Faith Heritage of the Stoltzfus Family
Time and Place
by Merle Stoltzfus
The story of Nicholas Stoltzfus is worth repeating mostly because history shows him to be a man who followed God at great personal risk and cost. Nicholas Stoltzfus immigrated to North America to practice Biblical Christianity. Anabaptists were persecuted because they taught and believed that the Bible is the only rule for faith and life; not the Roman church and church traditions. His story and many more stories of our family since that time are valuable because they repeat this faith conviction.
We are fortunate to have a place to remember these stories. Being human and creatures of time and space, there is something special about being at the place where Nicholas came and creating an environment that can help us reflect on that time almost 250 years ago. The Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead honors our parents (forefathers), preserves the stories and communicates this truth to our children. How very fortunate we are to be able to know and visit the actual physical location.
Faith and the Future
by Merle Stoltzfus
More than 100 years ago, Amishman Jonathan K. Hartzler from Mifflin County reflected on our heritage to draw some useful conclusions. “Persecution drove our forefathers from their homes,” he wrote. But despite the difficulties of those days, “they became one of God’s means to carry the gospel from the old world to the new. Probably far more than they were aware, they were led by the hand of God.” *
The mission statement of the NSH Preservation Committee recognizes the value of remembering and communicating this heritage. Its closing sentence says, “to remember the example of lives lived with a humble attitude of obedience, forgiveness and willingness to share and help others in need; all to the glory and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Understanding the story of our past is important toward an accurate projection for our future. Like Jonathan K. Hartzler, we better understand our faith when we have the knowledge of our European origins and of generations of lives lived since that time. The lives of our forefathers combined with the lives of our extended family in today’s culture confirm the gospel of Jesus Christ to be the central theme of our heritage.
The family members and friends involved with the Nicholas Stoltzfus House comprise many and varied congregations. Our greatest purpose in remembering our heritage is to communicate how the gospel has been and is the purpose for living. Truth communicated in an effective way had its part in providing a means of the grace of God through many generations of our extended family. It is now our opportunity to sustain and display this truth as a means of grace for future generations.
*Quote from A History of the Amish by Steven M. Nolt