has three brothers who are no longer Amish and one brother and five sisters who are still Amish. Her next goal is to obtain her GED, and she hopes to begin studying for that in the near future.
We are quickly approaching our 3rd annual mentoring conference, which will be held at Bethel Baptist Church in Savannah OH.
Date: Saturday, October the 8th
Time: 8:30 to 1:30
Cost: $45/individual and $60/couple
The cost includes a workbook and a meal for each person.
2 Timothy 2:2 says: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
At MAP, we have always had a tremendous burden to come along side young people and walk with them through the early years of their Christian life. In our ministry, it has been proven over and over that mentoring works. Not only does mentoring make a difference in young people’s lives, it makes a difference in the lives of older Christians.
For more info, call (419) 962-1515 or go to www.MapMinistry.org.
|The Power of God by Joe Keim
MAP is often bombarded by national TV stations, asking for interviews. Most of the time, we do not give them the time of day. However, several months ago, the National Geographic (NG) started bugging us non-stop.
We kept saying no until, one day, they informed us that, Mose (sometimes known as Hollywood Mose), from Columbia MO desired to meet up with me, since he too is helping those who leave the Amish in the mid-western states. The NG went on to say how Mose was traveling with one of their film crews and making a film on Amish leaving the culture.
Note: Mose is a former Amish man who has been involved in several documentaries as well as Amish in the City, a reality show that played in 2004.
When I heard that Mose was coming along, I immediately thought, “wow! wouldn’t it be great if he came to OH, heard the gospel and got saved.”
From that moment on, many people joined in prayer, asking God to use us in giving out the gospel to Mose.
On Saturday morning, during our weekly Bible study, we began to notice that Mose was under conviction. He told us, “I have been on a journey to find fulfillment and purpose in life, but so far, I have not found it.”
Several of us began to share the immeasurable love of Christ with Mose, and all of a sudden, he put his head down on the table and began to weep. Oh, the power of God was overwhelming!
We gathered around Mose and started praying for him. Next, we led him in a prayer, asking Jesus to save him. About 15 minutes went by and finally Mose lifted his head and said, “during the prayer time, I felt a heavy load lift away from me and I feel free!”
Later that evening, Mose asked if he could come over to our house and do a Bible study on assurance of salvation. The next day, he went to church with us, and the third day he asked, “can we meet for another Bible study?” That night, we didn't get to bed until 1:30 in the morning.
Several days later, Mose and the film crew headed to WI. This morning, I received the following text from Mose: “I’m thinking and talking different. It took me several days, but I know without a doubt, I was saved by the grace of God on Saturday!”
We are working with a supporting church in Columbia, who has been more than willing to come along side Mose and his family.
All glory to God!!!
The NG film will run for ten consecutive weeks and is scheduled to come out in the spring of 2012.
|Bible Club Testimony
Dear Bible Club,
My name is C. Miller. I’m Amish. I go to C. R. School I will be in 7th grade. My family consists of 4 people. My Dad, Mom, me and my brother Ryan. I also have a pony named Sandy and a dog named Rocky.
I love your Bible Club. It has helped me understand many things. My brother likes them too. He is doing the See & Do course #1. Try to do mine the first day I get it.
The last 2 lessons you sent me made me think. I always thought I had already taken Jesus as my Savior. They helped me to understand what it really meant. I am now a true Christian, thanks to you. My birthday in Christ is July 31st, 2011.
Well I had better go now so that I can put this in the mail, so I can get a new lesson. Thanks for making my life worth living.
Love, C Miller
|Our Move To Ashland to Help With MAP by Wayne Vallowe
In late 2005 my wife Chris and I became acquainted with MAP Ministry. We lived in Elyria, OH, at the time and were traveling one hour south to Ashland three or four times a week for prayer meetings and Bible studies. This began to take a toll on us, and we decided that it was time to move to the Ashland area. I knew that this could only occur with the Lord’s help, and one day He laid out a plan to me, a five year plan, which I recorded.
We put our house in Elyria up for sale and began to look for a home. We looked at what seemed to be hundreds of properties finding many that we liked but few we could afford. At that point we took our home off the market. We had trusted God to bring a buyer for our home but that did not occur, so we began to wait on Him to show us what He wanted us to do.
I was doing my devotions one morning, reading in Genesis 12:1, where it reads, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country...unto a land that I will shew thee:”
It was as though God was speaking directly to me, “to the land I will show you (Ashland).” Then, for some reason, a few days later, I read in Joshua 3, where it says: “And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests...shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.”
It was as though the Lord was saying to me, “Prove to me, you are serious about this move and I will provide a home and a buyer for yours. Put your foot in the water!”
Now I know that sounds a little far fetched, but within 10 days of my saying “yes” and surrendering to Him, He did provide a home for us and at a lower price than we were asking.
