Room at the Inn

How many places could you just show up at, and expect to get a place to sleep? I’m sure we all have a few. Family at the least. Returning to NC from Indiana yesterday, I decided to see if I had someone like that in Ohio.

The Amish friend I pointed my car towards (Ivan Miller is his pseudonym if you’ve read my business book) did not disappoint. I had tried to warn him I might appear Sunday evening, but with no luck. Though there was no room at his proverbial inn (big family) he quickly located a bed at the home of fellow church members, a young couple just down the road.

Ivan wondered if I was at all nervous just showing up unannounced. I said not really. He said that if I had been, then it was my problem because there was no reason to be. I was just thinking that is a blessing.

Of course, I did offer up free Amish taxi services for this morning. But that was after my sleeping spot was secured, so I still have to give Ivan the credit!

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    34 Comments

    1. Lattice

      You are right, Erik, that kind of hospitality is a blessing. It also seems to more highly practiced in Amish culture, don’t you think?

      1. Probably Lattice, though I just got done speaking with a Holmes Co. Amishman who felt drop in visits are less common than they once were in his community. Things are more often planned. I wonder if Lancaster might be more this way still.

        1. Michigan Mary

          Mutual friends

          Erik, our mutual friend, the furniture maker, tells me that it is much more common among the Swartzies than the OO folks. He says that since many zoO in Holmes have cell phones, they will call before they trek out to see friends and family, whereas the Swartzies will just “drop by”, usually right at meal time, and stay for many hours…. P.S. it’s bee awhile since I have posted but I have kept up on reading! We are heading down to see the Mast family this weekend. I’ll have photos for sure next week.

          1. Michigan Mary

            Not Zoo

            Not “zoO”…. But OO… As in Old Order….

        2. Dan

          I was at my Amish friend’s dairy farm and house in Lititz PA getting ready for dinner when another Amish family showed up to rest their horses along their 40 mile journey. It seemed to me the families did NOT know each other very well but of course were hospitable.

          1. Long journey! I wonder if they were going from the more populated part of Lancaster to someone’s home in the northwest, where Amish have settled more in recent years.

            Friends of mine fairly regularly make a 30 or so mile journey from Lancaster to relatives in Lebanon County. They usually stop in some state game lands on the way.

    2. Roberta

      Some friends of ours had an Amish couple knock on their door late one night. Their horse and buggy could not make the hill in the snow and they expected to stay over. At first my friends were a little surprised but, after all, it is probably what we would have done back in the day. Nowadays most of us around here have a 4-wheel drive car or some other vehicle that will make the grade. So my friends put the Amish couple in their car and drove them up the hill and told them they would be back to pick them up in the morning. The horse got the rest of the night off, snug in the barn with the cows.

      1. Neat story, and interesting that they were comfortable enough to expect to stay with English strangers (I am assuming they were English and strangers).

        1. John

          room at the inn..

          I have been accomodated by “mennonite your way” christians in louisville,ky. and massachusetts,canada,prince edward island and others..never with a mennonite home!a reasonable gift (be generous) and a desire to make new friends and a love for God is the key to this experience…I never dropped in but I’m sure if you have a tent, many would let you “crash” at their pad! I am no longer member of a mennonite church..a teen called me a creep because i had a black t-shirt on,my hat on backwards, and mirror sunglasses at a church sponsored camp-out..but the real offence was that i was committed to supporting a widow church member ie. taking her to dr. appts.,trips for picnics,helped her buy a car,called and e-mailed to encourage her because she lost her husband of 48 yrs. contracted breast cancer,two sons in rehab,one son married had an illegitimate child and now has to have a heart valve replaceed..I had to withdraw my membership or they would have ex-communicated me because i followed by understanding of the Word that says to minister to widows..i am divorced,a Marine Corps veteran(Vietnam) and if I see anyone that needs protection or aid I stand on “do it onto the least…you’ve done it on to me” ..I told the leadership repeatedly that we were not,would not,did not have romantic feelings and I considered her only a sister in the Lord…we have both withdrawn from such control and failure to do in spirit rather than the law! i have yet to find another christian community that is not condemning,exclusive,self-righteous and preaching what” itching” ears want to hear..HOMOSEXUALITY IS CONDONED,SIN IS NOT MENTIONED AND COMMUNION IS SERVED AS A WAY TO SALVATION WITH NO WARNING OF TAKING UNWORTHILY..i WAS TOLD BEFORE I JOINED THE MENNONITES THAT THEY BELIEVED IN “PEACE AND JUST US”..NOT JUSTICE!LET’S JUST CALL OURSELVES CHRISTIANS LIKE WE ARE AND STOP BUILDING WALLS BY THESE DENOMINATIONS AND THINKING SOME DENOMINATIONS HAVE AN INSIDE ON THE TRUTH..THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT HAS 2 PARTS..LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS..DO THAT AND YOU FULFILL THE LAW..FORGET WHAT COLOR YOUR CAR IS,WHETHER YOU WEAR A TIE OR DRIVE A BUGGY..SIN REIGNS IN EVERY CHURCH SOMEWHERE,CORRECT AND PLEAD FOR REPENTANCE AND RESTORE THE LOST BROTHER INSTEAD OF SHUNNING WHICH IS COERCION..LEAD DONT DRIVE PEOPLE..THAT’S ASSAULT! BLESSINGS FROM A RECOVERING CHRISTIAN !

