Early this summer, I received a phone call from an Amish man.
He was telling me his sweet corn was ready and available, if I were to head down his way,
which would be a two-hour trip.
This is only the second phone call I have ever received that was initiated by an Amish person.
The first one was an invitation to a barn raising many years ago ~ an Amish family had their driver contact me.
The second was this week. From Mr. Swartzentruber. From a phone off of his property.
I had purchased this lovely bird house from him when I stopped by his farm earlier this summer.
I was no stranger to his farm, as I had bought a rat terrier pup,
born to their family "house puppy,"
back in '97 when different Amish relatives farmed there.
Young Mr. S, along with his growing family, now carry on the Amish ways ~
with furniture making and the sale of goods.
Good folks. Nice folks.
Truth is, I've been traveling these Michigan blue highways for 20+ years,
getting to know Amish families in their communities.
I've also traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Not only have I enjoyed meeting them, I have done business with them.
I've marketed Amish rockers and other goods over the years.
I've bought livestock. I have eaten at their table. Held their little ones.
Played tag with the older ones. Milked cows in their barn. Ridden in their buggies.
And of course enjoyed the culinary delights that come from the Amish kitchens.
However, lately, I've been puzzled.
Puzzled as to why folks would be quick to question or even condemn the Amish community,
based on media, or a small percentage of negative encounters or perceptions.
I've seen the Amish try to live separate.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
2 Corinthians 6:17
To be left alone, within their communities, to live a Godly life.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders
and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
It was this desire that brought them to Pennsylvania in the first place, back in 1730 - to escape persecution.
At times, they must coexist and fit into "our" world.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15
And try to stay safe while sharing the land.
As for me ... if I had to choose between "English" or "Amish," it would be Amish.
We already live "plain."
We raise our own beef, pork, chevon and lamb for consumption.
We have chickens and rabbits that provide by-products.
We are in the process of training horses for travel and work.
Someday, hoping to rid ourselves of all other modes of "mechanical" travel.
In the winter we use dog power for chores and even necessity.
We use an outhouse year 'round.
We make our own ice for storage. No fridge. No microwave. No dishwasher.
No TV. No airconditioning. No stove.
We process Maple syrup in the spring.
We know how to cook on a wood cook stove and rely on firewood for heat.
We love God and Country.
And we treasure our land beyond measure.
And the fruit it bears.
We focus on the simple pleasures and blessing they provide us each day.
It is because of these things we share in common, I admire the Amish.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.