|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.
Michael is now a member of our household again. He arrived on Friday. When the car pulled up to our house he thought it was just to say hi and he was going on to another house. We told Susan that Michael was coming to stay with us but he didn’t know it. Michael, the Social Services Man, Susan, David and I came into the kitchen for coffee (or milk) and cake-just the kind Michael liked. After we talked for a while we all started heading for the car when we got there David opened the car door and pulled out Michael’s suit case telling him we were his next house. Michael thought we were kidding until Susan ran up and told him he wasn’t leaving. When all the other children were in bed, David and I sat down with Michael and explained the rules of our house-again. If he wanted to leave or go to a friends or take a walk in the woods, etc. he is to tell us-not run away. Should he want to go to another foster home-tell us-don’t just take off. He said he wouldn’t run away, but we explained this is going to be more than a few weeks-he’s here for a long time. Also, we are sure we will have some disagreements, but we must work these out among us. He agreed so we hope this works out. We explained that as far as we are concerned at 13, he is an adult, and he will be treated that way-but he must go along with the rules. We went on with more rules, but he agreed to them. Also, we explained why he is at our house to be near his friends, but no drugs, liquor, TV, etc.
Sunday afternoon there was a tornado that hit Savannah and South Butler, New York. David got the call Sunday evening asking if he could help out on Monday. Whenever there are storms, floods, tornado’s etc. the Mennonites try to help wherever we are needed. The Mennonites from Waterloo got there first, went around to see where workers would be needed and what kind of work. Then they contact other Mennonites to come and help, as we can. Michael had never been to anything like this, and couldn’t understand why we were helping people we didn’t even know. At Bible reading that evening David showed Michael where we must help our neighbor-that God created us all alike. We treat out neighbor as ourselves and we must help one another.
Monday morning, after milking, David and Michael left in the van to go there and work. When they got there, there were Mennonite, Amish and outsiders all there ready to help. As Michael had never been to anything like this, David asked that they be assigned together and were. Their job was to remove trees, limbs, etc from peoples property so appraisers could get to the property to see the damage. David gave Michael a quick course on how to work an electric saw. They worked side by side with David keeping sure that Michael was working the machine right and safely. Lunch was at one of the firehouses with all the trucks moved outside. The workers were there and people whose property had been damaged. People were there who had been through the tornado and told of where they were and what happened. It shows God’s presence as no one was killed or seriously injured. One man lost half of his house-but he was in the other half when the storm hit. Another had a barn with a travel trailer in it-the trailer was there but they were still looking for the barn. Many houses lost their roofs, broken windows-some houses were so damaged they couldn’t be lived in them. The Red Cross was providing them places to stay or they were with friends or relatives.
As David knows construction he was asked to look at some property to see if some quick patch ups could be made so people could go back in their houses. They boarded up windows, patched up roofs, etc. Michael never had done construction so David gave him the job of hammering nails. Michael was surprised that ladies came in the morning and afternoon with coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, cookies, etc. to give them a break. The Mennonite, and Amish provided the lunches. Both of them got home late in the evening, tired but glad for all the work they did. Michael was surprised that people thanked them for the work they did. People that didn’t know them.
Today the men are finishing up some work on our farm and going over to do milking along with other jobs to take care of the farms of the men that went to the tornado area today. My Mother and Mother-in-law are going to the bake sale for me as I am baking food to take tomorrow when David, Michael and I go. Susan will be at school. Martha will take Baby David and Rebeca to her house while we are gone. Some of Martha’s sons are coming with us also. The men will work on construction or removing limbs while us ladies will be providing the food. This time we will be setting up at a church – as they have more room and a bigger stove. David and my relatives are bringing food to go with us. Also, Martha is baking something. With what we are bringing and other Amish and Mennonites will bring, we will have more than enough to feed the workers and whoever else stops by.
Tornado’s are not a storm that we have a lot of in this area. They are very rare. The older people were talking, they believe the last tornado was in the 1960’s. As far as hurricane’s that was back in the 1970’s-and that hit down state. With all the tornado’s and hurricanes in other areas, God has watched over us.
Baby Rebeca is doing much better. She is like a normal baby right now-not as much crying and fussing as she did. I will worry about her a bit when we leave tomorrow as I never left her along with anyone outside our family-not that Martha is a stranger. Martha said I have to her learn to let her go sometime. I know she and Baby David will get excellent care at Martha’s house while we are helping the tornado people. David and I are not sure if we will adopt Rebeca or not. We would really like to. The problem is that because the girl that had her is a minor (17 years old) she is allowed three years to change her mind and get the baby back. She would have to change her ways from drugs, be able to financially provide for the child and complete courses on talking care of the child. If she wanted the child back, her fastest way would be to get married (unfortunately) to a man who could provide. Still she would have to stop taking drugs and complete her child courses. So many young people have gone that way, but they don’t think of the love or the future or God. Just because she has Rebeca doesn’t mean she is the best for her. I am not talking of Rebecca’s mother alone, I am speaking of some young ladies of today. Marriage isn’t the answer especially just for the sake of getting married-when you aren’t careful who you marry or seek God’s will. So the answer to whether we will adopt Rebeca isn’t an easy answer. We would love to keep her and make her our own.
Michael’s public school does not start until September 6th so he has many things he would like us to do before that. He would like to go fishing and a picnic again, go clothes and school shopping, have his friends over, and much more. We also have to do our harvesting and other farm jobs, so we are trying to see what we can work out. As far as he and we are concerned when he turns 14 in a couple of months, he shouldn’t have to go to school, but because he is a Foster Child, we must go by the state-he goes to school. His former foster home was also a farm, so he has become very good at some of his jobs. He really helps David a lot. We want Michael to do his best in school because when he graduates from high school-he may want to go to college. He says he won’t, but he is 13 and has four years to make that decision. Our hope is, that even though he may not become Old Order Mennonite, that he will go into farming and eventually own a farm near us. Only God and time will tell.
Susan is just opposite in school. She really enjoys it. So far in school, she is getting great marks, but she is only in first grade. We hope she keeps these up through out her education. She can’t understand why Michael does not like school. He keeps telling her to wait until she gets older. The problem is that school, so far, is coming easy to Susan and she can’t understand why some of her friends don’t do as well as she does. We try to explain that everyone is different. Susan rides to school and home on the buggy bus. Sometimes her and the older children from school walk home together. I won’t let walk with just children of her age-they are too young alone.
Baby David is getting big. He is now 8 months old and is a big baby. David says we will have to find another name to call him besides Baby David pretty soon. LOL We don’t care for junior or what many of the Old Order Mennonite would use David’s David. Even their middle names are the same so that doesn’t help. LOL David said we should have thought of this when we named him. he guesses. We were so happy to have another child-especially a boy-that we named him-never thinking about when he got older. David’s father is also named David-so was his Grandfather. We also don’t like the fourth David. My husband use to be called the third David. Names !!!!!
Be With God,
Don’t miss a special recipe from Jean this Wednesday on Amish Stories.
|Amish Stories is taking a 1 week break starting on September 3, we will return on September 12 with the recipe of the week. I have asked Jean to write a post on her feelings about “911” which is now approaching 10 years since that assault on American soil. I wanted her thoughts as a person who is old order Mennonite and as an American. This “911” post from Jean will be on Sept 13. Richard
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