Ask an Amishman: Submit your Questions

Pennsylvania Amishman John Stoltzfus has agreed to take some reader questions. We can’t guarantee answers to everything.  But if you’ve got something you’d like to ask John about the Amish, leave it in the comments here, and you might get an answer in a future post.

And as John noted in his first post, “my views will not be the only view from our people, because of the vast geographic area of our communities, and because each community or settlement has its own Ordnung. I will try to answer the questions with a general approach.”

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    1. Rob

      Theology question

      What are some good works of theology that you would recommend? I’m interested in learning more about the religious background to what many of the Amish believe, as all I really know is that the Amish practice a form of Christianity based on the teaching of men like Menno Simmons. Could you elaborate more on some of the doctrine and teachings that you follow?


      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answers

        My son Mark joined the Amish ten years ago. I asked him for his answer. He said that the basic doctrines of the Amish church that are subscribed to by all Amish are the Eighteen Articles of the Dortrecht Confession of Faith. He said that all candidates for baptism go through these eighteen articles with the ministers prior to baptism. In Mark’s church and in most other Amish churches they go over two articles per week on Sunday morning when the ministers go to Abrot. The candidates get up and follow the ministers out. It takes eighteen weeks because the Amish only have church every other Sunday and they go over two per church service.

        1. Don Curtis

          Dortrect Confession of Faith

          I should list the Eighteen Articles of the Dortrect Confession of Faith for you but I don’t know what they are. I’ll give Mark another call and see if he’ll list them for me. I hope I can type them all.

          1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

            Dortrecht Confession of Faith online [Beachy Amish]

            Its on the Beachy Amish Website, but its the confession:


          2. Don Curtis

            Dortrecht Confession of Faith

            Dortrect Confession of Faith – adopted April 21, 1632 Dortrecht, Holland

            Article 1 – Concerning God and the Creation of All Things
            Article 2 – The Fall of Man
            Article 3 – The Restoration of Man Through the Promise of the Coming of Christ
            Article 4 – The Advent of Christ into this World, and the Reason of His Coming
            Article 5 – The Law of Christ, Which is the Holy Gospel, or the New Testament
            Article 6 – Repentance and Amendment of Life
            Article 7 – Holy Baptism
            Article 8 – The Church of Christ
            Article 9 – The Office of Teachers and Ministers – Male and Female – in the Church
            Article 10 – The Lord’s Supper
            Article 11 – The Washing of the Saints’ Feet
            Article 12 – Matrimony
            Article 13 – The Office of Civil Government
            Article 14 – Defense by Force
            Article 15 – The Swearing of Oaths
            Article 16 – Excommunication or Expulsion from the Church
            Article 17 – The Shunning of Those Who are Expelled
            Article 18 – The Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgment

            Sorry I couldn’t type all of the explanations and commentary as well as the back-up verses but these old fingers of mine just couldn’t handle it.

    2. Michelle

      Thought the Amish were apposed to the worldly ways.. How are you able to respond to the questions without any Internet access? Recently, got a pot belly pig and I would love to know what you would suggest giving him as a healthy treat?

    3. Bernadette

      How do the Amish feel about outsiders who like to visit their communities? I have planned quite a few vacations near Amish/Mennonite communities just for the purpose of visiting the communities. I know a lot about Amish/Mennonite culture and find it very interesting. But I do wonder if I am being annoying when entering their communities? I stop by any shops or homes and buy items for sale when visiting because I love to buy Amish goods as well.

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        Mark said that how the Amish respond to outsiders visiting depends upon the community. Large communities that have tourists are kind of used to tourists. But, you won’t understand or meet Amish in most tourist areas. Most of the shops, restaurants, etc. may have Amish clerks and workers but when the day is over they go home to their homes where the real Amish life is. If you can make a connection with an Amish person and develop a friendship that is the way to learn about the real Amish way of life.

        1. Erin

          Thanks for answering this Don. I am exactly like Bernadette and plan day trips near the Amish and Mennonite. I have always wondered how they truly feel when curious Englishers visit. I have met a wide range of Amish and for the most part, they’ve been very welcoming. I can usually gauge immediately if they’re willing to visit within the first few minutes. I just met an Old Order Mennonite and he looked and spoke like all the Amish men I’ve seen aside from having no beard. He was very welcoming and engaging. I thought it was great that he reiterated that no religion is perfect and that we’re all human. Even with a label such as Amish or Mennonite doesn’t make you a good Christian unless you live it.

    4. amanda

      Septic systems

      Are the Amish required by state law to install a septic system?

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        Mark said that he isn’t sure about septic systems. All of the Amish in his community have them. However the Amish schools in his community don’t. They have outhouses. However, the outhouses aren’t pit toilets. They have self-contained tanks that have to be pumped out by waste haulers. Mark says he thinks that pit toilets are probably illegal but that outhouses with contained waste tanks probably are legal. When the health departments get involved it’s usually because some of the really conservative Amish want keep the pit toilets and those just aren’t accepted anymore.

        1. In Pennsylvania, in our area, if you have running water and electricity to your home, you’re required to have a septic system. If that isn’t the case, then you must have an approved “privy”, which is the concrete tank that would be inspected and pumped. Now in our area, with DEP, etc, all townships are required to do inspections of all privys and septic systems on a regular basis, usually every 5 yrs, unless they see reason to inspect sooner. Most of our Amish friends of the Byler and Renno Amish have indoor plumbing and nice bathrooms!

    5. chris kearley

      need help

      i was wondering how my husband and i could become amish i have always wanted to do that and know i could. i want to know how i could get some help with the dress that the woman wear and how to get them and quilts also please help me

      1. Don Curtis

        Becoming Amish

        I asked my son Mark about becoming Amish because he did just that. He became Amish at the age of 50. He’s still Amish ten years later. Here are his suggestions:
        – Do your homework. Read all you can about the Amish. Understand their history and beliefs.
        – Visit around a lot of different communities. There are many different kinds of Amish on all kinds of levels. There is no one just Amish church. Do you feel more drawn to really conservative Amish who have outhouses and cut ice in the winter for summer refrigeration? Would you prefer Amish who drive tractors during the week and a horse and buggy on Sunday. Have electricity, cell phones, and air conditioning? You can find all of that and every level of Amish in between.
        – Think about some practical issues. Do you have skills that will help you make a living among the Amish? Many Amish churches will help and train you if you don’t but it would be a plus if you had carpentry skills or farming skills.
        – Have you saved up any money for this change? There are expenses associated with becoming Amish. Clothes, horse, buggy, a place to live. They all cost money. Again, the church might be wiling to help but it is a plus when you have your own resources saved up.
        – Are you willing to learn a new language? Mark always says that you will never feel a part of the Amish if you don’t learn to speak Pennsylvania Dutch. It is just a part of the whole picture.
        – Are you willing to give up your individualism to the authority of the Church. If you have the “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do” mentality then don’t plan on joining the Amish.
        – Once you’ve made the decision don’t look back. Put your old life behind you and go on in your new Amish one.

