Amish Girl Missing & Considered Endangered: Lancaster PA

An 18 year old girl, Linda Stoltzfoos, did not return home from church on Sunday June 21, 2020.

PA State Police put out the following statement: LANCASTER COUNTY: Missing Endangered Person Advisory. The East Lampeter Township Police Department is searching for Linda Stoltzfoos, 18. She is 5’10”, 125 lbs., with brown hair and blue eyes. She was last seen on June 21 at 12:30 p.m. on Stumptown Road, Upper Leacock Township. She was wearing a tan dress, a white apron, and white cap. Police believe this person may be at special risk of harm or injury. Anyone with information on Stoltzfoos should contact police immediately by calling 911 or The East Lampeter Township Police Department at 717-291-4676.

The following update was put up on the Facebook page for Linda 35 minute ago, at 3:12pm, Monday June 22:

Search Update: They are still welcoming any volunteers. Volunteers on Horseback and ATV’s are welcome. Please report to the Bird-in-Hand Firehall if you are willing and able to help. 313 Enterprise Dr, Bird in Hand, PA 17505.

The search will continue today until 9PM

For those of us who left the Conservative Anabaptist setting and ‘disappeared’ for a time, it can be challenging to respond to these cases. I left a home with abuse and violence and didn’t want to be found for a time. I find myself processing missing person cases through that lens, and I know many others do as well. However, with the recent tragic outcome with Sasha Kraus, from The Nationwide Fellowship church in Farmington NM, I am compelled to actively share. If I had been in danger, I would have prayed that someone would search for me until I was found. I encourage you to share as well and create awareness. The more people who are aware, the more likely she will be found.

Pray for Linda, and pray for her family as this is very traumatic for them. Pray also for her church and friends, and the broader Amish community. She is the daughter of Lloyd and Susie Stoltzfoos, of Bird in Hand PA.

My prayer is that Linda will be found, safe and sound, and that God’s grace will carry her loved ones through this difficult time.

As always..

Love,

~ T ~

For family & friends of Cornelius Harder: His cancer journey and final days

Cornelius W. Harder • February 22, 1960 – April 24 2020

*****

NOTE:
In light of COVID-19 restrictions, we are not able to hold a proper funeral or visitation for Cornelius Harder. This includes most immediate family members.

FUNERAL LIVESTREAM DETAILS: On Monday April 27, 2020, at 2:00pm EDT, the funeral for Cornelius Harder will be livestreamed via YouTube at the following link: Kebbel Funeral Homes.

*****

On Thursday April 23, 2020 family members of Cornelius and Susan (Bender) Harder received word that Cor, my brother, was declining rapidly. Knowing how difficult support is during COVID-19, I took some masks and gloves to his home to ensure his wife had all supplies needed. I anticipated dropping off the product, and possibly saying my goodbye to Cor if he was responsive, and then sitting in my vehicle awhile in the event Susan, Cor’s wife, needed help. However, shortly after arriving the VON nurse also arrived and asked if someone would be comfortable administering medications via port in the absence of a nurse. Susan, knowing I had done in-home elder care and worked as a nurse’s aid, years ago, suggested she talk to me.

Another sister and I, who both enjoy (for lack of better word) doing palliative care, spent the night with Susan and Cor, offering support and caring for his medical needs.  Our goal was to be present, monitor his condition, observing the progression of Cor’s decline, explaining any changes, and keeping Susan informed of what to expect next, so that she would not be taken off guard and frightened or traumatized. This allowed us to prepare her for his passing in a peaceful manner, keeping him comfortable and offering her the support she needed. It was an honour to offer this support.

*****

COR’S CANCER JOURNEY

On June 12 2018, only 22 days after he went to the doctor with initial symptoms, Cornelius Harder received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This began a 23-month journey in his fierce battle against this ruthless disease. On July 1, the physical suffering that would mark much of the next year and nearly ten months of his life, began, followed by the first of many trips to the hospital for pain management.

Surgeons were confident that surgery offered Cornelius the most likely chance at a full recovery, so by November 1, 2018, they successfully performed a Whipple procedure.  By April 2019, he had healed considerably, and was able to enjoy reasonably good health with minimal discomfort until August of that year. During these months Cornelius planted crops and kept up with his customers at Kenpal Farm Products Inc.

In mid-September 2019 a partially blocked bowel brought complications and reintroduced significant pain and suffering into Cornelius’s life. In October he was diagnosed with stage 4 recurrent pancreatic cancer. By November he experienced severe back pain, causing him to lose much sleep, leading to a challenging Christmas season. In the ensuing months, there was a gradual, yet steady decline in his health.

Even as he declined, growing weaker and weaker, he fought the disease valiantly, maintaining an element of independence and mobility, always concerned for Susan’s wellbeing and doing everything in his power to ensure she was cared for. But, in spite of his grit and determination, on April 18, 2020, standing by his bed, Cornelius became very weak. “My legs are going to give out,” he said to Susan “I’m going to fall.”

With Susan’s assistance, he managed to lay himself across his bed and wiggle back into position and get comfortable. This was the beginning of the home stretch. Cornelius maintained a good appetite and continued to eat well, for the most part. By Wednesday April 22, days after becoming bedridden, he had grown so weak that he was no longer able to feed himself, though he ate well with Susan’s assistance.

Early Thursday morning, April 23, Cornelius began sweating profusely without a fever. Susan’s concerns subsided when she offered him breakfast and he ate well. By mid-morning, in the middle of a conversation about the final details on the income tax return, Cornelius fell into a deep sleep which lasted until late afternoon. Not long after the VON nurse, Jennifer, arrived, he was suddenly alert, eyes wide open. Jennifer called Susan over, telling her she wouldn’t want to miss this time with Cornelius. This led to a delightful, endearing and humorous moment in Cornelius’s final hours.

Seeing Cornelius so alert, Susan smiled, kissed his forehead and expressed her love for him, to which he responded with warmth and affection, affirming his love for her. “It’s so good to see you wide awake, your eyes open,” Susan exclaimed, beaming.

“Have I been sleeping long?” he asked. She told him it had been awhile, but that he needed the rest and it was ok.

“Well,” he said, “while I’m awake I might as well sign the Income tax form.” The nurse, Susan and I all erupted in giggles to see him go from such a deep sleep we could barely communicate with him, to asking for papers to sign and complete.

Susan found the form and started flipping through the pages and commented at being uncertain where to find the spot that needed signing.  Instantly, Cornelius piped up, “It should be about page 3.”

A moment later he was set up to sign the documents. Declining visual focus made it challenging, but he got it done. This was his final act of practical care for Susan. Immediately he returned to a deep sleep.

A few people dropped by through the course of the evening to see Cornelius one more time. We were fortunate to have accessed masks to reduce risk of exposing Susan to flu viruses, while still allowing some of those closest to them to show their love and support. Dennis and Carolyn Martin and most of their family sang some favourite songs and hymns in the garage. Cornelius’s pleasure was visible.

Around 9:15 Cornelius became restless, the pain setting in again, and feeling obviously unwell. Nurses had left detailed instructions, and a phone number to call for help, so with their guidance we were able to settle down the pain. With Susan by his side for support, and the activities of the evening behind him, he was able to rest comfortable.

Shortly after 1:00am Susan said she knows what she needs to do, but oh how she dreaded it. She had heard that sometimes the dying feel when their loved ones cannot release them and fight to stay out of that sense of care and duty. After an hour of struggle, she took that difficult step, through tears, and assured Cornelius that God, family, friends and her church would care for her, and she would be ok. She released him to God, inviting the angels to carry him into God’s presence, to be with Jesus.

We played “Trust His Heart” by the Esh family, followed by a variety of hymns and songs familiar to Cornelius. He smiled, from time to time, resting peacefully, holding Susan’s hand, squeezing it gently. Then, soon after Susan released him, his breathing changed, growing more shallow, yet with no distress.

It was 2:39am. Susan needed to get something, so she released Cor’s hand for only a moment. Several of Cornelius’s sisters had stayed with Susan, and one noticed he opened his eyes and turned his head, as if looking for Susan, so she called her back.

Susan leaned over and kissed Cornelius’s forehead, “I love you so much dear husband!” she said. His face lit up in a wide smile, his eyes wide open, turned toward her.

“Look at that smile!” one of the sisters exclaimed. Susan could hardly contain her delight as she returned to her seat.

