Episode Four recap:
I was in Pennsylvania working on something I haven’t done in ten years—building an Amish barn. The Old Stoltzfus barn has an interesting history in that it was one of the first places settled by the Pennsylvania Amish when they came to America in the late 1600’s. Nicholas Stoltzfus, the man who bought the place, had been kicked out of his Amish community in Europe for marrying an English girl. Today, Stoltzfus is one of the most common Amish names in Pennsylvania. When speaking to the Amish at the barn raising, almost every one of them claimed to be, in some way or another, related to old man Nicholas Stoltzfus. The irony that Amish are now, four hundred years after the sinful deed, willing to associate themselves with someone who strayed so far as to marry someone outside the community.
I have always enjoyed building things with my hands. Proof of this can be found watching Amish in the City, 2004—a show where eleven of us spent ten weeks in a mansion in the Hollywood hills (The show can be found in the video gallery under the TV SHOWS tab on my website). One of the things that most calmed me during those long days in a strange house with ten other drama-filled teenagers, was in crafting little wooden toys/inventions for them, the cast.
Lancaster County Pennsylvania Amish
As promised, a bunch of us went down to Joplin, Missouri to help with tornado disaster relief. Seeing Joplin and the devastation firsthand was an unreal experience, and one I hope I never forget. Maybe, by keeping the images engrained in my memory, I will have a better guideline of comparison for ways to be thankful for what I have in life. Finally, while we gave it our all, our group made only a small dent in one corner of a huge wreckage. Joplin will be a long time recovering. A positive was how many people, from all over our country, were also there to pitch in and donate their time and labor, many volunteering their efforts for free. For one day, the gratitude felt… almost Amish.
Somewhere in the middle of episode four there is a little too much of Mose. Mose sitting in his basement in the middle of the night calling people and trying to find a home for Michaela. Mose looking through old letters sent to him from Amish people. As stated before, it’s difficult watching myself on TV. And it’s about to get worse. A lot worse. The personal, private, emotional life that is Mose’s past is about to reach brand new levels. Over the next few episodes, I will probably withdraw even further down into my rabbit hole, deny any and all of it, and claim that NatGeo had a body-double filling in for me.
Michaela finally got a real opportunity to try the Amish life. She stuck with it for several days straight, and somehow came out the other side unscathed. A special thanks to Leah and Rachel for allowing us into their homes to follow Michaela on this journey. The good news is, Michaela called me as soon as she left the Amish community and wanted more Amishness.
Episode Five preview:
If we saw too much of Mose in episode four, skip episode five. I travel back in time to where it all began. I try to make sense out of a culture that has weathered the test of time, and I am nervous as could be of holding an event in front of a very large number of people.
A lesser known fact is that for someone like me, who chooses to be a public figure, the spotlight comes with consequences. As someone who was raised Amish, I was taught, and am expected to forever, remain meek and humble, to fly under the radar, not only among the Amish, but also in the Ex-Amish communities across America. So, why would I ever agree to be on TV, over and over again, and willingly accept the criticism that comes from those in my past? I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s because in my heart, I don’t feel like a sinner, so why allow the chains of manmade beliefs control my future. My calling.
We come back around to Esther M. Esther has some pretty large dreams and aspirations. But right now, she is struggling with balancing voices from her past, and much like me, pursuing her dreams, despite the opposition?
Stay tuned for the answers to these questions any many more in Episode Five next week.
Until next time... Machs Gut… (Make it Good)