        I hope all of this helps. I know that Mark just really feels that people should know what they are getting into before they make that step. It’s not to be taken lightly. It’s a lifetime commitment.

    6. Alice Mary

      Recycling? Trash?

      Do the Amish “recycle”? I don’t just mean “re-use” items, but do they take things like plastic jugs, cans, etc. to recycling centers or participate in a community-wide recycling program? Same for garbage—where do they put it (the non-compostible items)?

      Thank you, John, for your responses to our questions. It’s appreciated!

      Alice Mary

      1. Don Curtis

        Don's answer

        This time I can answer without asking Mark. I know that at least one Amishman recycles. Mark comes to my house about every two weeks or so with his horse and wagon. He recycles papers and such in one tub, plastics etc. in another tub, and cardboard in another. Unrecyclabes go in green bags that are purchased from the County at $2.00 per bag. Mark comes to my place and picks up my trash bag and my recyclables and then takes them with the horse and wagon to the Recycling Center here at Belle Center. Alot of Mark’s garbage type stuff gets thrown over the fence to his chickens. Mark says that chickens will eat about anything a goat will except the tin cans.

    7. Marie Dawson


      I was just wondering if the Amish believed in ESP?
      Thanks you
      Marie Dawson

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        I asked Mark about this. He was pretty sure that the Amish wouldn’t go in for this. They would consider it in the line of hexing (witchcraft) or brauching (pow-wowing). I don’t know what pow-wowing is. Mark says it has something to do with old folk ways of healing that involve kind of questionable spiritual rites and such. Don’t ask me what they are because I don’t know.

    8. Everett

      Can a doctor join the Amish and still practice medicine/surgery?

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        I asked Mark about this. He said that it would probably depend a great deal upon the Amish community. Really consservative Amish would probably balk at something like this. Mark knows of a young man who took training as a surgical nurse and then joined the Amish. He married an Amish girl and is still Amish in the Oakland, Maryland Amish community. He still works as a surgical nurse there, as well. They are allowed to drive tractors on the road in that communithy and Mark says that you can see this Amishman’s tractor parked in the hospital parking lot for staff. In Mark’s community he’s just not sure. If you already had the training it might be allowed as long as you could abide within the church standards. It just all depends what all is involved.

        1. Everett


          Thanks to you and your son for the insight.

    9. Abbie

      One time when my dad was going to medical school in Reading, PA, he told me that at the university hospital where he worked there was a young Amish woman who was also studying there that he saw get dropped off by her dad from the buggy every morning and that he sometimes saw in classes. I know this isn’t very common, so I am wondering how this woman could have been going to school. Thanks so much for reading.

    10. Dee Byers


      Why do the men have no back pockets in their pants. I have asked several Amish friends and they don’t have an answer. Thank you.

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        Mark doesn’t have an answer. They just don’t. In his community the men don’t wear shirt pockets either. And in his community they must wear button shirts. No polo shirts like in some communities.

    11. I don’t have any questions but I do want to thank Erik and John for collaborating on this effort. As someone who grew up Amish I find it amusing to see how romanticized (and sometimes ignorant) people can be about Amish ways. I think John does a great job of answering the questions and it was interesting that a number of people were surprised at his answer to the Valentines Day question.
      To be honest, I am finding out a lot about other Amish sects from this website. Growing up Lancaster County Amish we have more conveniences than some Amish groups. I am somewhat surprised with the austerity that Ed and Ruth live, simply because it is not what I was used to.

      1. Much appreciated Rachel. I think people in settlements where there are multiple groups are more aware of those differences than others. Holmes County is probably the best example. Did you feel a difference between churches in Lancaster while growing up?

        1. Yes, even though all Lancaster County Amish are the same church group there are some big differences geographically and just from one church district to the next. Even though each bishop doesn’t have absolute power don’t underestimate the effect that his leadership style can have on the congregation.

          When I was younger we lived in the Bird-in-Hand/Ronks area and it was much more liberal than the New Holland area. But for some reason power mowers were more accepted in the New Holland area than in the Bird-in-Hand districts. Of course that was ten or so years ago and now power mowers are much more acceptable in most districts.

      2. Rachel, you’re observant and I appreciate your comments about learning. Our “adopted” ex-Amish son, his friends, and our own son-in-law are all from the Swartzentruber Order even though they’re from different states. They, too, don’t know much about the other orders. When I discover something about a different order and share it with them, the usual response is, “they’re higher than us” or “I didn’t know that.”

    12. amish--a cult?

      Seems like the Amish could be considered a cult because of the absolute power of the bishop

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's answer

        Mark said that he doesn’t know where you got the idea that the bishop has absolute power. He said that first of all the Amish have what they call a plural ministry. Each district should have a bishop, two ministers, and a deacon. They all counsel with each other. Decisions of the ministers are brought to the membership and must be agreed to by the entire membership of men and women. If a bishop is thought to be unscriptural, unfair, or whatever bishops from other districts and communities can be called upon to investigate the sitution. If the accused bishop is found to be in error he can be silenced, removed from office, or even excommunicated.

        1. Don Curtis

          bishop's power

          Mark said that this issue was at the root of the Sam Mullet hair cutting episodes. Amish under his authority were questioning his decisions and were disciplined by him. These folks appealed for help from other bishops who found Mullet in error. Eventually he and his followers were excommunicated by the other Amish churches. They are no longer Amish. They are Amish like but they are not Amish.

    13. mary

      ask an amishman

      are there any types of amish that would allow the women to have an english woman pen pal?

      1. PEN PAL

        Mary, I would think that it would most definitely depend on the church districts adherence to the ordnung they have drafted. For instance, I have a “pen pal” that is Schwartzentruber (lowest order of Amish) – she (here name is Mary, too) and I exchange recipes, greeting cards and just general notes – when I am planning a trip to Holmes county, I let her know and she will often ask me to pickup up bulk supplies to bring to her. Her bishop is just fine with our “friendship” – we never stay at their house, we don’t eat meals with them and we don’t give them a ride anywhere. On the other hand, I have true friendships with Old Order Amish women (4), we talk on the phone, exchange letters, “text” each other (only 1 gal has that technology), go out for meals, spend time with their families, etc. Again, their bishops are okay with all of that – we just don’t do overnights at their homes. The biggest issue that they are all so busy, the idea of being a “pen pal” might be one more task that they don’t really have time for. Regards, Mary from Michigan

    14. Stu

      Amish in the UK

      Is there any reason why the Amish couldnt exist in the UK? Obviously there arent any here at the moment but is that because it hasnt been considered or are there practical reasons why it wouldnt be suitable for Amish to settle should they wish to do so?

