Saturday, August 3, 2013

Love and Goodbye to the Asian Rural Institute

The love between Jenny and Nishi is an amazing thing to witness. I think they were meant to find each other in this world. They communicate not just well but joyfully, even though they don't speak each other's language very well and are from different cultures and age groups. They just fit together. Anyone watching them scrubbing the kitchen sinks and chatting together can see it and be touched by the light that shines from their love. Above is a doodle of them that Jenny drew on her love letter to Nishi. They have fuzzy hair because they shaved their heads together this spring.

Today is our last day to set foot on the ARI campus. I think we love this place, this community, this curriculum, this journey—we love it too much to say that we will never return. But as we look into our future, we cannot see the time or money which will allow us to return.

We have sat with the people on this side of the planet for one year, as our earth made one more circle around the sun. That sun has been shining on us, into us, and through us just as it always has been. It has given food to our food and blessed us with light and warmth. It has illuminated the faces of people from around the globe, all of them smiling, all of them crying, all of them speaking words to us, seeking to connect, to understand, to feel that glimmer of hope that helps us know that we can live together on this planet.

We have seen here that it is possible to live together. We have seen here that it is hard, it is a constant struggle, but one we can all choose to share.

Jenny and I have given a whole year of our life to this community, but we have also received so much life and love. I think that is how a good community works out; You are giving to everyone and everyone is giving to you. What you end up with is “twelve baskets of broken pieces [of bread and fish]” (Luke 9:10-17). I wonder how we can ever do all that needs to be done on the farm. Though I worry, I bend my back and pull weeds with everyone else. When the day is done we go home and God does the rest. “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37)” Often I have cooked a dinner here and feared that I had not cooked enough. After dishing it out and watching how people took the food with regard for the scant amount, I can see that everything works out. We almost always have leftovers. We are focused on teaching our participants servant leadership, organic agriculture, and lessons in love, but even short term visitors who come here can get a full serving of this learning.

Community event at the park
From the bottom of our hearts I would like to thank our family, friends, the Episcopal Church, ARI, and the rest of the universe for supporting us and making this journey of love possible. As I write this, Jenny is weighing the last of our luggage. In two hours we’ll be picked up by a friend and whisked away from here. Don’t worry everyone we’re bringing all the love, all of the learnings, all of the gifts, all of the connections, all of the hugs, all of the tears, all of the inspiration, all of the chopsticks that we have received from these wonderful people on this side of the world—we’re bringing it all back to you!

Just a few things happened this week that we’ll fill you in on:

The participants did gender skits! They portrayed the struggle for gender equality in their countries with a skit. Many of them dressed in cross! It was hilarious and enlightening.

Jenny was sent off by a final women’s dorm meeting. Showered with love, love, Love.

We made one final trip to the river this morning with the participants. It was a warm day shot through with sunlight and rainbow-splashes of water.

We ground up our wheat that we have been growing all year in Knight Field. We had more than enough to make some honey wheat bran bread to share at Jenny’s last morning gathering, which you can watch here.

We got buns, Hun!
Jenny shared this bread with the whole community at the end of her last morning gathering. You can watch a video of her sharing on youtube: (link soon to come)

Before we head home we’re visiting Korea for 9 days. We should safely arrive on Arkansas soil August 13! A beloved member of our family has passed away this week, so we have lots of hugging to do. 

This is our last blog post from ARI but certainly not our last blog post! We have many exciting things coming up and we want to continue to share them with you, so stayed tuned!

Lots of love, one last time, from the Land of the Rising Sun,

Your fellow servants in Christ,

Jenny and Doug

1 comment:

  1. Great to see your journey is coming to an end, only to give way for a new journey :) Phew, there are tears wanting to leave my eyes when I read this. I'm so glad you experienced ARI and shared your love with ARI. I think you inspired many people, and I wish all the best to you!
    ENjoy Korea, also! It's a great country as well :)
    Hope to see you again!