Archive for the ‘Martha on Amish Stories’ Category


Martha is old order Mennonite who lives on a farm in New York state with her husband Joseph and children. She was once an outsider (English) who became old order Mennonite. Martha lives in a small farming community among her Amish neighbors and her very good friend Jean. 

Jean was asked about our Old Order Mennonite rumspringa. As Jean’s children are not old enough to go through anything like that yet-she asked me,  so i will try to answer  this. We have two teenage boys, one 17 and the other just turned 15. Also, Old Order Mennonite discourage any going into the outside world as the Amish allow. Even with all that some of the young folks do it anyway. Another thing you must understand is that I was born in the outside world and became Old Order Mennonite. Some of the things that our children do in the outside world upset Joseph, my husband, – don’t bother me and visa versa. Another difference  between the Amish and Old Order Mennonite, the Amish let their children go out into the outside world to decide if they want to join the church-and they are baptised when they decide to stay Amish. Our children make their decision to stay or leave the Old Order Mennonite first, those that stay are baptised and as much as we discourage it, can go out into the outside world. We have very few children that leave the  Old Order Mennonite church and those that do usually join another branch of the Mennonite. Right now our 17 year old is out this evening at singing at one of our neighbor’s barn. The young folks meet for singing and for   meetings, talking and eating. Sometimes lights are set up outside and they play soft ball or volley ball after the singing. We adults don’t chaperon these singing’s,but they are bringing in food for the table, and soft drinks so they usually know what’s going on. When the singing’s are at our house the younger brothers and sisters like to go up to the second floor, look out the window because they are longing for the day when they can go to these singing’s. From our second story window you get a great  view of the barn where the singing is held. If something happens or goes wrong one of our children comes running down the stairs and tells us. We have a great security system for the singing’s at our house. Most of these go along just fine, but sometimes some of the Old Order Mennonite’s or outsiders come and bring beer or other alcohol or drugs. We do not tolerate this. This has happened at our house twice. Once we found who brought it in and got them off our property and the other time we ended the singing and sent everyone home. Both times we called all the parents and let them know what was going on. That was a long time ago and we haven’t had any problems since. If you read any of those Amish or Mennonite novels where the young ladies hope that a young man will take them home in their buggy holds true with our singing. Many of the young ladies come with their the young man they are going with, but some ladies also  bring by their brother or friend. The single ladies and gentlemen look forward to meeting each other here. The purpose of these singing’s is to meet their future husband or wife. Also we also hold local picnic and games where the young folks can get together and enjoy themselves. Sometimes these are at parents home’s and sometimes it is on the lot behind our church. During the winter we also have skating, sledding, at someones place that has hills along with a bonfire and food. We try to keep activities going all year round. The only problem we have had with our 17 year old is that he has a car that we weren’t suppose to know about, but we knew the day he got it. My parents signed for him to get the drivers license and helped him get the car with our permission. I did not get to upset about it as I use to drive before I became Old Order Mennonite. Our son, has said he will get rid of the car when he finds the right lady and he plans on staying Old Order Mennonite. We live near the city of Canandaigua and I know he drives up there with  his friends to go to movies. He told us he tried drinking and smoking once, but got sick and would never do that again. We do not ride in his car as it is against the Old Order Mennonite rules. The one that has been the biggest problem is our 15 year old. He really shouldn’t even be going out into the world yet,not until he is 16 but he is. Some of the outsiders have parties on these back roads where we live where they serve beer and other liquor. He has ridden in young folks cars to places we do not know where they are going. We have grounded him, but he has sneaked out of the house. As yet, he has not been baptised and this also worries us. Many of his friends are outsiders. His older brother has taken the car out and brought him back several times. He has threatened to move out. He thinks he can get work but in this state he can’t work until he is 16 and any job he would get at that age would not support him. Of course, we don’t want him to leave. Many Sunday’s he does not want to go to meeting (church), but we make him go. We have punished him, spoke to the Deacons, grounded him and nothing seems to work. During the days, he does his chores and says he wants to stay Old Order Mennonite, but wants to enjoy life first. We have even had to go down to the Police Station because he and few other young folks his age were hanging around late at night. Our 15 year old thinks he is older than he is. I now know why my parents became grey so young although I was never this bad. We pray daily for all our children. Our 17 year old has been going out with different young ladies. Lately it seems to be the same one. We do not want him to marry until he is 18. He and Joseph went out and picked out the lot to build his house on when he starts courting. Our son would like the house up when they marry so they could move right in. Along with the house, he gets land enough to farm. We are talking to Jean and David about building on our land instead of where they were going to build their house.   I enjoy my neighbors, we go to the same church, but Jean is my closest friend especially when I was joining the Old Order Mennonite. Several people thought I would not make it as an  Old Order Mennonite, but Jean believed in me and encouraged me. If I didn’t understand something she would explain it. If I got discouraged she would encourage me. She was at my baptism. She and David were at Joseph and mine’s wedding and we were at theirs. Nothing would please Joseph and I more if David and Jean sold that land, sold their farm and built over here by us. I hope this helps you understand our children. They go through the same as all children do. God is With You, You Be with God, Martha

 Rumshpringa:  derived from the German term “herumspringen” or short “rumspringen” (meaning “jumping around”) and the Pennsylvania German term “Rond Springen” or “running around”) generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish/old order Mennonites, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish/Mennonite church or instead leaves the community.The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church. Not all Amish/Menn use this term (it does not occur in John Hostetler’s extended discussion of adolescence among the Amish), but in sects that do, Amish elders generally view this as a time for courtship and finding a spouse Wenger Mennonites youth go through a period of rumspringa between ages 16 and 18. It is sometimes referred to as a period to “sow wild oats.”

Mennonite Old-Fashion Beef Pot Pie

2 pounds stewing beef

6 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 medium size potatoes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk or water

1 teaspoon minced onion

1 teaspoon minced parsley

Cook meat in salt water until it is tender. Remove meat from broth; add minced onion and parsley to broth. Bring to the boiling point and add alternate layers of cubed potatoes and squares of dough.

To make dough, beat egg and add milk. Add flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out paper thin and cut into 1-inch squares. Keep broth boiling while adding dough squares in order to keep them from packing together. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, adding more water if needed. Add meat and stir through pot pie.

Serves 6 to 8.

Mennonite recipe posted with permission from Recipe goldmine. Richard from Amish Stories.


To view Martha’s very first post on Amish Stories and to learn why she joined the old order Mennonite church, just click on the link below!

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