Friday evening was a highlight for me. Everyone in church was invited to participate in an informal singing at the school house. Throughout the evening several men shared some inspirational thoughts. Something that stood out for me was what a brother said about having hectic lifestyles and schedules. He challenged us to examine our lives to see whether we have a Jesus schedule or if we weren’t too busy to take time for what really counts in life. Afterwards we had some scrumptious snacks. Each of us brought a finger food so we had an excellent variety to choose from.
To those of you who may have not read my last letter, my husband Daniel grew up in Danville, Ohio and most of my growing up years were spent here in Flat Rock, Illinois. People keep asking us how we met, being from different states and Amish at that.
I’ll first give you a brief outline on what dating is like in our community and how it is done.
Before starting any boy-girl relationships youth are expected to be at least 18 years old and a member of the church. The boy is always the one who leads out and makes the first step. After praying and seeking God’s will he talks with the girl’s father and asks for his blessing before proceeding in making contact with her.
Our mothers first met at a funeral when I was 10-years-old. Immediately there was a bond of kindred spirits. Being of similar church fellowship their family occasionally came for a visit and would also spend time with other friends in our community. Javin, my older brother, enjoyed when Daniel came to our house to spend time with him or were there perhaps some hidden reasons to visit?
I was very surprised a month after my 19th birthday when mom and dad asked to talk with me in private and announced that Daniel Yoder wanted to start a friendship with me. After spending time in prayer and seeking the Lord’s will we responded back to him with a positive answer.
I was honored. I had always respected him as a Godly young man. After having a mutual agreement to begin a friendship a day is picked for the couple to have their first date. Generally it is kept as a secret until then. The boy will then take the girl from church to her house on a Sunday afternoon where they spend time together.
Daniel came to Flat Rock for our first date. He traveled with his brother who also had a girlfriend in our community.
After the Sunday services I nervously, yet eagerly, waited until it was time to go home. When the time finally came to leave we walked out to our buggy and helped each other hitch up the horse. It seemed like there were people everywhere watching us, most of them very surprised to see the two of us together.
We spent the afternoon at our cabin chatting, reading the Bible and praying together. After our date we joined the other youth for supper and a hymn singing.
Living 370 miles apart required lots of phone dates, but of course, we were always looking for a practical opportunity to spend time together. Traveling to Danville rapidly became a highlight for me.
One evening when our family sat around the table eating supper there was a knock at the back door which was off of our kitchen.
“Come in!” I said, expecting to see a neighbor lady.
The door opened and in walked Daniel Yoder in person. I almost shrieked.
I was overtaken with surprise, my mouth dropped open. I was speechless. What could I say? Were my eyes playing tricks on me or was this real? Needless to say we had a wonderful weekend together before it was time for him to travel home once more.
Nine months after our first date found Daniel and I making preparations for our wedding day. On March 19, 2010 we began our journey together as husband and wife.
My parents hosted a wedding with 400 guests. Everyone in my family did a wonderful job with cleaning, organizing, and planning. There was tons of work involved with countless little details. My mother gets first prize with all she did in keeping things organized and running smoothly. She planned a full course Amish meal of dinner rolls, tossed salad, Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, grape Jell-O salad, peanut butter pie, pecan pie and ice cream.
I feel unworthy of everything that was done for us in preparing for our unforgettable day as well as all the visitors who traveled hundreds of miles to show their love and support. This week I’ll share a recipe that was used at our wedding.
6 pounds turkey burger
1 1/2 pounds sausage
2 cups quick oats
2 cups cracker crumbs
5 cups cold water
2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
1 tablespoon black pepper
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
Mix and press into a cookie sheet with sides. Chill overnight. Cut into squares. Grill and top with your favorite barbecue sauce.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish housewife in rural Illinois. She is the third writer of The Amish Cook column since its inception in 1991. Yoder, 24, can be reached by writing to: The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. To learn more about Amish culture and the Amish Cook column and to sign up for the twice weekly newsletter, visit www.amishcookonline.com or “The Amish Cook Fan Page” on Facebook.