Ernie (Stoney) Burkholder
July 1, 2016
I was born and raised in a Beachy Amish community. I didn’t really think much about growing up in the Amish culture; it seemed normal to me. My father was always very preoccupied and distant, but my mother was different; she was loving and very understanding. Considering that my mother had eleven children and still made each of us feel special always made me feel like I had the perfect mom.
I was excommunicated when I was seventeen by a power-hungry Amish man in leadership, whom my dad respected. I do not know if the Amish man is saved or not; that's God business.
When it came to leaving the Amish, I did not leave because I desired to get away from the rules or from religion. Instead, I simply left because of economic purposes. When I left early in the morning on January 31, 1963, I didn’t know anyone in the “English” culture, and nobody knew me. No one was there to help me transition to my new culture, but surprisingly, I was able to make the culture shift fairly easily. In fact, many of the friends and acquaintances I made in the English culture didn’t even know about my Amish background for years after I had left.
Thankfully, even though I left the Amish church, my family has still always accepted me. I didn’t face some of the rejection and excommunication that many others do.
Shortly after leaving the Amish, I found Christ and accepted Him as my personal Savior. I was at the United States Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona when I finally went public with my belief. At first, it was Romans 8:28 that convicted and helped me. The verse says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Now I have many verses that comfort me and speak to me on a daily basis.
I’ve been out of the Amish for over fifty years, so most of my long-term goals in life have been met. I am born again through the prayers of my mother, who was a very simple woman with an unshakeable belief in prayer. I have been a member of a conservative Baptist church for years. Looking back at my past, my impression of the Beachy church I came from is that it is cold and devoid of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful for the freedom and liberty I now have in Christ, and I look forward to growing more in Him in the days and years to come!
This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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