Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wissmann Family

Last night we went to see the Wissmann family—a family of fifteen—perform at a Mennonite church. As we drove to the church in Shipshewana, half hour away, it never ceased to amaze me that these beautiful and serene country roads are just minutes away from my home. I rebooked our tickets to "Oklahoma" at Amish Acres so that we could see this performance. I love family groups (well, I am thinking of the Von Trapp family...from Sound of Music)

When 6:30 came around, thirteen of fifteen family members sat in the front row, just in front of us. My first thought was, How is it possible that every one of these kids and young adults are so attractive. The girls each wore a very modest blouse and long multicolored country skirt. The performance began, and I was taken aback by how gifted this family is. Especially the oldest young lady, age 27, who sang beautifully, wrote music, and played several instruments. How is it possible that so many in one family could play so many different instruments and sing so well?

I was expecting to be entertained. I was not prepared to be touched by God by their testimony and moved to the core. Their purpose was to bring God to their listeners. Loren, the dad, gave a brief story of following God, wrestling with God, and being subdued by God, only to be awed by God's wisdom and love. How is it possible that one couple produced such a wonderful testimony that extended beyond their home. They touched so many as they traveled.

I was brought to how many years I have wasted by pursuing my own interest. I told the Lord, I am sorry that I cannot reverse my history, yet I can present my heart to You now. After the performance I spoke with one of the girls. She loved this life she had with her family, and we talked about some of the travels that she was involved in. How can one couple bring up so many to love the Lord?

Published: July 22, 2009 11:23 a m

Family of 15 to perform at Townline Mennonite

The Loren Wissmann family, a family from Seward, Neb., will perform a concert at Townline Mennonite Church, Shipshewana, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome.

They have performed in more than 35 states, Canada and Mexico.

Loren and Gloria were married in 1980.

Over the years they started an industrial business, home schooled their children and experienced country living.

They travel in a 45-foot bus with their 13 children in tow: Rachel, Ruth, Josiah, Bethany, Andrew, Elizabeth, Matthias, Stephen, Hannah, Susanna, Alaythia, Nathanael and little Charissa.

With a wide variety of instruments featured in each performance, including guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, harmonica, piano and flute, accompanied by harmonized vocals, the Wissmanns present gospel and bluegrass music.

They typically travel more than 35,000 miles annually, performing at churches, Christian schools, prisons, banquets, county fairs, city festivals, state and local conferences, in Branson, Mo., and even at a few unique venues, including a cattle sale and campground gatherings.

Family Life seminars have also been added to their repertoire.

“Our primary goal is to proclaim the eternal hope and promise found only in salvation though Jesus Christ,” Loren said. “We also have a great passion to share the joy found in God’s design and purpose for the family.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

As we waved good bye to the last of our guests, I felt as light as a feather. This event had not wiped me out physically or mentally. The only thing left was the laundry and that seemed easy enough. We had hosted a Neill family reunion and I could see us doing it again. It was actually FUN.

Two weeks before the big weekend, July 4th, 2009, our family reunion, it hit me that we could have 30 or more people looking to us to host a good time. The thought of meals to plan, house to get ready, grocery to shop, .... it all overwhelmed me. What scared me was keep some sort of order that a crowd creates after eating a meal, and the clean up that followed. I feared of being overworked, overtired, and drained of any human emotions other than "used up." I would be responsible for all upkeep.

Mary (Stevens) gave me an advise that had worked for her. Think thoroughly of every thing that needed to be done, especially meal preparation and clean up. Assign two persons for each activities, such as preparation of meals, clean up, etc. Keep the hosts OUT of the schedule. The hosts have more than enough duties before, after, and during.... Although I did not think through everything, I did create a schedule for meals and clean up. It worked beautifully. It was like magic, watching the young people doing their chores willingly and dutifully.

One time, I found myself cleaning up...maybe because I scheduled two of my brothers in law for duty. Mary called me out to living room. " JaeHi get out of the kitchen."

It was a memorable several days. All the activities that we did are like a big fun blur. The drive in the Amish country, the stops at by gone-era stores...buying hand churned butter, home made bread and jams, buying samples of candies of past... visits of memorable sites, watching everyone play freesby, soccer, taking stroll with aunts, cousins, just talking, laughing...the whole family squeezed on our large front porch and enjoying the fair weather...and what else were there?

What I remember most is, I enjoyed the event. I participated in RESTING and FUN. I went to work the day after every one left. My coworkers asked me how my "Family Reunion" was. I told them it was wonderful. They looked at me again. Did they expect me to be wiped out and exhausted?