Camden, SC (WLTX) – A Midlands man believes God restored his broken family despite their different opinions.
Freeman Schmucker is a long way from his roots.
He grew up Amish in Middlefield, Ohio.
“It is a form of religion I guess. it’s a form of Christianity,” Schmucker explained. “They just take the Bible a little bit more literally than some other people.”
Literally means no running water, no electricity, no cars, no Facebook and a lot of hard work. They also spoke Pennsylvania Dutch or slang German.
“The church has a lot of power. They tell us exactly what you can and cannot do, and my mom was kind of fed up with that,” the former Amish man said.
His mother left and took him and a few of his siblings when he was 14.
“I’m very blessed and proud of that she stood up for herself,” Schmucker admitted.
The bravery came at a cost. They were shunned by the entire community even by Schmucker’s father, Daniel.
“At that time the Amish believe if you don’t get saved by them, you can’t get saved at all,” he said. “He refused to see me and said hey, because I left, because of the decision we made that we’re going to have live with that.”
It was a guilt Schmucker’s wife even felt when they first met.
“He was still at this point in his life where he was just very unsure about whether he was supposed to leave,” Heather Schmucker revealed.
After years of being rejected, somehow the relationship was restored through that foundation of faith.
“He didn’t even know who I was, and I remember when he seen me he kind of almost fainted in a way because of who I was,” Schmucker described. “I think he was overcome with emotion and obviously I was also and it was a lot of forgiveness that day and I think you know God works in a lot of ways and He makes you realize that sometimes things come full circle.”
His father died not too long after their reunion.
“He just wanted to tell us he was proud of us, and you know and I do miss him, I do miss him every single day,” Schmucker said.
The greatest loss quickly turned into one of his greatest gains.
“It really reunited our faith and reunited us with our family which to me that’s invaluable,” he said passionately.
With Schmucker’s father accepting his family despite their differences, some of Schmucker’s other Amish family was able to do the same.
“Now they realize like family is the most important part,” Schmucker said. “God wants us to be one big family.”
The big family now helps Shmucker with his Amish General Store in Camden.
One BIG family who help Schmucker with an Amish general store right here in the Midlands.
“It’s a way of giving back to them,” Schmucker said.
It’s also a constant reminder of his father.
“He taught me hard work,”Schmucker said. “I do think about him daily.”
Schmucker’s Amish General Store just celebrated their one year anniversary! You can check it out on Broad Street in Camden.
© 2018 WLTX-TV