“Susan… Come…” one of the sister’s beckoned, “this is his moment. Cor is going home.” His heart never beat again, after that smile, and his next breath was the deep drinking in of eternal life.

At 2:41am, on April 24, 2020, with his wife Susan by his side, Cornelius slipped peacefully into the arms of Jesus, his Saviour, healed forever from the incredible suffering he endured in this life.

*****

Susan has given our brother exceptional care through his illness and their years together. As a family we are deeply grateful, and offer our love and support.

New Hamburg Conservative Mennonite Church and its leaders have again been compassionate and kind in their support as we go through this difficult time. It is especially meaningful so soon after supporting us in the loss of our mother. As a family, we express our thanks.

Special thanks to the VON nurses and PSW’s who supported Cor and Susan, so that he was able to stay at home with Susan, especially with the complications of COVID-19. The excellent care and compassion are appreciated by Susan and Cor’s family.

*****

God is kind.

In the midst of the trauma that comes with cancer and death, which is exponentially more complex and painful in light of COVID-19 restrictions, we find Hope in His goodness. We do not understand why now, at a time when we cannot properly gather to support each other without risk of arrest and extreme fines and consequences, including risk of imprisonment. But we know that God is not taken off guard. We know He cares deeply for each one of us. And trust and pray that when these restrictions are lifted, we will be able to find some way of connecting as a family, and beginning the healing process together.

Only a few siblings are able to be with Susan during this time to support her. I am not one of them, but she has my support 100% on the people she has chosen to be with her at this time. We have all experienced loss. But none of us have experienced loss to the extent that she has, losing her best friend, husband and partner in the day to day ups and downs of life. Having spoken with most of my siblings personally, while it is, admittedly, excruciatingly painful for those who cannot attend, each one echoed that support for her as well.

Please say a prayer for our sister Anna who is married to Leonard Hursh of Mt. Joy PA. She was able to cross the border, but as of yet there is no indication that she will even be able to see any family member, or go to the funeral home to find some closure, without the fear of extreme consequences even if masks and gloves are used. We are praying for a miracle. She and Cor were very close growing up and to not have her find some form of closure looks overwhelming for us all.

Finally, thank you to so many of you have prayed for Cor and Susan, and for our family, including many of my friends who don’t know them. We all prayed and cried out for a different outcome than the one we are walking through. But ultimately we prayed for healing, and his healing is now eternal. We are so thankful for Jesus, and the hope He offers us in this time.

As always…

With love,
Trudy

© Trudy Metzger 2020

Update on Mennonite man miraculously healed in Tanzania

A happy Thursday (Edit:…just kidding… it’s Wednesday!  this sitting at home thing…!) to you all! What a delight it is to be alive! To see the sunshine, and hear the birds sing! I love these things at any time — and even the snow that many abhor — but especially now, when the world looks upside down. To see that God’s creation still sings and shines, that makes my heart happy!

And I have no doubt that is how Jason and Mel Hunt and their family feel, in Tanzania. A few days ago I shared the story of Jason collapsing, believing he was at the end, only to miraculously revive again. That is one of the best things I had heard in a week or two, so I shared it. I have no regrets about sharing his testimony of unexpected healing. It is truly good news.

My only regret , and there was one… though I don’t like that word, came when friends cautioned that many will take his experience as ‘the cure‘ and act irresponsibly because of it. I had not thought of that, and at first thought my friends were overreacting and their concern not warranted. Especially given I had put in a disclaimer that I was *not* promoting it as a cure, but rather because it seemed to me a story of hope in the midst of tragic times.  Nonetheless, I listened to their cautions and edited the post, removing anything that might hint at the experience being touted as a cure.

Others were less gracious and said he is a liar, to declare so boldly he had COVID-19 without test results. My response immediately to that criticism was that this does not make him a liar; it makes him overly enthusiastic.

Then, yesterday toward evening, I received word that test results for COVID-19 came back negative for their family. (Keep his wife and daughter in your prayers. Last I hear, yesterday night, they are still sick and in need of prayer). This means he did not likely have COVID-19 in the first place. The post was causing enough of a stir that I decided to remove it until such a time as I had time to edit out any ‘offending parts’. This is something I have rarely done, but in the interest of avoiding unnecessary offence, I removed the post entirely.

We can somewhat assume the tests are conclusive and he likely did not have COVID-19. But that is not really the bottom line, and his overstatement is not the greatest tragedy in the world.

It is only a tragedy that he was too sure of himself if:

  1. he is not humble enough to learn from it. Otherwise, is is an incredible learning experience, not only for him but for all of us, me included. Or maybe especially me and him, but I think all of us.
  2. the church has no grace for a testimony that is powerful but overly enthusiastic and certain of details that were not relevant to the miraculous outcome. To write off such a profound recovery because the recipient is human — as are we all — is to limit the work of Christ among humans. It means I can only see Him if you are more/less perfect. If I took that approach, given the hell and horror I see in Christian community, I would have turned to atheism long ago.

Before posting the original story I checked into the legitimacy of the claims, and again numerous times since. I added a disclaimer in the original blog, and I would have been wise to edit out any reference to COVID-19. In that I erred. Yet, I had and still have every reason to believe that the story told, happened as told.

In spite of the kerfluffle and humanity of his way of verbalizing it, I am no less amazed by God, and I think no less of Jason for it.

If there is not grace for his humanity, then the church has nothing left to offer the world. Nothing. Because that’s who Jesus is.

I have said many times, there is grace enough for the vilest sinner (including sex offenders) and if they are truly repentant they can receive that grace. I believe that with all my heart. (That does not equate to giving sex offenders free regn under the guise of forgiveness, but that’s another topic for another day).

What has baffled me in this is that it seems there is less grace for a man who is overconfident in a medical self-diagnosis and includes it in his testimony, than there is for the sex offender who sheds a few tears and does not change his ways. Surely, surely, there is grace for both, but especially in a case of ‘intending no harm or sin’ in the process.

I do not regret telling the story. If I did not think we can learn from it, then I would have regrets. I hope and pray that we can see past the humanity and see Jesus at work among us. If we can’t see Him in our collective brokenness, what have we got — what has Jesus got — that will bring any measure of peace and wholeness to us and those around us?

Having removed the original post, here is the portion of his testimony that does not make any assumptions about what his illness was.  Praise Jesus!

Last night as I desperately fought for breath to live, I just kept stumbling through the house around the fireplace and kitchen trying to hang on to a measure of breath. The rest were holding me up, crying and praying, (and probably wondering who was going to cart my body out to the coffee field). Finally at 3am I was really fading so wheezed out my goodbyes as I slumped up against the fireplace. I told them no one was to do mouth to mouth on me because I didn’t want the infection to increase in their lungs. As I sat there fading out to everyone’s amazement I got so hot from the fire at my back that I started to sweat buckets and my lungs suddenly started opening up and oxygen came into my lungs. God intervened.

[…]

The improvements over the last few hours has been exponential. Even Mel has made incredible progress. God is intervening.

[…]

I will mention the whole household came down with symptoms today. And the whole household has made exponential gains in the last eight hours. Most are sleeping peacefully now. […] We need to run forth knowing that love will always conquer fear.

[…]

All the prayers are being answered.

*****

My prayer is that you all stay safe and healthy, and if your health has been compromised, that God will heal and restore you.

Remember, God is kind.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

 

© Trudy Metzger

Update: Melody Bannister arrested; Children safe

Six days ago I opened Facebook to numerous messages from a variety of friends, letting me know Melody Bannister had been arrested by the US Marshals. The children were with her in the car when she was found at a gas station in Plainfield Indiana. Rather than retell the story,  and since I have nothing to add, here is a link to the news article: Virginia mother at center of national manhunt arrested in Plainfield; children found safe.

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Since her arrest things have been very quiet, apart from a few conversations on a discussion group. Mostly speculations and wonderings… people worried and wondering. No one knows for sure where the children are. The last update I’ve seen on the children is in the news link (shared above) stating they are in DCS custody.

It is difficult to write a blog when there’s so little to say, so little known, yet many people have prayed and continue to, and care deeply for the Bannister children and their mom, Melody.

It is my prayer that truth will be fully brought to light, that the children will have a voice to speak boldly and clearly the truth of their experience. It is also my prayer that they will be fully heard and truth with triumph.

As I said in my earlier blogs, I will say again… I do not know what all the truth is in this story. I am not God. I was not there. It goes without saying that something is very wrong and the children have been through more than any child should go through…. Whatever that trauma is, these children need and deserve to be heard, and their voice honoured.

