Former Amish Testimonies
John and Kathy Burkholder
In January 2012, our lives changed in a way that we never anticipated. My husband John and I went to a John Regier seminar for marriage relationships. That day, we heard a lot of inspiring information. As I lay in bed that night, I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins and to live in my heart. I remember thinking to myself just before I completely fell asleep, ďHow am I going to tell John?Ē
I grew up in an Amish community in northern Indiana. I am the youngest child of four. I was ten when my 21-year-old brother died after a two-year battle with a brain tumor. My oldest sister is married, and another one is no longer Amish.
I was born a typical Amish boy. Growing up, my brothers and I did what normal Amish boys do. Since my dad did construction, and we only had a small farm, we got bored a lot. I have several brothers; one just older than me and one just younger than me. Iím sure we caused mom quite a few gray hairs, trying to keep up with us mischievous little guys. We had goats for milk, so often times we rode goats, led them around, hitched them to sleds in the winter time, chased cats, climbed trees, rode wagons.
I was born in 1982 into the Swiss Amish culture. My parents and grandparents were born and raised in the Swiss culture also. My grandfather moved out of Adams County, Indiana where there is a large Swiss settlement. I was an Amish single man, 30-years-old, who had everything any Amish man wanted of what their culture allowed. But often I was unhappy and depressed. I tried not to show it, because I knew it would worry my parents.
In My Heart, I Was Crying Out For Help!
I grew up in an Old Order Amish setting where I still live, and I thought I had a fairly normal life. I am the oldest of eleven children, and I probably got more privileges because of that. Our family got along reasonably well, except for the fact that Dad struggled with controlling his temper. This resulted in much tension in the home. In spite of this, I took pride in the fact that I was able to handle it well. I was seldom irked or upset by anything, but I was never happy either even though it might have appeared like it to people around me because I did a lot of whistling.
I was born and raised Amish. I was raised on a dairy farm in Mesopotamia, OH. I am in the middle of six boys, three older and three younger. My sister is the oldest and I was very sheltered. I donít remember seeing a television until I was about sixteen or seventeen.
When I was seventeen, I was allowed to date. That meant that I was allowed to go out all weekend and did not have to report to my parents. It was scary having been so sheltered my whole childhood and then suddenly be able to have the freedom to go out all weekend and not have to come home until early Monday morning.
I was born in Holmes County Ohio. I donít remember much about my time spent there. Soon after I turned three years old my mother died and thatís when everything changed. My Father decided to move to Seymour, Missouri. We had left the Amish but not left the lifestyle completely. I suppose my Father never really knew how to assimilate into society, so that was his way of leaving, but not completely. I grew up in a very violent household, my Father was a very strict man, and very headstrong.
I grew up in an Amish home and I donít remember my parents ever telling me that they loved me. Never got a hug or any praises that I recall. I guess there may have been times though, that they expressed appreciation for something my brothers, sisters or I had done. But for the most part it seemed we were always being pushed and yelled at.
My name is Marvin Schlabach, but I like to be called MJ. I come from an Old Order Amish community in Smicksburg, Pennsylvania. I have three brothers and two sisters. My dad left the Amish in 2001 when I was eight years old, and he was gone for two months and went back. I can easily remember what a shock it was for everybody. I think that is when I first started to think about leaving the Amish. The longer I thought about it, the worse it got.
I would like to share with you all how God changed my life in so many ways. I left the Amish community at the age of 17 in July 2011. I was living an ungodly life, very rebellious and hiding all my sins in my heart, pretending I was a good person as long as I did some good things, which that was kind of the way it was where I grew up. But God knew everything that was in my heart. I sometimes felt guilty but pushed it away, knowing if Jesus came now, I had no doubt, I was going to hell.
Amish Girl: From Salvation to Excommunication
When I met the Lord as a young Amish girl and was finally able to come out of the Amish some years later, it was a hard and difficult thing to walk through the mine field of explosive emotions and feelings I had during that time. Sometimes the pain and anger would explode inside of me so quickly, it was like stepping on a mine.
Lydia Miller is a new volunteer with Mission to Amish People who received Christ after reading one of the Bible Club lessons that MAP sends out. She started receiving the Bible Club lessons when her sister-in-law, Esther, sent her name in. While reading the second lesson, she realized that knowing about sin and knowing about Christ dying for her sins was not enough. She must make it personal by receiving Jesus Christ into her life. That was in February 2010. She still continues to receive the Bible Club lessons. ďThey are encouraging, and they help you to grow.Ē
As a young child I was taken to the neighbor minister to be "brauched" (powwowed) on. This was done for such things as sore throat, earache, canker sores etc. As a child growing up I had an extreme fascination and attraction to these types of things...
