September 25, 2009
Hi Joe; I just heard your explanation of understanding the Amish. I think it was the best one I have heard. Many things you stated, I have felt and had happen in my life. 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, partying, 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.
For 30 years I did not go inside of a church, or was I open to really hearing the gospel, it sounded like nonsense to me. I did believe in God, but in my own mind I was convinced that I would go to hell. But slowly I started hearing bits and pieces of the bible, met some people that cared and tried to explain. By the Grace of God, I worked with a man for a couple years that was a true born again believer, humble in spirit, and I saw on a daily basis what a Christian was. God started to work on my heart, but it still took a while, but praise be to God, He would not let me go and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, was baptized. I still had a hard time to accept that the love and forgiveness of Jesus was actually for me. I knew the bible from the days of my youth, I knew many of the truths, but then to apply them to myself was not easy. I still sometimes am in amazement over that, but it has finally sunk in that Jesus died for my sins also, and that the Amish brain washing is just that.
I also have a burden for so many of the Amish that have left and they just don't see the light. Including quite a few relatives.
I am in Orange County, California, have been out here for 34 years. I do not know if there are any former Amish out here or not. I grew up in Delaware and just recently, in the last 60 days have made contact, (or should say they have contacted me on Facebook) some of the Amish I grew up with, who are now former Amish.
As for writing, maybe, sounds a little out of my skills/abilities, but I have found when I have time to focus, God gives me words and things I would love to relate. If I could keep others from going thru the hardships, mistakes and downright stupid things I went thru, and have the right people read it, it is possible that it could be used by God to reach some of these souls that really don't know yet what it is that they need and are searching for in their lives.
I found that being Amish those 18 years and hearing the bible preached gave me an overall knowledge of the bible that surpassed what most folks out here in the world have ever known, even though I at the time did not know how to properly apply it to my life for my Salvation. I am saying this to try and make the point that many of these former Amish have a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the story of the bible; they just have not learned how to apply it to their own lives. They have not heard it taught and explained in a way that opens their eyes to the great plan of Salvation that God has for them. I remember as I was starting to learn the things of God that I already had heard many times, but not taught in the right manner and I would just think, Wow! that is why God did that, or why God said that. Well, I am sure you have already experienced these things yourself, but based on what I heard you say on one of the tapes, you actually learned these things as you were questioning the Amish and accepted Jesus right away. That I believe is not the normal, most just leave and are lost, unless someone can reach them.
I am a carpenter, (what else, lol) Times are a little hard right now, but God has provided what I need to survive so far and I trust Him to continue to do so.
And yes, I googled Ex-Amish some time ago and found some sites, I am not sure if your website came up then, or if I found it thru another site. I saved it and did not really look at it for some time, but yesterday I checked it out more closely and when I listened to the tape of you explaining about the Amish and those who leave, I could identify with the things you were saying, I lived them.
This is my beautiful wife and me. She is Chinese, I have been to China seven times now, she loves the Lord and is a woman who prays. I thank the Lord for her, because I feel that many times I fall short in this area. The 3rd one is with our daughter also, she has accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized last year. She will be 20 years old next month. She is actually my step daughter, but they do not like me to use that term.
Because of my struggle with life in my earlier years, I had been married and divorced before, but in this marriage I was looking for a woman who loved Jesus and she is one.
Henry J. Byler
This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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