          1. Valerie

            Reply to John

            John,
            I’m sorry you were hurt by this particular church experience. If you are an outsider who joins it is a bit of a challenge to make any exceptions-I am glad to see that you haven’t walked away from Christianity altogether but a friend of mine was helped by this book from an experience living in Amish community-Toxic Faith:
            http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Faith-Stephen-Arterburn/dp/0877888256/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374050662&sr=8-1&keywords=toxic+faith

            I have learned one cannot join an Anabaptist community unless you are likeminded-or willing to yield your own Biblical understandings to the Church’s understandings-you will only get hurt unless you do. You had to make a choice and learned the spirit of love vs the spirit of the law, sounds like you made the right choice as the Bible says in James 2:13 that mercy triumphs over judgement. Yet you need to make sure a root of bitterness doesn’t develop.

    3. Debbie H

      I am a retired pastor and I know if I showed up at a friends house, in the many cities I served in, that I could find a bed for the night. I know if any of them came to me and needed a stop over I would gladly welcome them. But how many of us would welcome a stranger into our homes for the night? With “stranger danger” so evident and on the news every night I would be very wary of strangers at my door.

      1. John

        DEAR DEB..READ THE ABOVE COMMENT..A STRANGER IS ONLY SOMEONE THAT YOU DON’T KNOW THEIR NAME …YET! YES,IT IS VERY RISKY TO REACH OUT AND SHOW LOVE BUT THAT IS WHY CHRIST CAME..A CUP OF WATER IS ALL THAT IS REQUIRED..TAKE A CHANCE AND DO MORE THAN THE MINIMUM AT LEAST..BLESSING AND DON’T FEAR MAN WHAT HE CAN DO TO YOU BUT HE WHO CAN DESTROY YOUR SOUL! JOHN USMC 67’71 MARINE CORPS WILLING TO RISK SAFETY FOR A ANOTHER CHILD OF GOD…

    4. Mary

      I love drop in, uninvited visitors. We have had many of them. As high as 600 to 700 in a year. Most of them uninvited but welcomed nevertheless! On one occasion on a Saturday evening we had people from 10 different states represented at our house for dinner, and most of them stayed for the night. No, it was not planned ahead of time.What rich times we have experienced getting to know new people and just enjoying old friends! Although we haven’t been Amish for close to 40 years, I give a lot of credit to my Amish parents for putting a love for hospitality in my heart!(The most we’ve had stay at our house in one night was over 70 people.)

      1. OldKat

        Wow

        That is all I can think to say … wow!

        1. I agree with wow…there is a different comfort level with the idea of “uninvited” guests among Amish, and visiting in general. There are just many more occasions for visits, in fact when I showed up Sunday another family I am friends happened to be over at Ivan’s visiting his newlywed son and wife.

          600-700, almost 2 per day on average…of course when a whole family comes over to visit that can be 8-10 or more people, or if it’s just a buggy load maybe 4-6 at once (depending on the size of the people of course πŸ™‚ ).

    5. Alice Mary

      Trusting strangers

      Yeah, Debbie,that’s what I thought,too. I sure wouldn’t open my door to anyone who showed up on my porch, asking a room for the night! (Of course, I grew up in Chicago!) But as Lattice mentioned, it seems to be more common (opening your door to overnight guests—even English strangers) in Amish areas. Of course, I’m sure that Erik’s mentioning Ivan’s name would be a “trustworthy” introduction to the young couple.

      I’d guess that in areas where the population is “closer” (fewer people, where everyone knows everyone else), this might still be a common occurrence in some non-Amish areas, as well.

      If nothing else, Erik’s expanded his (huge, I’m sure) “network” of Amish friends & acquaintances!

      Alice Mary

      1. I actually knew the people I stayed with, they happen to be in the same church where I have attended with Ivan and co on a few occasions. So it was comfortable. I got over there about 930 PM and we visited for an hour or so, the place was wide awake. Wake up time was 445 though (he is a builder and is picked up before 6 AM every day) and the first of 3 breakfasts yesterday began at 5 AM!

        I got home late last night, I feel like I could sleep for 2 days, but I guess that is what an extra cup of coffee is for πŸ™‚

    6. Yes, there's room at my inn!

      Well, Erik, you know I just might have a room for you the next time you come to our valley. Just make sure I’m home the next time!

      1. I will do that Claudia, learned my lesson πŸ™‚

    7. Tom Geist

      Room at the table....

