We Are Placing You In The Ban

January 26, 2013

Lovina KuhnsThe following letter was written and signed by Lovina's bishop and four lay ministers; this happened soon after she left the Amish.

Lastly, you may send Lovina a comment at the bottom of the page.  Please consider encouraging her as she continues her spiritual journey; her new found faith in Christ and freedom from man-made rules and traditions.

Underneath the Bishop's letter is Lovina's response.

Dear Lovina,

With great love I want to write this letter. Wonder how this finds you? The reason for writing is probably not surprising to you. On behalf of your decision [leaving the Amish church], we now also have to make a decision. According to Glaubens Artikel #16 (which is based on Bible), we need to put out of the church whoever is not willing to stay with what he or she promised at baptism – or comes in unfruitful works of darkness. If we do not hear from you before Sunday, January 27, we will be voting with the church to do so. This will give you six weeks to decide. If we do not hear from you within those six weeks, we have no choice but to put you in the ban.

We would much rather see you come back and make things right then this [banning you]. The only way to have peace with yourself and God is to make things right with God and the church.

According to your letter, you seemed concerned about your parents being hurt by the way people are treating them. I think their biggest hurt is probably your decision, and the best thing you could do to ease that pain would be to come back home and make things right.

If anything we did or did not do, that was not right, that caused you to make the decision you made, I think we would all be willing to make things right.

In Love, Bishop Yoder


Lovina's Response to her Bishop

Dear Bishop Yoder and Church:

I hope this finds you doing well in every area of your life. I wanted to let you know that I received your letter. The content of the letter was not a surprise, since I was aware of the fact that when members of the Amish church leave, they are placed in the ban.

It is important to me that you know; I have not turned my back on the Lord. My desire to know God is stronger today than it has ever been. Except for one Sunday, I have attended a Bible believing church every week since leaving the Amish three months ago.

I do have some questions for you: What makes you believe that I am living unfruitful works of darkness?

  • Is it because I left the Amish church?
  • Because I don't live with my parents anymore?
  • Because I wear store-bought clothes?
  • Because I live in a house that has electricity?
  • Because I drive a car instead of a buggy?

It can’t be because I turned my back on God, because I haven’t. Neither can it be because I stopped going to church, because I have continued to go to church. In fact, where I go, they meet every week; not every other week. Also, since I left the Amish, I met a lady named Chris. She sits down with me every week and helps me get a better understanding of God and Jesus. I have learned so much.

During a church service one day, the preacher said something about salvation and how we can be right with God. I was so convicted of my sins and wanted God to forgive me. That day I called on God’s name and asked to be saved, just like He tells us to do in Romans 10.

Romans 10:12-13: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

That verse helped me to see there is no difference between English and Amish, because the same Lord hears both cultures of people, if they call on Him for salvation. I also understand that verse as saying, “For whosoever (that’s me) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

When I called on the Lord that day, He saved me from all my sin and gave me eternal life. The feeling I got that day was so real. I will never forget it. God took all my sins away and gave me the free gift of eternal life, just like the Bible says:

Romans 6:23: “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

As I understand God’s Word, being Amish, driving a buggy, wearing Amish clothes and going without electricity, is not going to save anybody from their sins and give them eternal life. Only faith in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us will save a person from sin and hell.

Does that mean a person can live any way they want and still be saved? No! Those who are truly saved will live a godly life and obey God commandments. And I guess that leads me to ask the question, what are God’s commandments?”

A few years before I left the Amish, I questioned an older member of the church about some things that the Amish believe and he did not have an answer for me. This kind of confused me and I began to wonder: are our man-made church rules the same as God’s commandments?  The answer to this question, as I have learned from the Bible is clear. They are not the same. Consider what Jesus said about man-made rules and God’s commandants:

Mark 7:6-9: “…as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

Also, please consider the following verses that were taken from the Book of Romans.

Romans 10:1-3: “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

I sure hope you read my entire letter. I do not want to pretend that I know more than you, but wanted to let you know what I have learned from reading the Bible and other Christians.

Before I close, I would like to say: if you decide to put me in the ban it is your choice, not mine. Just remember, one day you will have to stand in front of God and give an account for your decision.

You are always welcome to write me another letter, if you want. I wish you and the church well. Let’s pray for each other.

Note: We encourage you to leave a comment for Lovina.

This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.

