Tuesday, October 4, 2016


As Elmer says, I have a question for you, but I am going to leave it to the end.

Being a Bishop is a hard time and you need a rest now and again.  Also being that Bishop Joseph's Old Order Mennonite group and our Old Order Amish are so close, we know a lot about each others activities and in general what goes on.  We have done a lot of barn raisings together, food distribution, helping folks and more.  Also, we have had dinners, fishing and hunting, and more.
So when I hear a complaint about Bishop Joseph or he hears one about me, we see that the other knows about it.

Now, I know in every group that there are some people that don't like their Bishop.  Some people say I am too easy.  Others say I am to strict.  Some say, we should have an older Bishop to which I answer, I am getting there.  Some, especially the young folks, say we should have a younger Bishop that understands them better.  So, I figure Bishop Joseph gets the same thing I do.  You can't please everyone.

Some were saying that Bishop Joseph wasn't the way he use to be.  He was stricter.  He didn't laugh like he use to.  He takes things to serious.  Even the little things seem to upset him.  In general, he was not the same as he use to be.

Now my reply was, when one becomes a Bishop, he has a lot more on his shoulders than he had before be became Bishop.  You have all the people in Amish or Old Order Mennonite to take care of.  Not just church wise on Sundays, but throughout the week, too.  It is sometimes hard to keep on people that need help or advice or whatever.  Plus, that we have to do our farms, take care of our personal families and ourselves.  Sometimes we get into such work helping others, we get behind with our own families.  I am sure Emma and my children can a test to that.

So anyway, Emma and I invited Martha and Joseph to our house for dinner.  We talked about farming, the weather, church and alike.  After dinner, Joseph asked why he was there.  He said he knew something was up. So I explained some rumors that I had heard.  Then I asked him, when he and Martha had a vacation.

He started telling me about the family weddings they had been too and funerals.  He and Martha had been on mission work.  He went on and on.  Finally, I stopped him and said a vacation.  Just you and Martha, going some place just the two of you.  Getting away from church problems, family problems, the children, farm problems and everything else.  He and Martha just looked at each other.  Then he came up with several reasons while they couldn't go on vacation.  Who would take care of the church.? His deacons.  Who would take care of his children? Kevin and Bridget.  For every excuse he had, I had an answer.

Finally, I told him, we must do the work of the Lord, but we must also rest.  I learned the same way he is learning.  We can not properly do the work of the Lord, if we are tired.  Maybe not physically tired, but mentally tired - religious tired.  Now, I am not telling him to give up his religion or not to pray or study the Bible.  No.  He should do these things.  But he should have rest of all the things he has to do.  To stop worrying for others a little while and think of himself and Martha.  You need a rest.  When you come back, you have a new view.  Some things that seem to be heavy on you now, don't seem so bad.  Others that are serious, you are rested and can take on these with a better look out.

I explained that whether he wanted to go or not, he and Martha were going on a vacation. All expenses paid on Amtrak to Pinecraft in Florida.  Grandmother Olive and Grandfather Albert were going to stay with my parents, so he and Martha could have their cottage all to their selves.  For the two weeks that they are gone, Kevin and Bridget (their eldest son and daughter-in-law) are staying at their house and watching the rest of their children that live at home.  In case an Old Order Bishop is needed, there is one that will come.  If all else fails, they can call me, even though I am not Old Order Mennonite, I would be glad to help where I could.

He wanted to know who was paying for all this.  After it was decided that they needed a vacation, some of the people of their church donated money.  As word spread more of his people donated.  What started as traveling on a bus turned into Amtrak.   In conversation Jean happened to mention to Grandmother Olive about what they were doing.  She talked to Albert and my parents.  Grandmother called back and told them they could have their cottage.  Joseph laughed.  Martha said that is the first time she had seen him laugh in months.

How I got in on this is people thought Bishop Joseph wouldn't go if they told him, so I got the job.  I told them I wouldn't take no.  It wasn't too hard a push to get him to take it.  They had never been to Pinecraft before so now they will know what goes on there.

So Bishop Joseph and Martha are in Florida staying at Olive and Albert's cottage.  My Mom and step-father are having Olive and Albert as guests at their home.  The bad things is that they are there during hurricane season.  But I trust God will protect them.

Yes, Joseph and Martha know this is on here.  I wouldn't do it without their permission.  I also said Martha hadn't been on here for a long, long, time and I think she should put a post on when she gets back.  Hope they are enjoying my Mothers and Grandma Olives great meals.

I have asked that Marilyn not give any names when she gives me the answer to this question or maybe I should say questions.  What do you think when you see an Amish person or Old Order Mennonite person walking down the street?  How do you react?  What is the first thing that comes to your mind?  If you have never seen one of us - how do you think you would react?  Be honest.

Trust God's Wisdom,
Bishop Eli


Tom said...

As they say on an airplane...put your air mask on first and then help others around you. Good advise! I see many Amish and Mennonite folks in my travels and I think that we are all trying to do our best in this big world of ours.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Tom,

Thank you, Tom. Will see that Bishop Eli gets your message. I agree with you.


Vanssmomc said...

Grew up in Ohio and was around more Amish than Mennonite as a kid. Aside from the fact that at the time I thought they dressed so differently from us, I never gave it much thought. Some Amish men helped my uncle to rebuild his barn after a wind storm did a lot of damage. My Aunt and Uncle lived in Hiram, Ohio and there were a lot of Amish in the area. As a child I thought I was lucky not to be Amish because it seemed such a strict way to be brought up. Now mind you, my Dad was a policeman, so there were a lot of things we were not allowed to do growing up. And nowadays, I think Amish and Mennonite alike are just trying to get by, the same as the rest of us and as Tom said doing their best. Cathy in Webster

Diann Brown said...

Good morning, Marilyn,
I feel humbled when I see an Amish person. I have always said they are God's people. I admire them and their ways and wish we could all be more like them. I have an Amish friend I see periodically in Belle Center, Ohio. Great folks up there!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the hurricane will be on the east side of Florida. I live about 30 miles north of Pinecraft. It is a really nice place so I hope they are having a good time. When I see Amish and/or Mennonites I feel that they are trying to live a life closer to God then most mainstream people.

jem60 said...

When I see or meet and Amish or Mennonite Person I admire them for their simple way of life and how they life their life closer to God than most people. I react by smiling nodding my head or saying hello. The first thing that often comes to mind is how is their day going and what it would be like to live with an Amish or Mennonite family to see what it would be like.
I hope everyone stays safe in Florida.

Heritage Hall said...

One of discernment cannot help but feel humility and respect when
seeing an Amish or Mennonite community member...I hesitate to add that
there might also be a hint of envy ... for your way of life is close
to what the Lord wants for all of us and by your fruits you are known
and esteemed. Blessings.

Lily said...

I hope my thoughts are helpful.

Spending my whole life in the suburbs of Chicago, I don’t really see any Amish/Mennonite. I’ve only seen them a handful of times. I guess when you don’t see them, you can get an idealistic view of them. They are serenely simple. They are one with God. They eat the most healthiest of foods. They are the best environmentalists, since they are one with the land.

The first time I actually saw Amish in person was about 25 years ago. I was visiting a friend in Wisconsin. Down the street I saw an Amish couple getting into their buggy. The woman was having a hard time, since she was heavy. Actually, she was obese. I was shocked. It shattered my illusion of serene, healthy, slender Amish. And that’s what it is, isn’t it? This illusion of these quaint, in their own time, Amish (Mennonite).

I have read a few books on the Amish since then. It has helped me understand their way of life better. I must admit that Marilyn’s blog has helped tremendously in personalizing all of you that are friends with Marilyn, and in taking you out of the illusion of stereotypical Amish/Mennonite.

The last time I saw Mennonite (at least I think they were Mennonite, since many of the women wore dresses made with patterned material) was about a year ago when my family went to St. Louis and visited the Arch there. While these people do catch the eye since their style of clothes is not the modern type, I no longer see them through illusionary lenses. I see them for the people they are. From the grandmother with the cane, to the young women/teenagers clustered together, to the middle aged couple walking around.

Thank you Marilyn and all your friends for allowing me to see “people”. I think that sometimes that is all we need to dispel stereotypes and illusion is to get to know the people.

Sorry this is so long. I wanted to show the progression I personally made from naïve to at least somewhat informed.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I may come by a "Plain" person, I smile+say hello; and at the same time silently pray that they have received Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord as God's word says- truly born-again Christians. Since the question had to do with Amish+Mennonite, that's my way. And not only for those who are Plain, but anyone I see or meet. The world's in BIG trouble and we all need to believe on the Lord.
I'm so glad you were able to have a nice time of fellowship with Bishop Joseph and Martha. That you and he respect and love each other in the Lord is evident, and that you could talk together, reason together, and accept wise counsel. May our Lord richly bless all 4 of you! Carol
Marilyn, You certainly can let Bishop Eli know who is making this comment. I don't mind at all. And thank you for all the work you do for this blog. God bless, Carol

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Everyone,
I gave all your messages to Bishop Eli over the telephone. He really appreciated it and thanked everyone. As he requested, I did not give any names.