      I have been on a quest to get to know Amish people better. Seeing how the closest ones are 70 miles away makes it’s difficult. There are a few now that I have seen maybe a dozen or so times. While I would not want to stay with them I am interesting in having a meal with them to see how they are. I have thought about offering to bring food in order to do this. Just not sure of a nice way to ask to be invited for a meal with them.
      In the same way, even though I would not understand much of it, I would like to attend one or more of the Sunday church gatherings. I have never been to a religious group that did not invite others to come to church.

      I don’t like to impose of people.

      Tom G….LincNebr@hotmail.com

      1. Tom, a good way to get to know someone may be to offer free “taxi service” to someone you are getting to know. You might just say that you would enjoy driving if there is anywhere they’d need to visit, and spend a morning traveling around. Hard to turn down a free taxi for a few hours πŸ™‚

        1. Tom Geist

          Thanks Erik. I did ask a couple of the Amish if they did the “meals for wheels” idea but they didn’t. I have a smaller car but it could hold a couple of people, so I guess I will keep on trying to offer.

    8. Debbie H

      Getting strange notifications

      This has nothing to do with this subject. I sent you an e-mail Eric about someone who is posting comments to Florida Amish and So you want to be Amish. You might want to check it out and block them. Postings have to do with evil, demons, etc

      1. Thanks Debbie. Just saw your email, I returned home late last night. There was one comment I saw on the Amish in Florida post, that was just some sort of spammer. Did not see anything on So you want to be Amish (email me a link to the comment if you can).

        Most spam gets blocked but occasionally someone gets through. This person has been blocked and the comment removed.

    9. stephanie

      John I haave no clue of what Mennonite church you were a member of but being a member of the military and divorced would disqualify you from almost any Mennonite church! No Mennonite church I know of (unless VERY liberal in wwhich case they never use the Bann) condones homosexuality and believes communion as a way of salvation! Never! I am a member of a Beachy Amish-Mennonite church and have no clue where your information is comming from :/

      1. Michigan Mary

        Beachy Amish

        Steofanie, if you would be willing, could you email me at kinjano@comcast.net? I would like to chat about the B.A.M. Church. Mary from Michigan

    10. Room at The Inn

      Room at The Inn

      Stephanie,
      John said he was former military, so he could be part of any Amish or Mennonite community if he desired to be part and was willing to forgo things of the world. There are tons of liberal Mennonites, so how can YOU speak for all of them?

    11. Michigan Mary

      Room At The Inn

      RATI, perhaps you should re-read Stephs post… She did say, “that I know of” and she did give leeway for a “VERY liberal” church. In no way did I get the impression that she was speaking for ALL Mennonites.

    12. Room at The Inn

      Room at The Inn

      I misread. Recall my message. Stephanie was right on.

    13. Valerie

      Hospitality

      The gift of hospitality is expected in Christianity-the Bible tells us to accommodate strangers(Hebrews 3:2) -we have valid reasons to be wary of strangers but I’m mindful of former Amish friends (they were still Anabaptists though) who picked up a hitchhiker and brought him home. My friend (now deceased) said he laid in bed realizing they put this stranger up in the room with the shotguns or rifles, (hunting I assume)and they had 10 children in the house! But that hitchhiker ended up living with them 6 months or so-they were hoping to reach him for Christ.

    14. Valerie

      Correction-

      Typo-that scripture passage is 13:2 not 3:2
      Might as well put the scripture now that I had to correct myself:

      King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
      Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

      I feel like a hypocrite posting it because if put to the test I would be wary in these days we live. It would take a great deal of trust in the Lord & discernment to practice this, as well as being willing to lay your life down if the possible angel was of the ‘fallen’ nature.

      1. Lattice

        I am with you, Valerie. How I wish it felt safer to offer the kind of hospitality we know we should.

    15. Patty

      Room at the Inn

      Oh so true. I drive for the Amish, mostly long-distance and I am always amazed how welcoming they are whether expected or unexpected guests arrive, sometimes needing 3 separate rooms. And not only to the Amish but for myself as well. I am always invited to sit and visit,while the rooms are being prepared, treated like family. They do travel extensively and are always putting up family and those that come with family, if they visit family they never stay at a hotel. It is assumed they will have a place to stay in the community and for their driver as well.

    16. Ada/KJV Conservative

      Hypothetically Speaking

      Hmmm…damp, damp, and moldy hotel in the middle of Murder Town, USA, or a clean house hosted by friendly people? I hope the decision is obvious!
      By the way, do Plain people ever run “hotels”? If a church district only allowed electricity for businesses, and the Amish family ran a boarding house for English people, that’d probably be a toss up. Maybe a limit on the amount of kilowatts/appliances used?
      Would the English people end up toting water buckets? I own animals, so I get to dip the large buckets in a rain barrel, pull it up and haul it a good ways- sometimes on up an incline. [Now mind you, I’m barely 5′ tall!] Then again, the farm would probably have a better system than I do! πŸ™‚

      In Christ,
      Ada