An Unpleasant Service We Provide

We live among the Amish and provide a service to them.

We live among the Amish.  If you are basing your knowledge of the Amish on the movies you watch or the books you read, you might be surprised by reality.  :)  I love to see the beauty of their farms though.  The shocks of corn in the fields at this time of year always makes me stop to take pictures. 

We provide a service to the Amish and have done it for almost 13 years.  We take them death notifications.  If someone in their family, who lives far away, dies, they call us or have a neighbor call us and we take the information to the local family.  They don’t like to see us pull into their driveway, but if we are on another type of errand, we are quick to let them know why we are there to put their minds at ease.  Often the person has been very sick and they are expecting the news.  Other times, it is an accident or something else very sudden and they are surprised.  I have had to take several notices of small children passing away. 

We are given the name of the person we are to deliver the message to.  They give us the name and age of the person who has died.  They always make sure they give us the name and age.  In many Amish communities there are many people with the same name.  I was talking to a local midwife one day and she said she had an appointment set up for someone.  Because it was a common name, she asked for the husband’s first name.  She had more than one couple with both names, so she asked what road they lived on.  She actually had 2 couples with those same names on that road and had to ask the children’s names to get the right one.  They also give us the area or address where the deceased lived.  Then we are given the day of the funeral.  Occasionally, one of them will give us some details to pass on to the family about the death itself. 

As we have shared this over the years, many people ask me what their reactions are when we take the notice to them.  They are very curious and most of the adults and older children will gather around and read over the shoulder of the one holding the note.  I always wait to make sure that they understand all the writing and that I am in the right place.  They usually tell me how they are related to the person and will also often ask me to take the notice to other family in the area who are also related.  As far as their reaction, there really is not one.  They rarely act sad.  They might save that for when an outsider is not among them.  In all the years we have been doing this, only once, did a woman come close to crying.  Her eyes teared up and she had a trembly voice as she shared with me that it was her mother who had died.  

They are always grateful to us for bringing the notice and often offer to pay us for our time and gas (which we decline).  

I delivered a death notice this morning to the farm you see in the picture above.  The sun was still low in the sky and the light was so golden.  I had to stop and take pictures. I will share a few more with you below.  If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them.  Comments mean a lot to a blogger… hint hint! ;)

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Comments

An Unpleasant Service We Provide — 70 Comments

  1. Living close to nature, you become more in tune with the cycle of life. I can’t image how hard it must be to take these messages to people. Especially regarding children.
    Your pictures are beautiful. I love the big farm houses and barns.

  2. Fascinating that you have that relationship. Given the nature of your business with them and the little that I know about the Amish, I’m curious how you got started doing this service for them. Amazing that you are giving enough to do this. It truly is a service and apparently you are respected for it. God bless!

    • Actually, the people who we bought our house from did it before us. We just took over for them. I really did not do this post to pat us on the back. I know a lot of people are very curious about the Amish.

      • Hi – I am replying to this because you said that many people are curious about the Amish. I am! :) You said in the blog, “We live among the Amish. If you are basing your knowledge of the Amish on the movies you watch or the books you read, you might be surprised by reality.” I was wondering if you could give me a few examples of how I might be surprised. MOST of my knowledge comes from TV/movies. I have read a book about the Amish way of life (some uses of technology, etc.) What kinds of things did you have in mind when you said some might be surprised by reality? Thanks! :)

      • I’m glad you are taking the time to enlighten people of the Amish . A lot of people fear what the don’t understand . I wish more people had their resolve to stand ! I’ve had only kind responses from these people and love their insights to healing and foods .

    • I had never thought of how such news would be passed along to family members. By continuing the tradition of the homeowner you bought from, as unpleasant as it may be, you are in a small but important way allowing others to life their lives.

  3. You are wonderful, gracious people to provide this service to others. I know most wouldn’t find comfort in your task, but at the same time, you provide closure that they might not get otherwise, especially in the unexpected deaths. I hope you get to enjoy these people’s company on other occasions. God bless you.

