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.