Comments (78)

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What a brave and beautiful letter you wrote, Lovina. You have done a wonderful job of showing Jesus' love and God's plan for redemption for all people. I pray that God continues to give you strength for the challenges you face. Know that you are not alone in facing struggles against the family and religion you were raised in. My father left Catholicism to marry my Protestant mother, and that was shocking for the time. (These days I don't think there is as much of a backlash.) While we were fortunate, because my grandparents continued to be kind and loving, my best friend wasn't so lucky. Her grandparents had very limited and judgmental contact with her family because her mother had married Protestant, even though the mother continued to attend mass and raised the children in the Catholic faith. My husband's family is incredibly anti-Christian (he converted after we met), and we have great difficulty with them as well. I think that few Christians realize how difficult it is to leave one's family in order to follow Christ. I pray that God works in you and through you because of your faith and your strength of conviction.God bless,Pamela
Pamela at 6:10pm EDT - September 15, 2013
Lovina, that was such a wonderful letter. Stay strong and always have faith.
Yvonne at 4:01pm EDT - August 16, 2013
Beautiful letter. I am glad you came out of your Amish lifestyle to further seek God's truth rather than come out of the lifestyle to live a life without God. Sometimes people who are "smothered" in religion tend to completely shun God when they move away from that life. I hope and pray that God's truth will be revealed to the bishop and to Amish or non-Amish alike. Our world needs to recognize God's truth. Stay blessed.
AJW at 2:33am EDT - June 8, 2013
Lovina, you wrote a wonderful loving response to the bishops letter. I encourage you to place your trust in the ONE who created you and has set your spirit free. I am not Amish, nor have I ever been - but I too was in bondage to a religious system that deceived its members through intimidation and humiliation. Please know that I care for you as a sister in Christ and feel free to email me anytime. I'll share a bit more about my story.
sherry at 10:19pm EDT - April 14, 2013
Be encouraged Lovina. Follow the Bible and it's author - none other.
cedric at 11:22pm EDT - April 8, 2013
My sister in Christ, Lovina. I will keep you in my prayers and am so happy that you have accepted the Savior. It is a wonderful thing is it not? My heart rejoices with you and I pray that your beautiful spirit may be of help to someone else. Know that you my child have touched my heart and I will forever pray your strength in Christ. Love you and God bless!
Dee at 9:24pm EDT - March 11, 2013
Lovina,How I wish your church and family could accept you and love you without restraint. And how I wish they could and would rejoice in your decision to give your heart to Jesus Christ. There is no greater decision than this in this life.My prayers go out to you and your family for it is God's will that all should come to Him. God bless you, honey.
Francine S. at 1:23am EST - March 5, 2013
Lovina, I am very proud of you for taking a stand and doing what is right. I am also amazed and want to praise all of the people who are speaking up and supporting you. That also is an inordinate show of courage. I was shunned out of my Old Order Mennonite church 45 years ago and to this day, only one person ever spoke up on my behalf, a cousin, who died a few years ago. I am truly amazed at the integrity and forthrightness of your new support community. I have never seen anything like it. It gives me hope for the future of the people who dare to live by Faith and Truth, no matter the cost.. I wish I had a "family" like yours. Surely, God will bless each and every one of you.
Rosalea Hostetler at 12:53am EST - February 16, 2013
What a clear, well written letter with a beautiful spirit. I have read many books about the Amish and their faith. You are right, it is a religion of works not of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May His Spirit continue to lead and guide you through this difficult of being banned by your friends. Keep praying for them to see God's light and show them the love of Jesus Christ. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Blessings on you, Bill
Bill Oden at 12:44pm EST - February 11, 2013
Your letter to your former Bishop was very well written. I will pray for you and your Amish family everyday and I hope that you continue to do well in your Bible studies. God Bless you, and your family, Lovina.
Elizabeth McBride at 1:15pm EST - February 9, 2013
Your gracious response reminds me of the words of Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." I pray that your family will be impacted by your testimony, and that they too will come to know the Lord. God bless you as you grow in Him and walk out your salvation.
Anna at 8:13pm EST - February 6, 2013
I was blessed by the clear Biblical stand you made in reply to the bishops letter. You were very polite and respectful and let God's word make the points. I will be praying for you and admire the courage it took for you to make this move.
Judy Chickering at 3:09pm EST - February 5, 2013
Dear Lovina, I am so moved by your courage in writing your letter to the bishop. I will keep you in my prayers for Jesus to be in your heart through thick and thin paths.
Anna Hershberger at 12:41pm EST - February 2, 2013
