The trips north to our lake house have become routine, familiar…almost mundane. So, it was quite a surprise while zipping down US-23 north we encountered two Amish men waving their arms at passing motorists! We quickly pulled over, cautiously backed up on the shoulder to a white multi-passenger van with emergency flashers engaged. Waving the men over to the passenger side of our car, we rolled down the window to inquire of their situation.
In stilted English with a Pennsylvania-Dutch accent, they proceeded to inform us that the driver, whom they hired to drive them from Akron Ohio to Clare Michigan for a funeral, was unfit to drive. After further investigation it appeared that the driver was exhausted and could not physically complete the journey due to extreme fatigue. We would learn later that the driver, Dan, had picked up the 11 Amish passengers and set out from near Ohio at 11:30pm the previous evening and had stopped twice to sleep on the side of the road for 30 minutes at a time! We encountered the group at around 8:30 in the morning; my husband determined that he would continue driving their van, two of the Amish women would ride with me in our car and we would deliver them to their destination in Clare.
My passenger’s names were Mattie & Esther and they were delightful company! Both were very engaging, conversing the entire hour and a half drive to Clare. I shared about my life and they were very gracious as I asked questions about the Amish way of life. What I learned is that though our lifestyles & cultures are very different we still share a common experience of the human condition…we rejoice at weddings and the birth of children, we worry about illness and mourn at the loss of loved ones, we work hard to provide for our families, we laugh, tell stories, give advice, and gather together to worship and fellowship.
Mattie & Esther were immensely appreciative that we had stopped to help them and even remarked that it must have been by the hand of God. I expressed to them that just a few days earlier I had been reading in Matthew 25 where Jesus said, “I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We were blessed to be given the opportunity to live out our faith in such a tangible way.
After arriving at the site for the funeral I told them we would be praying for their safe and uneventful return home; Mattie asked for my address & phone number; perhaps we will hear from them again….