To that end I will continue to pray and ask you to pray for them as well.

 

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

*****

Trudy offers support conferences for survivors of abuse, and training to equip churches and the community in caring for victims and offenders, or if you would like to inquire about having a conference or training in your area, send an inquiry via Contact TrudyTo support Generations Unleashed, the charity Trudy works for, Donate Here.

SURVEY: Conservative Anabaptist (CA) Leaders’ Response to Abuse: If you are/were CA and have been sexually abused and interacted with a CA leader regarding the abuse, this survey is for you.

I am preparing several other surveys and will release them on our SURVEYS PAGE.

© Trudy Metzger

Preacher Mose Stoltzfus, Harold Herr & Darwin Hostetler meet to discuss what to do with Trudy; More details on Harold Herr allegations

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right.
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice.
A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~

*****

QUESTIONS CONTINUE TO TRICKLE IN, SO I WILL ADDRESS THEM HERE, INCLUDING THE MEETING WITH MOSE STOLTZFUS, HAROLD HERR AND DARWIN HOSTETLER:

  1. Q: Does Harold’s own daughter defend him and say the allegations are false? 

    A: Yes, one of Harold’s three daughters, Rachel Herr Weaver, insists the allegations are false. She, however, is not an alleged victim (to my knowledge), and therefore has no authority to declare her father’s innocence or guilt. (That would only change if she saw him molest someone, heard him admit to molesting someone, or was molested herself). We have authority to speak with certainty to our own experience, not the experience of another.  My father molested numerous children, starting when he was only 13 (from what we know), with several victims being his own children to varying degrees. Many of his 16 children were never sexually abused by him. Rachel’s experience (or lack thereof) has no bearing on her brother’s or any other alleged victim’s story. My experience does not negate the experience of my siblings, nor theirs mine.

  2. Q: More specifically, some are saying Rachel says allegations of him having fathered a child are false; is this true? 

    A: I have been told by numerous sources that Rachel insists it is lies and false allegations that Harold fathered a child. Again, apart from a DNA test, that is not a question she can answer. Nor can I. But it sure begs the question how many godly innocent men have to provide DNA tests… And even then, a DNA sample does not prove a lack of sexual contact. It merely proves a lack of conception when there was contact, if there was contact.And that provides a perfect segue into the next question…

  3. Q: Did Harold Herr have a DNA test after allegations first surfaced, to prove a child alleged to be conceived by him was not his? 

    A: As far as I know, after contacting one of Harold’s children for confirmation, there was never a DNA test done.  (If there was, the whole family is not aware. And, given the dynamics, it is highly likely that they would have known. So if it was done, that info was withheld from some). I have not spoken with the mother of the child in question, and for the sake of her wellbeing I have no intentions of going there, or disclosing her identity. My focus has been and remains on allegations made by Harold’s son Daniel, and the fact that church leaders, missions and community members did nothing when there was ample cause for concern.

  4. Q: (a). Are you sure Harold Herr and Earl Fox were shopping together, or did they just happen to stumble upon each other at Paul B’s Hardware? (b). And did they say they were shopping for supplies for Harold to take to Haiti, or did the person who saw them assume this? 

    A: I am told Harold and Earl was heard to say that they are gathering supplies for Harold. And that they explicitly stated the supplies were for Harold to take to Haiti.

  5. Q: Are you sure Harold was going to Haiti to train his replacement, or was he just going to live there? (Note: He owns a house there). 

    A: Harold Herr told his family he is going to Haiti to train his replacement. He was with LIFE Literature, previously. That is where a replacement would be needed.So “do I know for certain?” . No, because I don’t know if Harold Herr is a blatant liar who would tell his family he is going to train his replacement or not. Either he is a blatant liar and he was not going to train his replacement, or he was telling the truth and that was precisely what he was doing.

    If that is what he was doing why does Life Literature not own up? (And also acknowledge the shopping trip to buy supplies, while at it).

    If he was lying, then tell me, how do we believe him anywhere else? If he lies about ‘little things’ (like innocent trips to Haiti), why would he not lie about bigger things?

  6. Q. LIFE Literature pleaded with Harold *not* to return to Haiti; is it possible they did not know he was going? 

    A: Is it possible? Absolutely.Either way, it raises questions:
    a).  Why wouldn’t they put out a statement publicly to that effect instead of Lamar Nolt responding in ‘beat around the bush’ kind of answers that don’t ever tell the facts as they are?
    b). Why did they continue paying him after he was fired back in September, until after my blog came out?
    c). And a random other question… Them firing him overlapped with Haiti Benefit Auction allegedly raising concerns about Harold…. What hidden stories lie beneath all that silence?

  7. TRIGGER ALERT:
    Q: Was Harold Herr’s wife crazy, psychotic, or mentally ill?

    A: This is a very interesting question. And one we cannot answer with certainty in the clinical sense.  There was definitely signs she was depressed,  based on information I have gathered. She would be some special kind of woman — somewhat super human, really — if she wasn’t depressed after discovering her husband was having sex with animals. I think most women would struggle, don’t you? I mean, another woman you can find a way to confront. But… animals? That makes anything fair game.After Harold Herr was released from the school he had somewhat of a breakdown and they went to Phil Haven for family counseling.  His son Daniel, in the presence of others, said to Harold, “I saw you with the chickens.” His wife (who was allegedly the crazy one, according to rumours), was forced to contend with the fact that her husband was not faithful to her. Not only was he unfaithful to her, he didn’t choose another woman, he chose chickens. Pause, for just a moment, and process that. As a wife, honestly, wouldn’t you struggle just a smidge? It’s almost beyond human comprehension.

    Now add the fact that her son saw his father using the chickens for sex and at age 14 had to be the one to speak out.* Any mother who wouldn’t struggle wouldn’t be healthy and normal. If that stuff doesn’t make your mind spin, as a wife or a mother, and even more so depending what other traumas she had in her life…

    The following letter was written by Isaac K. Sensenig to Freda Herr.

    August 17, 1988

    Dear Friend: 

                I received your letter, and it is shockingly informative.  Harold had poured his heart out to us as a Centerville ministry some years ago.  He confessed to taking something from the place he worked that did not belong to him.  He also confessed to beastiology [sic], and we had him make a public confession concerning the matter.  We feel he had repented of the matters involved including necessary restitution.  We knew nothing of the items of incest you refer to in the letter.  They may have taken place since.  I am sorry to hear this and pray for his repentance and deliverance.

                Since he is no longer a member with us, you probably should write to Earl Horst or Edwin Gehman.  I am surely willing to be used to help him, like all other persons.  We as a church surely would not cover anything up to spare such a person.

                I would like to see him repent, and their marriage corrected as well.  I have a deep-felt concern that the items mentioned will not hinder you nor your mother from being saved people.

     Sincerely,

    Isaac K. Sensenig

    *More later on what it means that Daniel, as a youngster saw his father raping chickens, and at age 14 spoke up about the bestiality, but was not believed when he spoke out later about his fathers heinous crimes. Yes, raping chickens, in and of itself is a crime. (To all who cry ‘it’s under the blood’… more on that later as well).

    canstockphoto45093402

  8. Q: Are you aware that a group of men (named to be among them were Preacher Mose Stoltzfus, Darwin Hostetler) met in PA recently to discuss: “What do we do with Trudy?” 

    A: (Following a hearty laugh. This brings to mind a certain song in Sound of Music: How do you solve a problem like Trudy… I mean, Maria?) I did not know, and then I did, after several people contacted me…To the question at hand: What to do with Trudy? That is a very good question. If the men in this group are looking to silence me, they will have to kill me. It’s that simple.

    I am called to expose this corruption. And expose it I will until God says ‘be silent’ or someone here takes matters in their own hands and puts me to rest. Even that they cannot do until my death serves His kingdom purposes more than my life.  He holds my life in His hands.

    I have suggestions for other less extreme measures that could be tried, some that have already been threatened by other ‘godly Anabaptist world-changers’ … like a lawsuit. But that would only confirm the true character of the individuals involved. So, as much as no one wants that stress, I do want to see the true character revealed, and if that is what it takes…. so be it.

    There are a whole host of victims who were beaten and whipped, molested and otherwise abused under the advice and under the leadership of Preacher Mose and Charity (Ephrata) leadership. I have no doubt there are many who would welcome their day in court. So in the end,  if it will all serve the desired end of revealing truth of all the corruption buried,  I am willing to go through whatever I must for that to happen.