I was born into the Amish and lived most of my life in Michigan. When I was 15 my father passed away on December 22, 1997. Then on May 20, 2005 my brother passed away in a farm accident. I always thought the Amish church worried more about the rules than people. The night of my brotherís funeral proved that to me. The Bishops came and ex-communicated me, that night, because I knew my brother had a stereo and we had gone to visit my ex-Amish sister. The day after that, they announced it in church. I was eventually allowed back in but was constantly at odds with the leadership over various rules...
I left an abusive Amish family and lived in Joe and Esther Keimís apartment for a while before moving in with my now, ex-boyfriend. Based on my abusive childhood, I picked a guy who became verbally and emotionally abusive during my pregnancy. After we moved in together in 2008, he became physically abusive, always blaming me for his abuse. Before I took the Life Skills classes, I thought I needed to have a guy in my life to be happy. All my Amish girlfriends had boyfriends, so I was competing with them...
We lived in New York until I was 13 years old when we moved to a Wisconsin settlement with only five families. My Dad bought an 80 acre farm. About a year later, I started work milking 80 cows for our neighbor. I began to listen to Christian radio and heard the gospel. Living an Amish life, I had never heard the true gospel. The only gospel I had heard was you have to do this, that and the other in order for you to go to Heaven. Well, the true gospel was very new to me. I tried to argue and prove the radio ministers wrong by reading the Bible. Can you guess my surprise when I found out what they were saying was true?
I grew up in the Amish and I was getting ready to be a church member and when I found out all their church rules and I felt like there is more to being a Christian than following the Amish church rules. So, finally I came to the point where I had to make a change in my life.
I left the Amish in 2008, at age 17. I left with my friend. We stayed in a barn for the first night and the next morning my cousin Sam from Canada came and picked us up; he helped us get clothes and get us on the bus to go to Iowa.
I still remember those sleepless nights wondering where Daddy was. We finally got the news they had found him. He was in detox then. Then he was in rehab from March until September.
When I was 18 years old I left the Amish to have more fun and live my life however I wanted to. I always thought English have more fun and when I hung out with my English friends I always felt happier. In the Amish, I was at the age to get baptized and I didn't want to be baptized Amish so I left.
I grew Amish. As I was joining the Amish church, I heard more and more of their church rules. Right away, I knew there was more to life than living by their rules and I didn't want to be a part of a man made rule like that.
Dear Joe, I was shocked to find this website as I had no clue anything like this existed. I grew up Amish and found it extremely frustrating and left home when I was 18 and moved to Montana. I worked for an outfitter for 7 years and now I am in the University of Montana becoming a high-school teacher in English and History.
I left the Amish, my hometown in KY, and my family in 2006. I had a really rough start. I couldn't find a job and I wasn't happy, than one day one of my friends gave me Joe and Esther Keim's phone number it took me about two weeks to gather enough courage to call them but I finally did.
I left the Amish in 1968 and as you said, I did not want any part of any religion, not even a wedding or a funeral. I was very vulnerable; I got into drugs, parting, and that kind of life style. When I look back, I realize it was because I did not know how to live outside of the boundaries of the Amish community and "protection" I did not know how to manage money, how to have normal relationships with people, especially of the opposite sex.
Menno and Ruth Yoder
We were originally from Ohio and western PA, but left the Amish in 1990 and went thru the same things that you guys did. When I was growing up, I never agreed with the Amish rules and for the most part didn't obey them either. When I was 29, my wife and I left the Amish for a short period of time and had a lot of problems dealing with life in general.
Mary (Shetler) Schrock
I was born and raised Amish. It seemed like my desires and dreams were different than most Amish girls my age. Matter of fact, I kept having thoughts of leaving the Amish and living in the English culture. At age 16, I was very shy and found it difficult to speak up and share my feelings. And it seemed that my family and friends took advantage of my shyness by constantly giving me advice on how to live my life.
I grew up in Wayne County between Kidron and Apple Creek on a farm we farmed with horses and milked cows. Now I have to tell you, I did not like farming. I would try to get out of doing work all the time, and that caused a lot of problems between me and my Dad; we never did get along.
Herman & Maryann Stutzman
I am an ex-Amish minister and if this would help you in some way in helping people understand from an ex-Amish mans view point, where he came from and how he used to look at things, then how the Lord changed his heart, and how it got turned around and how he looks at salvation today. So they can get an inside view of a person that has been changed by God, and God only, there is nobody else involved that made this change but God.
I left the Amish on Saturday March 24, 2007 in Sullivan, OH. I had a friend of mine to pick me up. So I moved to Crestline, Oh, Lived there for a year, then I noticed that I need to do something different in my life because I was more and more getting into that sinful world stuff, and it scared me so much.
While I was Amish, many of my Amish friends, including me, were hiding some of the things we did that were not Amish-like listening to the radio, calling someone on the phone, and other things. I always wondered why God made some people to be allowed to have cars and we were in this little Amish community-having to work hard with our hands alone.