It was beautiful and inspiring to witness six ex-Amish young men be baptized on Easter Sunday morning. Their testimonies touched my heart. To know that many of them struggled with the decision to leave their families and their Old Order Amish communities added to the poignancy and the sacrifices they made to follow Christ.
Some English don't understand that not ALL Amish are Christians; that is, not all sects preach that Christ ALONE is the way to heaven. Many preach that works, through obedience to the Ordnung (letter of rules a community lives by), obedience to parents, obedience to bishops, and following the traditions of the forefathers is the way to heaven.
Further, many Old Order and Swartzentruber Amish believe that leaving the Amish will guarantee that an ex-Amish will go to hell when they die. They believe that there is no salvation, even through Christ, for the ex-Amish who leave the community. This is clearly heretical teaching (and many of the Amish do NOT preach this), but I've found that when English outsiders admire the good ways and peaceful life of all Amish, they are not being realistic about some of the sects that are controlling and harsh in their judgements and demands for their people.
This knowledge gave me a great deal more appreciation for the freely given and freely accepted grace that covered these six ex-Amish young men in their decisions to follow Christ and be baptized yesterday. Hearing the ways they had to leave...their circumstances afterwards...and their hard-won successes in this English world really tugged at my heart strings.
I know the Lord is with them and He is continuing to strengthen and grow them into young men who can flourish and witness to Jesus's sacrifice on the cross...for them. What a blessed Easter!