March 15, 2017
My name is Aaron Swartzentruber, and I grew up in a very strict Schwartzentruber Amish community. I liked living in a culture where I could work when I wanted to and was taught as a young child how to build things. I also appreciated the culture’s stress on the importance of forgiveness.
I had a good relationship with my parents as long as I “walked the line” and obeyed all of the rules and guidelines. The problem is that I wanted to explore. I had an issue with the Amish rules and therefore wanted to leave the Amish.
When I first left the Amish, my uncle Joe gave me an RV to rent, and he took the time to teach me to be responsible. Joe Keim, founder of Mission to Amish People, also reached out to me and helped me spiritually when I needed it the most.
Leaving wasn’t an easy process, though. On the night that I made the decision to leave, I walked ¼ mile down the road and hid in the pine trees. As I was hiding, I contacted my uncle from Butler and arranged for him to come pick me up in Fredricksburg; at the time, I only had a few hundred dollars in my pocket.
My family was depressed and heartbroken by my decision to leave the Amish. Now, however, things are better, and I am allowed to visit whenever I want.
It has been a challenge to begin a new life in such a new and different culture. I experienced some difficulties with friendships along the way and also had some trouble keeping a full time job. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from Joe Keim as well as Mission to Amish People; the ministry and my church make me feel right at home and encourage me when I need it most.
The most important thing that has happened to me since leaving is that I finally came to a point of understanding with salvation. Joe Keim showed me in the Bible that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and I believed. Ever since the night that I accepted Christ, my life has forever been changed. Acts 4:12 stood out to me and impacts me even to this day. The verse says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
My future is now in first gear. My goal is to stay in tune with the spirit and to continue growing in my relationship with God. I know that he has great things planned!
This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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