I write this Blog because I felt in fairness to all the viewers of the show “Amish: Out of Order” who wish to have more interaction with the rest of the cast of this show and myself, you should know why you may have repeatedly tried to contact me or them and gotten no response.
Speaking for the rest of the cast in general, it was extremely difficult to get them on board to do any filming simply because every Amish or ex Amish I know, loves their privacy. Try and take someone who has no desire to be in the spotlight, be famous, or socialize with people outside of their circle, and then try to take this person and convince them to participate in a TV show for the world to see.
That alone is a huge undertaking! Then take this person after the show is over, and expect them to open their life’s to all the people who seen it and were touched by it, probably just won’t happen. It should not be too hard to understand that the cast has a right to their privacy.
Speaking for myself, after doing “Amish in the City” back in 2004 1 1/2 yrs after leaving the Amish, I was that guy. The guy who had no internet, no Facebook profile, no email, etc. Therefore I was never contacted by anyone. Seldom was I even recognized in the streets or at the County fair. This was exactly how I wanted it, and looking back, I would not have been able at that time to handle the publicity.
It goes without saying that since then, I have become more open minded and social to the public, but I will never in my life get to a point where I am comfortable embracing publicity or fame.
When you see the films I have been involved with, if you see me speaking in a sincere tone of voice, and you hear something you can relate to, that touches you, or you even convince yourself that if we have tons in common, and that if we only met, we could be lifelong friends, I want to tell you how I think that happened.
In order for myself to open myself up that broadly on TV, this is the only way I could do it. I have to get on a complete and personal comfort level with each and every camera man, sound guy, and producer person. The person that I am talking to next to the camera, knows every stitch of my life, has met my family, and I know a lot about him. Only then can I sit there and open up to that person asking me questions, and I can speak freely. Understand this. If there is a stranger standing in the background staring, (if you notice, there were never any scenes where I was talking in public with many people walking around) I am useless. If they bring in a new sound guy, a new face powder girl, or even a new run person (the person who gets batteries when the mic runs out) I am useless. Before I can freely open up and talk or do anything, I have to go over, introduce myself, and get on a personal comfort level with that person. I can’t explain this very well. Part of the reason may be that all my life I have been harshly judged for everything I have done, and I have not only quit trying to associate with these people, I have completely cut them out of my life. I have not given up, I am just at a point in my life where I have absolutely no patience with someone judging me or trying to monitor or control my life.
So when I am speaking sincerely to you across the screen, It was actually that I was, at the time this was filmed, having a passionate conversation with the person who had asked me a question that I was passionate about. I in return was answering this question in a passionate manner to the person beside the camera. The person who had managed to somehow become someone I trust with my complicated life. The person who I now consider a close enough friend that I can share anything with.
Knowing this, it only goes without saying, that I was often taken aback a little when I was sitting watching the show come across the TV, and heard myself saying something, and shuddered at how I was able to say something that personal for the world to hear.
Another reason is that, contrary to popular belief, I make friends very slowly. I by default, will err on the side of not letting my wall down for some time after I first meet someone. I will even come across as rude and self centered to many who don’t know me well. However, once we become friends, if we become friends, this is a friendship that usually lasts and I will go a long way to maintain it. I can’t explain this. I can’t even make an excuse that it has to do with my upbringing or that it is an event or events from my childhood that shaped me that way. Let’s just say that I have actually come a long way in life in this regard, but it is a working progress, and we can leave it at that. However, if you ever barge into my office at work expecting a huge, warm hug, because you have envisioned me as being a person who welcomes any stranger into my life, or if you meet me on the street, at the fair, or any other place we may meet, please don’t take to seriously if I may seem distant or even cold. In all reality, it probably would be no different then if you were sitting in the privacy of your front lawn, and perfect strangers kept stopping, running over, and shoving pieces of paper in your face to sign, smiling, touching you, and expecting you, who are just wanting to spend this day privately with the family in your home, to understand and bond instantly with them, because they saw you on TV and they felt like you have things in common.
I did not ever hope to write this Blog, but write it I will, and over the next few paragraphs, I will make it clear why I’m writing it.