      1. Don Curtis

        Mark's response

        I asked Mark about the Amish locating in the United Kingdom. He said that he doubted that it could happen just because of financial reasons. How much would it cost to buy a farm in the United Kingdom? Even Amish who don’t farm require about a minimum of two acres so as to be able to have some pasture for a horse. Mark wonders how the Amish would be accepted in most rural British communities? Mark says that he knows of at least one Beachy Amish (car driving) community at Waterford, Ireland.
        Mark says that in the past that Amish who have tried to relocate to other countries have done so in third world countries where the price of land is inexpensive. Mark said that he didn’t think there were any prohibitions from Amish relocating to Britain except financial ones.

        1. Stu

          Amish in the UK

          Cost depends entirely on the region, though the East and North, especially Scotland, are vastly cheaper than the South. It is hard to comment on how it compares financially as Im not well read on what land costs elsewhere.

          Rural British communities are generally close knit and tensions when they do occur only tend to happen when someone tries to impose themselves aggressively on a community, such as preventing historic access over a piece of land ( alot of city folk do this sort of trick ). The British are generally very tolerant and knowing what I do about the Amish, I think rural communities would rather like people who understand the countryside.

          There are many groups which with varying degrees of success have pursued a similar lifestyle, although so far more spiritual than religious.

          1. Don Curtis

            Amish in the UK

            By-the-way, Stu, you might just see some Amish in the UK one day. Mark has always wanted to visit there. He has a friend that he taught with who lives in Cornwall now. She met a British man on-line. They met. They married. So Mark has a standing invitation to vist them in England. Knowing Mark, he might take them up on it. So, if you see this Amish looking man walking around, it might just be Mark. I’m sure he’ll leave his horse and buggy at home, though.

    15. Caleb

      Rare & High Cost Medical or Diseases

      What happens if someone has a rare or expensive medical condition that is required in order keep them alive. For example, if someone gets type 1 diabetes, and they are perfectly functional and able bodied, but the cost of insulin or other medicine is around $4,000 a month without insurance, how is a situation like this that taken care of? More simply, describe your welfare system and how is it governed so it is not abused?

      1. Don Curtis

        Medical expenses

        I was curious about his myself and learned something when I asked Mark. He said that among many of the Amish churches in Ohio there is something called “The Crippled Children’s Fund.” Every church member pays thirty dollars a month. This money goes into a general fund administered out of Holmes County Ohio. There are certain rules and stipulations but the money goes to help pay for the medical care, medicines, treatments, etc. for chronic diseases or congenital conditions. He said that Belle Center contributes to this fund. Large one-time medical bills at Belle Center are dealt with by special voluntary contributions. If the bill is too large to be handled by the Belle Center Community than an appeal is made by the ministers to other Amish communities for help.

    16. women's hair

      What happens when a woman needs chemo and hair loss is inevitable? Would she refuse treatment on that basis?

      1. Don Curtis

        Hair loss

        Mark said that as far as he knows Amish women would take chemo for cancer treatment even if it meant hair loss. Mark said that he has seen some Amish women with close fitting caps when this has happened. A number of Amish go to Mexico for cancer treatment. The cost is a lot cheaper and they can get some treatments such as laetrile that are illegal here in the States.

    17. kim


      Why is the Ordnung so important to the amish?

      1. Don Curtis


        I asked Mark about the ordnung. He explained it like this. Jesus says that the way to Heaven is a small and narrow way. For the Amish, the ordnung is like the guardrails on that small and narrow way that help a Christian to stay on the Path of Righteusness. The ordnung won’t get you to Heaven. Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. But the ordnung help folks to stay on The Way.

    18. Michelle Baldwin

      Where would I find an Amish penpal? And are the Amish allowed to exchange frequent letters with Englishers?

      1. Don Curtis

        Amish penpals

        I’ve asked Mark about this more than once because I see so many people on this site trying to find an Amish penpal. Mark is always mystified why people are trying to find Amish penpals online. The Amish aren’t online. They aren’t going to see your request. There is no clearing house for penpals among the Amish. They aren’t that curious about the English way of life, anyway. They know what it’s like. They see it around them all the time. But some will correspond as a way of outreach. Best way is to go to an Amish community. Visit around at shops, etc. Try to strike up a conversation and ask if they’d be willing to correspond. Please remember that there are only so many Amish to go around. Another way is to send for Amish directories. There is a Holmes County Ohio Amish Directory. Mark is in the New Order Directory. There is a Michigan Amish Directory, Indian Amish Directory, etc. These directories have the names and addresses of all the ministers and member families in that area. You could just write to a few people and see if you get any responses. I think the directories are put out by Abana Books. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    19. Sandra Kaczanowcke

      Talking to the Amish?

      When I see an Amish person in a store, I would like to say Hello, how are you?, but I am sure they wouldn’t like that. They may even consider me as being rude. I just would like them to know that I admire them for living their lifestyle, but I wouldn’t say that to them. I guess my question is, Is it ok or proper to speak to an Amish person that is a stranger to you? I would like to be friendly with them but I don’t want to upset them in any way.

      1. Don Curtis

        Talking to Amish

        Well, as the old saying goes “nothing ventured nothing gained.” Go ahead and say “Hi.” The worst that can happend is that you’ll be ignored. The best that can happen is that you might be blessed with a new friendship. I think you’ll find that most Amish will be polite and many downright friendly. But, Amish are people just like anybody else. You might run into somebody who is more reserved or is having a bad day and might not be so outgoing.

      2. garrett

        how to say hello in the Amish laguage

        vee bish doo- how are you- hello

    20. Margaret


      I know about being unequally yoked but I would love to have an Amish penpal. I know it would need to be handwritten and all. Just someone to share life’s up and downs. And I would promise not to promote one faith over another. I might need help learning which scriptures are approved (I know some scriptures are not approved). I would love to share my experiences and hear the “real” things in the Amish world. And the first answer to the first question is this I PROMISE NOT TO PUBLICILIZE ANYTHING.

    21. JKB

      Just curious. What is the divorce rate among the Amish people?

      1. JKB

        Would someone please answer my question?


        1. Alice Mary

          to clarify, I hope...

          JKB—these questions for an Amishman started last week. Don Curtis has been answering some questions (since his son is Amish, he has a source of SOME info), but he is not the person (John Stoltzfus) who will eventually be answering most (see the original post from Erik, above) of these questions. John IS Amish, himself.

          As I understand it, this may take a while—days at LEAST, so, we need to be patient a little longer…Right, Erik?

