Mennonites of Ohio & Indiana Bus Tour

Wilmer & Lorne Smith
Wilmer & Lorne Smith
Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek, Ohio
Carlisle Inn in Walnut Creek, Ohio
View from the Carlisle Inn
View from the Carlisle Inn
Jonas Stutxman's homestead, the first Amish homestead in Holmes county, dating from 1808
Jonas Stutxman’s homestead, the first Amish homestead in Holmes county, dating from 1808
Bishop David Klein signing copies of his book
Bishop David Klein signing copies of his book
Karen Mitchell & Janet Sherman at the Walnut Creek cemetery. Both have Troyer connections.
Karen Mitchell & Janet Sherman at the Walnut Creek cemetery. Both have Troyer connections.
At the Mennonite Information Center in Berlin, Ohio
At the Mennonite Information Center in Berlin, Ohio
Blue Gate Garden Inn
Blue Gate Garden Inn
Lois and Marie at Chupp Auction Center
Lois and Marie at Chupp Auction Center
Visiting the E&S Sales noddle manufacturing facility
Visiting the E&S Sales noddle manufacturing facility
Saying goodbye to our Amish friends
Saying goodbye to our Amish friends

To read the story behind the photos, please click here.

Group photo

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Oberammergau, Germany

After saying goodbye to my nephew Lynn and his family in Vicenza, Italy we began our journey North.

Gufidaun Castle, Italy
Gufidaun Castle, Italy

We decided to stop in Gufidaun, Italy. You can see by the photo it was a beautiful day in this quite community . As Anabaptist (Mennonites) we have an important connection to the castle in the photo. George Blaurock one of the three Swiss brothers was beaten out of the city of Zurich. He was made to promise never to return to Zurich. He was latter captured and held in the Castle prison in Guifdaun in 1527 before being taken taken to Klassen where he was tried and died a martyrs death.

We had a coffee and a nice conversation with the operator of Hotel Sonn who remember us since we on occasion stayed in her Hotel with TourMagination Tour groups.

Dolomite Alps, Italy
Dolomite Alps, Italy

The Italian Alps (Dolomites) were covered in the clouds today. Yet there rugged peak outline shone through the clouds. The drive was spectacular and gave JP and me time to talk and reflect on the tours we have had in this community and our work together over the past 26 years. We enjoy each other friendship.

Late afternoon we arrived at Hotel Turmwirt in Oberammergau. I have many times referred to this as my home away from home. Janet and I love Georg, Eta and Corla Glas the owners and operators of this fine Hotel.They always provide a warm welcome to us and our TourMagination tour groups.

Dinner with Georg, Eta & Carola Glas at Hotel Turmwirt
Dinner with Georg, Eta & Carola Glas

Over dinner we shared together. They wanted to hear about Janet’s passing and how the Martin family is dealing with our loss. I thank God for friends who care for me and my family. The Glas family provide wonderful hospitality. I knew they were praying for me since Georg had called me on the phone. Yet being together in person was a wonderful gift to me. Thank you for your love and Care!

Of course we discussed many issues we are facing in our countries and the world today. Carola shared with us that one of the refugees from Afghanistan living in Oberammergau has been working at the Hotel. Ahmad who is 18 years old has been accepted to study to become a construction worker. She is happy for him but is disappointed to lose a good worker she was training. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t keep working at the hotel on the weekends. He wanted to keep working. Carola explained that even though it doesn’t make sense to her or him it is against the German Law and she can’t have him continue to work.

There are many issues that are complex that we face as business people and Christians. We want to make a difference in our work and lives , yet it is not always easy doing the right thing. I commended Carola for her working with Ahmad.

I return home on Friday thankful for the privilege of visiting family and friends in Europe.

~ Wilmer

Vicenza, Italy

Yesterday I arrived in Munich, Germany after an overnight flight from Toronto. This is my first overseas trip since Janet’s passing. Janet and I wanted to visit my nephew Lynn who lives with his family in Vicenza, Italy. With my travel schedule and her health, unfortunately this did not happen.

My children encouraged me to make this visit to see Lynn and my friend good friend JP Weber from Luxembourg. JP has driven buses for TourMagination for 26 years.

You have a choice when facing the unknown future. Trust God and, with hope, surround yourself with friends and family and go forward. The other option is to isolate yourself.

I choose to trust God and so I called JP and asked if he would like to meet me in Munich and go with me to visit Lynn, Lisa and their children Laura and Jacob. I call JP my Luxembourg brother. He is a good listener and this is the first we have been together since the major change in my life.

Wilmer, JP and JP's car
Wilmer, JP and JP’s car

God is good, JP is a great driver and has a good car. It was a fantastic drive through Bavaria, Southern Tirol and through the famous Brenner Pass into Northern Italy. The fresh snow on the Alps glistened in the sun. This region of Italy is famous for its fruit and vegetable farming, and of course their wine.

Lynn and Lisa welcomed us to their home. Lisa is a wonderful cook and made her delicious beef pot roast. They loved Aunt Janet and our family. It was so healing to experience their warm hospitality and friendship, the food and conversation extended into the evening.

Lynn works for the US Department of Defence. He will give us a tour of this beautiful area during our visit.

~ Wilmer

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