Lovina,What a wonderful spirit you have and your grasp of the grace of God in your life. God has given you the salvation that you have not been able to earn For years I lived with the pain of being separated form the love of my parents because of my decision to trust Christ as my saviour. It took me a while to realize that my relationship to Christ must be greater than any human relationship. That is Jesus meant when He said to His disciples in Lk 14.26: If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters and yea his own life he cannot be my disciple. This should lead you to continually pray for your loved ones with fervent prayer. Constanly remember that God will never leave you. He is in your life to stay and is interested in doing marvelous works in your life. Philippians 1:6 says this: Being confident of this very thing, that the One who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ. May the Lord continue to encourage your heart to serve and love more and more.Love in ChristTom Fischbach
Tom Fischbach at 11:35am EST - February 2, 2013
Thank You For Alouing God To Use You In A Mighty Way To Reach Out To Your Amish Family's God Is So Good !!!!
Perry at 8:52pm EST - February 1, 2013
Lovina, that was such a Blessing to me to read your return letter to Bishop Yoder. Jesus has planted that seed in your heart fellow Sister in Christ. You are on my prayer list! Praise God for The Keims, God led you where you needed and he will continue to do so. God Bless you Lovina, you are off to a most wonderful and mighty Blessed life. There is peace in knowing what a perfect love we have with Christ. Again, God Bless, much love in Christ, River Weese
River Weese at 8:40pm EST - February 1, 2013
By His grace God has enabled you to understand important truth about Him and how we relate to Him. As you continue to study the Scriptures you will continue to learn and become stronger in His grace. God has and will bless you.Though your letter was straight forward it demonstrated a gracious spirit, that was good.
Pastor Roger Hain at 6:21pm EST - February 1, 2013
My Sister Lovina, you are learning the truth , may Our Father keep you and bless you ,may the peace of Christ cover you as you face all these difficult times of rejection from your loved ones , you shall know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. I love you and I pray for you beloved friend and sister in Christ Jesus .
Sherie Shaheen at 11:09pm EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Lovina, I'm Rejoicing in the Lord for your decision you made, and that you saw the light, How great it is to have another sister added to the Kingdom of God. I will be praying for you and God will continue giving you the strength and grace you need for every circumstance you will meet in Life. How good it is to be set free and have Victory in Christ.I also left the Amish and got saved after I left, and it's been so wonderful to see the Lord leading every step of the way. Your letter is written so well, I pray that the letter might bring people to repentance, and see that the Word of God is the only way.There will be many trails and temptations in this life, but we can always look to the Lord, for He will always give us grace to get through it. Oh it will be worth it all when we see Jesus, for we know what is set before us. We can always walk with courage knowing that God is in control of our life, and as it says in Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. I pray that God will fill you with His everlasting joy and peace as you give your everything to serve Him.
Ada at 9:14pm EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Loving, You are putting God's Word in your heart and to work by your testimony. We complement you on your boldness. You are bold, but kind and loving and that you don't find very often in the world today! As God unfolds His plan for your life may it be much as a brand new butterfly unfold its wings for the first time, Soft and fragile and beautiful, but strong and determined and patient as it waits for the wings to dry and lift it into the air! May God bless you, Lovina! Enjoy your new found Friend who will be with you now for eternity! Tom and Eileen Wilson, Pickerington, OH. PS: Tell Joe and Esther "HI" from us!
Tom and Eileen Wilson at 6:05pm EST - January 31, 2013
Lovina,Very well written letter to the bishop. I admire and respect the love that you have for your former culture and church. It took me a long time to get to that point. Not so sure I have reached it to the same degree that you have and it has been 14 years for me. I pray that you continue to experience the freedom and all the wondeerful plans God has for your life!Emma Keen
Emma Keen at 2:22pm EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Lovina,Your letter to the Bishop was very well written and God will bless you for the way you handled the conversation in your letter. God will watch over you and he will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) . As for the "banning" just remember Hebrews 13:6 "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."Stay strong and keep trusting in the Lord for guidance. I will put you on my prayer list.Take care and my God bless you and guide you as you seek to do his will.