          I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard! 🙂

          Alice Mary

          1. That’s right Alice Mary, the plan is to choose some of these questions and roll them out as individual posts with John’s feedback. What I can tell you JKB it is close to nil though from what I hear I wouldn’t say nil. It is definitely frowned upon and safe to say universally not accepted. John or someone who is Amish may be able to get a more elaborate answer if we run this question. It is a good one so there is a decent chance of that. Also:

    22. Ann


      There were several shows on TV this year and I would like to believe the people involved were never or are now associated with the Amish . They only did the shows for money. I am a librarian in a small town they just love to read the books even thou they are fiction your life seems like a peaceful life and with
      No social media you still believe in writing letters then making long distance phone calls.

      1. Sorry Ann to burst your bubble, but the people on those shows DID grow up Amish. They are usually no longer members of the church. Please read this blog post for more info

    23. Bill Hundley

      Amish Builders

      How far will Amish builders travel for a job?

      1. Amish Builders

        It depends on how much the Englisher is willing to spend to have Amish builders do the job. An Amish work crew came to southeast Michigan from Holmes County to do the kitchen cabinetry in a large, expensive home. The man of the house paid for their travel, their lodging, their meals, etc. for 5 full days to get the kind of craftsmanship that he wanted in his home.

      2. Don Curtis

        Amish business travelling

        I agree with Michigan Mary. If you’ll pay the freight the Amish will do the work. Several times some very wealthy folks have paid for kitchen cabinets from a Belle Center shop and paid to bring the cabinets and the Amish installers down to Florida. Also, a couple of years ago some folks out in California did the same thing. As far as just regular work, Mark says that most of the work for the cabinet shops and carpenter crews is probably within an hour’s drive or an hour and a half.

      3. OldKat

        Have (nail) Gun ... Will Travel

        You have to be at least about 55 to 60 years old to catch the would be pun in my Comment Title. When Hurricane Ike wiped about 98% of all structures off the Bolivar Peninsula in southeast Texas there was an Amish crew that came down and built at least one timber frame house for a local guy. A couple of television documentary shows were done about this; one from a TV station in Houston, another by one out of Dallas. I have heard that ultimately there were several Amish built timber frame homes constructed on Bolivar, but I have never seen that documented anywhere so it may just be hearsay. I also don’t know if there were multiple crews involved or if it was the same Amish crew if more than one home was actually built. Point is, SOME of them WILL travel; I guess like anyone else … if the money is right.

    24. ELLIOTT



    25. Ashley


      I’m sorry I can’t think of any very “substantive”-type questions to ask, just little things I’m wondering, and others might know the answer to at least one, too!

      1. I live in southwest Ohio… Hm, well, no, more west-central? And there’s an Amish settlement about an hour away called Belle Center or Centre? I think it’s near Bellfountaine. Does anyone know of this settlement? Is it Old or New Order? Am I even right?

      2. If anyone knows of it, and perhaps has been there, does anyone know if there’s a bakery called something like “Not Quite Amish” or “Almost Amish” or “Nearly Amish”? I can’t recall now, it’s been about four years, but I was at a local (plant) nursery once and a few people were selling produce and baked goods. One couple I think was Amish based on their dress and her prayer cap, but the woman with the baked goods, I know she was Plain, but have no idea which group, and I have looked everywhere trying to find that bakery. Why? She baked one of the best kinds of bread I’ve ever tasted: chocolate zucchini bread. I’m guessing, as that’s the closest Amish settlement to me, that MAYBE that bakery is there lol! (Nothing like bread you remember for years and years!)

      3. And, I finally do (I think) have a relevant question for either Mr. Stoltzfus or Mr. Curtis, who was answering questions above! I once read that (English) tourists will try to use Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish words they’ve found in Amish romance/fiction books while talking with people who’re Amish, and they nearly always mispronouce them or have no idea what the real meaning of the word is. Do the tourists really do this? I’d love to know!! I think it’d be interesting, if this truly happens.

      Thank you, to anyone who might answer any of my questions!

      1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

        Belle Center

        The Belle Center article is here:

        You can search the Amish America site for all the remarks Don Curtis has made about the life and experiences of his son Mark in the Belle Center Amish community. Don has actually been prolific in openly sharing anecdotes about Mark and his Amish life.

        I’m sure Don will comment on the New or Old Order status of the community if the article doesn’t state, I just quickly re-viewed the entry to see if it was what I was thinking of.

      2. Don Curtis

        Belle Center

        My son Mark lives and is a part of the Belle Center Amish Community. The Amish live in a band about four or five miles from top to bottom and about ten miles across. It stretches on the east from near Rushylvania to the west almost to State Route 117. On the north from State Route 273 down to almost Huntsville on the southern end. Mark says there are about 82 families in the community. It is considered a New Order Amish community but is probably the most conservative of all the New Order Amish churches. Farming is with horses. No electricity in the homes. No cell phones. Etc. If you drive up US 68 from Bellefontaine you’ll after about 8 or 9 miles you will start to see Amish homes. The Country Variety Store on US 68 is an Amish owned bulk food store.

        1. Annette

          My goodness!
          Small world.
          I was in a circle letter once upon a time of young women who wanted to become Amish. One of the women was a convert to the Amish who was married to a young man of the family who owned (?) that same bakery and food store near Bellefontaine. (This was about 18 years ago)
          I’m afraid it didn’t work out for them, though. I might have thought that community would be head-shy about accepting converts after that came to smash. Glad to see it did work out for someone else.
          Very interesting!

        2. Ashley

          Thank you, Don! Very interesting.

          Hm, now I must visit Belle Center and stop by that store and bakery! I have a bit of insomnia and thinking of bakery food is making me hungry.

          The rule about not using the word “Amish” makes me think perhaps the young woman selling her baked goods was from one of the German Baptist groups nearby. (I came across her before I knew how to tell the difference between the women belonging to our local Plain groups. The women’s dress among the Old Order German Baptist groups really is very distinctive; that short cape on their dresses stands out.)

      3. Don Curtis


        You asked about a bakery. I don’t know of any bakery named Amost Amish. In fact Mark told me that it is forbidden in his community to use the name Amish in any advertisement for a business. There is a bakery that is located at the Country Variety Store. They bake about anything you could want.

    26. Al in Ky.

      I have read The Budget for many years, and through my recent reading, I have a couple of questions.

      1) Are more Amish persons entering nursing homes for end of life
      care, rather than remaining in their home? Are more accepting
      Medicaid or another government insurance program to pay for their

      2) Are some Old Order Amish districts becoming more like New
      Order Amish? It seems like quite a few Old Order Districts now have
      regular Sunday Schools, have more organized youth activities,
      travel much more extensively, use more technology than ever before,
      etc. Has this eliminated the need for Old Order districts to
      change to New Order?

