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102: Culture Clash

I remember exactly the time and place I was walking when I got the call from a private number. I answered and a voice said, ” Is this Mose Gingerich? This is Hwy patrol Officer ____.” Anytime I get a call like that, my heart drops out of my bottom. I knew someone was in serious trouble, if not dead. There is also some calming sense that washes over me when some complete unexpected tragedy like that pops out of nowhere. Instead of folding up on the floor or panicking, I remember asking details in a clear voice. Over the next few moments I gathered that Jonas Stutzman had had a prettyy severe car accident, Was told he had responded when officials arrived upon the scene, but was not responding now. I was also told he had been thrown out throught the moonroof of his car, landed right over the edge of the shoulder of the road, the car had sailed over the top of him and landed up against the fense. He was enroute to the hospital.

102 Culture Clash in review:
As before mentioned, I was in the air to hang with Anderson Cooper when 102 was being aired. I apologize to readers and Twitterers for not being available during this time, and hopefully this won’t happen again. I did, however, watch the episode. Obviously one of the most talked about topics was about the chicken getting slayed by a quiet looking Kansas girl trying to show an English girl the ropes of being Amish. I was neither for or against the airing of this. In other words, I grew up on a farm where seeing and helping my mom and sisters doing hundreds of these procedures during each summer for English people who would then come in and buy them dressed. I felt if this was in some way educational to Michaela or viewers, then rock on!
Speaking of Michaela. When she contacted me through facebook early in 2011, and told me her story and sincerity of going Amish, I was skepticle. However, she didn’t go away, and after a month of communicating back and forth, I agreed to meet her and give her a few lessons on Amish life. I think the reason I was drawn to her and Helping her was because I saw myself 10 yrs ago. A kid who needed help, needed change, and was reaching out to someone for that. To me it really doesn’t matter whether you’re English, Amish, or any numerous branch of other religion or sect of people. What’s important is that if you are miserable or unhappy with the life you are leading and you feel you can be a better person and make a bigger difference somewhere else, I will do what I can to make that happen. For way to long in my life, I needed someone in my life to help me reach that place and achieve those goals, and for that reason, I have always had a soft spot for the under dog struggling to get his or her head above the surface.
Many, many of you are emailing or asking me if she then went back? I guess the end of the episode did make it sorta look like her story was over. My answer to you is this. Her story continues. Making that transition is one you can’t make overnight. She will be a pretty big part of the rest of this series, so of course, I don’t wish to ruin the end of the book for you in the first chapter.
As far as Cephas, Him and myself would have long, heated debates on credit and do you need it or not in life to get somewhere. All in good fun of course. ( whereas the note he showed to the camera, of which I still have a copy of). He was a very opinionated kid with huge aspirations, which I’ve never faulted him for. A kid with more dreams, goals, and potential then most ex Amish kids I know. He was elated when he got his “good faith” loan to buy his first house, and promptly called me to “rub” it in to me that he succeeded without credit.
My birthday party came after a very long, stressful day at the dealership. My lovely wife asked me out to dinner, and afterward she wanted to go dance at “Whiskey Wild”, probably the largest Country bar in Columbia. I half way suspected something, but wasn’t sure I had the energy. However, It is amazing how a 5th wind can kick in when you walk through a door and see a bar full of close friends who want to celebrate a birthday with you. I turned 32 on July 27, 2011.

Coming up in Episode 103 “You can’t go Home again”…….

Jonas Stutzman’s accident, which I touched upon above, How difficult it can be for someone like him struggling already to make it in the outside world, and then still have past doors closing even harder on him.
We see some of the outside influence of people from around Columbia or other parts of the country coming into Columbia and trying to convert these kids to different beliefs and religions. Let me state for the record that I have had thousands of people contact me for these kids numbers or emails because they seem to see innocense, vulnerabilitry, or someone who they hope to convert to a religion or belief they strongly believe in. I have never, and probably never will, give out contact info for these kids. They have gone through way to much by leaving the Amish, and need to learn a certain amount of things on their own.
Once again, thank you for all the people who are hooked on Amish: Out of Order, or people who even watch not because they’re hooked, but because they are curious or wish to educate themselves on this culture. Always feel free to respond to my Blogs! No questions are to dumb, and myself, Amos, Jonas, and the rest of the group love to hear thoughts on the show.

I will be doing “Live” Tweeting again Tuesday Night during episode 103. Follow me at @AmishNCity.

Until next time… Auf Wieder Sehen!

11 thoughts on “102: Culture Clash”

  1. Mr Gingerich!

    I cannot tell you how moved I have been from watching the Out of the Order documentary and now the Out of Order series. I could fill this entire page with praise for the wonderful work you are doing for the people who need you, especially as their experience is one shared by few. Sincerely, there are not enough words for how much happiness I feel at knowing that you are helping people to make decisions best for their own lives, whatever those decisions may be! I was particularly touched by your work with Michaela.

    My question to you: WHAT CAN WE DO? I feel compelled to help, but how can someone from another part of the United States help you, help the ex-Amish community? What could I do to make a positive impact on what is going on in your corner of the world?

      1. I suppose at this point there is really not too much that can be done. I am in the process of setting up a legal account to put donations into, so some of these new kids that leave can afford high school and college instead of just leaving and going straight to work.

        1. Well, sir, the minute it is up and running I would be more than happy to share what very little I have with those that you are helping. When there is so much darkness in the world, truly, I have been so touched by your life experiences and you have reminded me that there is so much good and human left in this world.

          Just the fact that you took the time to reply to me personally touches my heart. Thank you again for sharing this part of your life with the world, and with me.

  2. Mr. Gingerich, you sir are the very definition of a TRUE visionary missionary!! Not to say that you have any motives that are religious in nature. What I mean is that you have an amazing ability to see possibilities and potential, and then carry it out. I wish there were more people like you. Everyone on your show seem to be truly good people. I wish all of you the best of luck and look forward to watching the show.
    I wouldn’t be human if I hadn’t cringed after hearing Jonas’ family’s reaction to his accident and then wouldn’t allow him to visit unless he stayed. I cannot imagine a mother being able to turn her back like that, but she has to, doesn’t she? As an Amish wife? If that is the stance her husband takes, sadly she must follow. It makes me sad just to think of it!

  3. I am amazed at the people I have ‘met’ through this TV show! Thank you for what you are doing. It must be very hard on these young people trying to find their way and on their family that is left behind. You all are in my prayers as you walk through this journey.

  4. I’ve thought long and hard about both the Amish and the “English” ways of life because who can really say which is the right way, so to speak, since valid arguments can be made back and forth. But what I think really tips the scale over to the “English” side is the issue of education, or lack thereof as a means of control. In our world you may be limited in the educational level you could achieve because of economic obstacles, but other than the time and money an education would cost, you are encouraged to complete whatever you can, earning plenty of “atta boys” from society along the way. But if the Amish elders truly believed that their way of life was the most righteous and best, why would higher education be a threat to their way of life? Why couldn’t there be Amish doctors or journalists? In my opinion, that’s what spans the difference between a religious sect and a cult. A cult needs to brainwash it’s members to ensure that they remain members. A religious sect does not.

  5. As difficult as it is to leave family, friends & familiarity, there is a reason that people feel the need TO leave. God created man with the desire to live free.

    Mose, my husband & I recognized your WI accent & he feels vindicated since I discovered & told him you are from Greenwood. My husband spent his teen years in Neillsville & we lived there a few years ago. In fact, earlier this month, we attended the Annual Elmhorst / Peaceful Pines Pancake Feed to celebrate the maple harvest.

    {Mormon} Dan Elmhorst runs a taxi service for the Amish.

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