MAY 2020 NEWSLETTER
The last “legal” event I attended before the Corona Virus shutdown was the Wednesday night Bible Study at Operation 6-12, a drug rehab program here in Holmes County. Elam Stoltzfus and his son, Nic, were here from Florida and Pa. respectively, so we invited them to come along. Elam is a documentary filmmaker and Nic is the curator of the Nicolas Stoltzfus house in Wyomissing, Pa., the ancestrial home of the first Stoltzfus to come to America.
After singing, studying and just shooting the breeze (ahem: “fellowshipping”) each of the 14 men in the program introduced himself shared a little of his story. Most had come from fairly good families, but somewhere along the line, they got into the wrong crowd and started their decent into drugs, addiction and all that goes with it. These men are all in the program voluntarily because they want help. They want to change. They can leave any time.
When they had all introduced themselves and shared, there was a pause, and then Nic Stoltzfus asked if he could share something. Nic grew up in northern Florida where his ex-Amish dad ended up after serving at We Care Prison Ministry as a young man.
Here is what Nic shared: After hearing your stories, let me tell you that you are not just changing your life; you are changing the generations to come. My great grandfather was from this area (Sugarcreek). He was an alcoholic. He was abusive and negligent to his family. One night he attended an evangelistic church meeting and he committed his life to Christ. His whole lifechanged.
But the damage had already been done to all of his children except for the youngest, Monroe. Monroe is my grandfather. He was too young to remember his dad as an alcoholic. The dad he knew was a kind man, a Christian, a pillar in the church, a good father!
All of grandfather’s children (my mom and her siblings) grew up in a loving, Christian home. My grandfather’s siblings’ families (my great uncles & aunts; my second cousins) are descendants of an alcoholic. Mom’s cousins have issues that aren’t prevelant in my immediate family.
Nic went on to say that his grandfather’s brothers many times would lament, “Monroe, you grew up in a different family than we did. You are very fortunate.”
Then he challenged the 6-12 men: You are doing the right thing. You are not just changing your life; you are changing the lives of your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren… Don’t quit! Don’t give up! Complete this program and become the Christ follower that you were created to be, like my great-grandfather finally did. I’m a recipient of his changed life. The generations to come are depending on you!
Folks, everyone of us are influencing the generations to come in one way or another. My children are beneficiaries or victims of my influence as a father. My grandchildren, my friends, my community… will be influenced in some way by my behavior.
People, especially family, will imitate you to one degree or another.
Our goal should be that we follow Christ so closely that we can say with Paul,
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” I Cor. 11:1
The generations to come are counting on you.
“The evidence of a changed life is a changed life.” -Charlie Pratt, ex-inmate, Attica, NY