I have several idols in the TV world who I would love to meet. There have been times in my life where I would have driven to any corner of the earth just to meet them and talk to them, have my picture taken, and get an autograph from them. It never registered in my mind that they probably have a very busy life already and that there probably is nothing about me that separates me apart from the previous million people who came to seek them out. Apparently this is the cost price you pay for being in the spotlight. Although I am not and hopefully never will be someone’s idol, I do receive a lot of fan mail, emails, phone calls, and even people coming into my office unannounced at my work just to meet me. People who drove from every corner of the United States. This should be flattering to me.
However, knowing what you know now after reading my social skills above, it is anything but flattering.
I will take this opportunity to say that I appreciate the fact that my mission was accomplished in “Amish: out of Order” of doing a show that is different from anything else. My mission was accomplished in doing an inspirational film instead of the normal controversial show with a lot of quarreling, sex, cheating, and the usual stuff you see on TV.
I do appreciate each and every one of you that viewed it and helped make it a success. In a perfect world, I would meet up and take each and every one of you out to lunch or dinner, and we would become those lifelong friends like I spoke about earlier. As a matter of fact, I would much enjoy doing that.
However, it is not a perfect world. I am not a rich celebrity who sits at home all day trying to figure out what I can do to pass the time. And this is the part where I get to the reason why I can’t get to all the people who have tried to contact me. In my inbox, tied in with my personal website, www.amishinthecitymose.com. I have over 50,000 emails of which I’ve had a chance to read maybe 300. On my facebook that has been max ed out with 5000 friends, there is no way to get a count that I know of, but I speculate there are probably close to that many on there as well. This is awesome! Again, in a perfect world, I would be sitting patiently at home with nothing to do, answering each and every message with the utmost care. I would have by now been involved and started 300 ministries, be attending 2000 churches with probably that many different religious beliefs.
The reality is, documentaries as a rule, don’t pay much money. I could have made as much or more money had I stayed back at the car dealership instead of doing the film. I chose to do the film for anything but money. (If you read some of my earlier blogs, you will see why I chose to do the show). The reality is, I am a husband, father of 3, with a large mortgage, 2 vehicle payments, daycare for 2 little girls, and every bill any normal person in this country filled with debt has. I literally have to work on my day off, which is on Tuesday, just to have enough money at the end of each month to pay my bills. From the time I leave my house at 6:45 am til I get back home (on an average 9:15 pm, which is, doing accurate math, 14.5 hrs a day) I am running 100 miles an hr at one of the largest car dealerships in the mid western states at Joe Machens Toyota in Columbia.
Make no mistake, I am a workaholic. I could just Mosey along and be an average sales person. However, not only did I learn how to work until I drop from fatigue a young age, again, I am also motivated by trying to make enough money to keep food on the table for my kids. I am proud to say that in this very large dealership, I am one of the very top sales people. The very concept that I could at this stage in my families life, quit my job, even for a few days, to get into ministry, pastoring, counseling centers, etc, is absurd. If I quit the dealership for 2 weeks, I would be broke and living in an apartment in 2 months.
This is not an Blog asking for sympathy or money. I have the life I want, and I am happy with it. I just want you as a viewer of the show, to be aware of why I can’t do all these impossible things that GOD SO CLEARLY CALLED ME TO DO..
Knowing now that I work an average of 14.5 hrs a day, 6 days a week, where I do not have access to be on facebook or checking my emails constantly, does it make some form of sense that when I get home from work, completely exhausted mentally from work, that I only ask to spend that precious little time with my family before they go to bed.
Me and my Family
The last thing I wish to do after they are in bed, for that hf hr or so before my eyelids close, is to start calling or emailing people back. On Sunday, that one day of rest, that I refuse to work, Is my 1 day of the week, where I can hang with the family all day. This day has become GOLD precious.
I want to explain why I even have a web site, facebook, and other contact methods.
I began these means of contact because I do like to interact to a certain degree with people. I do like to blog, and hear the feedback from readers. I do like to know that something I did or said or wrote somewhere, made a difference in someone’s life. This is the fulfilling part of my life. I do wish to make a difference. I do want to make the world a better place. And last of all, I want to have a way for people contact me that I was never able to get with Garth Brooks and Brett Favre. However, I am a little outnumbered here. It is probably easy for you as the reader to send an email, letter, or phone call, take 10 to 15 minutes of your life to do so, and expect me to return the courtesy. Now however, take that 10 minutes and multiply it by 100,000. That is my side of the story.
