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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Amish Community Libby Montana- Amish in the Rocky Mountains- 2008 Documentary

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The Millers are Amish, an Anabaptist group who began to leave Europe 300 years ago, to escape persecution, coming to the New World starting in the early 1700s.

Ora Miller and his wife Orpha came in 1975 to Libby in western Montana with 6 of their 8 children. Today they live on the land with grandchildren and in- laws, an extended family.

daughter in law Priscilla helps dress the hens for canning.

The Amish traditionally work together to accomplish many tasks, and often sing together.

The dream of an easy life

The Amish in the Rocky Mountains

The Millers started with a sawmill business and building log homes.

The logs are first cut precisely on the sawmill

next the home is pre assembled, then assembled onsite.

Elvie and Lloyd are running the business,

Father and company founder Ora Miller

has retired from the business.

But some days you can see him here.

When the Amish are among themselves,

they speak Pennsylvania German with each other.

It's a south German dialect that their ancestors

brought with them across the ocean.

Pre- construction before shipment,

Quality assurance is done by the boss himself.

Ora had a sawmill already

years before they moved to this location.

"We started small,

and I knew we're going to grow,

but didn't think we'd grow to this size.

In the last 30 years since

it has gotten better and better.

And most of the time it was like going uphill.

We have reached a pretty

high quality-standard."

"We pre-build about a 1000 square feet of homes per week.

We then re-assemble the homes at

the construction site

at a rate of 1000 square feet a day.

The assembly is very fast."

Here in Montana, about 8 miles

south of the town of Libby,

Ora and family moved in 1992 to

the place where they wanted

to build a future

that they could not see for themselves in

their old location.

They have a tradition primarily of farming

in their own communities.

This way they preserved their

lifestyle and religious beliefs.

In rhythm with the seasons

and in harmony with nature.

Building with their own hands that which

the community needs.

Today, those are still the virtues

of the Amish.

Lloyd has been the spiritual

leader for the Amish of Libby.

He has replaced Ora's leadership

and leads the community

of over 80 people.

In the isolation of the wilderness

and mountains he is often searching

for a conversation with his God and

often the question in which

direction the community should go,

which has been trusted upon him.

His horse, his dog and the isolation

are his allies.

In this location Lloyds feels very

close to his God.

Was the decision hard back then to come

to Libby? To start from the

beginning once again?

"When we came here, the Lord

spoke to me

And what do we do in hard times?

God answered me,

'I am your protector, I will take care of you."

even in hardships, we have

to focus our eyes on the Lord.

When to an observer, everything seems

wonderful and great here,

still every day like the Bible

says, there is war for our souls.

And that is why we need

to stand in one place."

Keeping the community together,

is Lloyd´s most important task in his

opinion. The first conflicts have risen

already. There are rips in the

once simple Amish world.

Especially the young people desire

more freedom of expression.

Ora and Orpha are living

alone in a big house and naturally,

with a big garden. Today they are

harvesting peas and raspberries. (Ora:) "There aren't many here, we got them yesterday".

The garden borders the sawmill.

On the first look a well earned

retirement after a long life of hard work

in harmony with the community

and a large family.

"We are not living in a

perfect community, but we desire to live

as the Bible has taught us. We are

working with our hands and are close

to nature. It is in our blood.

Our ancestors in Germany were

like that, so we still do the same.

In a different country with a different

culture. But we promote the same things they promoted."

In late afternoon, Lloyd returns from his time alone.

He has gained strength. The rest

was good for him. Many of the

decisions he had to make lately have not

been easy ones.

"We had many

hard situations in the family,

not only between my father and me

but also, between my wife and me and

our children, because of the transitions.

It is also hard for me to

separate from things. But I let go

of the things that are not

really important. I have to let go

of the things that do not help.

But what we have and we keep is our heritage.

Values like family, togetherness, fellowship

of which we will never separate ourselves from.

Lloyd and Mary Etta have 9 children.

Prayer and dinner

every night is part of their daily life

and same for the other families.

Mashed potatoes are almost always

served with meat. Potatoes are called

Grummbären in Pennsylvania German.

Joanna and Orpha, the two oldest daughters

already have a boyfriend.

"The purpose was to build a community

that would invite the presence of God.

A community that would include the people

around us in the neighborhood.

And create a safe place for my family,

in which the evil ways would not harm them, which are sneaking

into so many Amish communities in America."

Orpha and her brother Joseph

are passionate musicians.

Joseph plays the guitar well.

And Orpha has a great singing voice.

How are they thinking about

their future? Amish, they do not look.

Church is very important.

"I know that many have a problem

with the church. But I believe

everyone needs a community of faith to

which they belong."

In the tradition of the Amish it

has always been important how they

saw the the community outside of the world.

