Last summer we first heard from Anne, whose son Ed a few years ago joined an Amish community in Minnesota. Anne shared her experience as an English mother to an Amish son in posts on language challenges at Ed’s wedding, friends’ reactions, and expectations regarding photos.
Becoming Amish is not easy to do, which is probably as it’s meant to be. One reason is the change in lifestyle required. Today Anne shares some of the hardships encountered by a young Amish family in wintertime in the upper Midwest. You’ll see that despite the tough times there are blessings too.
We got a letter from our little couple in cold Minnesota yesterday and I thought I’d send along some news and prayer requests for those so inclined. They are all fine, but having some not so small troubles. First, Ruth is having “severe tooth and gum pain” and we are wondering why? I think she will need to get quick attention and hope they realize how important that is. Second, their (only) horse has gone lame, which is serious for them, as they have no other means of transportation. This will make it hard to get her to a doctor, though they can always hire a driver. Also, if they lose their horse, it’s an expense they just can’t afford. How will they handle that? To get to church, they’ve been trekking over to the neighbors (1/2 mile away) and going in their buggy with them. That’s one cold walk!
They’ve both been fighting off flu, but Ed continues to work somewhere nearby finishing a house. My guess is that their summer produce season was so bad (drought), he’s doing whatever he can to make up for lost income. On top of this, they’ve had a pretty wretched winter so far. Not much snow, which is badly needed, but extremely low temps. Yesterday their high was -11, with a wind chill of -40 or 50, due to high winds. I just checked the week ahead and there’s not much relief in sight, except for Sunday when they could reach 30 for a high (I’m sure they will be ready for a May Day event!). But then temps drop again very severely for the rest of the week. Doesn’t seem to be much relief from the extreme conditions for a long, long time.
Baby is doing well, but somewhat fussy in the evenings. I can’t imagine not being able to at least take a short walk outside to get some momentary peace. Of course, not an option for them. But he’s smiling, cooing, and even laughing some which delights his parents (not to mention his grandparents!).
The overall picture is one of living very close to the edge. If they had an established business, or an extended family nearby who could be relied on, we’d all feel better about their situation. Ed is still experiencing the learning curve of all that goes with being Amish. I was wondering if one of his close friends- someone more experienced with horses – could come take a look at his horse, but with such low temps, no one gets out. And Ed’s home is on the edge of the Amish settlement there. His good friend, who’s taught him quite a bit, is miles away, almost the other side of this community. Another hard thing is the water situation. Most of the other families there have indoor plumbing, but Ed and Ruth are still pumping theirs outside and hauling it in for everything. Ed would love to provide this for Ruth, but it involves precious funds they simply don’t have yet.
Ed writes that the winter seems unbearable at times, but they are thankful for plenty of firewood, food, and love. He said he is finding family life an important time for grace to be extended to all, and prays that God will keep him in a place of humility. Guess he’s got his priorities right. I know they need our prayers and thank you in advance for remembering them to the Lord.