Again, I enjoy the feedback very much, and please don’t quit posting and sending it. The reason I am writing this Blog against all my better instincts is this. This Blog is not written for the casual viewer who watched the show and wished to send me an email telling me he or she enjoyed the show. This is not written for the people who send me facebook requests. It is not written for those who subscribe to my website and send me an email or two.
This Blog is written for those of you who have sent me multiple emails, called my place of work numerous times, and I’ve never been able to get back to you. This is written for those who feel sure that God himself came to them and told them to come seek me out personally and have me take time off from work to start a ministry with them. God spoke to them and told them to come sit down with me and help me with all these questions I may have in my life that no one else has the answer to but them personally. This is to those people who have become so frustrated with me that I have been unable to take the time out of my day to call and speak with each of them individually, that I have received threats to myself and my family from anything ranging to coming to our house, to God striking me with lightening for not listening to them and the calling God has so clearly given them the controls to help me start, to actual death threats for how I could be so very rude and self centered as to never return an email after they so clearly found that one person who can come to them and help them change their life.
This Blog is for the Man currently sitting in a hotel room in Columbia, Mo, who drove here from Somewhere in South Dakota, because God came to him in a vision and told him to come talk to me. Yes, the man who has been sitting there at that same hotel for 2 weeks waiting for my heart to open, so he can come back here to the dealership and fulfill the mission God sent him here to complete. Only after 3 visits and a mention of taking necessary legal action, did he quit coming in every day with boxes of DVD’s and books that he had bought for me to read to help change my life. How long he will sit over there waiting, I am not sure, but who am I to run him back to South Dakota? Let him enjoy the beautiful city of Columbia. Population around 110,000.
This is for the woman in Tennessee who lost the custody battle with her children, the law has her in a Mental center, and the fact that I won’t personally come to TN and testify on her behalf when God has clearly called me to do so, will be a reason for me and my family to watch our backs when she gets out of that place.
This is for the suicidal man in KY who somehow found my home phone, (which has since become restricted) and called it over 50 times trying to manipulate me to let him move in with us so I can spend my spare time helping him change his life around, and eventually help him convert to the Amish faith. The same person who, after the 5th call, when I put a restraining order against him, he promised me one of 2 things would happen. Option 1. He would either come hunt down me and my family and “eliminate” us all, (because back in the bible if someone disobeyed God’s commands, they were stoned to death) to option 2, he would commit suicide. Hmmmm. Me and my family, or him? Hmmm. Tough choice.
If you detect just a hint of sarcasm, burnt outness, or stressed outness, it is because I feel overwhelmed with people who feel like I owe them a piece of myself. Whether it is my time, money, home, help mentally, church, or whatever it may be, when in all reality, I agreed to do a TV show. I chose to have several public sites where people can send me feedback, and I made the mistake of giving people a place where I work. I am just after all an average JOE who lives in good ole Mid Missouri who is not any more special then any of the other people around him. The difference being that I agreed to put my personal life and my families out there for viewers to see.
Again, for the normal person who viewed the show and was touched by it. I hope in due time, to answer each and all emails. At the pace I am going, it may take 30 yrs, but I am patient. In the meantime, I will continue to work long hrs, value quality family time, and hopefully this blog will answer some questions to people who wonder why I left them hanging.
I will also in this Blog try and answer some of the most frequently asked questions that people have for me.
1. Will there be another season of Amish: out of Order?
Probably not. Although there are many reasons that factor into this decision, I have my personal reasons for saying probably not. Without bringing any attention to myself, I don’t think that they can successfully do another season without me. The reason I say that isn’t because I think that my on screen appearance is great. It is because my assistance behind the scenes on getting others on board and keeping them on board is a big deal.
So this is the part where I explain why I probably am not interested in doing another season. I did the first season for a greater good. Again, read some of my earlier Blogs, and you’ll see why. I feel like in the first season, I covered what I wanted to cover. I said what I had to say. The show did what I wanted it to do. For me to do another season, what could I do that hasn’t already been done. I can’t take another spiritual journey in my life. What could I do that would be a greater good that I haven’t already done.