    • I really did not do this post to pat us on the back. I know a lot of people are very curious about the Amish and I wanted to share my pictures from this mornings errand.

  4. How kind! Not an easy thing to do by any means, but necessary, and an incredible kindness on your part! Gorgeous pictures btw!

  5. It must be a very unpleasant job for you, how nice that you can do this service for them. Your pictures are very nice! I love the first on where the sun is coming down on the right hand side. But, all were great.
    Candy

  6. I think it a wonderful thing that you do for your Amish neighbors. Just curious, how did you get started/chosen to do it? Very kind of you!

  7. This was a beautiful story along with gorgeous pictures! I have a lot of respect for the little bit I do know about the Amish. They seem to be wonderful people with truly strong values. I aspire to one day be as selfless as they are. Thank you for sharing your experience. I know you aren’t looking for a pat on the back, but it is very kind of you all.

  8. The pictures are beautiful. You are a great photographer Marci! I Was born Amish and didn’t leave the Amish until I was 53.

  9. Beautiful photos of a beautiful farm. How kind of you to do this service for them. We just moved out to the country a couple months ago. The other’s family’s cat was way too depressed about the move, so they asked us if we would take her. Of course we said yes. Clover is 11 and she is doing very well now. So our house came with a cat!

  10. Love the photos!

    In trying not to do a “pat on the back” I’ll still commend your service to your “neighbors”. Maybe this will give the rest of us pause to think of creative ways we can reach out.

    God bless!

  11. Beautiful pictures. I love the Amish farms they are always so pretty and immaculately kept, their pride shows in everything they do. This world would be a much better place if people treated each other the way the Amish community help one another and even outsiders passing through.

  12. Thanks for sharing this information. I never knew about this. I learned something new today. I’m always curious about the Amish and the differences between the orders.

    • We live among the Swartzentruber Amish. They seem to be some of the most primitive in how they live. We have even heard other Old Order Amish call them the “Low Amish” in much the same way someone might say “white trash”.

      • “Low Amish” versus “High Amish” was more like plain versus fancy, humble versus proud, or conservative versus progressive. Another word for the “high” was fancy. My family was always ‘plain’ in our Lancaster Co PA setting and therefore considered ourselves more acceptable in God’s sight. So to some, being called “low” was a good thing.

        Now if you were one of the “fancy” or “high” families, you were taught that God looks at the heart, not the outside. Also, that the plain families have a false sense of humility.

        And in that way, they are all righteous in their own eyes. How thankful I am that we found the true salvation in Jesus’ blood and were delivered from man-made religion!

  13. It truly is a loving service. Its alows the Amish to “be in the world without being part of the world”. I love your photos. Wishing you a very pleasant day further.

  14. It looks like home. I grew up near the Amish in Iowa and remember the very wide shoulders on the country roads for their buggies. Beautiful pics.

  15. You rarely see tears because the Amish believe that death is God’s will and sadness is not attached to anything that God commands.

  16. I like this story. Being Australian, I’m fascinated by the Amish, since we don’t have any here. Do you interact with them for other reasons? We live on property and see our neighbours about fences, animals escaping, exchange excess eggs or vegetables, discuss road works or local council plans and if I need help with a broken pump etc and my husband isn’t home, then my neighbour pops over to lend a hand. Do the Amish do this too, to non Amish neighbours?

    • The Amish are people just like any other people. There are great ones and some that are not so great. We have interacted with them on other things. They have helped us with an animal and we in turn have helped them transport an animal.

  17. Stunning pictures of an admirable (and incredibly hard) lifestyle. I am always taken by images of the Amish way of life, there is (what seems to be) such an honesty to them. I know you have said that you didn’t post this story for any recognition, and I don’t believe that people are acknowledging your contribution to this community because they feel you were asking for praise, more that you deserve to know that we respect what you do! Thank you for sharing your photos and thank you for caring for your community.