    So my advice? Do what you need to do to show us who you really are. Because there are godly Anabaptists — leaders and lay people alike — who will rise up against corruption when they see it. Some sincere ones don’t see it yet. But they will.

    Alternatively, there would be the much better option of coming clean, fully repenting and moving toward Christ-like redemption.

    canstockphoto26382982

  9. I do have one closing question to leave here, hanging in thin air:  What devilish thing lies hidden that makes me such a threat that I am worthy of these men meeting to figure out what to do with me? If there is nothing hidden to be unearthed, why not just let me rant and let it blow over? What wickedness do they not want exposed that would inspire them to gather together to discuss what to do with Trudy, or how to get rid of her? 

    That alone sounds like the work of demons and devils. It most certainly is not the least  bit reflective of Jesus Christ, who suffered false accusations in silence. He was the one the Pharisees sought to eliminate because He was an affront to their hidden wickedness. Jesus was never the one seeking to rid His world or His space of those who spoke out, whether speaking truth or not. It simply is not the Jesus Way

    The fact is, I am not throwing around false allegations. At least one Eastern leader has confirmed to a friend that some of the allegations are true. I have said, and continue to say, I do not know what all is truth in this story. I was not there. I am not God. What I do know is that Harold engaged in bestiality and his young son could only have known to address it if he saw the crimes committed. In that act alone, laying aside every other detail, the then-young-Daniel was extremely sexually violated. Extremely victimized.*

    Who of you would let your young son witness his father having sex with animals and walk away concluding he was not sexually victimized? (And if even one of you said yes, shame on you!)

     

  10. Q: Is it true that Harold Herr’s wife committed suicide? 

    A: Since no autopsy was ever done, it is impossible to say with certainty one way or the other.  Given what I’ve shared of what she was living with, and the fact she was not heard and the church made her the crazy one,  it certainly would not be a shocking outcome, but I would hesitate to surmise such a thing without proof. To my knowledge it was not ruled a suicide. (I welcome updates if there is evidence to support such a thing).

  11. Q.) How do we know the letters written by Daniel and dated some 30 years ago is/are legit?
    A: Let me repost the letter (with Daniel’s permission) after the last question, showing the list of all who received a copy at that time. It speaks for itself and is well documented.
     
  12. Q: Lastly, is it true that I redacted a portion of the letter (shared next in full) to hide the fact that Daniel stated some uncertainty regarding details in his memories? 

    A: No. I posted the very redacted version because I had promised Daniel to post nothing revealing. I kept that promise. As for uncertainty about all the details, that is the most normal thing in trauma memory.Today I sat with a friend whose child was tragically killed a few months ago. Not forty years ago. A few months ago. As she told me the story of the events of that day for the first time (she is in another country and it was our first time meeting since her child’s death), she would pause and say she’s uncertain about something. She would share a detail, then pause and question her memory. And she would pick up the pieces of the story, through the trauma, and keep talking.  She didn’t doubt whether her son died. That fact was a certainty. She did question details.It is the height of idiocy to write off someone’s traumatic experience based on a most normal trauma response. To be confused about the details of vile acts committed against you as a child is normal. To question the horror — especially when there is an evidence trail (ie; Harold admitting to bestiality and his young son speaking up about it), and then to believe the abuser, (yes he is that, what else do you call someone who rapes chickens?) while disregarding the son and the wife…

    That is the game of people who are pursuing self-preservation, not truth. It is the game of the guilty. It is a game of those covering evil. It is barely worth entertaining such nonsense in a blog. And I certainly don’t do it for them. I do it for those who sincerely want to know the truth.

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*****

ABOUT CRITICAL THINKING AND SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT:
We hear and use the statement “don’t check your brains at the door”. In essence, we are hearing, “Apply critical thought to the information you hear/see.” That includes right here, on my blog. And it should include the teachings you’ve been handed and told are truth. If you read the evidence I post through the lens of what you’ve been told to believe or out of thoughtless belief that what I say is true, rather than through critical thought and spiritual discernment, then you have checked your brains at the door. I urge you to think deeply and analyze what I write. (And I’m not talking about having a minor detail wrong. That’s just petty).

Spiritually, we call this discernment, using both brain (thought) and spiritual awareness, or the ‘sensing of things’. Spiritually, we my not have a solid thought process to offer, but something just ‘feels off’, or ‘feels right’, not an emotional sense of ‘feeling’, usually, but an awareness. A quiet ‘knowing’. This should be held with humility and caution; the human mind has great influence and it is easy to assign spiritual significance to human thought, or hold as certain that which may not be. This can be deadly. (For example, when a spiritual ‘guide’ – whether counsellor, pastor or other – ‘senses’ that a person has been abused and even by who, and then plants such a thing. There are people who have brought false allegations against individuals this way. It is not wise, and it is not right).

Critical thinking can be intertwined with discernment, or it can be a most practical non-spiritual exercise. It can be ‘looking at the facts with a deeper ‘below the surface’ kind of critique’. What I plan to share today focuses on the latter; a practical exercise in looking at information I posted in the blog Timeline of ‘Grandpa Harold’, and purpose for revealing his identity…. Evidence that is easily missed apart from applying critical thinking, combined with knowledge of at least some details, and if or how there might have been an admission of guilt by the accused. In this case, that admission is documented.

A series of question every individual must ask in a case like this is:

  1. Is it wrong (abuse) to have sex with an animal? (Known as bestiality).
  2. Is it wrong (abuse) to have sex with an animal in the presence of a child? 
  3. Is it wrong (abuse) for a parent to engage in sexual activity of any sort in front of child?

Anyone who who professes Christianity and answered any of the above ‘no’, I’d like to hear your justification. You may send me your argument via the “Contact Trudy” page. And if you do these things, please include details of your acts, as well as your full name, date of birth, full address. These acts are all crimes. But, I cannot imagine that anyone said the above are ok.

On that assumption, we have established:

  1. Sex with an animal is abuse.
  2. Sex with an animal in front of a child is abuse, of both the animal and the child.
  3. It is wrong for parents to have sex in front of their children.

The next series of questions is:

  1. Can we establish that any such acts took place?
  2. Can we establish that any of these acts were admitted by the accused?

The first question was answered in the timeline.  It tells us that, when speaking with Detective Ortenzi, Harold Herr tried to shift focus away from the allegations of sexual abuse and admitted to engaging in bestiality. (There is also a letter from a church leader who acknowledged Harold did indeed admit to bestiality).

For the sake of argument and in honour of a few of my heckling Facebook friends, let’s grant it that Harold ‘repented’ of bestiality at Centerville church, as per the letter. Let’s say that moment it indeed was “under the blood” (as these same men like to repeat in every allegation). In that case, “Praise Jesus!”

If true! Praise Him indeed! This means there is no more reason to hide, to walk in shame, to manipulate… 

But, alas, that ‘repentance‘ took place around 1975, give or take a year or two. Those dates are approximates, lest anyone feels compelled to use this uncertainty of which year to distract from the real issue. It is hard to ask dead men for confirmation. Also, séances are forbidden by God, so we won’t go there.

At that time Daniel Herr was approximately 14 years old. After his father, Harold Herr, was released from teaching school, they went to Phil Haven for help. While there, in the presence of others but addressing his father, the young Daniel made the statement that he had seen his father engaging in bestiality. (This was not told to me by Daniel, but by someone else who was present at that time and heard it).

We have established that Harold Herr engaged in sexual abuse of chickens. He admitted to bestiality and *allegedly repented. (*I will explain this ‘allegedly’ momentarily).

We have further established that Harold Herr sexually violated his son when he engaged in bestiality in front of him. We have also established that his young son first spoke out as a very young teen,  in the presence of multiple witnesses. (For them what thinks there has to be a few witnesses for it to count).

The problem is, Harold Herr did not repent of this abuse of his son. Sins cannot be “under the blood” as many like to say Harold’s are, when they are denied and not repented of.  It is not possible. They can be covered up, denied, ignored and excused. But they cannot be under the blood when they are denied.

Harold’s son, Daniel, deserves a humble apology from his father and humble repentance for his sins and crimes. At 14 …. think about it… at 14 he spoke up. And still he is being viewed the liar and his father the saint by some. I can’t even wrap my head around what level of religious perversion that requires… Religious perversion, and religious arrogance. And I pray that is but a small (albeit vocal) group ‘among us’.

