US Aid Worker’s Serial Rape of Dozens of Haitian Children Rocks Amish Mennonite-Run Charity
Heather Clark | Christian News – A U.S.-based aid worker who worked with a Amish Mennonite-run charity in Haiti has fled back to Ohio after it was discovered that he has been sexually abusing boys in the country, with reportedly as many as 40 children being affected. The man, who worked for Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), founded and led by David Troyer, has now admitted that he has engaged in child molestation from his youth, “living a life of deception and hypocrisy,” and Haitian officials want him deported back to the nation to face justice.
Jeriah Mast, 37, has been fired from his work with CAM and has turned himself into law enforcement in Holmes County, Ohio, according to reports.
“We understand that the individual made a confession to leaders in his local church in the U.S. and has reported himself to Ohio state legal authorities,” CAM said in a statement on Tuesday. “We recognize that any form of abuse of a child is both a horrific sin and a serious crime. We are actively working to investigate and address this situation and to care for those who have been harmed.”
Mast’s church, Shining Light Christian Fellowship in Millersburg, also released a statement explaining that the man confessed his sins upon his return to the states.
“He confessed multiple instances of immoral sexual relationships with boys, which began in his youth,” it said. “He acknowledged to living a life of deception and hypocrisy. He also confessed that he lied to cover up his sins.”
“Because of the sins that were committed and the victims that were abused, an appointment was made to report this to our local Sheriff Department. Jeriah voluntarily went in person for an interview and confessed to a local detective and an FBI agent (including giving names of victims).”
The church, led by Paul Hershberger, said that upon confession, “Jeriah spent hours on his face weeping and wailing over his sins and feeling such remorse over the hurt he caused so many people.” It said that a “restoration plan” has been developed and that Mast is seeing a licensed counselor.
The statement makes no mention, as a part of his repentance or restoration, of any effort to encourage and assist Mast in returning to Haiti as ordered by a supreme commissioner.
According to Haitian court documents obtained by Christian News Network, one boy told investigators, “All the other little boys slept with their pants on and tied them with their shoe strings so Jeriah wouldn’t pull them down during the night. But I didn’t know this and slept with my shorts on. I tied my shorts on with a piece of rope so tightly that it cut me, and they got me to sleep among them. In the deep of night I heard [my friend] say, ‘Don’t do that to me, Jeriah.”
The Amish and Mennonites are NOT the same people and beliefs!
Who are the Mennonites, and what are their beliefs?
Got Questions – The Mennonites are a group of Anabaptist (opposed to infant baptism) denominations named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). Mennonites are committed to nonviolence, nonresistance, and pacifism.
Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old-fashioned “plain” people to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. There are many different groups who call themselves Mennonite, primarily because they refer back to their founding leader, Menno Simons, and their stance on nonviolence and pacifism.
Early Mennonites in Europe were good farmers and were invited to take over poor soils and enrich them through hard work and good sense. Often the governing bodies would take back the land and force the Mennonites to move on since they would offer no resistance. So the migration to America started, and they were welcomed by the Colonists.
There are many schisms, which actually started in Europe in the 1600s and continued after the immigration to America. Many of these churches were formed as a response to deep disagreements about theology, doctrine, and church discipline. Mennonite theology emphasizes the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Their core beliefs deriving from Anabaptist traditions are the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit; salvation through conversion by the Spirit of God; believer’s baptism, usually by pouring or immersion; discipline in the church (including shunning in some congregations); and the Lord’s Supper as a memorial rather than as a sacrament or Christian rite.
1st Corinthians 16:22 “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.”
Anathema - a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.
Maranatha - the Lord is coming” or “come, O Lord.
There is a wide scope of worship, doctrine and traditions among Mennonites today. Old Order Mennonites use horse and buggy for transportation and speak Pennsylvania Dutch (similar to German). They refuse to participate in politics and other so-called “sins of the world.” Most Old Order groups also school their children in church-operated schools. Traditionally, they used horses to pull the farm equipment, but within the past ten years some are now using steel-wheeled tractors for farm work.
