Anna Schrock continues with part two on her time as part of the Lancaster County New Order Amish. If you missed part 1, you can find that here.
Beautiful Farms & Simple(?) Living
As you drive through the Lancaster County countryside, you may notice that most of the farms and homesteads are very neat looking. Yards are neatly manicured, and the landscaping is breathtaking. It is all so beautiful, especially in the spring and summertime.
The Amish and Mennonites in that area take a lot of pride in having a beautiful farm or homestead and having everything pristine clean.
You might think that the Amish live simple lifestyles and they do in some ways. But, I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as living simply in Lancaster County? 🙂
And the Amish in that area are different from most of the rest of them. Holmes County Amish come in as being close to the same, but there’s still a difference that you will only understand if you live among them.
Peer Pressure among the Amish
Oddly enough, there is a lot of peer pressure among the Amish, at least in Lancaster and Holmes County. Of course, we didn’t have peer pressure from the outside world, because we didn’t worry about following their styles and trends. But there are definitely styles and trends within their own community.
It is also very important to have a nice well-kept farm, in the Lancaster Amish and Mennonite communities. Our family had financial struggles due to circumstances out of our control, and for several years my parents had a hard time making ends meet. And as you may know, it takes a lot of money to maintain a large farm. So our farm wasn’t in top-notch shape, the buildings needed paint, etc.
And I always felt like we couldn’t measure up to other people’s standards. It was something that bothered me greatly. And this kind of peer pressure is by far the main thing that I do not miss about living in Amish/Mennonite communities in Lancaster County.
Lancaster County versus other areas
I never traveled to other areas a lot, because obviously, it got expensive to pay for a taxi. But we did fellowship with the New Order churches in Holmes County, Ohio, and some other areas as well. Their preachers came to visit for a weekend and preach at our church and vise versa.
When I was six years old, my parents and I, along with some of our friends, got to spend a weekend at a New Order community in Kansas. And, I got to visit a church in Wisconsin as well.
We only fellowshipped with other New Order churches. Although, I did go with my parents to visit the Old Order church as well, whenever it was at our neighbors’ house.
The New Order churches all believe and teach the same doctrines; however, there are some distinct differences in their communities.
The Lancaster County Amish women wear a different style of cape dress and a heart-shaped head covering (personally, I always hated our coverings and dress-style and wished we could dress like the other New Order churches). And this used to be a distinct Lancaster County mark, but today you will see Amish ladies in a few other states wearing the heart-shaped covering. These moved from the Lancaster area and started a new church, keeping their dress style.
Most of the Holmes County New Order churches do not have electricity, although they do have telephones in the home and farm with tractors. I think all the other New Order groups that we fellowshipped with had electricity and were more like us, except for the differences in dress style.
As teenagers, we traveled back and forth to Holmes County, Ohio a lot. We hired a taxi, packed the van full, and headed to Ohio for the weekend. We had lots of friends in several different youth groups there, and our weekends were always full of late nights, games, and a lot of fun. I’m sure our taxi drivers would have had a lot of stories to tell about the crazy Amish young people.
Amish are just normal people
I feel like I had a pretty normal childhood, and we had a lot of good times. I guess I didn’t grow up like most kids do today since I never watched TV or had any electronics. But I grew up more as kids did years ago.
The Amish are just normal people, trying to live for God in the way they think is right.
And thankfully, I got to grow up in an Amish setting that experienced more freedom in Christ than a lot of Amish do. Because the more truth from God’s Word that you have, the freer you are.
Anna Schrock blogs at amish-heritage.org.
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I enjoy very much your writing and growing up Amish. As I read more about their ways and Bible study, I begin to understand. Having a childhood around farming, back when my dad was alive, we lived much like the Amish, except we didn’t have regulations as the Amish. I have done business with some of the Amish here in New York State.
Living in a cult is not normal.
If you understood the Truth of the Word of God you would understand that Freedom through Christ. Cults control. Christ gives forgiveness and freedom. If you don’t like learning about other cultures and denominations maybe you shouldn’t be reading this blog; but if you have questions about what they believe or why things are done the way they are then you could ask in a respectful way. I’m sure then any Amish person on here would be willing to answer. No need for judgement here. We’re all on here to learn. ANNA- I hope you write other articles here again. I enjoyed reading your story. God bless you!
I just read the first article on her blog and her explanation of freedom though Christ is very Biblical. There is a difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus. Through His love for us we want to show that love to others using works but works are not the Way. There is nothing we can do to earn a place in Heaven. Jesus paid our price on the cross for us. A cult wouldn’t teach this. Anna has her theology correct. And no- I’m not Amish. I’m Baptist, a descendant of praying indians, who grew up farming with a grandfather who grew up in the Salvation Army church, and his parents were S. A. soldiers.
Thank you for the kind words. You can find more of my story at amish-heritage.org
What exactly are you referring to, Alber?
I enjoyed and admire your story growing up in Lancaster County. The heart shape head covering are adorable. You would be very good writing a book. Sorry for your hardship financialy on the farm I thought perhaps others would come together to help like barn raising. We all learn from difficult times and then God will bless us for strength. As it scripture in bible says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I do not agree with Amish being a cult. It is their way of life and should be respected although I don’t agree with some rules like shunning. God bless and thank you for sharing your story. I look forward for more.
Thank you! The Amish do help each other in times of disaster, etc. Or if someone needs a helping hand, like a barn raising. But each one is responsible to take care of his own family. And we always had enough to supply our needs.
More of my story at amish-heritage.org
Because the more truth from God’s Word that you have, the freer you are.
Amen to that, sister!
What an interesting article. Thank you. Have you written any books?
I have not written any books. But I have my own blog post with more of my story at amish-heritage.org