Furthermore, even after his ‘repentance’ in the mid 70’s, Harold’s son saw him engage in ongoing sexual assault of animals over the period of numerous years.

It is easy for some in religious community — usually those with a vested interest in silence and not having something discussed or exposed — to grab the widest brush possible and say, “He has repented. You should not speak of it again. That sin is under the blood.”

I say, “If it’s under the blood so thoroughly, by all means, let’s talk about it!” Let’s be honest about what was done, how it impacted others, how we pursued healing and redemption on behalf of those we harmed and victimized. Let’s not focus on our own self-preservation.

If we truly believe that Jesus came to do what He said He came to do, then let’s be like the Apostle Paul and not hide our sins. And let’s make sure that those we victimized, and their families, hear us acknowledge our wrongdoing.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2020

 

 

 

Jeriah Mast sentenced to 9 years in prison

Jeriah Mast, Millersburg Ohio, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for sexually assaulting minors.

The judge addressed the church before sentencing, citing that Jeriah started molesting before heading to Haiti and was still left to molest 30 or more poor children. “Why?!”

Accolades of his transformation spoken, and the assurance that Jeriah is repentant and safe around children, left that one question unaddressed.

“Why?”

It is a question the church and para-church organizations need to take seriously, and account for. Because it is an ongoing problem. And what a tragedy that it is a judge who has to ask it, when it should be every pastor and leader and Christian.

We can do better. We must do The one victim who spoke showed great courage. It has been a hard road for all victims. And his family count among such victims.

Pray for them. Pray for all involved.

God is just. He is love.

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Post Gazette Article: Ohio ex-missionary sentenced to 9 years in prison in child sex abuse cases

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Events and Announcements:

Emmanuel Missionary Church

Elmira Ontario Canada

2 Day Training: November 28-29, 2019.

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PSA: Jeriah Mast, charged with molesting 5 young Ohio boys, out on Bail (No charges yet for Haiti Crimes)

JERIAH MAST OUT ON BAIL
Numerous individuals contacted me earlier this morning to say that someone posted bail and Jeriah Mast is out. This comes as no surprise to me, as I anticipated it. The only thing that is surprising is that they waited this long.

For Jeriah’s church and family, this is an answer to much praying and pleading with God. To victims of abuse, this is a nightmare.

Bail was posted by Judy Skelley of Sly Bail Bonds. UPDATE: (It is confirmed that Mast is required to wear a GPS monitor, he must report weekly, turn in his passport (if he had not already), and have no contact with victims. The prosecutor is also filing a motion that he have no unsupervised contact with any juveniles). That they used a bondsman (or woman) was also expected. It is unlikely the same amount of funds have been invested in helping the victims, and knowing who posted bond would not look good.

***

Also, just a reminder, that the present arrest and bond are specific to the five known victims in Ohio. There are, as of yet, no charges filed for the Haiti crimes, and the alleged 30 plus boys Jeriah Mast sexually assaulted while serving as a missionary through Christian Aid Ministries. That investigation, I understand, is ongoing.

To date Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) has not mailed out any notification of the Jeriah Mast’s crimes, to donors who are on mailing lists only. I applaud those individuals are taking it upon themselves to print off news articles and blog posts to distribute among those who do not have internet. Donors have the right to be informed.

***

OPPORTUNITY TO HELP HAITI VICTIMS WITH LEGAL COUNSEL AND MEDICAL AID
In the meantime a first responder, Rick Ashley, is in Haiti meeting with victims and helping them with legal aid. Rich adopted a young nameless boy of unknown age (approximately 8-10 years old), after the child sought treatment following the earthquake almost 10 years ago. Rick has provided for this young man ever since. The boy was found near the CAM site in Titanyen, chained up and and sold for sex by a woman who, they say, was obviously mentally unwell. She beat him with a machete, leaving him physically scarred for life, and the sexual assaults left him mentally scarred.

To learn more, and help with funding their legal counsel, here is the link to the GoFundMe Account: Sexually Abused Haitian Boys, Urgent Need.

Remember the victims.

***

NOTE: The follow up blog post, to yesterday’s powerful word from a husband, will come out this evening.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

***

THE GATHERING, NOVEMBER 2, 2019, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE:
One of the things we are working toward November 2, 2019, at  THE GATHERING, is creating a place where we collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse, and their trusted support persons to join together for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering. We will cry out to God, together. The invitation is to ‘come as you are’ in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

(More information for potential attendees is available under THE GATHERING Registration and for non-attendees at THE GATHERING Information.)

***

 

If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

Of Gnats & Camels: 2012 or 2013? And the Amish Steering Committee’s Role in the Jeriah Mast, Haiti, CAM Case

Seems there’s a lot of Christians straining their water these days, to avoid choking on gnats, while swallowing camels whole. (What wise man said that again?) And, what were His words just before using satire to make His point? “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees”… He then calls out on tithing even on their spices, but adds, “[you] have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel…”

It turns out that me being told that Jeriah was sent home in 2012 is a serious stumbling block to Christians, that I would lie like that. It seems elementary, but let me inject here that having a jot or tiddle out of place, I mean, having the date wrong – and that because I was told the wrong date … by one of the men who knew and did not report – is not known as lying. It is known as “Oops, Harold wasn’t quite sure which year it was, and Trudy relayed his imperfect memory.” That kind of nitpicking is the very thing that takes the focus off of helping victims, acknowledging we have a serious problem and dealing with it.

Several have also kindly informed me that I pretty much have it wrong about Jeriah’s early years. It seems to me that testimony of numerous ‘early years’ victims and friend  (from unlinked sources that tell similar stories)… they might actually be worthy of acknowledgement. That said, I said very little about his early years.

As I’ve responded to some, I will state here. I am keenly aware that what I shared is incomplete. Very incomplete. It is my hope that the Mast family, as well as other victims and offenders in the inter-linking scenarios that were excluded will appreciate my reasons for this. My goal here has been to call a religious organization to accountability for egregious errors in judgment in the Haiti victims case, and hopefully prevent this type of violence from continuing against anyone. Especially the impoverished who have no recourse, and depend on the very source of their abuse for  survival.But I will not go further at this time.

My goal here is to sweep up a few gnats I’m told are distracting people from caring for the victims. I don’t really believe gnats do that. I believe some look for excuses to downplay things, for other reasons. But I don’t mind sweeping gnats, just in case. It would be a tragedy to have children being raped and molested be downplayed because I was given a few inaccurate details by key people in the story.

Nitpicking about details to discredit the truth and pretend there isn’t an epidemic shows how willingly we allow abuse to continue.

The Gospels – four authors, four views –  each tell the story of Jesus. Each tell the same stories on several occasions, but tell them differently. This is called ‘perspective’. If we stand by a wall and describe the scenery, the ones facing the bricks will have a very different account (perspective) of what they see than the ones facing the garden.

And the one staring at bird poop on the table… Yeah, that’s a whole ‘n’other perspective completely that no one wants to hear while trying to enjoy dinner.

I think many people are trying to eat dinner right now, as this case unfolds….

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Jesus used an exaggerated scenario to make His point. If I was not as clear, feel free to ask questions.

***

Almost a month ago, when I first heard the Amish Steering Committee was involved in the Jeriah Mast case, I attempted to track down their number. I reached out to Dell Sauder in Pennsylvania, who has many connections and whose wife has Amish background, hoping they would be able to help. I also reached out to friends in Ohio who did some asking around. But the information seemed no where to be found.

Soon after my first blog came out, several people kindly reached out to correct me, saying they were not involved. I requested that they forward my number to the ASC and ask one of the to call me. Another person forwarded a contact number, which I tried immediately, but was not able to get through.

This week, Tuesday I was finally able to speak with one ASC member. I wished I could see his eyes, because phones are limiting that way. However, he was honourable and kind. I learned that what my sources — statements  Jeriah’s immediate family made, which then were forwarded to me out of concern by friends — was not reflective of facts.  I have yet to figure out why his family believed what they believed, but that is theirs to tell truth about. I have this evidence, but will not release it without the permission of those who sent it.

(Note: I released to law enforcement what I felt might be of help to them).

