The website www.oldmennofools.com had its formal beginning in May, 2012. Since then the old fool has published three hundred forty three posts. The seed for the website was planted years before when I wrote a series of “Whimsies” and sent them out by email to friends. I began to write more seriously after leaving Florida because I did not wish to lose contact with the many friends I had made in the 57 years in Florida. So I made a list including email addresses from Sunnyside Retirement Village, Bahia Vista Mennonite Church, supporters of the Anabaptist History Association, relatives, and a few others to be automatic subscribers to the the Old Fool’s website.
I’ve begun to look on the website as a ministry, and it has grown. The traffic counter shows that for each of the past four days over 1,000 visitors came to the website. For me, that many visits is amazing, but my 94-year-old-salesman-brother John reminds me that there are thousands more potential visitors out there. So, I will not limit the growth of this website if my life continues another year or two.
The traffic counter also keeps track of monthly “most popular” pages. This is interesting to me and I thought perhaps it would be to you also. Here is the top of the list with the most frequently visited first:
This being a milestone reminds me to mention the donation button. Giving to the Old Fool’s ministry through paypal is a gift to maintain his ministry. The Old Fool lives on Social Security; also, two pensions one generated through ministry sponsored by the Eastern Mennonite Mission Board and another through the Southeast Mennonite Conference contributions to the Mennonite Retirement Fund of Mennonite Mutual Aid. This adds up to what is correctly called a limited income. My own money began the website till installation of the donate button. Since then contributions through paypal have sustained the website. And I am thankful. If you feel an inner urge to donate, you will do good by doing so.
Here are parts of an email letter from a friend who wishes to be anonymous. She writes:
“First of all I want to thank you again for your website and the reflections that you do. It helps me remember things in my past, good and bad . . . Anyway, I remember when I got baptized . . .. Some of the girls didn’t wear the covering that was “requirement” so to speak of. I asked my mom why I had to wear one when some of the other girls didn’t? Her reply was ” Wearing the covering is a sign of respect to God and that I should wear it no matter what . . .. ” Anyway as the years progressed I got married and still wore my covering which was now a veil. I eventually stopped wearing my covering all together and so did most of the ladies in the congregation.
(My friend continues to tell me of her personal struggles which is probably the reason for her wishes to be private about them).
“Martin, I am trying to keep the faith . . . but at times I just wonder why God is letting all this stuff happen to us? . . .. I just feel like God has abandoned us. I know that in my heart he hasn’t but my mind says otherwise. You are one of the people I respect most and I am asking for your prayers for us. . . .. Everything is just so overwhelming right now. SO if you and your friends could just keep praying for us, we would appreciate it.
“OK back to your reflections…. I haven’t figured out yet why God tends to let some people be heterosexual and others homosexual. One of my friends that I grew up with . . . told me that she had something to tell me and it might affect our relationship. . . ..I told her that she could tell me anything that it wouldn’t affect our friendship no matter what. She told me that she was gay . . .. I told her that just because I didn’t agree with her lifestyle didn’t mean that I didn’t want to be her friend. I am still in touch with her. . . ..I guess over the years I have learned not to be so critical of people
“Thank you Martin for letting me ramble on.. I feel like it is therapeutic and I know that you can’t do anything for us but pray and we do appreciate that. Also I do enjoy your “ponderings”. Some of them help me remember things that happened to me in the past. . . .. Good things, nothing bad. Hope you and Joy have a wonderful afternoon. Take care. Love, ”
The letter demonstrates ways that www.oldmennofools.com is a ministry. It stirs up memories, creates community, and supports inquiry into the questions of life and godliness.