Sharon Bennett at 11:09am EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Lovina,May The Lord bless you on your journey in truth. I too came from a background of man made rules and idol worship. I was Catholic. The best part of that sentence is "was" I praise The Lord for giving us free will to search for truth when we doubt in our heart what we are being told. I never opened my bible. I went to a catholic school, it was not required to read it, instead they said to pay attention to the priest. So many things bothered me for instance babtism they said if you weren't baptized as an infant, and that child died he/she would not go to heaven but to a place called "limbo" ?? I did at times try to search for these things in the bible but always came up empty. When I would question things I was told "you are not supposed to question God only believe." Today I realize I was NEVER questioning God, but man. I married, had children and were raising them the wrong way just as I was taught. Eventually we left the catholic church for good, but I felt I was missing something. I was in my late 30's when I had the courage to take that step of faith. I found Ambassador baptist church. The very 1st service I went to I felt God say "welcome home" within a year my husband and I took Gods gift of salvation, and opened our hearts to Jesus Christ. My children followed later, on their own time. For the first time in my life I opened my bible and read Gods words. It was beautiful and answered so many things. Lovina it might be at times a hard journey, but it will be a soul rewarding one. Jesus said, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME. John 14:6 I will pray for you! I hope you keep us updated as you continue to walk in truth. Don't allow satan to throw stumbling blocks in front of you, and he will. The last thing he wants to see is everyone reading their Bible or opening their hearts to our savior Jesus Christ. it is far better to be a servant of God than a servant of man.. God has a plan for you, it takes time to understand. We can only see our lives page by page, but God has the whole book right in his hand. May The Lord bless you! Love your sister in Christ Grace
Grace at 9:32am EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Sister in Christ--SOOOOO well written!!!!! In both truth and love!!! NOTHING we do can add to the sufficiency of what Christ did--not our clothes, our mode of transportation, our houses, NOTHING!! I pray for your walk of faith, for your strength in HIM alone, and for your willingness to stand for the truth, for "They overcame him (satan and his lies) by THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND THE WORD OF THEIR TESIMONY", Rev 12:11.Looking forward to meeting you when we all get home!
Laura B at 9:20am EST - January 31, 2013
That was good. I got kicked out out of my parents home about3 quarter your ago I go to tie and Christian Fellowship in Wellman Iowa
Bennie hostetler at 9:02am EST - January 31, 2013
Dear Lovina, I want you to know I will be praying for you as you have taken this stand and left the Amish. Your letter was well-written and straight from the Bible...if only they would read and understand and see the light as well! God bless you as you continue your new life living for Him. My name is Amy Baranowski. My husband Mark and I attend Lighthouse Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware and Joe Kime is one of our missionaries that we support each month. Again, may God make Himself more real to you each day you live for Him. Amy
Amy Baranowski at 11:25pm EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina.... That is a wonderful testimony!
Josephine Whetstone at 9:54pm EST - January 30, 2013
Praise God and stay in Jesus, Baptism was not mentioned in your letter but I do encourage you to seek God concerning your baptism is it valid? And follow the Holy Spirit in Whatever he reviels to you. He said Low I will be with you allway. His name is Jesus! By your teastamony we are now sister and brother, He will repay many times over in this time and in the time to come. Priase God even our Lord Jesus Christ.A brother by grace. Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee at 9:41pm EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina,I have many Amish friends and always try to share God's Word and pray togehter with them. I rejoice with you and your dicision and praise God for the wonderful respponce you give to the Bishops. God could not have put more truer words in your heart and mind to answer them with.May our great God richly bless and watch over you, and may you some day return to the Amish as a missionary to the Amish, as only an Amish could ever missionize them. No one else would ever have the creditabilty in their community's.Abe
Abe Abraham at 9:24pm EST - January 30, 2013
God Bless you Lovina. Your testomoney is very strong. Keep the Faith you are a light to those who are watching you.
Irma Brown at 9:08pm EST - January 30, 2013
Sei Herzlich Gegrüßt im Namen unsers Herrn Jesu Christi. Lovina - good response - a sincere well intentioned heart is a priceless thing. My comment to you and indeed the whole world is this passage from the hand of Paul. "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ." Peace. Leander.
leander keim at 8:52pm EST - January 30, 2013
Hi Lovina, I am so blessed to read this, and i commend you for your loving, yet knowledgeable, truth-filled letter. I pray God blesses you more and more as you seek Him. He is so faithful! With Love, Norma
norma miller at 7:45pm EST - January 30, 2013