Conservative Mennonites maintain conservative dress but accept most other technology. They are not a unified group and are divided into various independent conferences. Moderate Mennonites differ very little from other conservative, evangelical Protestant congregations. There are no special form of dress and no restrictions on use of technology. They emphasize peace, community and service.
Another group of Mennonites have established their own colleges and universities and have taken a step away from strict Bible teaching. They ordain women pastors, embrace homosexual unions, and practice a liberal agenda, focusing on peace studies and social justice issues. Very little is mentioned in their church services regarding the fact we are all sinners and in need of a Savior as a sacrifice for our sins, rather focusing on maintaining good works and service to others.
The word “Mennonite” today can mean so many things; there are almost as many varieties of Mennonites as there are fast food chains. Some groups are more evangelical than others; some groups are focused on Bible study and prayer; other groups are carefully maintaining the works-based tradition set out by their ancestors; and, sadly, some groups have left the faith of their fathers and focus instead on current social issues.
Who are the Amish, and what are their beliefs?”
Got Questions – The Amish are a group of people who follow the teachings of Jacob Ammann, a 17th-century citizen of Switzerland. It is a Protestant denomination, closely related to the Mennonites. The Amish, most of whom live in the United States, follow simple customs and refuse to take oaths, vote, or perform military service. They shun modern technology and conveniences. Transportation for the Amish is by horse and buggy. They do not have electricity or telephones in their homes. The men usually wear beards and pants with buttons instead of zippers. The women wear white head coverings and plain dresses, usually without buttons—they use straight pins to fasten the clothing.
The Amish believe that James 1:27 “…and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” means to stay away from things the “world” does—like driving autos, having a TV, going to movies, wearing make-up, and the enjoying the conveniences of electricity and phones. They often use generators to create power to run their equipment and use horses, instead of tractors, to do farm work. The bishop (leader) of an Amish community (district) sets up the rules of conduct allowed for his district. Some bishops are more lenient than others. The Amish have church services in their own homes, taking turns hosting on Sundays, and do not have church buildings. They usually only go to a formal school until age 15.
The Amish groups have problems, just like anyone else. Most of these church groups try to keep their problems concealed from the outside world. The youth are given the opportunity to taste of “the world” in their late teens to determine if they want to join the church. Many young Amish people get involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and other vices during this time period while they are allowed to own a motor vehicle, but a large number then do give up the vehicle and join the church. Others determine they will not join the church and attempt to fit into the secular world.
Spiritually speaking, the Amish are very similar to the traditional Jews that keep the Old Testament Law. They have a long list of do’s and don’ts. If they fail to keep the list, they are in trouble with the church and are in danger of being shunned. Shunning is a form of excommunication. If they partake of the “worldly” things, they are shunned by the church people.
The Amish believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He is the way to salvation. However, many Amish also practice a works-based relationship with God. They view their good works as earning favor with God. If their good works outweigh the bad works, they feel God will allow them into heaven. The Amish are basically good, hard-working people, who have to make sure they stay on the right path, so they get final rewards in heaven when life is over. They say “Amish is a lifestyle,” not a religion. They choose to keep the simple life so they can focus more time on family and home, rather than the things that require advanced modern technology.
As a group, the Amish do not believe in the security of salvation. They believe a person can lose his/her salvation if he/she strays from the path, or falls from grace. They do not believe in infant baptism, but do “sprinkle” for adult baptism, rather than immerse in water.
Thankfully, some (or many) members of the Amish church do believe that Jesus paid the full price for their sins, and have truly received the grace so freely given by God. Sadly, others cling to the “works-based” philosophy, believing their salvation is based on their “right” actions. The Amish set a powerful example by literally trying to “keep themselves unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). At the same time, the Bible does not call us to completely separate ourselves from the world. We are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We are not to withdraw and separate ourselves from those who most need to hear the gospel message.
There is much for which the Amish are to be commended. The powerful example of unconditional forgiveness the Amish showed after the 2006 Amish school shooting was a demonstration of the love and grace of God. The Amish are kind, respectful, hard-working, and God-loving people. At the same time, the legalism and works-based faith that is evident in some Amish communities is not to be followed.
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