I would like to introduce you to my new friend Esther. I met her last Saturday at Operation Christmas Child. She was volunteering with a group from Ohio. What I didn’t realize at first was that the group was Amish! I thought they were Mennonites that had come from Ohio to volunteer. I had not realized that this hard working group of women and two men were Amish.
I did my usual go around and chat with each table, making sure that the processing was going smoothly and to answer any questions they had. I ended up talking with a young lady named Krista for a while and she was the one who informed me that the group was Amish. She said I could ask any question and she would answer. I took her up on that and asked some of the most ridiculous questions about my preconceived notions of the Amish. She was gracious and very informative. When I finished talking with her, she told me she had been a tour guide in her community for people that came from all over the US curious about the Amish culture.
After a while, Krista decided to change jobs with Esther and we struck up a conversation. I’m a naturally curious person and I asked Esther if I could discuss the differences we have in our cultures. She was just as gracious as Krista. We discussed family, she comes from a family of 11 kids and she is the youngest of 9 boys and 2 girls! I have one older brother, I could not for one moment imagine 8 more in my family! She spoke so lovingly about her family and what they have faced over the years. I found out when Esther was 20 her dad suddenly passed away from a heart attack. She is now 28 and there was great sadness in her words but peace surrounded her. She knew she was going to see him again one day.
We discussed dating and how that is played out in the Amish culture. It’s not much different than what most people go through. Guy asks girl out and they plan dates. I asked Esther about her work and she said she loves it. She is a cashier in a bakery on a farm. She gets to meet so many different people from all over the US that come to shop there. I could tell that she genuinely loves people.
Maybe that’s what connected us. Believe it or not, she wanted a picture with me before she left! I know, a group of Amish people that have technology. I was just as shocked as you are reading this! I was surprised to see the younger generation with cell phones and cameras. They can have them until they join the church. That usually happens when they are 18-24. (Interesting age grouping there. 🙂 )
Esther and I live in two different worlds but we connected Saturday night and I know if she lived in my hometown, we would be good friends! I was so struck by this group of women including Esther that if I could go visit them, I would in a heart beat. Esther and her friends captured my imagination and a little piece of my heart.
If you ever get the opportunity to volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, run to do it! You never know who you will meet while volunteering or in my case working a seasonal position there! 🙂