"We have dressed for a long time like other

Amish. But now we have more flexibility and freedom.

We do not believe God cares so much about outside

appearances. He looks into

the heart. To have this kind of freedom

is really great. Music interests me

and I would like to do more with it.

I always wanted to do something with

music, maybe even some kind of training.

My big dream would be to sing someday.

In the faith the children are as

rooted as the parents and grandparents.

But recently more Amish young people

dress more modern.

For older people the vanishing of old

traditions become a bigger challenge.

"The young folks

today want something different.

They see the world, they are looking

at Hollywood. They are interested in

fashion and things

which are a big distraction.

Basically, the following is happening:

In a community that gives up, there

will be always people from the outside

with thoughts. I am talking about

popular preachers, they come and want to

influence people in a certain direction.

They talk with a sharp tongue and

charm the people.

They deceive the people.

This kind of deceiving has

existed since the beginning of mankind.

Even Eve was deceived. Today people are still being deceived."

In the nearby wooded mountain, Elvie and Lloyd own a parcel of land, about 400 acres.

"Up here we would like to build a village of

log homes. We are in the mountains, pretty high up.

The land surveyors

and my brother Lloyd are here.

We would like to look at the land before

we start with a building plan on paper."

On the search for the ideal location

for the log homes, they are inspecting

the area. Elvie has suggestions

where the houses could be built.

For the log home company,

this project is perfect.

"You can see the mountain from here. What do you think Lloyd?"

"The hill drops away here and a number of houses can be built in a row, with lots of room from below to higher up, so you can see over the tops of the other homes."

More people living here someday

will influence the life of the Amish with their influx.

Because every influence from the outside means change.

Lloyd and Mary Etta are

living in this big log home with their 9 children.

For the Amish, children are considered like wealth to the family

and a blessing from God.

Boys and girls play together. When they get

older they will have their own tasks.

In the houses of the community, rule

number one is: God comes first.

This is accepted by everyone without question

In the Amish the mothers stay home

and take care of the children and the

household. Of course, the story which

Mary Etta is reading to the children is

about Jesus and the children are

listening curiously. Even the older girls

which have tasks in the household like to

listen while they work. And when the children

grow up and leave the house, is it hard?

"I don't know if it is a problem but it is

an adjustment. You have to get used to it

It is letting go. In my heart I have to

let go. So they can be their own people

which they are meant to be, so they are

allowed to live their own lives."

To open a grocery store was also an idea

of Ora. The customers come from the

surrounding area.

Orpha and Joanna work in the bakery.

Orpha is proud of the freedoms in her

community. "We never had any specific

rules how we should do something,

how we dress, we had a lot of freedom.

We do not drive in horse and buggy

anymore. We also have connections

outside. We are not locked in here.

We are free to talk about God.

As much as we want without being weird".

Besides her tasks in the bakery, it is

also, Orpha's job to restock the shelves

with new goods. Ora also helps wherever he can.

If there is one thing

that is hard for a retired

Amish, then that would be doing nothing.

Ora's wife Orpha is on cashier duty.

She is happy about every customer

coming in to the store. Orpha enjoys

being around people. She has worked her

whole life. And this is how it should

remain for a while longer, this is

what she wishes for.

Lloyd is the boss

here as well. A few times a day he checks

in to make sure everything is going well.

He takes care of the finances, orders the

goods and regulates the sale prices.

Ora and Orpha are on the way to a special

event. They expect something bad.

The whole community is running around

today. Elvie has come with his bicycle

and took his girls in the bike trailer.

For a few years now they allow something

that is forbidden in many Amish

communities: driving a car.

Ora got his license when has was

64 years old. In this tent there will be

a worship meeting today. For Ora and

Orpha this is a part of the world that

they do not like.

Did Lloyd knew what he

was doing when he allowed this event?

Everybody came, the children, the grandchildren

and some visitors. With the Amish

world that Ora and Orpha grew up in and

lived their whole life in, this

has nothing to do with that. But for

most people, that what is said on stage is

foreign and fascinating. Ora and Orpha

are not believing their ears or eyes

anymore. Their grandchildren are going

enthusiastically along. And Lloyd, what is

he thinking about? Is this the change he

meant? The quiet world of the Amish

is all of a sudden bright and loud.

And the traditional values of the Amish;

humbleness, modesty, isolation from the

world, seem to be upside down.

Both grandparents feel insecure.

The grandchildren generation seems to enjoy

this totally new feeling for life.

Mary Etta seems to like it too.

Lloyd is deep in thought.

"These people come along and proclaim

to do big things. That they could heal

and bring on miracles. That all sounds

so great and fantastic, what these

people can do. But it is not about the big

things. It is about being humble and

modest. When Christ came into the world

he was not an important person. The

Pharisees did big things, they built

synagogues and converted Gentiles.

