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Leah's Choice

Cover of Leah's Choice

Leah's Choice

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With dreams of marrying an Old Order Amish man, Leah Yoder plans on raising children in the peaceful Delaware community. But when Mennonite missionary Daniel Brown arrives to share his story with...
With dreams of marrying an Old Order Amish man, Leah Yoder plans on raising children in the peaceful Delaware community. But when Mennonite missionary Daniel Brown arrives to share his story with...
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  • With dreams of marrying an Old Order Amish man, Leah Yoder plans on raising children in the peaceful Delaware community. But when Mennonite missionary Daniel Brown arrives to share his story with their church, Leah is fascinated by him. She spends time with Daniel in a forbidden courtship to learn how she truly feels about him. Before long, Leah has a choice to make. Should she stay with her community...or leave with the man she believes God has placed in her life's path?

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    Kent County, Delaware, Spring

    More than forty people, Mennonite and Amish, waited in the old Grange building for the speaker's arrival. A long table covered with photographs and maps stood at the rear of the hall, and volunteers had arranged folding chairs in two sections, one on either side of a central aisle. Leah Yoder, three of her sisters, her brother-in-law, and nine giggling and whispering Amish teenagers from Seven Poplars filled the first two rows on the left.

    It was rare for Old Order Amish to attend events hosted by other denominations, but tonight was an exception. Leah's older sister, Miriam, and her husband, Charley, had volunteered to chaperone the outing for their church's youth group, the Gleaners, and the bishop had given them special permission to do so. Leah, at twenty, was too old for the Gleaners, but she had been just as eager as her younger sisters, Rebecca and Susanna, to see the PowerPoint presentation and hear the Mennonite missionary share his experiences in spreading God's word outside the United States.

    A young man in jeans and a raincoat, carrying a briefcase and a camera, wandered in from the offices in the back, and Leah thought that he might be the speaker, but it was only a reporter from a local newspaper. She hoped that he wouldn't attempt to take photos of the audience. Having pictures taken was against Amish beliefs, and if he tried to snap their picture, Charley and Miriam might decide that it was better to leave. To Leah's relief, the man found a seat near the front and didn't even look across the aisle at them.

    The program had been scheduled to start at seven, but it was already twenty past the hour and Susanna was growing restless. Susanna had been born with Down syndrome, and although she was eighteen, in many ways, she would always be a child. Leah had convinced their mother to allow her to bring Susanna to the presentation this evening, so her sister was her responsibility.

    Susanna wasn't the only one losing patience with the long wait. Herman Beachy, who could never sit still for long, was tugging at his sister Verna's bonnet strings and, by the expression on her face, she appeared ready to give him a sharp elbow in the ribs. Amish considered themselves nonviolent, but that didn't mean brothers and sisters didn't have their spats. Leah could see that the rest of the Gleaners were keyed up as well. If the youngsters became unruly, it would reflect badly on the entire Amish community, and that would put an end to any future outings of this kind.

    Leah leaned forward, cleared her throat and threw Charley a meaningful look. See what's keeping him, she mouthed silently.

    We'll just wait, he mouthed in return.

    Leah rolled her eyes in exasperation. What was wrong with Charley? It had been his idea to bring the youth group, but now that they were here and things weren't going as smoothly as expected, her usually gregarious brother-in-law seemed unsure of himself. Even Miriam seemed out of her element.

    Leah wished she and Rebecca had come alone, as she'd first planned when she'd seen the notice for Daniel Brown's talk. The sisters had recently returned to Delaware after spending a year in Ohio caring for their aging grandmother and great-aunt. The Amish church in Grossmamds community had been more liberal than in Seven Poplars, and she and her sister had often gone to dinners, charity auctions and programs put on by the Mennonites. There, the two denominations mingled more regularly than in Seven Poplars.

    Leah had never stopped to think that not all Old Order Amish were so at ease with the Mennonite community. And the same...

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    Steeple Hill
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