April 5, 2018
My name is Paul Yoder, and I was born and raised in an Old Order Amish community. I feel like the words “dedication,” “hard-working,” and “self-reliable” all describe my culture growing up!
I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease when I was sixteen years old. One day, a friend and I were walking on a trail through the woods, and he was ministering to me about the gospel. When we stopped in the midst of the trail, I, for some reason, turned my back towards my friend. During that moment, I felt healing from my Lymes Disease; the awful pain left my body, and I knew instantly that I was healed. Then, in the same moment, the Lord gave me a vision of two sisters praying for me; I had no idea people were fasting and praying for me.
Years later, I decided to leave the Amish. I discovered that the life I was living for God was like filthy rags. I also realized that I didn’t have to be Amish to go to heaven; church rules wouldn’t get me there either. Once I realized this, I developed a desire to have a life where I could serve the Lord as my heart desired. In addition, I didn’t want to be living shackled under church rules. After I got saved, I felt led to live for God and to work for him, which ultimately went against the rules.
When my wife, Elizabeth, and I decided to leave the Amish, we did so by sending a note to our parents to let them know that we weren’t going to be Amish anymore; we let them know that we felt the Lord had more for us elsewhere. MAP ministry was there to help my wife and I when we were ready to leave the Amish; they helped us to understand that salvation wasn’t about being Amish, but rather, it was about understanding who we are in Christ.
When we first left, our parents didn’t allow us to go home and visit. We stayed away for two years until Christmas day in 2017; on that day, we went to my wife’s parents’ house to visit, and they welcome us in.
Since leaving, we have faced many difficulties and questions about whether our families are saved or not; this is a struggle for us. Thankfully, though, we didn’t get homesick. We have kept our focus on going into other communities and sharing the gospel with the Amish; many are open to receive what we are telling them.
Our future involves taking the gospel where we feel led to take it. We were blessed to go to Lithuania, Europe in 2017. The trip was life changing for us, and we know that God has more in store for our future!
This testimony has been published with permission from the owner.
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