The road the two girls are walking along is dusty and dry. The ripe corn is rustling like taffeta in the breeze. A car approaches the two from behind, honks an irritated little toot, and then speeds around them. The girls keep their heads down with their eyes focused on their tennis shoes. Their white caps cover their hair, and their dark skirts swish around their ankles.
“Katie, do you think we’re doing the right thing? Daet and Maem will be furious when they find out where we’re going.”
“Daet will be furious that we even know about this meeting, Rachel. We may as well get in trouble for going as for knowing.”
The sun has brought bright red spots out on their cheeks. They each push wisps of languid hair out of their eyes, and Katie sighs as she thinks about the changes they’re thinking of making in their lives. Rachel puts a hand out to stop her older sister.
“Wait. I think this may be the spot where the Troyer family said they’d meet us.”
The two girls stand uncertainly, watching both ways to see if a car is approaching. The sounds of cicadas and the crows remind them that summer is passing, and autumn is not far away. Their days are numbered to make a decision. For Katie, time is swiftly ticking down…she’ll reach her eighteenth birthday soon. Already her Daet has pressed her to make a decision to join the church. In her heart, she knows that she can’t join. She has accepted the Lord as her Savior, and the grace and freedom His gift has given her makes it impossible for her to live under the Ordnung. And Rachel…she turns seventeen next year.
On a small hillcrest in the distance, a gray minivan appears. The girls face the sun and the car and wait for the family that will take them to the meeting.
The smiling face of the driver encourages Katie, and she smiles in return as he rolls down his window when the vehicle nears them.
“Wie gehts?” he asks jovially.
“Gut.” Rachel answers quietly.
The girls get into the car and are greeted by the man’s smiling wife. She speaks to them in Deutch, and they grow silent as the car picks up speed. The meeting place driveway is filled with cars and trucks and vans, and the girls are surprised to see so many young people milling about in the front yard.
Before long, the meeting is called to order, and the Bible study begins with the leader offering a prayer.
“Lord, we thank you that we have new ones to come and study your Word with us tonight. We thank you that Katie and Rachel have been brave enough to take this first step in learning about You. We are especially grateful that they have received Your gift of salvation. We pray that they are strengthened in their resolve to live for You…and You only. Bring a miraculous touch of the Holy Spirit to their lives as they learn to live without fear of retribution and in freedom from the Ordnung. If it be Your will that these two are the instruments to their family’s knowledge of the Truth that is in You alone, I pray that You may equip them for the challenge. Let them dare to pursue You…dare to bring true grace to their families. In Your name we ask these things. Amen.”
Katie clears her throat and wipes her eyes. A girl on her left pats her back and says softly, “My family watches me pass from the other side of the road…they don’t speak to me or greet me, and it hurts. But I know the truth, and I can’t go back to what I know is not right for me. The Lord drew me out and gave me His gift, so I also know that He will give me the words to bring His peace to my family someday. He will do the same for you…you’ll see. In the meantime, we’re here to help you start over.”
Katie lifts her chin and smiles at the group surrounding her. Tonight, she will tell her Daet what she has found. She will tell him her decision. Tomorrow, she may not be so strong, but tonight, with the strength of these who have also dared to face their futures, shunned and without their families, she can dare.
“Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31, The Holy Bible, NIV
Author’s Note: Mission To Amish People (MAP) is dedicated to bringing the life-giving gospel of Christ to the Amish and to provide support for those who choose not to stay in the Amish lifestyle.
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