Also, I would have to quit my normal job that is currently paying my bills. The reason being that there is not enough here in good old Columbia, Mo to put together anther whole season. I would have to travel abroad to put the next season together. I have been looking for a job like this ever since I left the Amish. I am fiercely loyal to this job, my fellow employees and managers, and last of all, to my customer base I have worked so very hard to build. If I were to quit the dealership for even 6 months, I would lose that customer base, and if I were forced to go back to the dealership, I would have to start all over at the bottom once again.
And let’s face it. I didn’t have a family life for over a year while we were filming. For anyone who sits and sees the finished product come across the screen and has a revelation that it would be easy to do what I did, let me explain in a brief detail what level of commitment it actually takes.
Once I finally, after 2 yrs of saying “no”, agreed to say “yes” to this project, this is how my schedule became. From 6:30 am to 7:00 PM I worked at the dealership 6 days a week. from the time I got off work, (usually with my brain completely fried) We filmed until midnight. Many times I sat up until 2 am brain storming ideas for the film crew to be filming the next day while I was at work.
We discovered early on that I can’t do interviews or scenes at my house because the kids will keep running over to crawl up on my lap, so we kept having to rent houses etc where we could film in private. Many many times the footage would get back to the office, and we would get the feedback that I didn’t look refreshed enough to use it, and that we had to re-do the whole scene again.
And then there was football. That one time of the year where I can engulf myself into something so completely that I get lost for those 5 or 6 months. I truly have recorded every Green Bay Packer game ever since I left the Amish in 2002. In the summer when there is no football, I will pull out the old games and re watch them. I hadn’t ever missed even 1 game in 9 yrs. Needless to say, that changed during the filming of this show. It might go without saying that each and every Sunday was loaded to the hilt with filming. My fantasy football leagues suffered. While we were sitting upstairs trying to film a bible study at our house on a fall afternoon, the New York Giants were battling the Packers downstairs on my big screen TV. Oh, but wait a minute, I didn’t know until about midnight that night that it was only by the strong leg of Mason Crosby as time expired that we pulled out that win to remain undefeated.
Wisconsin. 2006. Home of the Green Bay Packers. Time to go to a game again.
And finally, my family. If any of you have children, you will know exactly what I am talking about. Try being that guy that works 6 days a week and by the time I got home each night the kids had long been tucked in bed. I was gone the next morning for work before they were up. On Sunday morning, that one day when I sometimes rose a little later, try to get ready for a day of filming, have the kids crawling all over you, and then walk out the front door trying to erase their looks of disappointment or tears running down their faces from your memory while you grind out another day of filming.
And then there is the wife. Enough said, I am proud to say that she was my rock throughout this process. It truly takes a strong woman to raise 3 children on her own for over a year while her man is gallivanting all over the place filming a project which may or may not even make it on screen.
When I hear people criticize the show, something I said, or in any way belittle the show, I take no offense to it at all. I just sit back, relax, and realize that, in all fairness, I was that person before I got on the other side of the camera.
However, the biggest reason for my doubtfulness for another season is not the hard work. It is the fact that there is more involved then just sitting in front of a camera and opening up yourself and your personal life for a few days. The biggest reason is that a new season would entail many changes in my and my family’s life. Changes that I am not at this point in my life comfortable making. Quitting my job, moving to a big city with my family, and most of all, the uncertainty of never knowing if you will have a job from day to day to support a growing family in the filming and writing world.
Although a decision hasn’t been reached by the Network, myself or my family, it is probably not going to happen. If anything changes,
you will know.
2. Did Michaela ever join the Amish family, and how is she doing?
The answer is NO. She is still living in St Peters, Mo, hanging with her old high school friends, and has since found a boyfriend that seems like a good fit for her. At this time in her life, she seems happy with her decision. If anything changes in the future on this topic, I’ll let you know.
3. How is the Counseling Center coming?
It is a distant dream of mine at this time. Again, knowing now what you do, after reading how many hrs I work above, you will already have your answer. I do not at this time have the resources or the time to begin a Family Counseling Center. However, at some point in my life, I will. The one promise I can and will make is this. At one point in my life, probably after the kids are out of college, I will have established a large Family Counseling Center here in Mid Missouri. The time is not now for me, but the dream burns within me.
