Erik from Amish America asks…

Do the Amish ride horses?

Yes, children and young adults do ride for pleasure. In Indiana they have groups that go riding, and sometimes do it as a fundraiser, where everyone pays a certain amount to ride for the day. They often use the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, which runs between Goshen and Middlebury. The trail was originally a train line that was established in 1851. Local volunteers have turned it into a beautiful nature trail.

Many Amish keep cows which are turned out to pasture on large pieces of land. Family youth are responsible in many cases to bring them in at the end of day, and will sometimes ride on horseback to do the job.

Adults generally do not ride on horseback, because a buggy horse is a necessity, but a riding horse is an expensive pleasure.

Jackie from California asks…

Do you attend church on Sunday?

We attend our local church every other Sunday, but we do not have actual church buildings. There are many churches in one community and we attend the one closest to us. The reason for this is not that one church is any different from another; it is so the people fit into the home of the family which is hosting church, since the average house can’t hold much over a hundred people and there are more people than that in many communities. This home-based church style is modeled after the example of the early church in the New Testament. Thus with having so many churches in one community, holding church every other Sunday enables those who like to visit neighboring churches to do so. People also use the “off” Sunday to rest and visit families or friends.

On Sundays we do not do any work beyond what is necessary. The reason being because God sanctified and blessed the Sabbath and commanded his people to keep it holy. Since God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3) so do we. We try to refrain from worldly pursuits, thinking on holy things and spending time in devotion to God (Exodus 20:8-11).

Diane from Washington asks…

Does your extended family live together in one house?

Extended family don’t usually live in the same house, but often nearby. I have two married older brothers with homes of their own about seventeen and twenty-two miles from us. My younger brother and I are well over eighteen and still live at home with Mom and Dad. This enables us to save up some money for future homes of our own. We do chip in to help pay some of the bills.

We do have a small house attached to ours where my great-uncle lives. He is mentally handicapped and unable to care for himself without supervision. This is not an uncommon practice among the Amish. Many families have a smaller Dawdy (grandparent) house attached or close to their own for their elderly parents. This enables the adult children to care for their parents without the tensions of having them in the children’s home. In caring for our own this way, our elderly do not need to live in nursing homes. This practice, like many, is handled differently from family to family.

Rob from Indiana asks…

Without television, what does a family do in the evening?

Many times a family will read a book or do devotions in the evenings. Not necessarily out loud, but each member reading their own book. Families also enjoy playing games together. My mom, brother and I enjoy playing Speed Scrabble. This is played without the board, only using the tiles. We also spend many evenings talking to each other – connecting, bonding, being a family. Hobbies are great for using up a free evening. My dad likes spending his evenings in his small woodshop tinkering around with different projects. Really an evening is even a great time to write letters to friends and clean out that kitchen junk drawer!