The Amish will be the first to tell you they're not perfect. But they do a lot of things right. Forgiveness is one of them. A one-room schoolhouse sat amid the gentle, quaint Amish community in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. It made such a picturesque scene with its wide, welcoming front porch and white clapboard fence, set peacefully among rolling green farm fields and filled with Amish children settling into their desks after running and playing outside. Until a gunman entered the school. He ordered the boys and adults outside. Then he bound and shot the ten remaining girls execution-style. Five girls died. Five others were left in critical condition. “I saw firsthand the effects this traumatic event had on our citizens,” writes Beiler. “As someone who grew up in an Amish household and suffered through my own share of tragedies, I found myself strangely drawn back into a culture I once chose to leave. I know these people who still travel by horse and buggy and light their homes with gas lanterns, yet as I moved among them during this tragedy, and after, I found myself asking questions: How were they able to cope so well with the loss of their children? What enables a father who lost two daughters to bear no malice toward the man who shot them? And what can I learn—what can we learn—to help us more gracefully carry our own burdens? That last question is what prompted me to share what I have learned from the families who lost so much that day.” Insert disc 6 into your PC to access public images surrounding this tragedy.
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About the Author
Jonas Beiler grew up in a traditional Old Order Amish family in the 1950s. He is the cofounder and chairman of the Angela Foundation and is a licensed minister and certified counselor and founder of Family Resource and Counseling Center and The Family Center of Gap, both located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Jonas is married to Anne Beiler, founder and creator of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, an acclaimed international pretzel franchise.
Shawn Smucker is a native of Lancaster County. His mother grew up Amish and his father was in the Beachy Amish Church. He is a graduate of Messiah College and lives in Virginia with his family. This is his second book.