I looked forward to my sixteenth birthday more than any other I ever had. I would finally be considered old enough to join the youth group. As was customary for our community the only way you could join the youth group was to start taking instruction class to become a member of the church.
A few weeks after my birthday the annual instruction classes started. I was very nervous thinking about having to get up while the rest of the congregation was singing and join the preachers in their little conference room where they would talk to us about the doctrines of faith and what was required of us to become members of the Amish church.
Once Sunday morning arrived we all got ready for church. Once we arrived I was glad to see my friend Nancy was already there and was looking every bit as nervous as I felt. It was comforting to know we would be together for the classes. Once everyone was seating and the bishop had announced it was time to start church services Daddy announced the first song and started singing in his clear deep voice. A shiver ran up and down my back as the rest of the congregation joined in and helped sing the rest of the line. As Daddy started singing the second line the preachers got up and went into their little room. My hands felt cold and clammy and my heart beat faster. When the third line started it was time for us to get up and go join the preachers. It felt as if all eyes in the building were watching us as we walked to the front of the church house and entered the little room. Since I was the youngest I had to close the door once we were all inside.
I closed it but much to my dismay it popped right back open. The bishop got up and closed it properly and then sat down and asked us if we were ready to denounce the world, the devil, and our own desires and turn to God and the church. We each answered with a yes and then he proceeded to go through the first two articles of faith and explain everything to us. Once he was done the other preachers each had a turn to add their thoughts and admonitions. Preacher Benny went on and on. I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying as I listened to the singing on the other side of the door, I could hear they were nearing the end of the Lob Lied and we should be dismissed I was hoping he would hurry up so that we wouldn't have to walk back to our seats between songs while everything was quiet.
Benny finally got done and just as I was afraid it would happen the last notes of the Lob Leid had faded and everyone was sitting quietly waiting until the next song was announced. We filed back to our seats and the next song was announced and sung.
Once church was over we stayed to visit for a little while before going home to eat lunch. I was looking forward to attend my first singing as one of the youth group. The only drawback was I didn't have a brother older than myself that I could ride with and had to ride with someone else.
Once evening came and a buggy drove into our driveway I wasn't sure how to react that I would have to ride with LV and his brother. As I climbed into the buggy I wished with all my heart that John would be old enough to take me to the singing. I was a little envious that Nancy could ride with her older brother and sister and didn't have to worry about riding with someone else.
Once we got to the singing I forgot about my awkward ride and enjoyed being with my friends. The two hours of singing that followed were great and I enjoyed it immensely. Once the singing was over we headed for home right away. Again there were hardly any words spoken and it was a relief to get off the buggy after thanking LV and Vernon for the ride I hurried into the house to where Mom was waiting to hear all about my first night of being with the youth group.