Christ was very different. He always

made a humble appearance. This is how it

is still today.

People give speeches about awakening

and renewal,

which is a deception.

Ora on his way to his old home,

the Amish settlement at Rexford,

one hour away from Libby and along

the Canadian border. From time to time

he gets a longing for the place he spent

such a long time of his life and where

his oldest children grew up. The Amish

of Rexford are still very traditional.

Only a few influences of the outside world

have found them because the village is

far off from main roads at a dead end.

Financially speaking these people

are not doing well. That is the most

important reason why Ora and Orpha left

the village of Rexford and

started a new life in Libby.

When Ora visits Rexford,

he also visits his old home, which he

built with his own hands. The old

buggy, how long he had driven with

it around.

"We grew up with horses.

We always had horses. We plowed our

fields with them. They were our way of

getting around. We rode them and they

pulled our buggies. Working with

horses was our way of farming."

By accident he meets his nephew Samuel from

Wisconsin, who is also visiting.

They have not seen each other in 4 years

and there is a lot to talk about. Ora

invites Samuel to a visit to Libby. In a

week he wants to come.

For the young

people of Libby volleyball is not only

a sport but also networking. Because on

Sunday's youth from other areas come.

On one hand the young

people are open to the world

but on the other hand they keep to themselves.

How often does Orpha's friend Steve come to Libby?

He also comes from an Amish

family. "Every weekend I come here to

church and to see Orpha. I live in a small

community 60 miles from here. So I have to

drive 60 miles to get to church on Sundays.

And if you get married one day? Where will you live? Is there a set rule for this?

"Normally the woman will move to where the man lives.

"Yes you could say that, it depends. We do not know exactly." Is this a tradition?

Since he is not working in the sawmill anymore, Ora

is helping around the house. That is

not common. With the Amish men and

women duties are normally separated.

Part of that is also that men lead,

especially towards the outside

world. But everything is threatened

with change.

"The generation living now is

looking for different things. They do

not look at things that we deem important

as important anymore. My sons helped

me because it was necessary. They

felt that. The next generation did not

feel that because they already have

everything. For them this is all normal.

We are just trying to live what we

believe. And we hope that the next

generation also sees this. But this

normally happens later, but we will

not experience it in our lifetime."

In Montana fall arrives sometimes

in September. The first frosts during the nights have already ocurred.

For the Amish in Libby it is time for

harvest. Potatoes (Grummbären),

are being dug out of the garden. And

pumpkins are being harvested,

and huge zucchinis. The summers in

Montana get very hot. Now in the

the fall, the temperatures are much better

for the physical hard work of the

carpenters. The sawmill and the

log house building is booming. The order

books are full for the year.

Was business great from the start? How was it in the first years?

"In the village where we

lived back then, that was not Libby,

they did not believe in our product. And

for different reasons they were against

my father. But one of the reasons was

that we started to employ people to work

for us." By now log cabins from Libby are

even exported overseas.

The apple crop was good this year.

It is common for families to produce their own apple butter in the fall.

Ora and Orpha are processing large amounts of apples.

because in the store the apple butter is a good seller.

"First the apples have to be chopped and then cooked.

We cook the apples and make apple sauce out of it.

Then we put it back in the kettle, water and apple cider is added to it.

And then it is cooked for 4 to 5 hours until it is apple butter.

Once it is full and this is the last load, we start with the press, which squeezes the juice out of the apple sauce.

We get roughly 70 liters out of one press."

The finished apple butter is a creamy, tasty spread that will be filled in the prepared jars.

The Amish love apple butter especially

as a spread for bread but also as a dessert.

In the school, there is only one room.

where the children between the ages of 5

and 13 years are being taught. After

the 8th grade they are done. A visit

to a higher school is not an option.

Ora likes to visit the children during

school. "What is our responsibility

towards children? I believe we parents

and grandparents have to teach you the

most important things in life. The Bible

says to teach your children the way to walk

while they are young and when they are

old they will not stray."

Reading, calculating, writing are skills the children must learn.

Part of the morning's time is taken in Bible learning.

Like all other places, recess is the best thing about school.

Finally they go outside to play. When they are

13 or 14 years old the school ends for

the Amish. After that they take

responsibilities in their community.

At home, in the store, in the bakery or

in the sawmill. A path of life that is

normally predetermined.

Lloyd´s house is surrounded by fall beauty.

The meat of an elk is

being processed. Jerry the fiancée of

Joanna, Lloyd's oldest daughter, has killed

the animal in an unusual way.

"Jerry has shot it with the bow."

Amish have been named after their spiritual leader Jakob Amman.

