Wind and Flame in West Virginia
By: Ralph Muhs, Community Friend, Greenbrier County, WV
It doesn’t have to be caretakers, or summer servants, or any of the hundreds or maybe thousands of people who have had their lives touched by spending a couple of weeks at Bethlehem Farm. You don’t have to be a religious person, and you do not have to be a big financial contributor. It is not necessary to be a recipient of the many construction projects Bethlehem Farm has done for needy people in the area. You don’t have to be young and idealistic, or have a burning need to live the four cornerstones of the farm. You don’t have to be anything at all!
Kay and I became acquainted with Bethlehem Farm several years ago. My first experience with Bethlehem Farm was a chance encounter with Joe Prieboy who stopped by St. Catherine Church to ask what we were going to do with all the firewood we had from a tree removal. That encounter led to a gift of more firewood for the farm and an invitation to come to a community night. That community night led to many more, and it was at these community nights where we met so many young and interesting people, both caretakers and volunteers. Our most endearing impression of the young people we met there was a refreshing aura of unpretentious sincerity.
Jenna, a caretaker came to my home and we planed lumber, and that lumber became a permanent part of the new caretaker house.
Kim, Richard, and Lauren, three caretaker friends, came to my home and helped to build my workshop.
Mostly, we just remember the many friendly welcoming caretakers, the energetic summer servants, and the hundreds of inspirational volunteers at Bethlehem Farm. It is easy to feel optimistic when we go to the farm and meet all the young and idealistic people there.
From the perspective of a couple in the seventh decade of our lives, Bethlehem Farm, and all those associated with it, give us a gratifying sense of optimism for the future.