Hi Lovina, I will be praying for you specifically tonight as my wife and I pray. Your letter and explaination to the Bishop is a true inspiration and blessing to me. I beleive it to be God's desire for us to walk in Love even when someone else may not be walking in Love or treating us badly. "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. and persecute you." Matthew 5:44 God bless and be with you!
Stan Debro at 7:22pm EST - January 30, 2013
Wow. What an amazing young woman! I hope to get to see much more of you and hear more about your story! (I am calling your references today!) May God continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others!
Kelly Grim at 1:14pm EST - January 30, 2013
Here is just a little correction to a Scripture that I referred to from memory in my previous letter! Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..."Amen!
Laura Bock at 1:10pm EST - January 30, 2013
Well done, Lovina! May the Lord bless you for your loving witness to Bishop Yoder and his church! I will be praying for you and for them at this difficult time. May you continue to be thirsty and hungry for God's word!Kathryn (from Vancouver Island, Canada)
Kathryn at 1:06pm EST - January 30, 2013
Dear Lovina,I have compassion on you for any difficulties you encounter during transitioning from being Amish to being free in Christ. You are in good hands, though, since MAP is well acquainted with such and can minister to you. I am also in want to help you in whatever way I can. I do know that there are hurts that go beyond what can be consoled within ourselves. The Lord is aware of them. I have lived the "Footprints" poem many times! I have walked through our barn during chores with one step drowning in grief and the next step with the grief completely taken from me by the Lord. He truly doesn't let us bear more than we can. God tells us that our spirit witnesses with His Spirit that we are His children. Our knees may get very sore during trials, though, as we cling close to Him in prayer!I read your response to the bishop and marvel how God's Holy Spirit has taken a hold of your heart. God has revealed His truth to you so strongly while still a babe in Christ. Isn't it marvelous? I know from my own long walk with the Lord that He is already using you. Each time He gives us something and we submit to it, it opens our heart's door to more growth. You could have answered the bishop with a fleshly attitude, with a grudge, or with a list of what you didn’t like about your Amish life. But instead, you have submitted so humbly to God's work in your life and answered a righteous answer. It is clearly written on the page of your letter. You have also shared the Gospel! God's Word does not return void! The seed of God's Word was laid down in my heart as a young child and then sprouted up a short time before I got saved at 30 years old! The Scriptures you shared are mighty in their salvation message. They are planted like seeds in the hearts of those reading your letter. You may not have the advantage of seeing them sprout, but please know they are planted and God will give the increase as He uses people to water them!I have long thought of doing some kind of simple ministry in my local area of Wellsville, New York. It has Amish folks passing through from the surrounding areas, including Ulysses, Pennsylvania, where Joe Keim's parents live. It has been a privilege to have Joe visit Grace Bible Independent Baptist Church in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania, during their mission’s conferences. My husband and I are members of Amazing Grace Baptist Church (www.AmazingGrace1611.com) between Wellsville and Belmont, New York. I have already informally shared a little bit about MAP and will do it again. Our pastor, Tom Anderson, brought his wife, Lois, and two young sons up from South Carolina last December. They are going through their own kind of transition! Not only have they learned of our ever-changing weather extremes already, but they have left behind their other children and grandchildren. The Anderson's had a mission-type ministry to the homeless across the nation for several years. As a new church, we will be going through growth spurts. I hope to see us take on MAP someday. In the meantime, please write to me if you would like. A phone call is an added delight if ever you want to just talk and fellowship, or if you have a burden to share. You can email me through my MAP contact information and get my Verizon cell phone number if you would like. The door is always open!Best wishes to you! I will keep you in prayer :)Love In Christ,Mrs. Laura Bock
Laura Bock at 1:03pm EST - January 30, 2013
Dear Loviina, Your testimony is so well-written andn so clear. I truly hope that the Bishop and the others will read it and really consider the truth in it, that they too might know the freedom available in a relationship with the Lord. My verse for you is Galations 5:1; " Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. " God bless you and comfort you with those in your new "family". Your sister in Christ, Barb Love, West Unity, Ohio.
Barb Love at 12:47pm EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina, the letters you have received from fellow believers express my thoughts so well that ther is little that I can add. You will experience trials and temptations in your new life, but Christ is able to overcome any difficulties. May God Bless You Grealy!
John at 12:40pm EST - January 30, 2013
Dear Lovina, What a blessing I received from your letter to the bishop! Truly God has given you you every word to write
