Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I didn't know what to title this post. It is so hard to believe this happened. If you've read my blog before you know that I grew up in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties in PA and I respect the PA German culture and the various practices of the plain Christian faiths. In the last year especially I have tried to introduce my children to various aspects of Amish and Mennonite culture.

Last Saturday, a good friend took my children to a customer appreciation day at an Amish farm. We've been buying our milk, cheese (very yummy), beef and pork from a family in Paradise, PA. I wasn't able to go to the open house, to tour the farm and meet the farmer, but my children were. They had a wonderful time with several of the farmer's 11 children. During the course of the 5 hours they visited, the children discussed school. Homeschool and Amish school. They mentioned that if you looked hard you could see the roof of their one-room school from the farm.

I spent a good deal of time on Monday night, trying to get an address on West Nickle Mines school. When I finally did I was horrified. It was less than a mile from our farmer's home. I told my oldest to be prepared for the worst. This morning, I talked with my friend on the phone. Someone had gotten in touch with the farmer's driver. (You all know by now that Amish don't drive; this person delivers the products to the Philly area.) It wasn't their school, but it was very close, for that I am thankful. Two of the victims share the same last name as our farmer. We have yet to find out if they are related somehow. Something about this makes me want to get in the car and drive out to Paradise. To go up to every Amish person I see and say "I'm sorry." I'm sorry that our violent culture invaded your world in such a tragic way. I'm sorry that the innocence that has been lost. I'm just so sorry that this happened, but especially that it happened to you.

I am thankful that the Amish can trust in the sovereignty of God at a time like this. It will be hard, very hard, but they have a greater hope than this life, an eternal one in a place that is truly Paradise. My oldest daughter reads from a devotional that was written by a Mennonite woman. The story today was about a little girl who dies. The scripture for today was:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall their be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ~ Rev 21:4

She printed it up and colored the margins with a note for the Amish girls she met on Saturday. I'll be sending it along with a note from me tomorrow. And each time that I eat a meal with Alvin's meat, or milk or cheese, I will be reminded to lift up a prayer for all the those affected. If you want to help, the Lancaster paper posted this guide. It includes places that funds have been established for the Amish and the Roberts family and an address to send notes and cards.



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