Read Paul Born's latest book:
Read Paul Born's latest book:
This blog is Chapter 1.5 of our group reflections on our trip to Jubilee Partners in Georgia, written Wednesday February 22 but not uploaded until now because of the rickety internet connection at Jubilee! We are a group of eleven students from Conrad Grebel University College on a weeklong learning trip to this Southern community, whose shared work is to offer hospitality to refugees.
Meeting in Shady Grove tonight, our lovely guest house here at Jubilee, we went through what has become a nightly ritual of sharing highs and lows of the day. Many group members had trouble picking out a low, but most agreed that the most challenging part of this visit is not becoming overwhelmed by all the good energy that we feel in this community.
One high that kept coming up is the incredible opportunity for intergenerational storytelling that Jubilee affords. Our afternoon session today with Don Mosley was a rare treat for the ears. Having travelled to many countries on peacemaking trips and launched Habitat for Humanity projects around the world, Don is brimming with stories of what a bold, committed group of individuals can accomplish when they work together. Many of us are enrolled in or have taken classes through the Peace and Conflict Studies department at Conrad Grebel back in Waterloo, and it has been invaluable to hear stories from and share meals with older adults committed to peacemaking.
Other group members commented on what a beautiful experience it was to take part in English classes or childcare at the Jubilee school, where communication can be limited by language barriers. One student's high of the day was spending the morning playing with a child from Burma whose family came to the US as refugees and who speaks no English- in the language of children's play, no translation is needed.
We have all felt enormously the quieter atmosphere and slower pace of rural life, too. Most of us serve a desk all day as we study or work part-time in the city, and it has been a real joy to ride in the back of a pickup truck, haul wood, and tackle a tenacious patch of brambles with a machete. Petting baby goats was also a treat, and visiting with a newborn calf that took its first steps into this world early Tuesday morning! We have been impressed by the way that living close to the land and minimizing their negative impact on it has been adopted by Jubilee folks not as an explicit ideology, but as a natural expression of their quest for right relationship with God and with all human beings.
These are our impressions for now; many more will follow, and our evening conversations often bring to light aspects of the day and of this community that we hadn't considered in the thick of things. Work, play, sharing, eating, making music- all of these are hard work, and we look forward to one more day before we head back to Waterloo and Canada.
A few group members getting ready to lead noon-hour devotions in the Koinonia House, Jubilee's main meeting space, on Wednesday. The woodstove in the background and the communal arrangement of tables for meals speak volumes about Jubilee people's commitment to living simply together.