    27. Erin

      How far will the Amish typically travel by horse and buggy? There is a newer district about 30 miles from my hometown in central MN, and my in-laws have said they’ve seen the Amish grocery shopping and going to the courthouse on several occasions. One would naturally think they’re doing legal business at the courthouse, but this is a different county. We have had record snowfall this year in addition to below average temps. It just seemed the traveling 30 miles one way on a busy highway on a 20 degree day was a little far considering they live 7 miles from town.

    28. Don Curtis


      I asked my son Mark how far a horse can travel. He said that, of course, it depends upon the horse. If you use your horse every day they get kind of road toughened and can go farther without tiring. If you just use them once or twice a week they tire out easier. Sounds like horse couch potatoes. Mark says that he has driven his horse twelve miles each way round trip. The horse was really tired, though. But, Mark says that the Amish from Degraff and the Amish from Kenton go back and forth visitng quite often. That is a distrance of close to forty miles one way. They don’t come back the same day. Usually, it is near the end of the week and they go to visit for the weekend. Mark also said that one time about four Amish boys from Holmes County came out to Belle Center with two horses hitched to a covered wagon. They camped out on the way a couple of nights. That’s a distance of about 120 miles.

      1. Erin

        Thanks for asking Mark, Don. I really appreciate it! It sounds like it really varies on the horse. I loved your horse potato comment. True for animals as it is humans! I have an inkling that an Amish family has moved closer to my hometown and that’s why they’re seen more frequently shopping in town. I know they had offered to buy a friend’s parents farm a few months ago, so I imagine that’s what has happened. I emailed the town newspaper reporter to see if she knew and if so, if she would consider doing an article on them. I know that area of MN is not familiar with the Amish and I think it would be nice to have a write up about it. I know the Kanabec County Times has done several on the Amish of Mora and they were very well written. The Amish did not want to draw attention to themselves, but wanted to thank the community for being so welcoming and they also wanted to inform the community what they had to offer. Thanks again!

      2. Erin

        I just found out that an Amish family has bought a home just a few miles north of my hometown of Milaca, MN in Central MN. I imagine this is a branch of the Amish of Mora, MN as they are only about 30 miles apart. They are located less than a mile from a major Hwy that leads to Lake Mille Lacs (Huge walleye fishing!), so I think they will have a great location should they have a produce stand there. I do hope that the community welcomes them as they have so much to offer the community in return. I haven’t heard anything about putting up hitching posts of buggy signs yet.

    29. Ashley

      Oh, no *blushing*! I guess I gave myself away as a “new student” to the site, didn’t I? Whoops!

      Thank you, to Slightly-handled-order-man, for your help! So much information on the exact town, or, village, I’ve been looking for, sitting right in front of me and I never saw it. Now, you have me started on reading more and more old blog posts, and it’s great :). So many interesting things here; Erik, your blog is amazing.

      I really appreciated your help, thanks again!

    30. Margaret

      I was in Lancaster several years ago and a family had a little yard sale going on. Their little boy was so sweet. He walked me back to my car and had a zillion questions about it! I told him that I knew someday he would feel the pull to go out and see the world but that I thought he should stay. He asked me why. Because this is your home. You have love, companionship and all that you need here in your community. The world can be cruel and people really mean to one another. I hope someday when he does feel that pull he’ll remember my words.

      Poor kid had a blister on his foot with no bandaid. I know kids are tough. How many times did I do that when I was little. But I worried about him running around on gravel, dealing with animals and so forth.he told me yes, his parents knew about it and they helped him keep it clean and checked it.

      He was such a joy to be around. Another young man told me yes, I could take pics of their team outside but no people. I said I understood that. And I asked him how could I ask you to respect me if I won’t respect you or your beliefs? He was stunned! An Englisher? and I didn’t want pics! He hadn’t ever experienced that!

    31. Their own Bible study??

      I’ve long been fascinated by the Amish from afar ( as in overseas), but I keep hearing conflicting reports about whether they are allowed to study the Bible for themselves. Are they allowed to have personal Bible studies?
      Thanks very much

      1. Don Curtis

        Bible studies

        I asked my son, Mark, about Bible studies. He said that he can only answer for his community. In the Belle Center communty folks are encouraged to have family devotions including Bible study together as a family. They are also encouraged to have personal devotions including Bibl study on an individual basis, especially the young folks. What is not encouraged is organized group Bible study. Folks getting together at somebody’s house for “Bible study.” For the Amish this kind of raises a red flag. So often, Amish who are in disagreement with the church or the ministry start getting together for “Bible study.” It’s called a “Bible study” but it’s actually more of a grip session. Next thing you know they’ve broken off and formed some splinter group or gotten cars or whatever. Anyway, this might not be the case with English churches who have home Bible studies but according to Mark that’s the track record with group Bible studies among the Amish and why they are leery of it.

        1. Thanks

          Thanks Don for that ~ it’s very interesting & makes sense. Please thank your son for his answers as well!

    32. Mala

      Transportation & Horse Breeds

      Hi! I guess I have a few questions combined, here!

      The first is for Don Curtis or for John Stoltzfus. I was wondering what types of transportation your/your son’s District allows? Obviously, they’d allow horse and buggy! But do they allow scooters, bicycles, hiring of English drivers? What about plane travel?

      Second question is for either of you, also! Do either of you know whether Haflingers ( horses ) are common in your/your son’s district? I used to have a friend who bred Haflingers ( who I think look a lot like miniature Belgian draft horses! ), and I know some of her purchased horses came from an Amish farm somewhere in Ohio. I got to know the breed as a kind, gentle, intelligent, very sturdy and healthy breed. What I’m wondering is what they’d be used for on an Amish farm? Would they be used as light draft horses/ponies or children’s cart horses? I just can’t imagine them being used as driving horses! But, they may be! Thank you!

      1. Don Curtis


        I asked Mark about the transportation issue. He said that it very much depends upon the community. In Mark’s community the horse and buggy is used for local travel as well as bicycles. Sunday, only the horse and buggy is allowed unless it’s an emergency. I guess if your horse kicks-the-bucket you’re allowed to pedal to church on your bicycle. Mark said that there are Amish communities that do not permit the bicycle. Nobody uses scooters in Mark’s community except as toys for the children. In Mark’s community they are allowed to fly in planes. Just about all of the youth boys in Mark’s district leave in about a week, flying out of Columbus, to go to Texas to work on houses for some kind of disaster relief. There are Old Order Amish that do not permit airplane travel. Mark said that some have even gone over to visit Europe, travelling by boat. Almost any of the Amish communities will hire drivers. Mark said that before World War II that wasn’t necessary. There was so much public transportation available. Every little village had a train station. I can remember, myself, riding on the interurban car from Columbus to Bellefontaine. It looked like a streetcar but traveled between cities. Of course, I traveled by train, as well. Those are all gone with the wind. The Amish just about have to hire driver for distances too great for the horse and buggy. Before I moved up to Belle Center and was able to drive him Mark used the public bus service in Logan County, Ohio to get into the county seat of Bellefontaine. Now, the local grocery in Belle Center has closed everybody has to go to Bellefontaine or Kenton for shopping. Both towns are about twelve to fifteen miles away.

