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The Amish Voice 8

I grew up in an Old Order Amish set-

ting where I still live, and I thought I had a

fairly normal life. I am the oldest of eleven

children, and I probably got more privileg-

es because of that. Our family got along

reasonably well, except for the fact that

Dad struggled with controlling his temper.

This resulted in much tension in the home.

In spite of this, I took pride in the fact that I

was able to handle it well. I was seldom

irked or upset by anything, but I was never

happy either even though it might have

appeared like it to people around me be-

cause I did a lot of whistling.

I went through a rebellious stage where

I didn’t really care what I got into, yet deep

down I wanted to do what was right. I

joined the church when I was sixteen be-

cause I felt an emptiness in my heart and

thought this would help fill it. Between the

ages of seventeen and nineteen my life

went downhill. I didn’t want it to, but I

didn’t know what to do about it.

In the meantime, my next younger

brother was struggling, but he got connect-

ed to a home for spiritually troubled men

and boys. He was there for five or six

months, and then he came back home. I

noticed that he seemed to have something

that I didn’t have, and yet, it all seemed

odd to me.

During this time, my life was far

enough downhill that I decided to forget

Christianity and go live a life of sin. (Even

though this is what I decided to do, I never

actually did it.) My brother and I seldom

talked about the spiritual side of life. He

approached me about the need for God in

my life at about the time I decided to leave,

without knowing what I had decided. In

spite of everything, I prayed daily even

though I thought my prayers were not

heard. I prayed because it soothed my trou-

bled conscience a little. I knew God wasn’t

in my life, but deep down I had a desire for

Him. Yet, it seemed Satan had a tighter

grip on my life.

My brother encouraged me to go to the

home where he had been. I reluctantly

agreed for him to call and see when the

next opening would be, but he found out

the next opening would not be for about

five months. I was almost despondent as I

knew in my heart that I would never hold

out that long.

In my heart, I was crying out for help,

so I found a secluded spot, and I prayed

earnestly to God for the first time in a long

time. I prayed, “God, you know I will nev-

er hold out another five months. If you

want me to take this step in my life, then

let something work out sooner than five

months.” I felt a sense of peace after com-

mitting this to God, and somehow I knew

he had heard my prayer.

The next day my brother talked to the

Administrator at the home, and when he

got back, he said that there would be an

opening for me the next week. I was

amazed, to state it mildly. I knew God was

speaking to me. I felt that God had a deep

love and concern for me.

I later asked the Administrator at the

home how it worked out that they had an

opening all at once in spite of a long wait-

ing list. His answer was, “I really don’t

know.” Amazing! God almighty has a plan

for every soul on this earth, and yet, that

plan will never be fulfilled unless we seek

for it.

There is a promise in the Bible that was

brought to my attention about this time,

and it gave me tremendous courage.


and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall

find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you

(Matthew 7:7).

I knew my life was still a mess, but I

had a peace like I never had before, just

knowing I was on the right track. I looked

forward to the daily sessions with my

counselor. One day he asked me if I had

ever been born again. I said I really don’t

know, but I suppose so. I knew I tried real

hard to do what was right, and I was bap-

tized, yet in looking back, I had never been

born again.

At this point in my life, I knew trying to

be a good person on my own strength was

a lost cause. My counselor encouraged me

to pray to God, admit my helplessness, and

welcome Him into my heart to change me

completely and give me a new heart filled

with His divine love. This was a new

thought to me; nevertheless, this is what I

did. Something happened in my life that

had never happened before. It was not a

huge change, but it was a very, very real

change. A change that only God could

make. Once I felt my need for change, I

was willing. In looking back five years

later, my life has never been the same


I would like to note a few things that

changed after my conversion. One of the

first things I noticed was in my feelings

and emotions. As noted earlier, I was sel-

dom irked by any situation, but on the oth-

er hand, I was seldom happy either. What

happened was that in my younger years I

had blocked out the pain that I felt rather

than accepting it as my pain and dealing

with it between God and me. By blocking

this pain, I unknowingly blocked my emo-

tions too. And now things were different.

All of a sudden, I could be irritated over

the oddest things that would have never

irritated me before. But on the other hand, I

could now also feel joy like I had never

experienced before.

Because I let God change me, He could

restore my emotions to the way they should

be. Has life been rosy ever since? Certainly

not! Don’t take me wrong, I have been

blessed more than I ever imagined, but

God’s children are not promised an easy

Born Again

My Journey To Salvation

—Jonas Yoder

—continued on next page—

“Marvel not that I

said unto thee, Ye

must be born again.”

– John 3:7