When a tornado nearly destroyed an Amish farm in western Missouri a week and a half ago, the family was overwhelmed by the way their neighbors quickly rebuilt their buildings. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, News Sentinel, and numerous other newspapers, carried an AP story last Sunday that focused on the way the Amish help one another recover from a disaster.
A tornado the previous Sunday, March 12, destroyed the second floor of the farmhouse of Jerry Yoder, his wife, and three sons. It also ripped the roof off his huge barn and flattened a number of other outbuildings. But shortly after the tornado roared off, Amish and Mennonite neighbors began arriving to see what was destroyed and how they could help. They immediately provided refuge for the family until their home could be rebuilt.
By Monday all the debris was cleared away and a crowd of men began rebuilding the house. Five or six van-loads of Amish from a neighboring county arrived on Wednesday to help the work move along. By Thursday, the Amish community, assisted by some nearby Mennonites, had rebuilt the second story of the house, replaced a destroyed addition to the building, put a new roof on the barn, and were hard at work rebuilding farrowing houses for the hogs.
The Amish workers wouldn’t identify themselves to the AP reporter due to their religious scruples against self-promotion, but Mr. Yoder was willing to admit that he was overwhelmed by the massive support he had received from his community.
By noon Thursday, the workers had nearly finished the work on the Yoder farm plus repairs on a couple other nearby Amish farms that had been damaged by the tornado. Around 50 Amish and Mennonite men stood in a circle for a prayer before sitting down to a noon meal provided by the farm women.
The reporter, noting that Mr. Yoder didn’t have to bother with insurance claims, wrote that he “said he was thankful for and humbled by the help from his fellow church members.”