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The meeting of boy and girl turns into husband and wife for Yoders

Published on -8/26/2014, 9:39 AM

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Friday evening was a highlight for me. Everyone in church was invited to participate in an informal singing at the schoolhouse. 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 were too busy to take time for what really counts in life. Afterward, 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 might not have 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, Ill. 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 always is 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. Immediately, there was a bond of kindred spirits. Being of similar church fellowship, their family occasionally came for a visit and also would 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 surprised a month after my 19th birthday when Mom and Dad asked to talk with me in private and announced Daniel Yoder wanted to start a friendship with me. After spending time in prayer and seeking the Lord's will, we responded to him with a positive answer.

I was honored. I always had 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 then will 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 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 always were looking for a practical opportunity to spend time together. Traveling to Danville rapidly became a highlight for me.

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.

Here's a recipe used at our wedding.

Wedding Salisbury steak

6 pounds turkey burger

1.5 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.

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