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Mennonite built school house.

It took thirteen years for Gnadenfeld to finally produce beyond that which they needed to survive on their own.  The village would never become the Halbstadt of the east but these families never wanted that kind of life.  They were happy and pleased to be prosperous farmers living off this beautiful land that God had given them.

There was one other business at which the Mennonites, as a whole, excelled at; the education of their youth.  Education was a central part of everyday life in Gnadenfeld.  Boys and girls alike were taught reading, writing, science, mathematics and the Bible.  Everyone in the Colony needed the skills to read the Bible on their own and support themselves through farming or business regardless of gender.   The only way to build these skills from generation to generation was through good schools and excellent teachers.  The Mennonite system of education was once known across all of Russia as one of the best and most comprehensive.  One uniqueness was the curriculum, which was designed entirely by the villagers themselves.  The Russian government had no opinion in the matter of what went on in their classrooms. To these Mennonites, this was a highly valuable commodity.

The Molochna Colony was completely self-governed; a sort of State within a State.  All decisions regarding law, education, justice and policing of Gnadenfeld fell to the Prussian Mennonites. They maintained their own language and religion across every village in the Colony.  The colonists never celebrated national holidays because they felt they were first citizens of Heaven.  However, as a part of the Russian society they were invaluable.  The Czars needed the Mennonites’ skills to help feed their population and in turn make Russia more prosperous.  The project started by Czarina Catherine the Great had become the success she had intended!