        1. OldKat

          Question for Don / Mark.

          Don, would you please ask Mark if he knows where about in Texas the group is headed for disaster relief? (and when they will be going)

          Haven’t heard of any upcoming projects anywhere near me, but if there is I might want to join in as well. I enjoy that sort of thing.


      2. Don Curtis


        I had no idea about this one. I didn’t even know what haflingers were. Mark said that there have been some of the folks in his community that have had haflingers. They were more hobby farmers that made their living some other way. They used the haflingers as work horses on their small acreages. But Mark says that all of the full-time farmers in his community that use work horses mainly use the big Belgian workhorses.

    33. Herb Fisher


      I have worshiped more than once in a house Amish setting and notice there is no collection plate passed. How do the Amish donate/give their tithe or offering?

    34. Don Curtis

      Mark's church

      I asked Mark about the offering. He said that offerings are usually collected for certain purposes. The Amish don’t have a church building to keep up. Nor do they have ministers’ salaries to pay . Mark said that there are two wooden boxes that go along with the bench wagon to wherever church is being held. The boxes have slots in the top. The one box is for church offerings that might go for a special need in the congretation like hospital bills, etc. The other box is for donations for the school. The deacon takes care of the church box. The school treasurer takes care of the school box.

    35. Erin

      If there is an unusual amount of snow or the wind chills are dangerously cold (-40), do the Amish cancel school? If so, how are the families notified?

      1. Lattice

        Although we don’t get the coldest weather in the Kentucky area, Amish schools press on. They have to fulfill a certain number of school days. They start later and finish earlier, so they don’t take any significant breaks or factor in “snow days.” They’re typically out for a good five months in the summer (so kids can help with farm work).

        And Erin, you just wouldn’t BELIEVE how fast news travels in an Amish community! 🙂

    36. Mala

      I am hoping I don’t offend anyone with my first question in this post, but it’s specifically for women, leaving comments on this blog, and for either of the Amish men who are answering questions, if they’d know!

      It’s my understanding that Amish women are expected to submit to men — give up their own wills when necessary to their fathers or husbands or, of course, the bishop or various ministers of the church. It’s also my understanding that men *ought* to submit to the church leaders, and to consult and make decisions for the well-being of their wives and families.

      I could be wrong – I’m Englisch, so I don’t know so much sometimes!

      How often does this (giving up of one’s own will) occur or not occur? Is there a lot of emphasis placed on submission in one’s daily life? Do “seekers” wanting to become Amish have difficulty with this?

      I can definitely understand the concept of submission in the context of the old saying “J-O-Y.” But, it is difficult to imagine having my ideas and wishes become meaningless and overruled by the ideas and wishes of my father, another male family member, or my husband (single vs. married). It’s a little easier for me to comprehend submitting to the leaders of the church; that is simply part of Amish culture, is that correct?

      But I’m interested in knowing, also, what the women who want, or think they want, to become Amish think about this?

      What do the men who want to convert think about the concept of giving up *your* will to that of the church?

      This is such a foreign concept, and so much an opposite to what’s encouraged (from childhood) in most of Englischer society that I’m thinking many people who want to convert and become Amish don’t get so far is because this concept is one they haven’t really considered this; perhaps it’s part of the reason so few seekers “make it” as Amish.

      If wives are to submit to their husbands, does the woman’s happiness, then, more or less depend on who she marries? What if a husband is abusive? Surely submitting to abuse can’t be condoned?

      I’m asking because I’d love to hear something from someone directly, rather than reading or hearing about the topic second-hand! I think I probably don’t have an accurate idea of how “submission” truly functions and what it means to the Amish and several other Plain groups. I’ve perhaps read once too often that women are treated as “second-class citizens” in Amish society, and that they likely are controlled financially, personally, and in all ways by their husbands and other Amish men. I don’t get this impression from what I’ve read of this or several other blogs.

      And then, I hope no one asked this already, but how do members of Amish or Mennonite communities become scribes for The Budget? I simply have no idea, and when I was reading that paper earlier, I thought how that process occurred. Maybe this is mentioned somewhere in the paper, and I’m overlooking it (lost in plain sight lol). Do women often read that newspaper? When I think about it, many scribes are women, so I’d think so!

      [ I really enjoy The Budget. One of my friends was talking to me a few days ago, and said that she believes communication via technology – computers, phones, television and other devices – is simply the future, and that anyone denying that is simply isolating themselves from reality. I respect her opinion, but I tend to think the opposite, that with technology having invaded nearly every aspect of Englischer life, we have lost a lot of the “human touch” that is so nice in life. Me, I would much rather sit down with a copy of The Budget and lose myself in its pages for a couple of hours than sit and watch television for the same amount of time! ]

      I know I asked quite a lot, and I’m afraid the first topic might be a touchy subject for some people; if so, I apologize. But if anyone can answer any of my questions (even if they’re pretty ignorant), I’d appreciate it very much! Thank you!

      1. Biblical submission

        Hi Mala
        I am not Amish, but I am a Christian and I know that submission to husbands and those in authority is not unique to the Amish culture. I have always been raised submitting to first my father and then my husband. It sounds terrible I know (for some reason our culture makes out that submission is a bad thing), but actually it makes family life so much better if both people are living under God. In our home it looks like this. My hubby has the final decision on a topic. Often I have no troubles deciding for us both should he be absent, but if I am unsure about something I bring it to him. If we are together he decides. My hubby though doesn’t just make a decision without much thought. One of the Bible passages (Ephesians 5:22-28) where it tells wives to submit carries on to instruct the husband to love their wives as Christ loves the church. (My Mum always said the husbands have the harder role.) So although I do submit and the final decision is his, I have my opinion and often he will ask me what I think prior to making his decision. I do my best to only give my opinion on important matters. I can happily do this because I know of his great love for me and our family and that he is trying to do his very best to lead us. When a wife doesn’t submit it is impossible for the husband to lead.
        In areas such as voting I do take my hubby’s advice because he is the head our household. (Also he has much more knowledge than I do about such matters.) I can only say what a blessing the act of submission is to our marriage and life because it gives a structure to the decision making process. It is also wonderful for the children to learn this at an early age as I know it will only help their marriages. I don’t think anyone would say I was being walked over by my husband by submitting to him. I am truly happy to do that as a Christian wife. I can only imagine anyone in a Christian marriage (Amish or not) would feel this way.
        Hope this helps answer your question. I look forward in seeing what others have to say.

      2. Lattice

        Well, Mala, you’ve asked some important questions. I will attempt to answer from my experience and observations. The “headship” order is a very important aspect of the Amish community. Males and females are taught from young ages what their role is and will be.

