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People ask, "Who are the Anabaptists and where did the Amish come from?"

Below is a brief history to help understand that question.

1521: The Reformation began in the Grosmunster Cathedral in Zurich, Switzerland. Churches and people in the reform movement became known as Protestant, which is derived from the word "protest", as protestants broke from the Catholics during that time. Today many people mistakenly believe that there exist just two branches of modern- day Christianity, either Catholic or Protestant. There is a third branch of Christianity, and that is the Anabaptists, which include groups such as the Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish, and several other groups. Anabaptists consist of Bible- believing, Christian churches with Jesus as their savior, but they are neither Catholic nor Protestant, since by their very nature they did not believe in protesting anything, but rather, their core principle could be said that they believed in being carriers of the light, rather than fighters of the dark. They overcame adversity and difficulty through their love of Jesus, and this made the Anabaptist movement strong in the beginning.

1523: Several founding leaders of the the Reformation asked for believer's baptism as taught in Scripture, and a movement began, known as the Anabaptists , which is the Latin word for re- baptizer.

1525: The Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli put his friends to death because of the re- baptising.

1526 The Anabaptisit movement exploded all over German speaking Europe.

1560 The Mennonites formed a denomination from the movement and they are today the most numerous Anabaptist people group in the world. The name Mennonite is derived from Menno Simons, who was a Dutch Anabaptist leader of one particular group.

1699 A split occurred from the Mennonites in Switzerland because of concerns of worldliness and carelessness, resulting in a new denomination, the Amish, taking the name from the leader, Jakob Amman.

1705 The Amish migrate into Alsace, Germany, from Switzerland. (Today, Alsace is a province of France, taken from Germany after World War 2)

1715 The Amish begin migrating to Pennsylvania.

1800s The Amish thrive and continue to multiply in the land of plenty- America.

1900s The Amish, being aggressive pioneers, and ever restless, expand into more than half the US states and various provinces of Canada.

June, 1975: The Amish move to Montana from the midwest.

1990-2000: Leaders of the Swiss Reformed church sorrowed over the destruction and persection the early Reformers brought onto their brothers and sisters, the Anabaptist people.

May 2003: A repentance and reconcilliation was accomplished between the Reformed church of Switzerland and the Amish and Mennonites in America and Switzerland. Some people from our community in Montana, from Idaho and from other places were invited, and also Mennonite leaders from the eastern US.

Our Journey with God

By Lloyd Miller

Our journey always begins and ends with God but is interwoven with countless streams of people that create eternal impact in our lives. The following is a brief
summary of our journey in Libby, Montana.

In March 6, 1992 my older brother moved his family from the Amish settlement of West Kootenai, on the Canadian Border, where we had lived together for the past 17 years. As traditional Amish we were a close family yet we knew this day would come. That day my own restlessness overcame me as I pondered the significance of going separate ways. We'd been waiting for direction from the Lord for a year when in one moment I became aware that it was time for the rest of the family to make a move as well. It had never occurred to me until this very day that the Lord would direct us to relocate locally.

Two weeks went by when suddenly the Lord gave a word concerning Libby. It was the clear unmistakable voice of the Lord. Upon inquiry we immediately found a large tract of land, 80 miles to the south, that had been listed for sale the day we called. In faith we secured the land and 3 months later made the down payment. We watched God do a financial miracle as we stepped out in faith.

Immediately we were thrust into the woes of warfare we knew little about. We found ourselves in a battle over finances, relationships, business, and cut off from our people. We cried out to God day after day. We learned to rely on Him. We saw our desperate need for Him. Although we didn't know it, our destiny and that of many others, including nations, were in the balance. God had to seriously humble us over and over as He dealt with us over many issues.

The 800 acre ranch became a battleground as other families joined to help us. Deep heart and generational issues were exposed as we moved toward the Lord. More testing was on the way but the Lord prepared us first. During a camp meeting in May of 1995 the youth, among others, got filled with the Holy Spirit in a powerful way.

Though it was a genuine move of the spirit the enemy did not let up. We lost 3 individuals over a 3 year period to the grave. One infant and two young men in their prime all from deadly disease and all during a time when we had faith for healing.

 

The Amish were watching from a distance and the Lord used them for years as a correctional tool as we learned how to walk in the light. His protection over our hearts was very real. Our Sunday meetings remained traditional as we sought to obey the Lord in not running off with our own agenda.

Weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings gave us freedom in passionately pursuing God as we desired. We remained vulnerable to our people but found ourselves in a place where our desire for the Holy Spirit overcame all caution. Where the Lord in the early years kept us hidden away He now openly caused our testimony to collide with our people's tradition by asking us to step out as a community to prepare the way of the Lord.
Once again, as in the days of the reformation, we became the radicals, even fools for Christ as well as offenders of the very things we did not want to be offensive in.
We were considered heretics concerning the system, longing for His Kingdom to come. No one expected the journey to be so challenging.

Friends from the midwest, Canada, and eventually Switzerland became keys in the plan of God for the Libby community. Fathers of many walks of life have poured into us. Wise master builders, counselers, apostles, prophets, teachers, many unknown men and women have encouraged, prayed, prophesied, interceded, and most of all loved us.

Intense upheavels between the generations as was common in all the body of Christ became our lot and portion. New levels of overcoming and grace were needed. It all became the worst of times and the best of times at the same time. Miracles, healings of body, spirit, and soul over the years opened doors to our hearts to continue the journey into the future, come what may.

Many wonderful experiences included the time when the church in Switzerland, the land of our fathers, found us and began a journey of reconciliation of the past.

This connection began as a result of connecting with "The Watchmen" from the Zion Church in Vancouver, British Columbia, who led us to our friends from overseas. Both of these ministries played vital roles in the past, present, and future of this community.

 

Healing The Land, May 2003

In May, 2003, forty members of Libby and Bonners Ferry travelled to Switerland upon invitation,, and Swiss church has continued to be a help and inspiration to us.

Eagle Valley Ministries

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