This Month’s Question:
What does restoration look like in your community?
Jerry: Restoration. The word has a ring to it—something restored to its former luster and shine. When we think about restoring or rebuilding an old car, tractor, or worn-out piece of equipment and bringing it back to its former state, seeing the finished product is exciting. Still, as with many things in life, we fail to see the work, the mind-numbing amount of elbow grease that went into making the old new again.
Restoration usually takes a lot of time, regardless of what we are restoring. Is it not so with life; are not our churches full of restored sinners? Yes, we do well to use our Bible as a roadmap, and first and foremost restoration needs to be personal. In Matthew, Jesus taught so well the lesson involving the mote and the beam. And in Galatians, “Brethren, if a brother be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness…” The Christian life is a continual struggle, and we need to be surrounded with fellow believers who will help us as we travel along.
Allow me to tell you a little story about my mother. We will pick up her story in 1965 when she buried a child. My mom’s life involved many difficult times. She had 12 children in 16 years, so there were many days of not feeling well. In February of 1971, my dad passed away under tragic circumstances—he lost his grip of reality and died under his own hand, leaving 11 children, a farm, and debt. The load for Mom was very heavy at times—more than she thought she could bear.
In January of 1978, the famous blizzard took down the barn. This was the old eight-corner barn, a landmark that stood for many years along County Road 172. With the help of neighbors, church people, and complete strangers, that barn was rebuilt. Ten years later, tragedy struck again—this time, a barn fire. I was still living at home, being the youngest in the family, and I well remember Mom sitting on the front steps of the old farmhouse lamenting the fact that it was her again. Could it not have been someone else? Why, oh why, do I have to drink this cup again?
Deeply moved by her plight, a neighbor man of few words stepped up to Mom…
Ivan: He inquired about his fellow brethren back in Jerusalem. He asked about their well-being. The answer that he got, “[They] are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned.” The Prophet Nehemiah was concerned about the remnant of Jews that had returned to Jerusalem. It had been over 150 years since Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and nearly a century since some of the Jews had returned to Jerusalem. Their work in rebuilding the Temple had taken 20 years, and because their work was hindered by the Gentiles, they were never able to complete the walls and gates.
Nehemiah asked permission from the Persian King to go back to Jerusalem and complete the walls. After arriving in Jerusalem, he assembled the Jewish nobles. He explained to them his mission to rebuild the walls. Their reply was, “Let us rise up and build.” Nehemiah had a vision, but he knew that he could not do it himself; standing together and by the work of many hands, they could accomplish it. Later Nehemiah said, “So we built the wall… for the people had a mind to work.”
As progress was made, they were once again hindered by their Gentile neighbors. They tried to destroy their work. Half of the workmen had to stand guard, and the other half continued the work. They did not despair but continued forward towards their goal of rebuilding the wall.
When there is a catastrophe in our community, causing damage to property or buildings, many of the community members come together to help clean up and rebuild. This summer, we had a damaging windstorm go through our community…
To read Jerry and Ivan’s full answers, purchase a March 2023 back issue here.
Subscribe today to get the full stories in print each month!
Ivan, Emma, and their four children live on a 12-acre homestead where they strive to raise as much of their own food as possible. Each year they have a large garden, harvest from their orchard, use raw milk from their own cow, and process chicken, turkey, beef, and pigs for their freezers. Ivan is a minister in the local Amish community. He builds tiny homes and animal shelters for a living. His models can be seen on tinyhomeliving.com or by calling 330-852-8800.
Jerry and Gloria Miller, along with their six children, operate Gloria’s home farm, a 173-acre organic dairy. They milk between 60 and 70 cows with a few small cottage industries supplementing the farm income. Jerry is a deacon in his local Amish church. Questions and comments can be directed to Jerry at 330-600-7481.