Tuesday, May 9, 2017

My People, the Amish (a book review)

I've always loved learning about different religions and their beliefs, but the Amish people have fascinated me. Their simple lifestyle is appealing on so many levels but I had no idea how restrictive that lifestyle could be until I read My People, the Amish.

I already knew a good deal about the Amish, or so I thought. I'd watched several shows on television about them, the most recent being Leaving Amish. But none of the shows shared much detail about everyday living and all the church ordained regulations, so I had much to learn.

As I began reading the true story of Joe Keim, My People, the Amish, I felt sorry for him. Growing up in the Old Order Amish community, Joe lived by a strict set of rules. The rules set forth by his church mandated the length of his hair, the color of his clothes, where he could go, what he could do, and how he should live his life. Joe often felt like he couldn't live up to all the expectations set before him and rightly so. Not only did the church expect perfection, Joe's Father did as well.

Joe shared how he longed for encouragement and affirmation from his father and how disappointed he was that he never received it. His father didn't show any physical affection toward Joe and never offered loving sentiments to his son. This was typical of the Amish community, says Joe Keim, "I don't remember ever getting a hug from Dad or hearing him tell me that he loved me, but that's not uncommon in the Amish community. Most Amish people don't show affection. It's just the way it was. In fact, the word love isn't in the Pennsylvania Dutch vocabulary - the closest word for love is like." It's no wonder, when Amish children reach teenage years and are allowed to go through the ritual of Rumspringa, they test the waters and begin to break some of their Amish rules.

Joe Keim shared every aspect of his life in My People, the Amish. He talked candidly about his childhood, his teenage years, dating, leaving the Amish community for a time, and how he finally found God. The challenges he faced involved disappointing not only his family but his church, but Joe knew there was more to a life filled with strict guidelines and tradition. He felt God drawing him and he wanted to answer the call.

After accepting Christ as his Savior, Joe wanted to give back to the Amish people whom he dearly loved. He founded a ministry called MAP, Mission to Amish People. His goal in forming this ministry with his wife, Esther, was to share the love of Christ with the Amish people and to help them understand the truth of the gospel.

I enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to read about Joe's story and learn how difficult it is for an Amish person to completely walk away from his order. The book is filled with courage and hope. I would like to thank Aneko Press for allowing me to review this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

If you'd like to read more about Joe Keim and his story, you can pre-purchase the book here. The release date for the book is June 1, 2017.