4. How is the Cephas Yoder Foundation coming?
Apparently it takes around a year for this process to become legalized and everything to become complete. I am currently taking donations, largely because I can’t stop people from sending money. With myself, my wife, and 3 ex Amish in this area on the board, we have an account set up, into which all the money is going. There is already a significant amount of money in this account, but we have agreed that not a dollar will be spent until the Foundation is complete and finalized.
Again, the goal with this foundation is to use this money for future kids that leave the Amish community, so as to help them to get established in the outside world.
5. How am I doing these days? How is my spirituality? Are we now going to a church, etc.
Let me just say that again, between family and my job, that takes everything I have. The answer is “No”. We are not going to a church. However, I have a 40 minute drive to and from work each day. A drive where I have found a strong connection with God and spend a lot of time talking to him. Maybe for now, that will have to do.
Please don’t be one of the thousands who come to my work, emails or calls me trying to get me to come to your church because your church and religion has that one true ingredient that none of the others does. At some point in my life, my family and myself will be attending a church, and it will be a small local church, but the time is not right now.
6. Can I come help you in your marital relationship, give your teenage child advice, speak at your political event, hold a bible study with you at your house, let you take me on a trip around the world, or rescue you from whatever problems you have encountered in life.
I will say this. I do absolutely have a heart for these things, and would definitely love to do these things. Yes, I often feel quite guilty that I cannot take off from work and family, travel to wherever to see if I can help. Bottom line is, however, if you’ve read the above writing so far, I don’t just sit at home waiting for these emails and phone calls to come in. I have a full time job. A job that I probably put in twice as many hours as most people in America. So again, no, at this point in my life, whether or not these things are what I am destined to do, I just can’t do them. I hope you understand.
7. How is the book coming, and when will it hit the shelves?
My writer has been out here for several months now, and it is a working progress. After stating repeatedly how I have not any time to do anything else in my life besides work and family, my writer and myself have made a schedule where we sit after the family is in bed for 2 nights a week until midnight, and half of a Sunday, and just put together material for the book. Currently there is not really an estimated time of publication, but I’ll keep you updated.
No, there is not a title yet, but I would be interested in hearing ideas for one.
8. Will I ever do any more filming in the future?
Although a second season of Amish: out of Order looks rather unlikely these days, I absolutely believe that in the not so near future something else will come up that maybe works more around my schedule. Something that I can see myself doing for some greater good, where I will once again disappear into the underground world of filming for a while.
9. (Email example) I am a huge fan of your show, and I want you to know that I admire what you are doing. Me and my other half have spoken at length, and we have decided that if you ever have any kids that leave, we would be willing to take them in, give them a home, love, support, etc.
If I have received this email or phone call at work once, I’ve received it 10,000 times. Let me explain to you that I am very grateful for the offers, and if this were a possibility, I would take you up on this offer. Here is the problem. There are no kids leaving in this area of America that wish to leave the sheltered confines of the Amish community and move directly into an English home.
I tried this personally when I was 16 yrs old. At that time there was not any ex Amish in Wisconsin that I knew of. I made it for 4 months, but I was so perfectly miserable it was unbearable! The change from Amish teen to English world is so dramatic that it is impossible to write it out in a Blog. All you want when you leave, is to move in with someone who grew up like you, get’s you, and understands you. Someone who can relate to you.
I don’t care who you are, or how easy it looks from the outside looking in, or how many years you have been associated with the Amish,if you weren’t born and raised within their communities, the chances of adopting one of their kids straight out of the community is slim to none. These kids will leave, move into a house that already has 10 other ex Amish kids living in it, have no job, money, opportunities, and have a very unfulfilling life, but they would still rather do that and live with people who ‘GET THEM” then someone who doesn’t understand them. Sure, there will always be the occasional case where it worked. However, here in the midwestern states, I know of less then 2% that worked out with living in an English home.
Also, keep in mind that I am not nearly the only person who takes in and helps kids when they leave. There are probably 40 to 50 ex Amish in and around Columbia, Mo. who were out long before I was, and have become more established then I have. Each and every one of these are opening their doors to new ones that leave and helping them get started in life.
The reason you don’t know this is because I am the only one who chose to tell my story on TV. It would not have worked for me to tell my story about how I help these kids, and after my story say,’ However, there are many more who do as much or more then I do.” The reason this part didn’t make it to TV, is because in order to tell a story, you need faces and homes to show. These other ex Amish were not as willing as myself to tell their stories.
