Monday, January 19, 2015
JEAN TELLS OF AFRO-AMERICAN OLD ORDER MENNONITES
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,
GRANDMOTHER OLIVE WILL BE BACK TOMORROW ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS.