The following is written by ex-Amish community leader Mose Gingerich who’s featured on the new series Amish: Out of Order:
In this episode I go to Pennsylvania to help with something I haven’t done in about ten yrs: help build an Amish barn. There is a special history to the old Stoltzfus barn and residence. It was one of the very original places settled upon when the Amish first came to America in the late 1600′s and early 1700′s. The person who settled upon it, Nicholas Stoltzfus, had been kicked out of his Amish community (overseas somewhere) because he fell in love and married an English girl. He settled in P.A., and that’s where the first P.A. Amish community began. Today, there are more Stoltzfus in Pennsylvania then any other Amish name, and it seems that every person there is related in some way to the Nicholas Stoltzfus, the man who married the “English” girl. This is why the Amish decided to rebuild this barn and try to preserve the place, in recognition of Nicholas Stoltzfus. I do believe the property is still not completely done because they ran out of funds.
I have always enjoyed building things with my hands! Even back in my Amish in the City days in 2004 when I was staying with the rest of the cast in the Hollywood hills, what helped me keep my sanity was preoccupying my mind with making little wooden inventions for the rest of the cast in the house.
Also later in the episode we see a bunch of us go down to Joplin, M.O. to help with the Disaster relief after a huge tornado swept through making a huge path 1/2 mile wide by six miles long. I will never in my life forget the feeling that swept over me when I first drove into Joplin and saw the devastation. There is a small part of me that hopes I never do forget it. I think I need the images of a scene like this to help me stay thankful for all things my family and myself have. I discovered that there is no way for a town to prepare for something like this. Everyone, myself included, can convince oneself that “it won’t happen to me”. However, this was just less then three hours away, and some of the debris landed not an hour from my house. It will take years for Joplin to be rebuilt! Oh how small of a dent a small group of us made in one day!
The one bright side to the whole thing was how many thousands of people were pitching in from all over, not just the U.S. but the whole world! Regardless of what some may think, we still have by far the best and most loyal country in the world and lets hope we never lose sight of that!
Somewhere in the middle of this episode there is a little too much of Mose. Mose sitting in his basement in the middle of the night talking to people and looking for a home for Michaela. Mose looking through old letters from Amish people, etc. It is hard for me to watch the personal stuff. However, I will let you in on a little bitty secret. The personal, private, emotional stuff is about to hit a brand new level. Over the next few episodes I will probably hide, deny any of it ever happened, and claim that Nat Geo had a body double filling for me. During this time while I am hiding out in a cave with no phone reception or Internet service, feel free to let your cable bill run out.
Michaela finally got a chance to try the Amish life for several days in a row. What a surprise for so many people! She stuck with it and somehow came out the other side unscathed. A special thanks to Leah and Rachel for letting us follow this experience of Michaela’s. The good news is, she came out calling me and wanting more Amish-ness. The one thing I hadn’t spoken much with Michaela about was the faith the Amish believe in. Will this change, and if so, will she be receptive of it, or will it turn her?
What’s Ahead in the next episode, Amish: Out of Order: Amish in Public:
If you saw too much of Mose in episode four, skip episode five. I may take a trip to some original places where it all began. I may try to make sense out of a culture that is has weathered the test of time, and I may find myself nervous as could be of holding an event in front of a very large number of people. Will I come away with any answers?
A little unknown fact for a lot of people is that doing what I do when I am in the public spotlight comes with consequences. An Amish person who grew up in a meek and humble manner and has always been taught to stay under the radar can and usually be the topic of criticism among the Amish communities and sometimes even among some ex-Amish. So what could possess me to take a chance and still keep doing what I am doing?
Also, we see more of Esther Miller. A girl who has some pretty large dreams and aspirations. Will her past help or hinder her in pursuing these dreams? And just how much can one’s faith or religion go into helping make one’s decisions?
Stay tuned for the answers to these any many more in episode five.
To read this blog and more from Mose J. Gingerich, go to www.amishinthecitymose.com.
Until next time… Machs Gut!
Tune in to Amish Out of Order: 9-5 Amish tonight at 10P et/pt