Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day off the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the Earth with a curse (Malachi 4:6).
These are the bittersweet words of one of our Lord's faithful Messengers whom I long to meet. I pray that on our way to heaven, my earthly father and I can meet Malachi, and share our testimony how this prophesy was fulfilled between us.
My Dad, Andy Sr. (an Amish Bishop) and I were knit together at the hearts for many years. He read and memorized the four Gospels, parts of Paul's Epistles, and preached by heart, (without a Bible) many three hour sermons from the Old Testament. Sadly, my Dad never put the puzzle together. Yes, he knew the sanctuary blueprint very well, but not as the Lord's way to salvation.
This description of my Dad is true for thousands of Amish bishops and ministers. For many, their culture has become their religion. I sincerely put on the Amish culture's yoke when I was eighteen years old, via baptism by sprinkling. While the leaders read the Bible to me about eight times before my baptism, my eligibility was determined by my willingness to adhere to church tradition. Much of this is achieved by a misinterpretation of 2nd Timothy 3:14.
Starting at a young age, my parents and school teachers had us memorize the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments and other Scriptures. Yet, we never understood the plan of salvation until the Holy Spirit inspired us to not only read, but study the Bible. We read the Martin Luther German as well as the King James Bible.
The power that spoke this world into existence convicted us that yes, we were indeed a peculiar people, not conformed to this world. Yet I was a smelly body inside that whitewashed tomb. After a few years of studying the Bible and other Christian literature from different denominations, we were convicted to not confess our sins to the ministers of the church any more, but to the only mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). We (Naomi and I) were convicted to make the Bible our only rule of authority. We told our church leaders our convictions, which included not participating in their shunning practices any longer. After an intense discussion with the church leaders, we were informed that they will ban us from the Amish church based on our confession that we were no longer convicted to uphold some of their fundamental beliefs. And on that night in May of 2013, Naomi and I knelt on our hard bedroom floor, scared, trembling, and with a total feeling of hopelessness. We don't remember much of what we prayed other than that we are committed to sharing the Three Angel's messages of Revelation 14 with this sincere yet misled religious group. This was the conception of the West Salem Mission which was born about 2 years later.
We are convicted that the Amish lifestyle is not against the principles of the Bible. We personally still maintain much of this lifestyle to this day. To us, it is a discipline, not a religion. We are—by far—not the only family that has experienced this form of persecution. There is a real revival on foot in the Amish communities, thanks to the prayers of many concerned Christians, Amish, ex-Amish and others. Today, there are an increasing amount of Amish that have a relationship with Christ. Yet, this prophetic end time message has not reached many of these people.
The West Salem Mission group wants to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have partnered with us in sharing the Everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14 with the modern descendants of the Anabaptists. We could not have come this far without the prayers and financial help of many like-minded believers like you. Thank you.
We are planning to put out a quarterly newsletter to our supporters in the near future. This West Salem Mission is timely as we discover many Amish and Mennonites that are convicted to go back to the Sabbath of the Lord, and accept all the teachings of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. We are in the early stages of an exciting new building project. We will follow up with an update soon of our needs, for those of you who care to support us.
We have a summer Camp Meeting scheduled for July 27-30th. We would love to have you join us. The address is 14700 Rickel Rd, West Salem, OH 44287.
We thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for your partnership as we attempt to share this faith that was once delivered to the saints.
In love and gratitude,