In conversation with the ASC leader I learned the following about them:

  • they’re incredibly respectful to engage with (I sensed no manipulation, only respect)
  • our visions align
  • their purpose is to be a liaison/messenger between law/government and the Amish church
  • they’ve been around in some form for 50-60 years, not only 2.5
  • many of their cases are minors
  • many of their cases have nothing to do with sexual crimes, incest and molestation
    • if they are sexual crimes they are referred to the Restoration Committee
  • they work cooperatively with the law (one ‘evidence item’ said they take the place of the law)
  • they don’t interfere with law to keep offenders out of prison (again, many of their cases are minors)

And I also learned the following about ASC’s involvement in this case:

  • No one contacted the ASC’s State Director for assistance in case
  • someone at Shining Light church got their hands on a Restoration Plan that was drawn up for another offender from a few years ago
  • the church reached out to the Restoration Team to look at the plan
    • the name had been redacted, so they did not know it was for Jeriah Mast
  • Shining Light then asked a Restoration Team member to set up the appointment with law enforcement
  • Family told various people that ASC was involved, and stated that it was to “help avoid consequences” and “do what the law would do”, as well as hold Jeriah accountable
    • This alarmed people who reached out to me.
    • This, the State Director (who is the Amish gentleman I spoke with) is completely inaccurate and not what the ASC is about

The Restoration Committee Role and Purpose:

  • hold everyone accountable when dealing with molestation and other troubled situations and “hold people’s feet to the fire”
  • they guide processes and make sure proper processes are followed
  • draw up restoration plans which are strict accountability plans to be followed
  • offer teaching and education to help recognize abuse, and work toward prevention
  • do NOT assume role of:
    • law
    • CPS
    • Ministry
    • Counsellors
  • they are contacted for help by:
    • law enforcement
    • CPS
    • Church Ministry
    • Counsellors and therapists
    • Individuals needing support in their church community

***

The information came to me via friends of immediate family, but how the family in this case came to believe the information they shared with people, I cannot speak to, nor do I wish to. It may have been a sincere misunderstanding.  These things happen, and in the midst of stress and chaos that is yet more likely.

It is ironic that since my source is those with some of the highest stakes – the family – that I am the liar for repeating their words. (I would say I misunderstood if I did not have evidence).

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The hate, the lies and all of that, I am not too worried about. If that’s what it takes for this epidemic to be addressed, so be it. I am far more concerned that I stand before God one day and, while imperfectly, have done what He called me to do.

***

What’s next in this case?

The law is doing the thing it is designed to do. I am doing the thing I am called to do, and cooperating with the law in the process. All information that is sent my way, that holds any meaning, I forward to the law. And sometimes I forward what I think is useless but might mean something to them. Charges will be forthcoming, at least for one ‘piece’ of this situation, in the relatively near future, I am told. We will see. That isn’t my part to follow up on.

I continue to interact with the people of Haiti who were impacted, including Jeriah’s victims and those near them. It is hard because of distance, and feeling helpless to do much given the language barriers, but I try to answer their questions and connect them with those who are able to help them navigate the maze of the legal system. (On that note, if anyone reading this knows of a Human Rights Lawyer who would be able to support these victims, that info would be much appreciated. Please send it to me at: Generations Unleashed.

What next for me?

Before this case went public, people were hearing there was a ‘big abuse case’ with an Anabaptist organization, and they reached out to ask what I know. I wasn’t ready to give information much, back then. As a result information trickled in about multiple organizations, in multiple countries. When three or more concerns trickle in, each holding pieces of a story, it is a strong sign that something lies buried.

It is my plan to follow up on these cases if doors open. I am very comfortable letting God open and close doors. If funds come in to cover the costs of travel, I go. If not, I don’t. It’s that simple and that black and white how I determine whether it is meant to be. And I listen to the niggling of caution, that radar for spiritual manipulation that goes off in my inner being, when determining with whom I will partner in these things. And I am thankful to say that there are thousands of conservative Anabaptists offering prayer support and encouragement in this.

I hope to fly out within the next two weeks to confirm details in another case, if funds come in to cover the costs. And if they do not, I will rest in this not being the right time. I am comfortable laying down calling any time God closes doors.

If you are able to contribute, and willing to do so, you may send funds to info@generationsunleashed.com, or visit Generations Unleashed.

My commitment is to walk through the doors God opens. I will not force them. But I will not ignore the open ones. And if they crack open and stay there, I’ve learned that usually, sometimes years later, they swing wide open.

As always…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

 

 

Haiti Commissioner Orders Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) to appear in court with offender

Introduction:

June 6, 2019

The court hearing has come to a close. Le Commissaire (the commissioner) sits in the judge’s chair. The court summons sent weeks earlier, was signed by the Supreme Commissioner Me Jonas Bertrang, and Le Commissaire is here on his authority. Today he has the power to arrest and imprison.

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Le Commissaire speaks in (French/Creole), just as lawyers and witnesses have throughout. I do not understand either language and rely on interpreters. Le Commissaire has given CAM (Christian Aid Ministries) 15 days for their top officials to appear in court accompanied by Jeriah Mast, the sex offender, several interpreters tell me after court is dismissed. If they fail to do so, not only will they arrest a pastor who is present and hold him until they do so; they will also close doors to CAM in Haiti. Little do they realize that CAM is unlikely to be moved to action; it would have to be one of their own or one of Life Literature’s staff members for it to inspire action. Pastor has had no ties with CAM for years already.

Le Commissaire and legal representatives, alike, made it clear that failing to report crimes will not be tolerated; not even by an organization such as CAM. I find myself wishing I was hearing this in church.

The pastor they say they will imprison if CAM officials do not show up with Mast, has been placed in a holding cell, to the right of the courtroom, where he watches the proceedings. He bows his head, appearing to pray. The injustice is hard to stomach. While the offender rests and recovers on American soil, others pay the price. And those speaking out are already being judged as unforgiving gossips.

Pastor Brucely

Jeriah has admitted to the crimes, but only after first lying repeatedly when confronted by a pastor May 3, 2019. With enough pressure he has confessed that he has at least 30 victims.

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***

We, fellow Christians and fellow Anabaptists, alike, insist on transparency and honesty. For organization leaders to say “we knew, but didn’t know details” is not good enough. And if what these leaders did was so Christ-like, they should be ready to die for it and not avoid traveling to the countries where these crimes were committed.

Pedophiles and sex offenders, no matter how repentant, cannot and must not be left on missions. They must be reported. Under no circumstances will we look the other way, the lot of us who are rising up to bring to account the sex crimes, and the federal crimes committed in other countries by organizations looking the other was as something much akin to sex trafficking takes place in the guise of religious service. It is our duty to take a stand, and take a stand we will.

***

For me the story begins in Ontario Canada. Someone messages to say that a missionary has assaulted young boys. They are overwhelmed. The number, the offender admits are “too many to count”. Initially it is unclear if he came forward on his own, or if he was caught, but reports from within America’s Anabaptist community say he is broken and penitent. The few people who know offer him their support and prayer, grateful he is forthcoming. Fellow Christians are encouraged to be forgiving and not speak of the atrocities, now that they are repented of and forgiven. What few, if any, realize, is that the thirty victims to which he has confessed, is not representative of the true number. There are victims in numerous communities.

Initially, I am given no information. This appears at first to be a blessing. My intentions are to not get involved in the case. I am recovering from a spontaneous coronary artery dissection and minor heart attack, only weeks ago. Things remain relatively silent for a week, and I have no information to work with; nothing to provide leads. Not what mission organization. Not the name of the offender. Nothing.

Then, gradually, bits and pieces of the story appear in my inboxes and conversations trickle in. The name of family members. The state the offender lives. The organization. Like a puzzle in a box, as I look at the pieces, the details begin to shape into a coherent story. Still concerned about my health and suffering from fatigue, edema and other symptoms, I stand back.

Having been born into an Anabaptist family, and having worked for nearly ten years with Anabaptist victims of sexual violence, predominantly female victims of childhood sexual abuse, I am keenly aware of the crisis of epidemic proportions. As a donor many years ago, I am familiar with CAM Canada. I presume there is some connection between CAM USA and them, but don’t know the extent.

“I would hope they would do the right thing,” I tell someone. They are a massive organization. They know the law. You don’t get that far and that big through naivety. Besides, there’s enough conversations about sexual violence in our conservative Anabaptist culture that no one can easily claim innocence any longer.

I hope against hope that they will put out a public statement. I will give them two weeks from the time of his arrival in USA, I tell my informants, to do the right thing, and then I will do something if it appears the case will slip through the cracks. They have not given me enough details to report, but years of working with these crimes have taught me that lay members of the Anabaptist community are weary of these crimes; I will get the details sooner or later. Probably sooner.

