Built On Trust

Peter Biles tells about his visit to the Fox Hill Bruderhof for an internship at Plough Publishing House.

Video transcript:

My name’s Peter Biles, and I’m 21 years old. I’m from Ada, Oklahoma, and I am a senior at Wheaton College near Chicago. I’ve been interning with Plough Publishing House here at the Bruderhof at Fox Hill and I heard about the Bruderhof through Plough actually a few years ago. My family has been subscribing to their quarterly magazine for a couple of years, and I immediately took interest in the material they published. I read about the Bruderhof within the pages of the Plough, and last year I was looking for internships and reached out to Plough Publishing, sort of a shot in the dark. Their editor, Sam Hine, emailed me and we got on the phone together. One thing led to another and I visited in March over my spring break. So I got a little bit of a taste of the Bruderhof community, and now I’ve been back for about three or four weeks for the internship.

Plough Publishing is part of the Bruderhof community, and so beyond just interning with the publishing company, I was also living in community here. The internship is unique because it’s not just pitched as writing and editing. I also worked in the garden; I worked in the Community Playthings factory. So I worked with my hands as well as with my head, I guess, and I think that’s not something you get in a usual internship. Life is not very compartmentalized here; it’s all done together and all work is valued. It’s just an unusual experience that can grow a person, not just intellectually, but spiritually.

I really prayed and expected the internship with Plough and the Bruderhof to be a sort of spiritual retreat beyond just an internship because I knew what the Bruderhof was about and I knew their faith commitments and their vision. But I think what I experienced was more of a challenge to go through some of my own beliefs: asking myself why I believe certain things and sort of putting those beliefs in comparison with those of the Bruderhof. I think one thing I really took away from living here is personally considering how community is built on trust with other people and seeing how little I’ve trusted people and even God in the past. For relationships to flourish, you have to have that trust basis with the Lord and with other people.

It’s been a freeing experience for me to learn about this trust, to see it in action, and to see in my own heart where I can be more open and generous with others. I think the hospitality and generosity given in trust is probably the main thing I took away from living here for four weeks. It’s good to have some of your beliefs that you’ve taken for granted challenged by an alternative lifestyle, and I think the Bruderhof will really do that. You don’t have to agree with everything that happens, but I think it’s good to know that such a project is happening. It’s a really cool thing that God is doing here at Fox Hill.

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