And remember that five year plan, which was written in June of 2006? What was recorded has come about. We moved in June of 2011, exactly five years later! Our house in Elyria had been for sale for over three years. There was a lot of interest but no offers. But we knew God was in control of the entire situation, because He had been since the beginning. And as He promised, we now have a pending sale agreement on the house one month after moving to Ashland! Our prayer now is that everything will move smoothly and quickly to the closing date. To God be the Glory, now and forever!
Note from Joe: Since 2005, Wayne and Chris have been involved in leading Bible studies, participating on the board and spear heading a weekly prayer meeting. They love the former Amish and the former Amish love them. Now that they live in our area, they have already held several birthday and GED parties at their home. MAP is blessed beyond words to have them on the team. Thank you Lord!
|Amish Voice Testimony
Dear Friends, I would like to receive the Amish Voice on a regular basis.
I have known Andy Geesey for several years and support his efforts to help the Amish people. I am a 61 year old father of 10, plus grandfather of 28.
We are all involved with the revival in Lancaster County. God bless your efforts! Sincerely, S B Lapp.
Note: Andy Geesey is a full time missionary to Amish in the Lancaster area and a close partner of MAP. To view his web site, go to:
|Revival in the Land by Joe Keim
Like we have written before, baptism is a huge step for those who get saved out of the Amish. But once they understand the Scriptures and are willing to forsake all, baptism quickly becomes a desire in their heart.
At first, only Lydia (page 2) and Lena had plans on getting baptized.
After they were baptized, Pastor Jerry asked if there was anybody else that wanted to be baptized and Rudy, who has been involved in our Saturday morning Bible study, came forward, kicked his cowboy boots off and went into the pool and got baptized.
Then Pastor Jerry asked again, is there anybody else that wants to get baptized. About that time, Sam (Lena’s husband) walked toward the pool, kicked his shoes off and got baptized too.
By the time everything was over and done, six people got baptized while the Lord's people sung "Gathered at the River".
It's been a long time since I heard so much crying for joy, singing and praising the Lord going on as we did that Sunday night around the pool. Not one of us wanted it to end. It felt too much like revival and we wanted it to go on and on. Pastor Jerry (right) was so excited, he dove into the water and started swimming with neck tie and all.
At times like this, God’s people get charged up and excited, knowing that God continues to move mountains which are too difficult for man to move.
I have decided to follow Jesus
|Letter to MAP
Dear Joe, we have some exciting news for you concerning the Amish in our area. About 13 families have moved within a 3 mile radius of our home and are very involved with English people. Stuart has a repore with 10 families and their children on a weekly basis.
We are so excited to tell you that one family who recently moved near my mother, has been very curious about our faith. Stuart had to take the father to town last week and was with him in the truck for about 3 hours. It allowed for constant questions and a open door.
Stuart asked him, how do you know you are going to heaven; he answered, we don't know. We just hope so.
|Reaching Amish in Middlefield OH by Pastor Billy Holbrook
Hello, I’m Billy Holbrook. In June, 2010, I moved to Claridon, OH to pastor the New Testament Baptist Church, my third pastorate. I served in WV for two years and in IL eight years, and for three years ministered as a church evangelist in KY.
Everywhere the Lord placed me; I discovered a different challenge. Always my goal was sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ; which I’ve done through door-to-door contacts and tracts, radio programming, a newspaper and its delivery to the homes, etc. Here in Geauga County of northeast OH, is one of the largest Amish settlements in the world.
At first I was like the typical passing tourist; finding Amish lifestyle fascinating and loving the atmosphere it cultivates and encourages in our small town. While I enjoy the Amish buggies, bread, cheese, and donuts, a burden has grown in me to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. These days it’s hard for me to look at the Amish without seeing people immersed in the traditions of men, trapped by the philosophies of their captors.
I’ve had the honor of witnessing to some only to find they trust in obedience to their parents as the way to heaven. This, my friends, challenges me to reach them with truth. Many people assume that because the Amish appear religious and live a plain lifestyle, they must be right with God. However, they are sinners just as all of us. They, too, need a Savior.
As I saw the need to reach the Amish with the gospel, I began wondering what type of approach to employ. Since radio and TV ministry were out (grin), I considered the door-to-door approach. But as I began learning about the Amish, I realized how private they were and figured they may find door-knocking invasive. I became aware of the Bishops’ authority and once they found out I was door-knocking they’d forbid their members to speak to me. I prayed for a way to contact the Amish in our area and the Lord directed me to mail them the gospel of John and Romans.
I trust these gospels will be used by the Lord to reveal their great need for Him. I’m certain His Word will not return void and will accomplish all that He has purposed. We are currently stuffing envelopes with John and Romans to mail to the 2,129 Amish homes where we have addresses.
Please pray for our efforts, MAP, and the Amish - a people in enormous bondage to sin, themselves, and manmade traditions. They need someone to tell them the liberating Good News, if you don’t who will?