  18. Very interesting article, not something you’d really wonder about, i have always envied the amish way of life, except for the religion, and shunning people and such, but I really admire them for what they do, and it’s so nice of you to do this for them, i would think it would be hard though, being the bearer of bad news, except in some cases, where death was a kindness, that brought someone out of steady demise of many illnesses or disease, as my poor mother in her last year of terminal alzheimers, although i miss her greatly, i’m sure death was a higher power taking pity on her.

  19. I live close within a community of Amish also. We are fortunate to be excepted by some and enjoy our acquaintance. It is something to allowed to glimpse a part of their lives.

  20. Thank you so much for your selflessness and kindheartedness for your humble community. I’ve always had a heart for the Amish community and have such respect for them and their way of life. Not everyone, as you know, is as kind and compassionate toward them. So, thank you for your example of humility and gentleness. I’m certain your community appreciates your servant’s heart.

  21. Here is your comment. Lol I understand your duty very well. We are a military family and have had to watch that one vehicle stop at a home too many times. It is heart wrenching to see. Thank God they never stopped at our home, well not for many years anyway. You live in a beautiful area and if you want to visit my blog and comment, I wouldn’t mind at all. Haha

  22. My GGgrandparents were Amish so I understand your service to them. Tears in an Amish are a very very private thing and not acceptable especially around English. Public morning or in fact any show of emotion is very uncomfortable for them.

  23. When I first opened your post, I was so excited, whipped my laptop around, and showed Bill. We passed this exact farm last night at sunset. I lamented not having my camera and we marveled at how stunningly beautiful was the golden light hitting the shocks in the back field. The farmer was bringing in his team of horses and it was all so lovely. One could have easily imagined how happy that beautiful farm was on a perfect autumn day. How sad to hear that it was otherwise.

  24. Your photos are beautiful. What you do for your neighbors is, I believe, a blessing for you and them. What a kind thing to do, “taking over the route”, just because you bought the house. I understand you did not post for praise, making your act (in my opinion) more praiseworthy. Enjoy the beauty around you!

  25. Beautiful photos. It often angers me at the way I see the Amish portrayed especially on some of the more recent tv shows. When I was younger and worked at a farm market, I had young Amish friends. They are for the most part very dignified, sometimes funny and always respectful.

  26. It amazes me how much I don’t know about the Amish. We,non-stop,take so much for granted. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a stranger to come to me with news of a family death. What a amazing service you provide. It must be hard for you as well, but you show true neighborly friendship.

    That farm is beautiful and your pictures amazing.

  27. Beautiful pictures.beautiful service you provide, I too live near amish community. I enjoy seeing a glimpse of their life as I pass by their homes and farms.many amish and menanites(spelling unsure)do construction and home improvements in our community. It’s always enjoyable to see their buggies hitched to the light pole at walmart or save a lot.

  28. This looks just like near where my sister lives in Missouri. When I was pregnant with my first child, I went and purchased some items from the community near my sister. The woman who I spoke with most had her husband make a wooden chest for me and brought it to my sister’s home as a gift. It is of the highest quality, an heirloom type piece that would probably sell for a few hundred dollars. My sister helped them get organic certification on their farm and connected them with an inner city coop owner that purchases and picks up their produce. She also helped find safe housing and employment for their college age children who were going on… I cant remember what its called but their time to try out the world?? Anyway, I admire them so much for their simple way of life. I’m sure they appreciate you, in the way my sister is appreciated by her neighboring Amish.

  29. I grew up and married Amish. We left soon after we were married. I will always treasure all the people in our lives that did things like you are doing. While we were Amish, we were just regular people with a different lifestyle. The non-amish were curious to us. They seemed so strange. :)

    Now we are raising our family in a Christian, non-amish lifestyle and the children are so curious about the Amish! It is a beautiful way of life, but I would still rather have freedom in Christ!

    Blessings to you!

  30. Marci, what a sweet post. The pictures are beautiful and the servant’s heart you have shows true beauty. Those people will never forget what your family does. Thanks for sharing and for doing what you do.

