Welcome back from last week! We will be answering the second half of the questions in this post. If you have not read the first post yet, click here to get up to speed on everything or you can click here to watch the video from last week.
- Do you have any other friends who left?
Yes, I do have several friends who have left. A few of them left before I did, and then several after as well, but not very many. I was considered a “good” Amish kid, so the friends that I had were all on the better side, and they probably will not be leaving. However, you never know. Especially with my efforts to go back and to reach the Amish people and give them a way out if they want to leave, you never know. They might want to leave.
- Do you think that the Amish youth are leaving in greater numbers today compared to 20 or 30 years ago?
Absolutely, yes! It is a lot easier to leave now. Some communities are doing what the Amish call rumspringa, where they are allowed to leave and test out life outside of the community. That has certainly been another gateway to allow them to leave. Of course, that being said, very few communities do that and most of those that do are out East, so there are a ton more Amish that you will never hear about that don’t allow that. For my community’s case, I was not allowed that but instead had to just run away.
That also being said, the more people that leave, the easier it becomes to leave because many of us who have left want to help those who want to leave. Of course, I don’t want to just help them leave, but I want to help them to get established in life so that they can enjoy life out here. Lots of them actually leave for a month or something, but end up going back because they do not have any friends that can help and support them. I know one who has gone back and left again as many as seven times, so that really does happen.
So yes, there are certainly way more Amish leaving because it is getting easier with how much more modern this world has gotten. Some communities are actually allowing them to have cell phones, and that is another thing that is helping them to be able to leave more easily.
There are a lot more girls leaving the Amish compared to 20 years ago, but compared to the number of guys leaving the Amish, it is not nearly as many. For one thing, it is harder for them because they do not work outside the community like the guys sometimes do. Lots of Amish used to just work on the farm, but now many work for construction companies and other similar trades outside the community, which has also provided another way for them to leave.
- Is Dutch your first language?
Yes, Pennsylvania Dutch is my first language. Ich Fages a lot vas ich net so lang scwetcha hab. Which means, “I forget a lot of it because I haven’t talked it in such a long time.” It is actually around 5 years now of hardly speaking it at all. I now have to think about what I am saying. Even when my family speaks to me, such as the last time that I was home to visit when my grandmother died, I was able to understand what they were saying, but I just had to think about how to respond. For lots of things then, I just responded in English, which didn’t make them very happy, but I think that they understand that I am forgetting it.
- Were you taught a trade while still living Amish?
Yes, I was. I was taught farming from a very young age on the family farm. Basically, I was managing the farm for several years. My dad might say to do this or that, but for the most part I managed it. I also worked in my dad’s engine shop with him quite often. In addition to that, I worked for other Amish people, so I learned construction work as well as many other things. I really learned lots of things while I was there. I was somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades while I was Amish.
- What are you pursuing in Bible College?
I am pursuing a Pastoral degree, with a missions emphasis because of what the Lord wants me to use it for. Many of the things that I learn are so that I am prepared to be a missionary to the Amish, and also to prepare me to eventually be a pastor someday. I have considered double-majoring, but I don’t necessarily like school that much, so I don’t know if I want to do that.
Thank you so much for reading! We will see you in the blog on next Wednesday! Please comment below with any more questions that you may have.