Patricia Leitzel at 12:29pm EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina, I am sure these past months have not been the easiest for you, but, as many of the other comments have stated--Wow! Your letter is full of wisdom and Biblical truth, free from religion and full of true freedom found only in Jesus. Your letter reminded me of some of the verses in Psalm 119, such as, 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.May your growth in Christ continue, and we pray that others in your family will also find the truth of the love and freedom found in Jesus!
Paul Miller at 12:17pm EST - January 30, 2013
Lord Bless You Lovina! You handled yourself in such a Godly and mature way in responding to Bishop Yoder. It is very obvious that you have grown much in the Lord, and I pray you will continue to grow! As others have written, I too hope that Bishop Yoder indeed shares this letter nd makes all he reads a matter of real prayer and consideration.
Pastor Thomas Isaacson at 12:10pm EST - January 30, 2013
Hi Lovina,I am so glad that you're not going against your conscience. What I mean by that is, God gave us all a GPS of sorts. Our conscience was given to us to guide us through life. Being able to tell right from wrong. Just as a GPS can lead us wrong when it has the wrong information programmed in, so can our conscience. If our teaching is only our own perceived righteousness it will lead us to hell. It is very important that you keep your head in the word. That is the only way we can have the correct information in our GPS. ( Gods Piloting System). Our consciences can be seared so that that a person will live in error. 1 Tim 4 1-3 says But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
Stephen Schmidt at 11:48am EST - January 30, 2013
Bless you! You have composed such a well written and respectful letter. Let us pray it causes at least the Bishop to think through his own relationship to the Lord, and others who may read it as well.
CoraVee Caswell at 11:45am EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina-You are far more advanced at your writing skills than I was when I left. Great response to their letter. Just remember that the bishops are ignorant to the Bible. And they have been brain washed into their Amish tradition over many years. They do not know the truth any more than the Pharisees did. Remember that their "Artikels" were written when the Amish first started to interpret the Bible for their followers as some things in the Bible were not clear to them. As you know, their interpretations are not accurate (e.g. the Bible does not specify what length of dress to wear, number of cell flashlight is allowed, and color to paint a house. And the list goes on for miles.) Not only are you far more advanced in your writing skills than I was when I left, you are also far more advanced in reading and understanding the Bible. All that being said, you will probably still have many difficulties dealing with emotional pains of being away from family and friends that you have known for so many years. This is truly a new world outside of the Amish culture. Stay focused on the true salvation of Jesus Christ, not as the Amish know it, and peace and joy will be with you. God bless the Keims for their amazing service to those of us that leave the Amish. You are in good hands! Do well.Daniel Gingerich
Daniel Gingerich at 11:38am EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina, I am very proud of you for standing up boldly for your faith and speaking the truth in love. You never know your letter could help change the hearts of those who don't know the Lord. Praying for you.Your sister in Christ,Monica Stuart
Monica Stuart at 11:35am EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina, What an inspiration you are! May God continue to bless your walk with Him."The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life. Whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers rise up to devour my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war rises up against me, in spite of this I shall remain confident." Ps.27
Dave Garwood at 11:20am EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina: I am so proud of you and your stand to be true to Christ and not to the tradition of man. You are so strong and determined; I admire that about you. God truly will bless you as you seek a closer relationship with Him. He will guide you into truth and give you peace and reassurance that you are abiding in His will for your life. Stay in His word and continue earnestly in prayer for your family as well as the Amish community that they too will come to understand God's Grace and forgiveness.If there is anything I can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me. I too attend your church and delight in seeing you each week. Just know that you are loved and are welcomed into our fellowship.God Bless and keep you in His perfect will.Ann K.
Ann Kline at 11:18am EST - January 30, 2013
Dear Sister Lovina,May Jesus smile as He is watching and praying for you! The Holy Spirit is your constant guide. God the Father loves you dearly as his daughter!!:)Love in Him, Jean
Jean Groff at 11:15am EST - January 30, 2013
Lovina, Awesome letter you wrote to them. Congrats on being born again and living for Christ. I am wishing you God's blessings on/in your life. His word is true today, tomorrow and forever... GOD BLESS YOU...
Susie Byler at 10:23am EST - January 30, 2013
