Episode 6 recap & 7 review
A Camry Hybrid running out of gas…. Right! So in my good ole Camry’s defense, there was just a little more to this then just running out of gas. My trusted GPS Navigation system was the bigger default here. When I got into the car to go to the baptism, I plugged in the address, and it said 26 miles to destination, 28 miles to empty. Always one to walk on the edge of the fence, I made a decision.
Cameraman, Danny Gingerich, Field Producer, Uriah S.
Do I stop and get gas and show up at the last minute, or do I go to the baptism and live on a hope and a prayer that there is a gas station close by? I decided it’s more important to make the baptism. The rest is history. I get to the destination that my technologically impaired device called the GPS pointed me to, circled the 1 mile block like 4 times looking for this destination, and when I finally realized that I was at the completely wrong place, and like 20 miles from the actual baptism, it was too late. Not only couldn’t I get ahold of anyone of the few people I had made an acquaintance with in Ohio by then, because they were all at the baptism with their phones shut off to vibrate, (I assume) But I was out in the middle of nowhere Ohio, far from any gas station. I suppose it only makes sense that we narrowed the whole confusion down to me just running out of gas. Otherwise, pretty soon I would be doing a commercial for Toyota, it’s hybrid mechanism, it’s Blue tooth, and finally it’s GPS/navigation system, which, in it’s defense, I blame on a confusing Ohio land layout. Sorry, all you Buckeyers, you have some curvy roads and confusing over and under passes and intersections.
However, in all that confusion, I stumbled across Joe Keim and MAP (Mission to Amish People) Ministries. Some people in life who have a calling, you sometimes feel like they could do just about anything, and should also be in other fields. I do believe Joe Keim is exactly where God wants him, and is doing exactly what his calling is for him. I have rarely had the opportunity to meet a man who gave his whole life and trust so completely in God. I know, like Danny Gingerich said, that Joe Keim has caught his share of criticism, but I truly don’t believe that he could quit doing what he is called to do even if he tried to. The world, the Amish, the ex Amish, and yes, God, need him right where he is.
Might I add that this was the hardest episode I have ever done or watched of anything I’ve ever done. I fought tooth and nail against doing the part where I try to reconnect with my mom. The sole reason being that I knew she would be devastated when she found out. However, since I had talked to the man above multiple times before I finally committed to being a part of this show, I, same as Joe Keim, put my faith in God to guide me on this journey I was on during the filming of this show. Might I also add that there were parts, besides the story about my mom, that I battled against, but in the end I truly and completely believe God was guiding me and planning ahead for me on this journey. Looking at it from that perspective, I can’t disagree with anything that happened or how it was aired.
And BTW, for those who have questions regarding whether or not I have found my salvation in Christ the Savior, or whether I am still searching, I am very happy to inform you that I have indeed given my life to God! I still do have some battles, but every time I talk to God, it becomes easier, and I am becoming closer to feeling free from some of my chains that held me fast for so many years! In other words, it is not an overnight thing. However, I think anyone who has walked in my shoes, can agree with me that gradually it becomes easier and you become stronger and more sure of what to listen to and what to disregard.
One of the things I battled against on a daily basis during the filming of this show, was making myself to be a leader or Mentor of the ex Amish in Columbia, Mo. I might state that I am a very reluctant “credit taker” on this. There are so many older ex Amish in Columbia who do at least as much as I do or even more, who deserve praise or would make a better leader or mentor, but I suppose the difference is, I am the one who chose to tell his story.
That being said, I have no regrets so far for my role in this series. I did what I started out to do, said what I wished to say, and I have received an unbelievably large amount of feedback and support from people who’s lives have been touched by watching this series.
I am very happy to say that I do have several brothers who have also left the ex Amish living in Wisconsin, who have made my life out here easier. It is such a “burden lifter” to have some older brothers to look up to for support!
For those of you that may have been confused about my having been out of the Amish for only nine years, but those letters had been hidden in the upstairs for like 16, let me briefly explain. When I was 16, I left the Amish in Wisconsin, and Gordy took me in and I lived there for about 6 months. At 16, the change was too big, and there were not that many ex Amish in Wisconsin back in the mid 90’s, so I went back, taught School for 5 yrs in the Amish community, and finally at 22 yrs old, left again. This time I left for good. I honestly didn’t remember the letters and songs I had hidden up in the attic. It wasn’t until I stood in that upstairs and the memories started flooding over me from that time in my childhood, and where I was at in my life at that time, that it all came back to me. I remembered how much value I had put into these songs and poems, and I knew if I took them home, how I knew they would be burned, so I left them at the house with the intentions of some day going back and getting them if I ever left the Amish again.
As far as Curtis. Yes, there have been many who have come to me trying to get to the Ex Amish. As it turned out, Curtis wasn’t able to handle the spotlight too well. He ended up trying to do more stories in this area by telling the newspapers and TV networks that he was born Amish and converted to Mennonite, when in all actuality, he was a troubled teen Born and raised in the outside world, had some problems in high school, who somehow during the filming of this show, was trying his hand as a Mennonite.
Meeting the Lapp Brothers and families
Now, If you think episode 6 was a tear jerker, I regret to inform you that episode 7 will be even deeper and heavier. My road trip continues, takes me to PA again, and I meet some really interesting former Amish men there. Did I find even more answers there? Not that I am trying to make excuses, but I can honestly say that I was in a haze for the most part when I was with these guys, so I am for the first time, watching this episode from a complete viewers angle. What I saw, made me cringe, and I suppose in fairness to myself, I may not have put out there so openly had I been in my right frame of mind.
Did I encounter any life changing events during this trip? All I can say is that I came away with a lot more to think about, different perspectives on a lot of things in life, and again, no regrets.
As I sit here in my safe, cozy little office at work waiting for someone who may be wanting to take advantage of our Memorial Day savings here at the dealership, on this Memorial Day, I can’t help but contemplate the fact that this series, my and my friends’ stories, and so many other simple pleasures in life are possible because we have so many Men and Women laying their life’s down for me and you, so we can go about our life’s peacefully. I am overwhelmed by the realization that I have a great and fulfilling life, family, and oh so many friends who I can hang out with!
God Bless America, our freedom, our troops, and our rights!