As details of his time in USA trickle in from various sources – all of whom are forbidden to speak – I grow increasingly alarmed. He has spent two weeks in USA building a fortress that will serve him well, if law enforcement takes at face value, his repentance. His church and family have recruited the support of the Amish Steering Committee (ASC), a team of Amish men who come up with a Restoration Plan to be presented to law enforcement, to help Anabaptist sex offenders escape prison as consequences. A powerful committee, these men boast having had only 2 men sentenced to prison, of over 100 brought to them, in their two [edit: and a half] years since being implemented. People seem hopeful that the ASC will be able to keep this serial child molester out of prison.

Nearly twenty years of crimes, and this is the priority? My spirit grows restless.

***

A CAM leader, Dwayne Stoltzfus, who is also a leader at Mast’s home congregation, accompanies Mast to the police station. Nothing is heard of the victims, other than comments that CAM will reach out and help them; law enforcement likes to see that as part of a Restoration Plan. Word trickles out of Ohio stating that CAM has turned the case over to Mast’s church to handle, thus joining Pilate at the wash basin. This has been done before, when Life Literature staff, Harold Herr, was told of the crimes in 2012, four [EDIT: two] years after Mast was excommunicated from church in Haiti for molesting boys. [EDIT: The crimes were committed in 2008. Excommunication was 2010. Harold Herr was approached 2012 about crimes committed in 2011].

Stories surface stating there were more crimes in other countries, by other CAM staff members. Not all informants feel comfortable sharing names of alleged offenders, but some names and details by various informants begin to fill the gaps left by others. An orphanage. Three offenders.

These details, coming from unrelated sources, combined with CAM’s failure to address the current crimes publicly, compels me to speak out. Heart condition or no heart condition, I find myself committed. Some things, I have learned, are worth dying for. Giving voice to the victims of heinous crimes is one of those things.

We, the Western church, and more importantly to this case, the Anabaptist church, must learn from these tragedies to better screen our missionaries, to take seriously allegations against potential missionaries, and to respond more adequately when we fail. Victims should not bear the weight of crimes committed against them. Crimes, committed in the guise of presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ; that same Christ would unequivocally condemn such actions.

To learn from these tragedies, the darkness must be brought to light. And to do so, we must speak.

***

A former CAM staff member contacted me and asked if I would consider going to Haiti if CAM were to agree to fund such a trip. Sadly, I responded, I cannot align with their handling of things, and would not accept their funding. If I would go, it would need to be completely apart from their involvement. I remember well other cases of exposing crimes and how it worked out attempting to work in partnership. I would be willing to go, but it would have to be without CAM’s involvement.

The idea took root but, practically speaking, it was not feasible. I am still recovering from the heart attack, albeit steadily improving. I have many other commitments as a mother. I’m a PhD student and have ongoing medical testing, not to mention the financial commitment. However, as the time of the Haiti court case drew near, and I learned it was unlikely that CAM would appear as summoned, nor had they reached out to victims, I felt compelled to respond to the question, “Would you go…?”

Wednesday morning, June 4, I posted a status on Facebook, asking my friends – most of who remain conservative Anabaptists – if they would consider funding a flight for me to meet with numerous survivors of sexual violence at the hands of one of our own. Response was slow, and I understood that. I couldn’t offer any public information about the case, the organization, or the country. At 5pm we had almost enough for a one-way ticket to Haiti. The phone rang. A gentleman asked what we had raised and what we still need. “I’ll give $500,” he offered.

With that, I booked a one-way ticket to Haiti, trusting the remaining funds would come in. On Facebook, I offered an update. More friends responded. I decided to do a countdown, “.. now only need $375 … now $300…. ” and within minutes we had the funds. It was surreal.

***

June 5, 2019

The air is heavy, much like my heart, and surely the hearts of those we are about to meet; Haitian victims of an American missionary. I have come to Haiti to hear them; to give life and voice to their stories. This is more than a federal and international crime investigation for the Haitian government and FBI. It is that. And necessarily so. But it is more.

This is about lives, shattered and broken. Their stories matter. They matter. I have committed to do everything within my power to let them know this. My comfort is of little interest to me in the process. Truth must be told.

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Apart from several chairs and an old bench, and a few bags, the room is empty. Here we seat ourselves for the interviews. With the help of my interpreter, I introduce myself and explain why I’ve come. I have heard of the terrible tragedy Haiti communities have suffered at the hands of a professing Christian from my culture. I tell them how sorry I am, and that I am offering to hear their stories and share them with Christians in USA and Canada. They are under no obligation to speak if they would rather not.

Almost immediately they say they would like to tell their stories. I explain that we will do this with one victim at a time rather than as a group, with none sitting in as the other shares. Each tells their story. And to each I express my sorrow at their suffering and apologize to them for the crimes committed in God’s name. I remind them that they are worth so much more, that God loves them, and that there are people back home who care and are not going to look the other way. I promise to do my best to have the stories heard and used in a way to influence accountability and deep and lasting change.

They tell of all the lost. They tell of his crimes; how he manipulated and accessed them at sleepovers. His ‘Modus Operandi’ matches what I’ve heard in other testimonials from other communities. It is compelling. But it would be in any case. Their eyes. The grief and sorrow. The mother whose son told her and was spared further assaults. Other boys who did not speak, and endured years of abuse.

A Haitian gentleman who has filled the role of mentor and father shares briefly what it has been like for the community and for the boys. It has brought deep, deep shame, he tells me. The boys are called “Madanm Jeriah” whenever they walk the streets and are mocked for being ‘gay’ because of the abuse they suffered at the hands of a male. They were not able to attend school without being bullied, and they cannot find work because of the shame. They have no place in the community.

The mother speaks. She is angry, she tells me. Angry that her only child, is paying this high price for the crimes of a missionary. Angry that her survival depended on CAM’s support, and that she had to choose between silence about the crimes to survive, and her son’s wellbeing. Angry that CAM knew [edit: knew that Jeriah was a molester] and did nothing. She tells me how, in his hardest struggles, she couldn’t manage and had to reach out to the mentor gentleman.

I hear her anger, but I feel her broken heart. I tell her how fortunate her son is to have her. Fortunate that someone cares about his suffering and about him. He nods. The two share a bond in suffering, but it is more than that. I tell her, too, how very sorry I am.

I ask them if they have a message for the churches in USA and Canada. They plead for churches and organizations to screen people properly and not send child molesters. At one point a young man makes a comment that it seems like all missionary men are homosexuals. (Their word for molesting boys is the same as the word for homosexual). I don’t blame them for feeling that way. Even as we speak a missionary gentleman they trust is translating, so I know that isn’t how it really is, but they don’t need to hear that right now. It seems too often that is the story that plays out.

“If you could send a message to Jeriah Mast, what would you say to him?” I ask.

Most ask for Jeriah to really repent and come back to face the crimes he committed against them, in their country. They ask him to stop thinking about himself and start thinking about them and the harm he has done to them, if he is truly repentant. All ask him for restitution. They have lost all standing in the community and any hope of thriving as homosexuals. (Again, they are sexual assault victims, not homosexuals).

At one point in the interview, “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban, plays loudly. A young Haitian girl’s voice joins in. The laundry on the wash line moves gently in the breeze. The sweltering heat has become almost unbearable, and my head ache is getting worse.

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I ask permission to take photos, and they grant it, on the condition that I will not post them. I may post pictures of the empty room and those without people. They feel vulnerable. I make a promise.

Will I come back, they ask. I hope so. I truly hope so. Silently I pray. I ask God for health and life, and the opportunity to return, even as I feel the strain of the heat on my heart and observe the swelling it has caused in just a few hours. I will do everything I can, I say again. There are many things I cannot do, certainly not alone, but I can remind America that this is about victims, not about silencing crimes and protecting offenders from consequences. I can keep fighting for victims, and particularly for them. I can keep holding toes to the fire and press for accountability and insist that our religious communities stop looking the other way.

I thank them for being so gracious and sharing such vulnerable stories. They thank me for coming and giving them permission to speak the unspeakable.

We step outside. Here, a handful of children and youth gather around. A few linger, curious why this stranger has come.

The wash is off the line now. A lonely bird sings.

We are wrapping up our time in this community. Even as we do, I feel my heart wrapping around the community. A part of me is staying, right here. I will never forget these young men, this mama, and the gentleman who has fought for these boys.

