Mary (Shetler) Schrock
September 3, 2009
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. Sometimes, I felt pulled in many different directions and this caused me to become frustrated and angry.
All my life, I was told that I had to be Amish if I wanted to go to heaven. I was told that in order for Amish people to go to heaven, they couldn't have cars and electricity. I believed this lie for awhile, but at age 16, I began to question whether it was actually true. Something inside of me told me, there has to be more to God than a bunch of do's and don'ts, so I began to read my Bible every day. But since I did not have anyone to teach and guide me, I had a difficult time understanding what I read in the Bible.
It was during my 17th year in life that I called Joe Keim several times over a period of a month. During one of our phone conversations, I asked him, "if I leave the Amish, can I make my own decisions or do I have to continue to be under someone else's control and authority?" That's when Joe said, "Mary, if you become English, you will have freedom to make your own choices in life". That's what I needed to hear and so on August 12, 2004, I decided I had enough of my Amish life and left. The day I left my family and way of life, I was in some ways excited but also torn in a thousand pieces.
After living a life of freedom, getting married, and having a son, I realized that there was still a void in my life. At times I couldn't help but look at some of my Christian friends and see the joy that I knew I didn't have. At first I thought, "Yea, it's probably not real anyway, but finally I realized I was wrong-it was real and I wanted it too." On Mother's Day, May 10th, 2009 my pastor Joe Rock preached a message that really got my attention and when he asked me to step forward, if I wanted to be born again. I couldn't wait. You see, since age 16, I had carried a 100 pound bag on my shoulders and I was tired of carrying it. As I followed my pastor in a prayer, I was shaking all over and the sweat was running down my body; it was all I could do to get the words out and then it happened. I felt that 100 pound bag fall off my shoulders. It was real! I had never felt such freedom and joy in all of my life! I knew right away that I was born again. I now belonged to Jesus and Jesus belonged to me.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
It has been several months now and I can honestly say, "I had no idea that life could be so full of joy and happiness." I want to thank Joyce Mink, Janet Grimsley, Jerry & Barb Arman, Joe Rock, Abe Schrock, Joe Keim, and Wes Williams for the powerful influence they have in my life-it is because of them and many others that I stand here today, wanting to follow the Lord in baptism. God bless you all!
~ Mary (Shetler) Shrock
This Testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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