We are Amish. A while back I read your article, “Learning from the Atheists.” And it happened to me! I didn’t know what it was; I had no idea anything could feel like this, but I knew for the first time I had peace, a presence, a newness; I mean everything looked new! I wasn’t afraid to die. I was constantly saying or thinking, “Thank you, Jesus.” I told my husband, but he thought it was a woman’s hormone thing and shrugged it off.
When my neighbor (Amish too) heard me telling about it, she said it had happened to her too and that you call it “getting saved.” I told everybody because it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to me. It was amazing to me that just understanding that Jesus took my place as a sinner so that I could be forgiven could be so life changing. I thought everyone would be delighted to learn about this wonderful gift. Instead, I started getting visits from concerned leadership and family. As I said, we are Amish. My husband is one of the preachers, and having an overzealous wife really puts him in the hot seat, so you can see my talking about Jesus all the time really upsets him.
After a lot of embarrassing confrontations I was shunned, which means I was basically shut off from my family and friends. It would have been bearable, but I knew they would not even open my letters, so now there was no one to tell. It has been hard, and it really took my happiness right away. But I can still pray for those that I love to come to this knowledge, and I am seeing prayers answered, which really thrills me. It is so frustrating not to be allowed to tell anyone.
I got sick and had to go to the doctor several times. Even though I felt really bad it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to tell all the Englishers [non Amish] how Jesus had paid for their sins. It was sad because they just ignored me, which was worse than the Amish being upset.
My husband is mad at me and wants me to just keep my mouth shut, so I do; but then I see someone that I know is suffering from fear and doubt and I feel so guilty for not telling them about Jesus’ forgiveness. Should I obey my husband and not tell people? I read your Created book, which is good, and it is also frustrating. There are many among our people that are sadly depressed. They need to know forgiveness instead of taking drugs like Prozac and Zoloft, which is what they take. It is so sad to know they are struggling and that I have the answer. It is so wonderful to be free from fear, anxiety, bitterness, and depression; I know because I was once there. They each control the other in fear of being cast out (including my own husband) and yet they are all so depressed. How can it be right to NOT tell them?
I have many questions and ask for your prayers for my people.
— A “Saved” Amish lady
Here is your answer: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34–39).
“But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done” (Acts 4:19–21).
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I read this and feel the same way. I was raised Church of Christ and I feel that I finally understand that salvation is a free gift. I would love to share that with other christians that I am around, but they have deeply held beliefs that baptism is when they are saved. I am very blessed that my husband agrees on this issue, but in order to work in the church we are attending, we would cause a great deal of frustration if we began to tell others about this understanding. We speak freely with our family about it, but my husband wants to stay at this church, so it does cause me sadness. I want to be a joyful christian and I think maybe I can't see this clearly because of my past. God bless the woman who wrote this and I am thinking of you and praying for you. We shall see more clearly in that day. Evelyn