10 Why are you no longer on TV, and did they pull the series, because when I tune in on Tuesday nights I can’t find you anymore?
Well, my dear reader, The series began Tuesday, April 17, 2012. It ran for all 10 episodes, and the last one crossed the screen on Tuesday night, June 19, 2012. There were only 10 episodes. It got very good ratings, but once you run through the 10 episodes, that’s all there are.
11. I missed an episode because I went out shopping and didn’t have time to watch it and forgot to record it. Or I missed the first half of the series. Can you please send me links, or DVDs so I can watch the whole thing? Sorry folks, I can’t by legal copyrights send you links or DVDs if you missed 1 or more episodes. I suggest contacting The National Geographic Channel. You will probably have better luck there.
Again, I did not want to ever write a straight forward, rather rude/hinting around the sarcastic edges blog, but I hope you as the reader can see why myself and my family need and deserve the rights to some form of privacy, and why if you’ve sent me several or more emails, left messages repeatedly, or even sent me snail mail, why I haven’t had a chance to get back to you.
The quiz: As I get ready to wrap up this blob, I had a sudden thought. I suppose the fact that I used to teach school, and still often have a teacher’s mindset, may explain this notion I have. I thought it interesting to do a quiz to see how well you paid attention to what I wrote.
1. At this point, how would you rate the chances of another season of Amish: out of Order, with me participating? Great. Good. Or unlikely?
2. If we met by careful planning or just randomly, how big were your chances of hitting it off instantly with me and becoming lifelong friends? Great, Good, or Unlikely?
3. Is Michaela currently living in the underground world of the Amish community in Pinecraft, FL. Yes or NO?
4. Are my family and myself currently attending a church? Yes or No?
5. Would I love to have you come and try to get me to start attending your church? Yes or No?
6. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being charred black, how burned out am I from the lack of privacy and all the attention. 10 or 10?
7. Based on my information and a calculator, how many hours a week am I gone from my home for work? [A. 40 to 45] [B. 55 to 65] [C. 70 to 75] [D 85 to 90]
8. What is the latest project that I am currently working on?
9. If you had to choose between the person who gave you a choice to “eliminate either you and your family, or himself, which would you prefer? Him or you?
10. Is there a chance that I will eventually open my heart or welcome into my life the man buying hotel rooms here in Columbia, who claims God spoke to him directly to help change my life, when you consider he is only one example of thousands who have come and used God’s name to try and manipulate me into a passion they have or believe in in their life? yes or No?
11. Do I currently seem to value my family and my Job more then the TV side of it? Yes or No
12. After reading my blog, do I seem like the dad and husband who will drop job and family, travel to any corner of the United States to start some organization with some complete stranger, because this stranger saw an edited version of me on TV and feels like I am that one missing ingredient he or she needs to make this organization work for them in their life? Yes or No.
13. How big are your chances of ever adopting a new kid that leaves the Amish if you are “English” Great, Good, Slim to None?
14. Based on my Blog, Why do I choose to do things in the public (like filming, Blogs, writing books, etc.) when we were taught from childhood that being in the spotlight is evil. Money, Fame, or a Greater Good?
15. Which 2 of these 7 artists would I love to Meet? George Bush, Mariah Carey, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Ben Affleck, Brett Favre, or Lovie Smith?
16. What term do I use to describe my brain after a hard, stressful day at work? Smoking, intelligent, non existent, fried, massive, or one of a kind?
17. When I watch some of the things I do or say, come across the screen, am I always proud of everything I say for the world to see? Yes or No?
18. Does agreeing to participate to film a season of 10 episodes for The National Geographic Channel, while you are maintaining a high level in sales and raising a Family, take a high level of commitment? Yes or NO?
19. Is the series still coming on regularly every Tuesday night at the usual time? Yes or No?
20. If you missed an episode, is it my responsibility, or am I even allowed to send you a copy of it? Yes Or No?
After going back and reading over this Blog, it is certainly the most outspoken I’ve gotten yet, but one I felt I needed to write for several reasons. If you have read it, and still wish to be my facebook or website friend, I say welcome. Climb Aboard. I am honored to have you as a viewer and a friend.
If you are 20 years old, have tried contacting me, and don’t hear back from me until you are in a nursing home, Now I hope you know and understand why.
God Bless you and yours until we meet again.