This summer my wife and I spent a couple of days celebrating our anniversary in the Lanesboro, MN area in the SE corner of the state. We enjoyed a comfortable bed and breakfast making new friends and riding our bikes through the beautiful landscape on nicely paved shaded trails. Before arriving we knew there were Amish people in the rural areas but we did not know that we could actually visit their farms. For a fee, we rented a CD that guided us from place to place telling us about eachAmish family as well as an expectation of what they have for sale in their small retail stores right on the farm.
We stopped at eight different homesteads and shopped in their varied stores buying something at each store. The shops were typically the size of a two stall garage and full of homemade items varying from baskets to jelly. We saw young ladies riding carriages pulled by horses, talked to family members who came to greet us with a hope we would find something we like, and studied their quiet simple culture.
Their lives are simple reminding me of what I know of the days of Laura Ingles Wilder. There was no electricity on these farms meaning there were no hot water heaters, no electric ranges, and no television or radio.
The folks who waited on us were varied in ages, men, women and children. They were warm and friendly. Their education went through eighth grade. They studied the four R’s, reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. The teachers were 8th grade graduate girls who could teach until they got married. Then their responsibility shifted to the home. Their world seemed so small. I wonder if they get or are even interested in national or world news. Do they know who is running for president? Do they even care who gets elected? I never asked. I was told that they don’t believe technology is evil but that it distracts them from what God believes is important. So they choose to live without much of what we consider necessary.
I experienced mixed emotions. One side of me felt sorry for them because opportunities seemed so limited for them. Another side envied the slower pace and absence of noise.
In Mt. 6:33, Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. It seems simple, doesn’t it?