Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jean : Jean talks about how the old order Mennonites and the Amish buy property, with a special guest her friend "Martha" making her first appearance since her first and hugely popular post on Amish Stories a few months ago.

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.
One of the questions that was asked is what do we think of the legal system?. We believe the bible at Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to the world." and also 1st John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.". Because of our way we do not sue people, we do not join the military, we will not be on a jury that has capital punishment, we do not hold political office, most of us do not vote, we do not swear an oath (even on the Bible in court), most do not collect Social Security, and more. Even though David has worked at places and paid his Social Security he will not collect when his time comes. We do sell much of our crops to the government to use for food to the military-we do not have any special contracts. Our belief is we should take care of our people not let the world take care of us. We do pay all our taxes-in New York we have federal taxes and state tax plus school tax, and town tax. If something should happen and we need a police officer, I think we would call before some of the other people because David knows most of the police officers due to the fact that he is a fireman-and policemen also come to the fires. The only firearm  we have is David's hunting rifle which David has to have a license for. His picture is not on the license-so far.

Most of the Old Order Mennonite's and Amish buy property from word of mouth. Before David and I got married we looked at some property down state that we were thinking of buying. We heard because some other Old Order Mennonite told us about it. The people that told us had heard about it from some Amish friends. In the end we bought David's parents house that we still live in. When we wanted to sell some of our property we gave word to all our Old Order Mennonite family and friends. Through word of mouth it got to the Amish couple that bought it and we helped build their house and barn on. The reason we bought the property was that the man was selling the property for someone to build a house subdivision there. Not wanting that in our back yard, we purchased the property-through a Real Estate Broker. Some of the property is bought and sold through Real Esate People, but for  most of us is word of mouth. We do not use lawyers unless it is absolutely necessary.

We read in the paper that the Hershbergers 12 children that lost both of their Amish parents in the van accident are being adopted by their Aunt and Uncle. It is wonderful that they would sell their home property and move into Hershberger home. Aunt and Uncle had no children and soon they will have twelve. We do believe in legal assistance in adopting children. Martha and Joseph have adopted four children. We are considering adopting children. Martha wants to tell how she and Joseph got their current farm so here is Martha.

Martha : Hello Everyone. When Joseph and I got married we bought a real small farm with plans of paying it off and buying a bigger one. Two years later we had our first son, I was with child and we became foster parents to 3 more children-two boys and one girl. We had foster children before, but none stayed very long-they went back to their parents or were moved on to other homes. The three that came this time had lost their parents in an automobile accident. Their grandparents could take care of the them for a week or weekend, but health wise could not take them full time. My child that came was a son. So now we had four boys and one girl. Again, I was with child. Joseph and I wanted to legally adopted our foster children. They were members of our family as far as we were concerned. Social Services came out and said that we did not have enough bedrooms-we either had to add on to this one or buy a bigger house. With Old Order Mennonite the matter is not buying a house-but its the farm we must change. We had to sell ours and buy a bigger one. The major place for our money was in our farm-we had some in the bank-but most in our farm. If we did not get another farm we could not only adopt the children, but they  would have to be removed to a family with a bigger house-which might mean dividing them.

We got the  word  out  that our farm was for sale and we started looking at other farms. As none of the word  of mouth farms were what we needed-either the house was too small or the fields were. Finally we went to Real Estate people. After looking at several farms-we found our perfect farm. The house was bigger enough-in fact we could have more children. Fields were big enough to support our family. The problem was money. Even if we sold our farm we would not have the money to put down on the farm. Joseph's parents offered some money-my parents offered money, but we turned it down as we would have two mortgages to pay. We knew that our parents wouldn't let us lose the farm, but there is such a thing as getting in over your head and after going over our finances we  knew we were heading that way.

It got so we had less than a month to get a bigger farm or the foster children would be taken from us. We had prayed, many, many days. Finally we were thinking that maybe they weren't meant to be our children. It would break our hearts as far as we were concerned they were our family-but we knew we had to do God's will. We got a purchase offer on our farm-but now we had no place to go. All we could remember is that farm we wanted. The Real Estate contract with the owners had expired and it had not been re-listed. Trusting in God, Joseph and I signed the purchase offer so the people could buy our farm. Now where do we go?

Two nights later, we got a telephone call from the couple that owned the farm we wanted. They asked us to come over and take a look at it again. We had to bring the children as we didn't have time to get a sitter. Joseph and I went through the house while the children played. We told the people we loved the house, but we couldn't afford it. Every down payment the man came up with-we couldn't afford. All the monthly payments he mentioned we couldn't pay. Finally we went home. We told both Joseph's parents and my parents about the house. The next day the man that owned the farm called and said: " Are you really foster parents?". We said yes. He says the farm is yours. I'll get my lawyer to make out a purchase offer with a down payment and payments you can afford it's yours and he hung up before we could say anything. We thought it was someone playing a joke on us.

That night they came over with the purchase with a down payment we could afford and the payments that fit right into our budget. We signed it and asked them whey they were selling the place so low. He said he would tell me some day. I mean we got in that house for a lot less that it was on the market for when the Real Estate people had it. Finally it closed, we moved in. The boys had two to a room and  the girls have two to a room, Joseph and I have a room and we still have bedrooms left over. The farm was such a success we paid it off in just than 10 years and we still had money in the bank. Of course we adopted the three children and one more plus we natural had more children. We now have 10 children-6 boys and 4 girls. After the last payment the people we bought the farm from asked if they could come over. We invited them to dinner. After dinner and the little children were in bed and the older ones were outside playing he told us why he sold us the house. He had been a foster child and when he found out we were foster parents and needed the big house-he also knew we had to have it. God works in mysterious ways. I hope Richard will put a picture of our house in here. God is with you, Martha

Speaking of foster children David and I have recently gotten a baby girl foster child. The baby was born and the mother immediately signed her over to foster parents. As the mother had drug problems, the baby is going through withdrawals. Mother didn't name her so we have will have to give this beautiful little girl a name. Marilyn saw her when she came to take the pictures of our farm and fell in love with her. This little baby cries so much from the withdrawal, but we hope she get through that soon. We and the doctors are working to make her better.
Be with god. Jean

Martha's family farm in New York State. (All images taken by Marilyn)

Martha's home
Martha and  Joseph's barn
Martha's House with barn .
Jean and Martha's  Old order Mennonite church.

Martha's home and the family buggy on left of image.
Don't miss a new post this Wednesday of Lebanon county's Amish settlement, with the Amish cook this Thursday. And my special post called "Lancaster on 2 wheels" the sequel this Friday. I ride a scooter  through Lancaster county's Amish community and take images of the country side, along with a cute story !


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard