Monday, January 19, 2015

JEAN TELLS OF AFRO-AMERICAN OLD ORDER MENNONITES

Everything is fine at Elmer's house.  Being this is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Elmer and I got talking and that this would be a great day to tell about Afro-American Old Order Mennonites.  Martha was going to do a post about this a year or two ago and never had time.  Then I was going to.  Today just seemed to be the best to tell.

When Edward came into our home, being the only black color skinned  person in our family, he said it did not bother him because he knew Michael and our family.  Even at meetings, he was at first, nervous not because of the color of their skin, but of meeting people he didn't know.  When he got a bit upset was when we were going to a family funeral out of our area.  He thought he would be the only black person there.  Edward really didn't want to go.  We finally talked him into it.  When we got there and went to the viewing, Edward was so surprised to see that he was, by far, not the only African American Old Order Mennonite there.

Mennonites as well as the Amish believe ALL men are created equal.  The color of one's skin white, black, red or any other makes no difference.  No one is any better or worse than anyone else, we are all sinners.  Even going back before the Civil War or what some call the War Between the states we treated all alike.

Mennonites, and I say that in general, because Old Order Mennonites are not the only of our group that does many ways of service.  Over the years, I have mentioned many of our ways of service.  Of course, foster parents is one of them.  Visiting prisons is another one.  In going to prisons we try to help the people.  At Christmas we bake cookies and candies to make into packages for the people.  During the year, we try to help in people keeping contact with their families.  Of course, we also tell of the Lord.

We noticed that women and men going to prison sometimes do not have anyone to take their children.  Mennonites, in most areas, have taken it upon themselves to provide homes for the children. Of course they got approval from the state.  Sometimes women are expecting when they go to prison, the baby is born, a Mennonite family will take the child.  If the parents come out of prison, we try to help the person find work, set up a household so they can provide for their child or children and return them.

Sometimes, like in Michael's case, the parents are in prison and they will not be coming out or at least for many years.  We took Michael into our home and made him a member of our family.  Some of the Foster Children are white, some black, - it does not make a difference.  When they come into a Mennonite Foster Home, they are loved, taken care of, provided for and like us, some are adopted.

A while back, I don't know if it was New York State of Mind or Amish Stories, Sarah had a post on.  In her foster home, she takes in children that have special needs.  She also takes children that will come into her home while their parents are in prison and return them when the Children's Service of the state tells her too.  I will be honest and don't know if I could stand having one of the children taken from my household, after many years, and returned.  Not because the parent, might not be a good parents, which would concern me, but after raising a child for years, seeing it leave my house. It takes a special person to be able to do that.

We raise the children as our own, in our beliefs and ways.  When the children grow up, and it comes time to make the decision and be baptized, many become Mennonite as Edward has done in our home. When it comes to courting age, sometimes they marry Afro-American, sometimes they intermarry.  There is no prejudice.

Be With God,
Jean

GRANDMOTHER OLIVE WILL BE BACK TOMORROW ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS.



 














14 comments:

Tom said...

This was very nice to read today. Tom The Backroads Traveller

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Tom,

I will see that Jean gets your message.

Marilyn

Angela Tucker said...

Very interesting. I work in a prison and know how very important family contact is for inmates. For some, to know that their children are safe and well-taken care of is what keeps them going towards parole. California has just begun a program that helps long-term (25 to life) inmates prepare for possible parole. The look of hope is indescribable. Some of these inmates have been in prison since they were 17 or 18, for over 30 years. Please let Jean know that what she and others are doing is amazing.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Angela,

Thank you for telling us about California prisoners and prison. I think that people in prison would worry most about their children and family. Will see that Jean gets your message.

Marilyn

Vickie said...

How truly wonderful this post is. God bless the work they are doing.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Vickie,

I agree with you and will see that Jean gets the message.

Hugs to Mabel and Henry,
Marilyn and Pierre

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jean, for everything! Blessings, Carol

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Carol,

Will see that Jean gets your message.

Blessings to you and yours,
Marilyn

Countryside Reflections said...

The kindness of the Amish and Mennonites is incredible. Thank you for telling us about another wonderful service that is provided. The families of men and women in prison are so lucky to have you helping and caring about them.

Doreen

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Doreen,

I will see that Jean gets your message.

Marilyn

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! If everyone practiced kindness this world would be so much better.
Thank you, Carol in SC.

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Carol in SC,

I agree with you. Will see that Jean gets your message.

Marilyn

Willow's Quiet Corner said...

Jean, thank you for this post. I think this was a wonderful choice to put on today.

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Willow's Quiet Corner,

I will see that Jean gets your message.

Marilyn