Around 1720 they first came to America.

"In 2005 in Pennsylvania, we visited the historic location, where the first Anabaptists lived, when they first came to America.

A man named William Penn invited them.

He was an English man and he owned a lot of land that he sold to them, big areas.

With the ship they came to Philadelphia.

With wagons and horses they traveled inland.

They came to Lancaster County, being

craftsmen, they brought their tools. They

started gardens. And to get meat they

went hunting. And they began

keeping cows and sheep. They were not

rich. They did not have a lot of money.

But they had a big heart. They worked

hard. They did not forget

how things were, where they came from.

It was not good. It was better here."

More often than in their own home

you can meet Ora and Orpha in the store.

There is always something to do.

Here in the store the two old people

feel comfortable. And often they help

out. The location by the window

is their favorite spot. How did the idea

for the store come up?

"We always wanted

to do something that would employ people

so they would have something to do.

Most people only want to have a roof over

their head and want to be full, but how

to run a store they do not know. And

exactly for the people who cannot do

things for themselves I wanted to take

care of. And that is why I wanted this

store, so people would have something

to do."

These gentlemen are regulars.

Ora's granddaughters are working in the

bakery and also his daughter Leona.

During work or at home, there is

always lots of singing but only Christian songs.

Lloyd is on his way to the barn

to feed the goats. Matthew, his youngest

son is going with him. The Millers keep a

few goats just for the milk.

The closeness to the animals is very

important to Lloyd. And has something to

do with being down-to-earth.

When the goat comes into

the barn they find the way to the milking

stand by themselves. Lloyd's daughter Grace has the task of milking the goats every day.

She prefers to do this rather than helping her mother with house chores.

Every goat gives a little more than 2

liters every day. That is enough for

personal needs. The Millers also keep 30 chickens.

Most days Lloyd and his father

meet and discuss matters to deal with in the community.

Of course faith and church services are part

of that. But the main thing between

them is how much the community is allowed to open up.

"For many the world of the Amish is kind of a mystery.

After moving to Libby we began to share our faith with others.

God's gift is not just about us, but is to benefit all people, to bless everyone.

To let everyone receive of God's grace and love."

And since the Amish of Libby have decided

to share their faith with others,

strangers have been attending their church

services for a while now. Young people take their coffee cups into church

service, next to older Amish, who want to hold on to their old traditions.

In the church service they sing the old Amish songs from the Ausband, the songbook from the 1500s Anabaptists.

It is the world's oldest Christian songbook that has been in use nonstop since its publication.

For Ora and Orpha their world is good today.

Fall fog is surrounding the mountains. The green fields of summer are now brown.

For the children the hay bales are a fun playground.

Ora enjoys spending time here and watches his grandchildren play.

His biggest wish is, that the children will carry on his values.

He hopes the grandchildren will keep the traditions of their ancestors.

That they will lead a godly live after the rules of the community.

"My clothes do not make me a better person. Why should I change?

I grew up like this and do not see the need to become different. Freedom is in Christ. It has nothing to do with what you like.

Once Christ redeems you, you are really free. That is the freedom I am looking for. To live our life like we want, that is not freedom."

In the fall when the days grow shorter

the clocks become slower here.

In the winter the people

get more often together than in other seasons.

Ora and Orpha have invited

their children and grandchildren for dinner.

Ora is taking care of the mashed potatoes

which of course cannot be missing.

And his wife is making the coleslaw salad

which everyone in the family loves to eat

"This is coleslaw salad, the cabbage is from my garden.

And I also make my own salad sauce.

The daughters and daughter-in-laws

help to prepare the dinner. Cooking is normally a woman's job for the Amish.

Ora is comfortable surrounded by his family.

Elvie is of course also here. Everybody

brought something for the big dinner.

The children are seated at an extra table.

They are allowed to start dinner earlier.

For the adults Ora is saying the grace in Pennsylvania German.

And then everybody takes from the buffet and enjoys their dinner.

The highlight is not eating together, but the highlight is singing together!

Ora's and Orpha's children grew up in an intact family.

Singing together is a part of life even today.

Especially the grandparents had to

compromise in the last few years.

There were conflicts with each other.

But the family stayed together.

In their daily life the Amish of Libby do

not use the buggy to get around anymore

but sometimes on a Sunday afternoon they go for a ride.

Then he takes his children through the community.

And he remembers the times when what is now a Sunday treat,

used to be part of the daily life of many Amish generations.

Yesterday and today are close to each other for the Amish of Libby.

Lloyd says, "Whatever will remain, is our heritage.

We don't want to lose our values of family and community. "

The Description of Amish Community Libby Montana- Amish in the Rocky Mountains- 2008 Documentary