        “How often does this (giving up of one’s own will) occur or not occur?” – It is supposed to happen at all times and does happen most of the time. When a couple has “problems,” it is typically attributed to the wife being unsubmissive, or exercising her will over her husband’s. Church leaders will also admonish a husband and encourage him to show more kindness and consideration to his wife.

        An Amish woman begins marriage truly desiring to be an obedient helper to her husband. It’s harder for some than others…and the difficulties are often circumstantial.

        I suspect that when it comes to reasons why outsiders fail at “becoming Amish,” it is not doing without conveniences that stumps them – It’s being obedient to God/the Church/one’s husband. Outsiders, who have been “thinking for themselves” for a long time find having a visit from the church leadership with requests to make a change EXTREMELY feather ruffling, condescending, and humiliating. And most English women simply don’t know what to make of a grown woman who “asks” her husband in the same way a child might “ask” a parent. It is also remarkable to watch a man “shut his wife’s mouth” with a single word. There are wide variations among how couples interact through this dynamic, but the point is, Amish children know the expectation for their roles throughout their lives. It is, in many ways, a comfort.

    37. Margaret

      First of all I’m not Amish but with that said here’s what I see.

      Submission is something you learn from the moment your born. It doesn’t come out the blue like a lightning strike. Amish I think tend to marry earlier than English. Amish don’t recognize divorce. So if a man beats his wife or kids–I’ll leave that to someone else to manage.

      Amish always have decisions to make. Just like anyone else. But it’s a patrical church. Men rule. And I don’t mean this in a negative way. Women rule the house. Cook, clean, work out in the garden etc. and the men are generally responsible for being the breadwinners.

      So what happens if a man is disabled or a woman doesn’t marry? I would hope with the husbands approval the woman could go out and get a job. Maybe not be a politician but something local that could keep a roof over their heads. If an adult woman loss her husband I’m sure there is a time for mourning where the community will help her and then she’s going to have to stand on her own if she doesn’t remarry.

      I don’t believe women are expected to work the fields or do woodworking. They would more likely have a bakery or some kind of sewing store–either a walk in store or perhaps something where she can work from home especially if she has little ones at home.

      Boy I could really be showing my ignorance! I hope not!

    38. OldKat

      Almost hate to ask this ...

      After several good, serious questions I almost hate to ask this , BUT I will anyway. My question comes from the fact that when I know that I am not going out and no one is coming over I sit around the house in a pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt. I’d say I really let my hair down, but I don’t have that much left to let down. Is this something that Mark and/or John can do in the privacy of their own home? I don’t mean sit around in gym shorts and a T-shirt exactly, but do they dress much more casually than they would in a public setting or when guests are visiting?

      1. Don Curtis

        casual dress

        Mark says that he has never seen any Amish people put aside their clothes to dress in such a causal way as you have described. Mark wears his shirt, trousers, suspenders until he goes to bed. He has been in Amish homes for the night when just before bed the wife and girls may go and change into their bedclothes and wear a housecoat over them. Sometimes, just before bed the boys will go and change into sweatpants and shirt. But to go around all evening like that just isn’t done. Mark says that even in bed the women wear a head covering. It’s a cloth head covering. Mark said that one time he was with a group in Columbus and one of the group had a medical problem that required them to spend the night in the hospital. Amish people never stay alone in a hospital. Somebody always is there for them. Well, one of the ladies in the group said that she would stay the night with the single lady who was ill but she she said that she didn’t have her head covering for sleeping. Mark said that he volunteered his clean white handkerchief and the problem was solved.

    39. Caroline

      Question to John or Mark

      Dear John, dear Mark, I am a swiss woman and would like to have the possibility to live and work with an amish family for a few weeks. Can you tell me, how or where I can find a family that would take me? Thank you.

    40. George Moore

      English man wants to become Amish

      I want to become Amish and I have tattoos and I want to know if it’s possible for me to become Amish even though I have tattoos because IM very serious about wanting to become Amish

      1. ShipshewanaIndiana

        Tattoos would not necessarily be a problem, if you are willing to demonstrate you are willing to leave behind those things the amish consider worldly and prove yourself to those in the church. Where are you located and what reasons want to make you join? We have found them to be very non-judgmental people. We currently live in Northern Indiana and work with the amish in 5 communities in Indiana and Illinois. If you send me your email address we can communicate that way.

        1. George Moore


          My email is My name is George Moore and I’m from Arkansas.

    41. Sara A

      "Exchange students"

      Are there any programs like this, where a family could follow/help/learn for a weekend? I think non Amish kids/teens would learn a lot through this type of thing. Or Amish wanting to follow non Amish for a weekend? If there s such a program I would be very interested!!

      Thank you


    42. barbara glab



    43. Roy


      Do the Amish practice such things as composting, rainwater collection and organic farming?

      1. Marcus Yoder

        Some do, don’t know if all do. There is an auction add in the Budget that lists approx. 175 ton of chicken manure.

    44. "DOGGY Mountain Breakdown" Earl Scruggs Tribute.

      I have heard that the Amish and Mennonite folks are big fans of American acoustic, BLUEGRASS music. Well . . . I hope that y’all are aware of the fact that the “Earl Scruggs (cultural) Center: Music and Stories of the American South” is scheduled to have its momentous, Grand Opening in Shelby, North Carolina on January 11th of 2014.

      Apparently the generous sponsors who funded the construction of the Earl Scruggs Center felt that Scruggs was the purest embodiment of that sort of music and wanted his name on the door. The ribbon-cutting festivities on 01-11-14 will feature a Who’s Who list of Country music stars. Since Earl Scruggs brought to Nashville (and the whole world) that rapid-fire, three-fingered, banjo sound, he certainly has earned that honor.

      My question is . . . do the Amish/Mennonite communities across the United States of America plan on organizing any sort of tribute to our Bluegrass hero (Scruggs) on his big day? If you don’t have any plans already set for this, kindly allow me to suggest one.

      Since the Amish are expert dog breeders, Scruggs most popular hit (“Foggy Mountain Breakdown”) could be turned into “DOGGY Mountain Breakdown.” You could get dozens of Amish pet owners involved, as well as a bunch of Amish children. This theatrical production could be filmed in a big, Amish barn by a professional videographer. Clips of this, hoped for, video might make NATIONAL NEWS BROADCASTS in conjunction with the Earl Scruggs Center kick-off on 01-11-14.

      Please click on these links for helpful, prototype videos and for information on obtaining dog costumes and toy instruments needed for this production:

      In conclusion, it’s true that mainstream America wants to see and hear more about the Amish. But the Amish themselves should be the ones who decide just what we non-Amish see and hear. The progressive, left-wingers in Hollywood are not going to make any more motion pictures like Harrison Ford’s “Witness,” which portrayed the Amish in a favorable light, so, the Amish folks must be proactive in creating their own good public relations.