***

Would to God that my culture, the conservative Anabaptists, could begin to grasp what we, collectively, have done to these children. Through sending pedophiles as missionaries, knowing they abused children. Through silence. Through looking away when the shame of their sin was more than we could bear. Through shaming those who speak out. Through perverting forgiveness to mean we dare not tell truth. To make any claims at all that Jesus would respond in kind. He would not.

The Bible is chuck full of bad stories that would have remained untold if such a God existed at all, and such a Gospel had even a sprinkling of truth to it. If such a Jesus had ever walked among us. Because that Jesus called for truth. He ripped the cover off the nest of vipers oppressing and subjecting the people to their own power. He flipped tables. He spoke with healing and gentleness to the broken-hearted. And never did he favour religious oppressors over the wellbeing of the wounded.

His Gospel… that’s what we need here. The Good News of Salvation that cries for truth, invites it… yes, even demands it, for the Gospel to be real at all.

That’s my Jesus. That’s the Gospel. Any other should never be spoken, and certainly not imposed on the wounded. And most definitely not taken to an impoverished people who rely on us for sustenance, so that we can take advantage of them.

***

JUNE 6, 2019

Outside the courthouse, prior to the hearing, the handful of victims pressing charges have initially declined to comment or have their photos taken. The lawyer forbids taking photos, saying is not permissible. I respect their decision. Instead, Pastor Blakely and I engage in conversation and he shares his story. He has been summoned to stand trial for knowing many years of Mr. Mast’s crimes against their children of Haiti and not reporting these horrific crimes. As a pastor, he says, he did the only thing he understood to do, and that was to excommunicate Mr. Mast and turn him over to CAM. If he could do it over with the knowledge he has today, he states, he would report Mr. Mast and support the families of victims in reporting. He grants permission to take a photo, and use it as needed to help them seek justice and acknowledgment of suffering.

My interest in the case is to give victims opportunity to share their stories, I explain, and hold churches and organizations accountable so that these crimes are not taken lightly. I do not wish to harm anyone, including CAM and Jeriah Mast, but assure the I will stop at nothing within my means to bring truth to light and have victims voices heard. I express concern that CAM did not immediately report Mast, and notify the public, their donors and all families and communities with whom Mast had contact. I also extend an apology, as a Christian and fellow Caucasian, for their ongoing failure to release a public statement condemning the actions and apologizing for their failure to respond adequately years ago when the crimes first became known. What has been done is very wrong, and hopefully accountability will ensure better protocol for screening missionaries, thus protecting children from such horrific crimes. Pastor Brucely expresses his appreciation.

***

Mast’s crimes did not begin in Haiti, though details of former crimes on US soil remain a closely guarded secret [edit: as far as the public is concerned. The law is aware. Hence my reticence to address them before charges are laid]. Mast’s church leaders – of whom Mast’s father is bishop – knew of crimes [edit: though not called crimes] many years ago, and still sent him as a missionary in Haiti, giving him access to many, many victims without accountability. When it was discovered he committed more sex crimes in Haiti, he was sent home and the community was informed there had been moral failure. Being allowed to return, they assumed it was likely porn; other missionaries had been sent home permanently for porn use. Never did they imagine that Mast, who was their friend and fellow missionary, was so skilled that even those closest to him did not see the signs. Having repented, Mast was allowed to return and continue his crimes, unchecked.

One community member told me of 25 victims in 3 communities. But the count is much higher, in numerous other communities. Mr. Mast allegedly admitted to 30, after initially denying the allegations when questioned by a pastor on Friday, May 3 2019. Within hours of learning that he was exposed, Mast packed up his family and fled to USA via Dominican Republic , leaving pastors and other staff members to face the consequences of his crimes.

According to some Haitians, Mast is a talented speaker who preached a fine message; he was as skilled at maneuvering and accessing victims. His position within CAM required him to visit many communities.  While some Haitians knew or suspected the crimes were taking place, they held little power to do anything, as they rely heavily on CAM for basic provision, and lacked the corporate and financial backing the CAM provides. An impoverished people are no match for such a massive organization (approximately  EDIT: $150m $130 budget). It wasn’t until a handful of courageous young men came forward with a lawsuit that there was any hope of the crimes coming to an end, victims’ voices being heard, or there being any semblance of justice in this case.

As people seek to come to terms with the news, in Haiti and across the world, the list of Haitian communities impacted by Mast’s crimes continues to grow. Missionaries who condemn Mast’s actions are concerned at CAM’s lack of response and have reached out to various communities. Testimonials from other communities confirmed that the Ti Goave was only one of many impacted.

Mast befriended young boys, mentored them and scheduled sleepovers, giving him access. The details of acts committed, were similar, with slight variation from community to community, case to case, but similar basic MO. Mast carried with him a bottle of oil for the purpose of the assaults. He went under the guise of loving children and mentoring boys. He offered some gifts and cash, thus using their poverty against them.

Mr. Mast has repented numerous times for ‘moral failure’, offering a vague statement leading those nearest him under the impression that he struggles with pornography, or some personal sexual struggle. Nearly all are shocked to discover that he has, in fact, sexually assaulted so many children or the course of almost 20 years, that no one is quite sure how many there are. That shock intensifies at the discovery that leaders knew and did not send him home or warn the public.

Yet more shocking to some, is the discovery that Mr. Mast used bribes to silence some of his victims. Others say they heard unconfirmed rumours prior to victims coming forward.  An attempted rape of one young man, sources say, resulted in Mr. Mast paying to build a house to silence him. (To this I ask, how did no one get suspicious of this type of ‘generosity’?) That gentleman’s brother also received a house. His story, for the most part, remains untold. A mother, whose son was assaulted, received a plot of land, but the deed was never given to her. And another young man was given money which was used to by a motorbike. And now, Haitians say that CAM’s lawyer has offered hush money, and even pressured victims to meet up for the purpose of silencing them.

After the court hearing it is announced that CAM’s lawyer and the victims’ lawyer have reached a tentative agreement. All that is needed is for CAM officials to sign off.

This is legal ‘hush money’, but hardly becoming of a transparent organization seeking to represent Jesus. Going to court against brother is forbidden, but paying off the victimized … I’ll leave that there. Again, if what was done by the organization is Christlike, there ought to be no need to pay off these victims to silence them. To help them, sure, but silence them? Never!

***

Now, sitting in court, I look at the pastor, behind bars. He has been temporarily arrested during the proceedings. He granted me permission to take photos of him and use them as needed. His trust is an honour, as they are in the thick of addressing trauma inflicted by my culture; my people. I promise to use them only to create awareness, help the victims, and ensure their story is told. I will not exploit them.

Prior to the hearing my interpreter has asked the Commissioner’s secretary permission to audio record, no video, and take photos. Permission is granted.

Much of the hearing is in French, some in Creole. I understand little, but several interpreters give me updates. I have read the boys’ testimonies, translated into English by several people, to cross reference and compare for accuracy, so while I do not understand, I know their stories.

***

Le Commissaire speaks in (French/Creole), giving CAM (Christian Aid Ministries) 15 days for their top officials to appear in court accompanied by Jeriah Mast, the sex offender, several interpreters tell me after court is dismissed. Mast has admitted guilt, albeit after lying repeatedly until backed in a corner.  If they fail to do so, not only will they arrest a pastor who is present and hold him until they do so; they will also close doors to CAM in Haiti.

Le Commissaire and legal representatives, alike, have made it clear that failing to report crimes will not be tolerated; not even by an organization such as CAM.

That, frankly, is how it should be. However, it should be the church rising up to say it, rather than the law.

***

NOTE: I have documentation of court records, as well as evidence that certain CAM leaders, Life Literature, and other individuals were aware of these crimes. I forwarded all information I have to FBI. I have also informed the FBI liaison of my intentions to write and expose what I learned in Haiti. There are many details I know about the USA side of happenings that I have chosen not to include here. This is to avoid interfering with the FBI investigation. What I have shared here is public knowledge in Haiti, and I was grated permission to share, by victims and their lawyer. Following translation of the victim testimonies I collected, I intend to post them here at a later time.

 

Love,
~ T ~

 

PS. To the best of my ability, I have portrayed truth. There is more information that I am not free to share. I have documents, recordings, and photos to support what I have exposed here. The following is one of the numerous messages I received from Haiti affirming the accuracy of the above information.