April 28, 2009
I am at the age of 20!! I was born and raised Amish and lived that way until I was one month away from age 17. When I was in the 6th or 7th grade my cousin Andy B. Shetler left the Amish. When I heard that he left, I knew right away that I was also going to leave when I get old enough. Some of the thoughts that went through my mind were, "it would be cool to have short hair" and "the Amish would not have the power to rule over me anymore. I wanted to get away from a world of religion where I was tied down with a bunch of man-made rules and join the English world, where I knew I would have freedom to live and explore the technology that I was always taught are worldly things. I wanted to live my life in a world where no one could tell me how to live my own life.
On Sunday morning, October 23, 2005 my parents went to church. I had made arrangements with my (ex-Amish) sister Mary one month before this date that she would come and pick me up as soon as dad and mom would leave for church. I had $105 saved up to take with me. My younger sister loaned me $200 of her money and asked me to keep it for when she would leave also. Just a month ago (4 - years later), she contacted me, asking if she could have it back, because she decided to join the Amish church; she doesn't have plans to leave the Amish after all. I went ahead and sent her a $200 check in the mail.
I had always been taught that I had to be Amish to get to heaven. On the day that I left the Amish I was so sick of being tied down that I really didn't care at that point what the Amish taught. However, in my heart I did have some fears of not making it to heaven, if I died in the English world. Soon after I left, I started hearing the ex-Amish say that a person had to be saved to go to heaven, and whenever I heard them talking about being saved, I thought, "they are wrong". I also thought, "that might be right for the English people but not for those of us who grew up Amish."
When I started working for William Keim he would have Bible studies with his construction crew; he often talked about being saved and then I would think to myself, "this can't be so, he is wrong". One night I even made a special trip to Joe Keim's house to let him know that I don't want to be asked to be in any Bible studies, neither do I want him to invite my girlfriend to any Bible studies. I made it clear that I know I need to be saved but that will happen when I am ready. Several months went by and one Saturday morning I decided to go to the Bible study. I wanted to learn more about the Word of God. I always knew that when the time came for me to get married and have a family, I would want to raise my children in a Godly home.
On June 13, 2009, I got engaged to my future wife, Mattie. And, in order to prepare for our life long marriage we went to Joe & Esther Keim for premarital counseling. On June 19, 2009, we met to go through our first premarital lesson and when we discovered the great importance of having a relationship with God and each other, I knew I was lost and needed a Savior. I looked back over the past three years that I had lived with Perry Keim and I had to think of all the times that we had talked about salvation. During those three years I watched Perry live out his Christian life by going to church and prayer meetings on a regular basis.
My pastor, Jerry Arman, has also had a big impact on me coming to Christ. Every time he preached, I was convicted of where I stood with God. I am reminded today of all the times, even as a young boy, my English neighbors, Jerry, Barb, and Norma Henry, in some way or another, were influential in connecting me with God and many more were a light to me. I just want to say thanks to all those people who were a big help to me in my sinful life.
Today, I want to follow the Lord's command and be baptized. I look forward and am excited about living for the Lord with all my heart, knowing He will lead me in the right direction.
This Testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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