Over three days, October 25-27, Mike spoke to a roomful of plain people, many of whom have been put into the ban (shunned) for gathering to study the Bible.
In the Amish perspective, the first obligation is to faithfully adhere to the rules of the community known as the Ordnung. Acceptance of an outside belief can be seen as a corrupting influence that can spread throughout the group and cause others to be “led astray.” When individuals refuse to turn away from an offending belief they are placed in “the ban.”
Most of those put into the ban had been placed there within the past year, one family as recently as the previous week. In one community in Lancaster County, 100 families have been put into the ban. A family was placed into the ban because they were unwilling to cut off children that had been placed into the ban for their faith. Others, had been banned because they were caught reading the Bible to discover what dangerous things had caused so many to be separated. Over and over we heard stories of families placing dark quilts over their windows so they would not be discovered studying the Bible by lamplight in the evenings.
We were able to develop ties and encourage each other. Mike told the group that, “When God begins a movement among a people, He always raises a man to lead, and gives him a vision. I am not that man. The man will be of your people. He will know you and will understand where you are coming from. Pray for that man and the message God has to deliver through him.”
Pray for these people as God moves and the work that lies ahead.