Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leaving Home at 17

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." Matthew 19:29, The Holy Bible, NIV

Last night my family and I went to Esther and Joe Keim's house for prayer meeting. This is the place we go to pray for each other and, most especially, to pray for the ministry of Mission to Amish People and for the ex-Amish. We usually break up into groups of three or four to pray.

In my group last night was a 17 year-old young man who was just baptized on Easter Sunday. He had to leave home to be able to be baptized. He had to leave home in order to serve the Lord the way he felt led, and he had to leave home in order to accept Christ as his personal savior. And, he was Amish. His testimony brought tears to my eyes the morning of his baptism. He did not have a pleasant time of it when his parents discovered his hew faith. His Bible was burned. He had to walk for miles the morning he decided to leave his Amish community behind.

Last night, his young face and shy manner went straight to my heart. I could not imagine how much courage and strength he had to have to make the decision he made. My own son is 16, and I can't even think of him having to leave home to start completely over in another culture!

This shy young man bravely said his first prayer aloud in our group...his prayer was so sweet...his faith is so new...his life is so changed...and he needs so much prayer and support.

When the Amish leave their communities, they often stay with other ex-Amish. They face a world of hurdles that our English kids can't begin to know. The ex-Amish often leave with just the clothes on their backs. They have no high school diploma to get them started in the work world, and they have spent much of their lives conversing in a language that the rest of America doesn't know. They need to get jobs, get their GEDs, get a driver's license, find a place to live, apply for a social security card, and just learn to function in a world that was closed to them before.

Their tenacity and work ethic astound me sometimes. They need support and prayer. If you feel a tug in your heart to learn how to help these young people, please take the time to go Mission to Amish People, or contact me here and I'll be sure to get you linked to the right people who can guide you on how to get involved.

In the meantime, please pray! I'm so proud of these young people who have worked hard to follow their God. To Maryann (way to go on that GED!), Perry, Johnny, William, Johnny, Miriam, Barbara, Harvey, Eli, Rachel, Maddie, Ben, Mose, David, and all the others that are striving to start over, my prayers are with you and my heart is forever captured and changed by all of you!

Here is a photo taken of the Men's Bible study that meet in our home every Saturday morning. Many young, ex-Amish men attend

1 comment:

Nicole O'Dell said...

That gave me goosebumps. My prayers for him and for your group!