Friday, May 8, 2015

Coming Home to Gaoli Village

Last week we were in Gaoli Village for one of the big memorial festivals, this one in honor of the founder of their Muslim Sufi order. While Charly has been able to attend most of the big memorial festivals since we moved to Gansu (this was his 9th), it had been two years since our whole family (minus CJ) had taken part. It felt a bit like coming home.

I thought about what Life in the Village was like for us when we first moved to Gaoli in the spring of 2012 for Charly's PhD field research. My realization of how much we had when we were around people who had so little.

And pictures of More Faces of the amazing people who live there.

They taught me so much about community and unity: The Good That I See

I was reminded of my feeling of awe the first time I took part in the Feeding of the 5000.

I thought about Jordan's Life in the Village and her first impressions with meeting new friends and her feeling at home from the very beginning.

As I watched Joshua serve alongside the young men at the festival this time, I thought about what those experiences have taught him: Joshua's Life in the Village.

I thought about My Life in the Village, and my sense of identity while I'm there.

I reflected on how warm and hospitable the people in the village have been toward us:

warmly welcomed by our host Mr. Ma, on the right

the current Sheik of the Sufi order serving us

Charly shaking hands with one of the elders of the village

my friend, the younger sister of the Sheik

I thought about my experience of talking with a 15 year old girl in the village two years ago and the Closed Doors she was facing. I wondered what her life was like now.

And I remembered my health struggles while we lived with our host family and how difficult that was for me, because of my longing To Be Understood.

In the beauty of God's creation, I thought about the blessing of being surrounded by nature in the village, where Life Grows.

We don't know when we will have a chance to be back in the village again, but we do know how much God loves the people there. And we trust that He will watch over and care for them just as He does the crops that are beginning to grow.

Charly looking out at Gaoli Village

new corn plants

two neighborhood girls who were excited to see us again

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