|Martha was an outsider who joined the old order Mennonite church some years ago. Her heart took her in a different direction, and then her whole world changed. Read her story only on Amish Stories, what most likely will be her only post.
The names have been changed at the writers request.
I met Joseph in the city one evening when out with my girlfriends. Really, as we look back, the only reason I went with him is because I had never gone out with someone who belonged to the Mennonite Church and he had not gone out with someone who was not Mennonite. We were 19 at the time. After going together for quite a while, we realized we were in love. He would not leave his Old Order Mennonite Church. The church I went to then was not as important to me, as the Mennonite Church was for him so I decided to change to Mennonite.
My parents were really upset. They said it would never work. Our marriage would never work. They told me of all the things I would be leaving behind. Also, they said I was going behind in life instead of ahead. Also, my parents stated that if I married Joseph they would not attend the wedding. Joseph’s family was not sure it would work out either.but their attitude was different than my parents. They said to learn about the Old Order Mennonite beliefs and make a decision then. Things got so upset at my parents house that I moved in with Joseph’s not married aunt in her house.
It was a big change for me. The way I was brought up was church was on Sunday. Old Order Mennonite honoring God is twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Prayer in my former church was when you needed it. Mennonite Prayer is every day, anytime, any reason – not only when you need it or others need it, but in thanksgiving for what you have received-encouragement for living the way the Lord wants you to. Before if someone insulted you or alike-you thought of how to get back at them. Mennonite is to turn the other cheek and forgive. Before we visited aunt, uncles, cousins a few times a year. Now as Mennonite your relatives are close, you see many of them daily. Those out of town you visit several times a year either going to them or they come to you. Before many times I wore slacks and, in the summer, shorts. Now I wear a long dress, apron, prayer kapp, and bonnet. Outside is equal women’s rights. Mennonite – the man is the head of the house. Going from working eight hours a day, five days a week and you are done to farming where you can work at least 16 hours a day, six days a week plus any hour day or night might have an emergency on a farm. Going from driving a car to driving a horse and buggy. Leaving spending evenings watching TV to reading the newspaper and much, much more in changes. When I started to change to Mennonite, I thought the changes were so hard, but it doesn’t seem hard now. I could never go back and live that life again. My parents have accepted my way of life although I don’t think they understand why I love it so much. When Joseph was ill and in the hospital they could not understand why I stayed on the farm instead of moving in with them until Joseph got out. I could not tell that I was with my people now. I love my parents and we go visit them once or twice a week as they live close to us, but their way of life is not my way of life now, not anymore. I am not talking down my parents they are good, hard working people that believe in God, but still their life is not my life. It is funny as I look back on my life-things that use to bother me then, don’t bother me anymore. I don’t miss a TV. I don’t miss music. People ask me what I miss from my former ways and that is the car. Horse and buggy is great you get to see the plants, people, animals and more. But, when there is an emergency like when Joseph was in the hospital and I had to call a van or my parents to drive me there-a car would have been nice. When you are bringing anything frozen it is nice to have a car rather than again calling my parents or a van. On the other hand, I have parents that drive a car. Most of the Old Order Mennonites go back many generations and don’t have parents they can call to drive them somewhere.
When I think back in life, I believe the Lord had Joseph and I planned out for a long time. When I was in the public school before I knew Joseph, all my friends took Spanish as their second language-for some reason I took German. The Mennonite German language was hard to learn even though I took German in high school as Mennonite German is German, Dutch and English. I didn’t really think why I took German in school and my friends took something else, but now I know why.Now I speak both English and German.
When I became Mennonite I also had to learn sewing and cooking. I didn’t know how to sew-I bought my clothes from a store. At first Joseph and I bought or his mother made them for us. When our children started growing-it was costing a lot in clothes so I had my mother-in-law teach me how to sew. I made a lot of mistakes. Lots of them !!!! Finally I learned how to make the girls and mine dresses, kapps, aprons,night gowns and bonnets. Also learned how to make Joseph and the boys shirts, night clothes and trousers. I am not as good as my mother-in-law, but my family all wear my clothes and no complaints. Also, I had learn to make cakes,cookies, pies, rolls, etc. from scratch and not out of a box. Also, I learned many Mennonite recipes. At our house there are some dishes from my former way and Mennonite dishes.
Also, it took me a long time to learn how to hand stitch quilts. I started just trying on left over cloth and working my way up. I don’t make quilts by myself-I am not that good, but I do work with others on quilting. My best handwork I learned was embroidery. I am not the best, but I can do that pretty well. I also do knitting. I am sorry I just can’t get it to learn crochet.
As farming work goes, I learned all about farming, plowing, planting, harvesting and more. I know how to milk cows by hand and machine. Also, know how to feed all the animals, and clean up their pens. I have a garden along side our house. Having ten children does help. Most of the time the boys help their father on the outside and the girls help me on the inside of our house. Of course all us work the garden and you never know when outside work might need a hand. Also when we are doing heavy cleaning – the men help on the inside.
I love being Old Order Mennonite. I am so happy that I met my husband and live the life we do. I do think that joining when I was younger is a lot easier that joining at my age now. My parents asked me if something happened to Joseph, would I consider coming back to living like them and the answer is no. I am Old Order Mennonite and I will stay Old Order Mennonite. Our children are taught Old Order Mennonite, but our children do understand that my parents live a different way than we do, but they are honored and loved just as Joseph’s parents.
Yes, my parents did attend our wedding. Joseph’s parents went over and spoke to my parents after I had been baptised . To this day, I don’t know what Joseph’s parents said, but my parents did come to the wedding and reception. Whenever we ask Joseph’s parents what they said to my parents-they say just parent talk.( LOL) Today Joseph, our children and myself are very close to my parents.
That’s all I can think to tell you about my marrying Joseph and changing to Old Order Mennonite.
Recipe of the week coming this Sunday, and also a new post this Monday with images from Lebanons Amish community along with one more whoopie pie recipe. Richard from Amish Stories.