  31. That would be a really tough ‘job’ to have, but it truly is an invaluable service. I never would have considered how important that kind of service would be.
    The pictures are just beautiful.

  32. I couldn’t read this without a lump in my throat. It’s hard to see your beautiful pictures. My eyes fogged up. Thanks for sharing your experience and your insight. Good post.

  33. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos and your story. I love to hear about others- their beliefs and way of life. Thank you for opening your heart- we are one and the same yet different. I am going to look into the corn shocks- I don’t understand what they are and their purpose other than they have a simple beauty. Maybe for storage or drying?

  34. I was born in Indiana and had the pleasure of growing up around an Amish Community. My parents moved us to Georgia many years ago but they now split their time living here and back in Indiana. They drive for an Amish family near Decatur and have also had some very unhappy tasks. We’ve gotten to know the family well. There is much to be admired about the Amish culture. Thank you for your story.

  35. It is a gracious thing that you do for your community, and I am sure that they appreciate hearing it that little bit quicker than receiving a letter after the funeral.

    Another Australian commented that we do not have any Amish communities. I thought that there might have been one in Tasmania.

  36. I’ve had the privilege of living among the Amish for a period of years, and can truly say it was a very pleasant existance. I learned a lot about their culture as well as myself. It was inspiring and humbling.

  37. I work with the Amish and Mennonite regularly in my job in sales. It takes a very long time to gain their trust, but once you have, they are generally the most wonderful people to deal with. They are not one big monolithic group as many believe, cut a collection of small communities with many similar beliefs and practices. Each community is unique and different from each other, usually in small and subtle ways.

    I have run into only a very few that I chose not to do business with while the overwhelming majority are absolutely wonderful! TV shows about them generally focus on the salacious few and do a disservice to everyone other than their own ratings. It’s sad, but it’s true.

    I have even stayed overnight with one family a few times due to their location and weather concerns and it was always the most enjoyable evening with much conversation and even some games. And the food… Oh my!

    Don’t be afraid to offer a smile and a friendly hello if you ever come across any Amish or Mennonite and don’t be offended if they don’t respond in kind. They lead what I consider to be mostly ideal lives, but they also face a fair amount of poor treatment and are taught not to trust outsiders until it is earned over time.

    I love all of my Amish and Mennonite friends!

  38. We moved to Salem Kentucky this year and there is a nearby Amish community (Marion KY). We are there a lot buying eggs, milk and vegetables. There are also two stores that we frequent. I know that some of the people around here act as an Amish taxi service but I have never heard of the service you supply. How kind.

  39. I must say that your pictures are breathtaking. My husband and I are trying to establish our homestead, and reading your blog and seeing your pictures, just makes me want to try harder. You live in beautiful country that has obviously been blessed by God’s Hands. Thank you for letting us get a glimpse into your lives, whether it be good or bad, it is always enlightening.

  40. I have been nothing but blessed by every Amish person I have ever met. I am sure they are extremely grateful for what you are doing. Thanks for the pictures too. They are a beautiful reminder of all we have to be thankful for.

  41. The Amish are a wonderful culture and religion. I find peace when I watch the Amish children. They are so carefree and happy looking.

  42. Your pictures make me homesick and happy. I grew up in Ohio and my family still lives there. The Amish were always present at the livestock auctions. I’m happy to see them presented in a kind light. Thank you for your blog!

  43. What a beautiful service you provide these people. God bless you, protect you, and strengthen you. I know He will reward you.

  44. Well, you certainly got your wish for “comments.” I wish you, as the “new management” well on this site. Please keep posting little tidbits of the Amish way of life; I, too, am very curious. I’m sure we all can learn a lot from them, and you!

  45. What an intriguing article & what beautiful photos. The whole of it has sparked deep introspection & makes me want to learn more about several things. The Amish way of life is intriguing at the very least. The corn shocks are too. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  46. My family manages a cemetery and it has often been my task to share the sad news with families that ask me to call someone and let that person know of a loved one’s passing. You do a blessed service for these neighbors.

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