A young Mennonite family: Seth and Sheila Cantrell

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Kristin DeJournett photo Sheila and Seth Cantrell pose with their four children in their rural Advance home. Though they did not grow up in a Mennonite home, they are happy in their new lifestyle.

Second in a series

Seth and Sheila Cantrell live with their four children in rural Advance. The Cantrells were not raised in the Mennonite community but felt drawn to the church a few years ago. Joining the Mennonite church meant a change in lifestyle for the family.

"As we started attending services we learned a lot of important things and we really appreciated what we heard and it really touched our lives. We saw things that we wanted for our family," explains Sheila. "At the time it seemed like things were hard to give up or transition from but as we progressed through the transition, it was evident that God gave grace for us to overcome issues as they arose. Material things lost their appeal, and things I was used to having just seemed unimportant anymore."

Seth is a self-employed carpenter. When he isn't working, he stays busy around their home, working on the lawn, and some small projects. He tries to spend as much time with the children as possible.

Sheila is up in the mornings before Seth leaves for work and is busy packing lunches for Seth and their oldest daughter, Allie, who is in school. The couple gives high praise to the education Allie receives from the Mennonite school. The children are taught from Christian-based material from Rod and Staff publishers and Sheila is particularly proud of the impressive grammar lessons Allie brings home.

Mornings will often find Sheila busy with house work, but this doesn't keep her from taking time to sit down to read to the children. Much work goes into keeping the home tidy with a larger family, and laundry becomes a constant task. Preparing supper is also a job that Sheila and the children love to share.

After the Cantrells joined the church, a few women taught Sheila to sew and she has learned to make clothes for the family. She makes some dresses for herself and the girls. She has also learned a lot about preserving God's bounty for her family by canning.

"I really enjoy canning; it provides healthier food for the family and saves money, but is a hard day's work," claims Sheila.

"It makes you strong, though!" chimes in daughter Allie.

The Cantrells also have a new insight on raising their children.

"I believe the Bible gives clear direction on how to raise children. Love and consistency are top priorities," Seth says. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)."

For fun the family likes to spend time outside, playing games or sitting around the campfire. They play board games and puzzles and in the evenings they try to have devotion time as a family.

"I believe time as a family, centered around God's word, is critical to a family's happiness. Reading the Bible and praying together as a family is the most important thing we can instill in our children," says Seth.

As with others in the Mennonite church, the Cantrells do everything with their children's futures in mind.

"We have different goals for our children now. We want them to know the Lord and to have a relationship with God. We want them to be happy and content with what they have," Seth reveals.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: