Hello from Illinois!
Our church youth group received an invitation from an English (non-Amish) friend to come to their church house and sing for them. My husband, Daniel, and I — along with our two little ones — were granted the privilege of going with them.
Have you ever had an open buggy or wagon ride? It was a beautiful evening. In fact, the weather was perfect for the five-mile drive to the Methodist church house where we planned to sing.
Austin, 10 months old, was in his glory. He delights in spending time outdoors and absolutely loves going on rides of any kind.
Julia, 4 years old, sat between Daniel and I on a bench, taking everything in, honored to have the chance of going along.
Daniel and I relaxed and enjoyed the ride as one of the boys on the front seat guided the horse down the country roads following the horse and wagon in front of us.
All was going well until shrieks from a few of the girls met our ears. They had been sitting on the back of the wagon when we drove through a mud puddle, giving them an unwanted shower of icky brown mud.
I have to credit the boys, though, for giving fair warnings after that and driving slower through upcoming puddles.
Arriving at the church, we were welcomed with outstanding hospitality.
When we stood to sing, I was a bit nervous at first, especially with two little ones to care for. Everything, though, turned out fine. After the introductions were past and we were singing, I felt myself relaxing. I kept reminding myself that we were there to sing to God, not to impress people.
Have you ever had the chance to listen to men’s arrangement singing? I love it. I like listening to the masculine voices blend together. We sang for 30 minutes and then the boys sang a song followed by a brief devotional. After that, us ladies sang a song in a ladies arrangement.
Our singing is done in four-part harmony without any musical instruments. The songs had all been sung in English when someone asked if we could sing a German song. We then sang the German and English version of “For God So Loved Us.”
We enjoyed singing and soon it was time for a parting song.
Our friend, Leonard, who had invited us, made an announcement that tickled our funny bone. He said that they’ll be taking an offering to pay for the gasoline it took for us to get there. A ripple of laughter went through the entire church house. Everyone knew better. No gas is used for horses.
After the singing was over, we were ushered downstairs where they served ice cream with all kinds of toppings, along with cookies, bars and cakes. It gave us an excellent opportunity to chat with the people in their church before leaving.
Leonard recently shared a pumpkin crunch recipe with Mom. It’s similar to what we’ve made for years and, yes, it is always a hit.
1 package yellow cake mix
1 can solid pack pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of a 9- by 13-inch pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a 9- by 13-inch pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans and drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.