"I want to become Amish." 17-year-old Melinda Reynolds told her shocked parents.

"Amish!" Her parents echoed in unison.

Melinda nodded, having anticipated such a reaction. "New Order Amish. In Indiana."

"Indiana!" Her mother, Tricia, repeated. "You can't do that, become Amish or move to Indiana, either one."

Melinda had seen such an argument coming. She drew herself up to her full height, small though she was, and said, "I'm not asking your permission, I'm asking for your blessing, but whether or not I get it, I AM moving to Indiana to join the Amish there."

Her mother opened her mouth to speak, but Melinda's father intervened. "Let's just hear her out before we jump all over her." He nodded toward the couch. Once all three were seated Melinda said, "The New Order Amish is a less conservative group then the Old Order. They allow electricity, washers, radios, and telephones. They prohibit TV, computers, and drug use, and allow only pure courtship. They also don't participate in shunning.

Like I said before, this is what I'm going to do."

Mrs. Reynolds looked about to protest once more, when Paul Reynolds said, "You're really set on this, aren't you?"

In answer to her father's question, Melinda nodded mutely.

"You said they don't participate in shunning, that means you would still be allowed to contact us?"

Melinda nodded again. "I learned both Pennsylvania Dutch and German so I could do this, even changed my name to the Amish spelling. I have to do this."

Her father sighed resignedly. "Then you have my blessing."

Oblivious to her mother's unbelieving stare, Melinda leaped off the couch and hugged her father tightly. She had known she could count on him. "Thank you so much." Melinda rocked back on the balls of her heels, a difficult thing for a klutz to do while wearing sneakers. "Now, who's going to take me to the airport?"

"Airport?" Her father asked.

"I have a plane ticket to Indy."

"I'll take you." Mr. Reynolds said.

Smiling, Melinda said goodbye to her parents and her four younger brothers and sisters, and headed out the door. Melinda sighed over her navy blue VW Bug as she put her suitcase in the back seat of her dad's red Ford F150 and climbed into the passenger seat.

"So tell me," Her father said. "How is it that you learned Pennsylvania Dutch and German without your mother and I noticing?"

"You didn't notice?"


"I used Google Translator. Celina and K.J. and Josh helped me too. I spoke Pennsylvania Dutch with Celina, and German with K.J. and Josh."

"So you think you're ready for this?"

Melinda nodded. "I haven't had my hair cut since I was thirteen, and I've worn it up in a bun for as long as I could, and braided it at night just like they do. I've been helping out around the house and I took over Mom's garden for the last three years. I help a lot with Derrick too."

"He's gonna miss you. You can't very well explain to a five year old that his favorite sister moved to Indiana and became Amish."

"Dad, please."

"All right.

I did notice when you started spelling your name differently. Melinda with an I instead of a Y, and Anne without the E."

The rest of the hour long trip past in silence.

Standing in the parking lot at the airport, Melinda finally said," Don't be mad. I feel like this is what the Lord wants me to do. Try to understand?"

Her father nodded and handed her suitcase. "Write soon, you hear?"

Melinda nodded. "Jah."

Tell me what you think, please! I'm kind of nervous about this. I haven't seen anything Amish on the site yet.