      In my humble opinion, a well-done performance of “DOGGY Mountain Breakdown,” shown nationally on television, would help to neutralize most of the bad press the Amish have received lately concerning an “Amish Mafia” and “Amish Puppy Mills.”

      1. Slightly-Handled-Order-Man

        The Amish performing Scruggs

        To answer the question about Amish/Mennonites organizing a celebration for this event and this performer is probably a resounding no.

        Individuals, particularly of the more liberal minded Mennonite denominations might mark the day if he or she likes Mr. Scruggs and his art and generally the genre in small muted ways or even, if they where a fan, they might go to the Opening, but the more conservative Amish will not, in all likelihood, even acknowledge the day as significant, never mind trying to mount and record a theatrical display in a member’s barn (remember, the Amish are not even keen on people recording them “performing” songs at weddings or funerals) even if they would for some reason initiate it themselves.

        Thank you for sharing something you are obviously very passionate about, Mr. Scruggs and this cultural centre, and welcome to Amish America, please feel free to read and comment on any of Erik’s posts as interests you!

        1. The Amish performing Scruggs

          Thank you so much for your prompt response to my (stupid) question. I should have known that the extremely religious Amish folks are not going to congregate in a member’s barn and give a tribute to an ordinary American’s life. Instead, they prefer to gather in the community Church and give solemn tribute to Jesus Christ’s life. Duuuuuhhhhhhhh . . . . .

          Hopefully, though, it got my videos a few more YouTube VIEWS.

          1. Margaret

            I'm sensing anger

            Im not really sure you understand Old Order Amish, what they believe and how they were worship. They don’t congregate at a local community Church–New Order Mennomite might–but Old Order meet at each other’s homes every other week. There is a lot of emphasis on community–those within their Church district.

            It isn’t that Amish think they are better than anyone else. They believe in the philosophy of being unequally oxed. You believe one thing and they believe something else. The two worlds don’t mix. Life is complicated enough without losing folks to the Englisch world because it’s “easier”.

            You came in and asked a question. You were politely answered. No need to indirectly be rude in your response.

            1. No anger

              I was just using self-deprecating humor; however, if anybody though I was rude, I’m sorry.

              I like and have a lot of admiration for the Amish people. I persuaded my reluctant wife to visit the Amish settlements in Nappanee and Shipshewana, Indiana last year to celebrate my 59th birthday. While she went shopping at the Amish mall there, I toured the “Menno-Hof” museum and learned some things about the Amish and their history. That’s where the Amish guide told me that they liked Bluegrass music (or was he Mennonite . . . I’m not sure).

              Our group’s friendly, “Menno-Hof” guide also told us that the Amish folks meet in HOMES, not churches, when they worship; however, I had a “senior moment” and forgot about that fact (self-deprecating humor again). I would like to visit other Amish communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but Gina would NOT accompany me next time. She had enough of the Amish. She thought that the kids were very cute, but she didn’t like the “scraggly looking men.” Sorry.

    45. Can you please help with contact?

      Dear John, Hello from Australia.

      I am hoping to get in contact with David and Miriam Lapp, of Lancaster County. I am hoping you may know them. I would like to write to them, preferably directly by snail-mail, with the view to friendship and fellowship in Jesus, all-be-it at a distance. If you can please advise their contact details I would be very grateful.

      I appreciate you may have hesitation in doing so, so please either have me write to them indirectly via an address of your choosing for vetting of the letter (such as to yourself), or permit me to write a personal letter to them at their invitation to their chosen address.

      BTW, the website I have given is my blog of many years ago. I no longer maintain the site, but offer it by way of identity. I now live at Jesmond, NSW, Australia. Another website of mine is here… . If you wish for further email discussion please feel free to contact me.

      And thank you, I appreciate your website here.

      Sincerely, and in the name of Jesus, the Truth.
      Peter L. Johnson.

    46. Ellen Greenberg


      Is it really the practice of the Lancaster, PA Amish to shun a family member(s) if they show disrespect or violate the Ordnung? Shun them so that they can never return or visit their families or community again? It just seems so severe.

    47. melissa r

      How can we join the amish church??

      We have been interested in joining an amish church for several years, we have attempted to learn Pennsylvania dutch, (but cannot find anyone to give us lessons!) we dress in plain amish style clothing, and homeschool with an amish approved curriculum, we have friends also that are amish, but they do not live near us, (they are over an hour’s drive away.) Should we just give up, assuming it is just too difficult to join?

    48. D. Ann Martin


      This may not be your category but perhaps your wife or Mom or sisters could pass along the answer. Question: how do I starch a woman’s white cotton everyday cap to get it “crisp” again? What ingredients do I use? I would like to get the same results as Amish women get if they were to starch their caps. Thank you, Mrs. Martin

      1. Linda

        Starching clothes

        D. Ann,
        Are you familiar with the aerosol can of spray starch? Or with Argo Laundry Starch in a box, a powder that you mix with water?

        In the Cooking & Such magazine, Spring 2014 issue, is a Do-It-Yourself recipe for Homemade Spray Starch (used with permission):
        -In a spray bottle, combine 2 cups distilled water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil or 2-3 drops lemon juice, if desired. Shake well before each use. Depending on the finish you like, you can adjust the amount of cornstarch.
        For a longer shelf life and for a nice, crisp finish on your clothes, shake and pour prepared starch into a small saucepan. Allow it to simmer on the stove until almost translucent. Cool and pour back into spray bottle.

        The Lehman’s website gives pointers for dipping clothes into a starch solution:

    49. kathy

      amish for hire

      good morning. I was wanting to find out how my family could go about getting information on amish for hire. mostly outdoor work. thank you – kathy

      1. Looking for Amish workers?

        Just a hopefully helpful note on the question of hiring Amish people for work–anyone looking for Amish workers at this website would be better served by giving specifics including a) your general location and b) type of work (construction, furniture, etc) you are interested in.

        It would also be more effective to post your question in a section of the site specific to the service or product you are looking for.

        See here for business categories:

        Also, contact info helps.

        However, since this is a website, Amish readership is limited (though some Amish people do have access to the internet and some Amish do visit this site, as well as many more non-Amish people who have contact with Amish and can share information with Amish they know).

        A more effective method of finding Amish workers for hire, depending on where you live, would be to reach out to Amish directly or access a local advertising newspaper which often feature ads from Amish service companies.

        For instance, the People’s Exchange is a free Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan ad paper advertising local businesses, many of which are Amish. A recent edition of the bi-weekly paper has 16 pages of ads related to construction, for example.

        If you aren’t sure where the nearest Amish community is, look here for your state:

        We get a lot of questions on hiring Amish and if you follow the above you’ll have a better shot at finding someone.