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Christian found belonging amongst the Mennonites of Prussia.  Although a Lutheran, the Mennonites accepted him into their fold and as he grew into a man, became a leader in the congregation. In this position, Christian was a catalyst in contacting the Russian Czar to request the land that was now Gnadenfeld.

Christian met his wife, Maria, amongst the Mennonites.  Maria was born and raised in Prussia on her family’s farm and Christian found her not only beautiful on the outside, but also pure of heart; loving, graceful and most importantly loved God more than she loved him!  They were virtually newlyweds when they left Prussia and Maria gave birth to their firstborn on the trip to Gnadenfeld.  The roughness of the trip was hard on the newborn baby and it died soon after birth.  Still, they traveled on to their promised land thankful for what God had provided for them and what He would give them in their new country.

Photo found at the Mennonite Ministry Center in Halpstadt, Ukraine.

Christian and Maria worked hard and raised their family of three sons and two daughters in this beautiful corner of the world and could not imagine it ever disappearing.  They handed down their home to their children, as was tradition, until it came into the hands of my grandmother and her own family around the year 1932.  Things had become quite different in Gnadenfeld since it’s hey-day when her great-grandparents had built and lived in the home.  Slipping away were the golden days when they owned the land, food was plentiful and the rights granted to them by Czar Nicolai I of Russia were honored.