THANKS FOR SHARING. I too, left the Amish over fourteen years ago and have come a long way since then. The most precious thing that I have found was freedom in Christ...for without Christ you can not do anything!
Nancy at 6:37pm EST - January 29, 2013
Lovina,. My letter isn't going to be as well written as yours. lol. But I wanted to say, welcome to real Christianity. we are to always love one another. I know it's hard to leave the Amish lifestyle.. while they are mostly good people. working for ones salvation isn't what Christ died for..and that's what I think they are doing. I know that you have lost your family in all of this. Please know that even here in Oregon. you have more family..so, this brother in Christ says.. welcome my sister.. may the LOrd continue to guide you.. rex
rex samples at 12:29pm EST - January 29, 2013
Lovina, I am encouraged by your letter to the bishop. You are learning trith from God's word. One reason why the Amish think a person sins when they leave the church is that they mistakenly feel that the promises you make to the church when you are baptised is the same as promising those things to God. Promises made in ignorance can be repented of and forgiven when we see the truth. The church is not God. Only God is God. Love to you!
Emanuel Petersheim at 11:39pm EST - January 27, 2013
I too was put in the ban 52 yrs. ago when i got saved, but believe me i have never regrettedleaving, because my life in Christ is one I could never live without. Jesus is my everything.So happy for you
emma mast at 10:48pm EST - January 27, 2013
What a testimony! May the Lord give yiu His strength may you continue to always look to Jesus as you have thus far. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!!This is inspiring to me. I accepted Christ 25 years ago and also was amish. Keep your heart tender towards the things of God. Youare a woman of courage.b
bill mast at 7:17pm EST - January 27, 2013
wow. I dont thank any preacher could have explained the plan of salvation any better.God bless you.
Rosalee at 5:11am EST - January 27, 2013
Wow. You are an amazing young lady. I have been fascinated with the Amish for many years and have read many interesting books on them, so I know what courage it took for you to leave them. I realize how much you will miss your family but you did the right thing. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see your family get saved AND your bishop??? Keep praying for them Lovina. God loves you so much and hears your prayers. It may take a lifetime but never give up. May God bless your new life and any new ministries you may have because of your past.
Laura at 10:33pm EST - January 26, 2013
Congratulations Lovina in finding the Lord, that is awesome!!! Thats a great letter you wrote to the bishop. May God bless you.
Daniel Wengerd at 9:02pm EST - January 26, 2013
Awesome letter to the.bishop I love the way you wrote the letter, I left about 30 yrs ago, I like the quote, ban from bondage, baptised into freedom, continue to let your light shine, He who forsakes houses, mother, father, and land for my names sake, I will give to them 100 fold in this life houses, father, mother, I love that the bible gives us this promise in Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, God bless you as you stand for the truth, Moses
Moses Hershberger at 8:01pm EST - January 26, 2013
This verse spoke to me at a point in my life:Romans 2:22,28= A man is not a Jew (or Amish, Mennonite Baptist etc) if he is only one outwardly,nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew (or Amish, Mennonite, Baptist etc) if he is one INWARDLY, and circumcision is circumcision of the HEART, by the Holy Spirit, not by the written code. Ephesians 2:5..it is by Grace you are saved., Ephesians 2:8....it is the GIFT of God, 2:9 not by works,so that no one can boast. Lovina continue following the leading of the Lord. You will be Blessed in many ways. We are precious in the sight of the Lord.
Anna at 7:54pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina, I applaud you for standing on the Word of God even through the pain and alienation this is causing and will cause you. I am so proud of you! I was Amish for about half of my childhood and Beachy for the rest. I left it when I was 22, knowing with certainty that God was calling me out of a life of empty rules to a life of glorious freedom and service in Christ. That was almost 30 years ago. I have not regretted my decision for a single moment. In time, the ministers who at first told me I was deceived by Satan, were able to appreciate my calling into missions and even asked for our newsletters of our work. God has redeemed the pain I went through over and over again. There is a purpose waiting for you. And God is walking this painful path with you.
Rebecca at 6:17pm EST - January 26, 2013
WOW! May God lead you and bless you for ever..
David Mast at 6:10pm EST - January 26, 2013
The number of people who have a good understanding of why the Amish religion does not meet the deepest needs of the soul are few. Your letter points out what many of us struggled to express as we lived in that conflict. Our soul needs the freedom that Christ offers and being bound to a church that is bound by extra-biblical rules stifles the soul. I encourage you to keep on writing, as you seem to have a gift for that. God bless you!
Eli Stutzman at 6:01pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina, all I can say is, Praise the Lord. Your salvation is exciting, your answer to the church was wonderful, shared in loving humility. I am praying for you.
