The Miting is a emotionally moving, tension filled novel set in an Old Order Amish community and the local English town.
Dee Yoder, the author, is a mentor at MAP- Mission to Amish People. Her experiences volunteering with youth who are leaving the Amish life provide true-to-live ideas for her writing.
This is the story of Leah, an Amish girl whose one rebellion is a hunger for the word of God. She would love to have the Bible in English, available to read in morning devotions or a group study. Under the control of a very strict Bishop, all those desires are forbidden.
Leah will hear the Bible in German, and all interpretations will be made my the Bishop.
Leah is everygirl, in a sense. She's glad to have her family and it hurts her when they disagree, she's torn between loving her home and wanting just a little bit more, she makes friends quickly, and she hopes that someone will love her.
Leah's friends look into the English world and see freedom: modern dating practices, access to contraband substances, and space for risky behavior.
Leah also sees freedom- to know God. Her hunger for Him is growing by leaps and bounds. The chapter when Leah first encounters a NIV Bible was sweet reading for me. That was my first Bible, a 1984 NIV. I understood Leah's delight as she drank up the Words that so clearly speak of eternal life.
Yes, you could read this book for an Amish drama. There are all the classic ingredients- a shunning, a buggy ride courtship, a friend who goes English. But there's something very authentic and uncontrived about this Amish novel. It's a story about people, who happen to be Amish. The Amish world is not a haven of complete peace and all that is good, nor is it a collection of narrow minded bigots. They're just men women and children, made to seek the Lord.
Dee Yoder describes the Plain life with tenderness, and not sugar-coating. Leah did have tight family bonds. There was a simplicity and natural rhythm to her hard working, good-earth based life. There was industry and wholesome virtue in her Amish community. There was also vice: ugliness and abuse and exploitation. I can see why she wanted to stay, and I can she why she wanted to go.
One thing in specific jumped out at me as I read... a lesson I think we Christians can learn from the Amish. The Amish religion encompasses every area of life. There politics or lack there of, their dress, their lifestyle choices, they're all wrapped up in the religion. When the children grow and begin questioning the buggies and the long dark dresses, they think they're questioning God. When they leave the farm and the Ordung, they're told they're leaving God. May we not do the same. When our kids question our conservatism, or abandon our stance on a non-Gospel issue, or get tattooed or bare their knees in Church or maybe dare to worship in old jean shorts, or try out communal living or Catholicism or whatever, may we not act like they've abandoned Christ. May we not wrap Christ up in so many layers of human choices that to get free of the oppression they think they've got to leave Him.
The Miting hits all the high and low notes of Leah's experiences. Slowly, she learns that whether she abides with the Amish or ventures into the English, God is her one constant.
Thank you Kregel for my review copy!
Dee Yoder's fiction is based on the lives of her former-Amish friends. She is actively involved in the Mission to Amish People ministry as a mentor, volunteer, and author. In addition to writing over eighty short stories, her coming-of-age novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity, won the FaithWriters Page Turner contest in 2011. Dee lives in central Ohio.