Donna Livingston at 4:52pm EST - January 26, 2013
Truth applied will set you free.
Eli K Beiler at 3:36pm EST - January 26, 2013
I an so glad that you have found Jesus Christ as your personnel savior. That is what is important in these last days. What ever you had to leave behind Jesus will fill in the gaps. Hopefully through your prayers your family will find the path to Jesus as well.. My prayers are with you. GOD BLESS
judy byler at 3:33pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina, I am thankful that you have learned a new meaning of who Jesus is . A lot of people know Jesus but don't KNOW Him . The only way we can really know Him is by seeking God and the Bible says if we seek, we will find Him. Blessings to you as you continue to strive to live the christian life ... There is such a wide open ministry to the Amish . I know some of them really do know God, but too many just hope they will make it to Heaven on what they do . God's peace as you go through this difficult time , yet a joyous one as you continue to seek Him.
Miriam Bontrager at 2:38pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina, you have displayed great faith in Christ. You are a great example to your family and those love ones still in the Amish cult. God bless you
Dave Frost at 2:35pm EST - January 26, 2013
Let me add. You were once in a Religion....now your in a relationship. :)
La Vonne De Bois at 2:17pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina ~ It is with a grateful heart to learn of your salvation decision. I love the Amish people, but over the years, I came to realize their belief of salvation does not go in line with scripture. God does not lie. His promises are true. His word is light into a dark world. You have seen the light and we as believers rejoice with you! You were right when you said we all will stand before the Lord someday and give account. He has sealed your salvation on the cross. His work on the cross has saved you and by your acknowledgement of that, is what he requires...to believe in the Gospel. Having your family, Amish church and friends say hurtful things is difficult, but you have the VICTORY! I have prayed for a revival in the Amish community for years and little by little, God is working behind the scenes. Don't give up! the Lord has a wonderful plan for your life.
La Vonne De Bois at 2:16pm EST - January 26, 2013
Excellent ! :)
Danny Zook at 2:12pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina, what strength Christ has given you to leave everything behind. Christ love is more compelling than anything in this world! No religion can separate you from the Love of Christ. Be strong sister....Christ is with you! Will be praying for you.
Linda Ortiz at 1:54pm EST - January 26, 2013
May the grace of God and his Glory abound through you Lovina. this is so special to me as is the time of year i went thru it to. With less understanding in away. But knew God is the only way , to obey God's commandments . By the grace of God thru the shed blood of Jesus you will be going from glory to glory till you meet Jesus in the air. He is the solid rock. the revalation of the Spirit as he told Peter. Peter was not the rock , but the Spirit that was revealed to Peter. And that you have . be blessed .
levi mast at 1:50pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina - I am so proud of you! You have found the true meaning of loving God and being a true Christian. I wish you nothing but the best and pray that God continues to show you His love. You are Awesome!!!
Lisa Tharp at 1:42pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina's testimony to the power of Christ's sacrifice for her sins is so touching. I am amazed at her strength and perseverance. We are praying for you, Lovina!
Dee Yoder at 1:30pm EST - January 26, 2013
I'm wondering what part of the Bible the bishop refers to in this Artikle referenced above that he uses to try to scare Lovina into compliance.It never ceases to amaze me how guilt is used by the Amish (or other religions) to try to use fear on people to threaten them when they voice a truth other than the "truth" they have grown up with. Obviously when guilt is resorted to, there is no freedom in Christ. There also leaves no room for authentic dialogue between the parties because it turns out to be "my way [Amish] or the highway." Where is the love in THAT stance?I will certainly pray for strength and determination for Lovina and others like her facing such opposition. Blessings.
Michelle at 1:18pm EST - January 26, 2013
Lovina,God's love for you is a wonderful thing. Know that everything you loose for the kingdom will be returned to you. Matt 19:29 says " And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life." God makes good on his promises. :) May God Bless you with strength and be a shield to you.
Jenny Hull at 1:14pm EST - January 26, 2013
Best of God's Best to you! I teach at an Amish public school. We have 99% Amish students. I share the gospel with them during lunch time when we sing together. I have also led a little BIble time at other Amish schools and present the gospel. Although, some people do not know I do this. What is life without Christ? It is no life. You are doing the right thing and God will bless you for it. Let the dead bury their dead. And you are doing just that. We must continue to pray for the lost Amish population and pray they will see the light!
BethMast at 1:10pm EST - January 26, 2013

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