How to describe this place? A place so desolate, so mountainous, so sandy, so isolated.
I felt like I had gone back into history. I could have sworn I saw Abraham, Isaac and all their herds of sheep, and camels too. I saw the tent in which Sara laughed with God promised she would have a son. That night I saw more stars than I’ve ever seen in my life – realizing even more the amazing promise God made to Abraham. A little while down the road, I passed Joseph leading his pregnant wife on a donkey, mountains of rocky sand in the background. And the amazing thing about it was that at the end of the day, they weren’t going to get out of their costume and call it a good day’s work. They were going to walk in their mud home or tent, just as they were, perhaps watch their daughter carry water on her head from the nearby spring, they would rest, and prepare to do it all again the next day, because that is their life.
When we started driving out of 'Hat' city, I don’t know what came over me, but an amazing feeling of, “this is a place like no other.” I felt like that flying into the capitol city. But I felt like that even more driving to the villages we visited. The farther away we got, the more I felt like this place is like something I’ve only seen in movies or read about – but the pictures and words hardly captured the real thing. I could picture Arabian horses galloping across the rocky dunes. More than movies or books, I could really grasp a feel for what it must have been like in the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I wanted to bad to walk up to a tent and just say, “So, Abraham, so where is this in the chronology- have you had Isaac yet? Did the three visitors come yet?” It was like I had traveled back in history- but not in a Disney World time machine where you knew it was almost real, but not really. This was for real, real. And to be in such a place like you’ve never been in before…it just takes a while for it to settle in, if that’s ever a possibility.
As Tom shared about Chan town, and as we passed Ku villages, I felt my heart almost leaving me and going to those places and people. I came very close to asking Tom about the possibility of going to Chan somehow on this trip – even delaying my trip to M town, or canceling the Shen part of the trip. I don’t know why, or how, but I just feel like that’s a potential place where He may want me. Tom shared about the other single guys who had lived there and some of their experiences. He shared about the difficulties, and the challenges.
He shared how because of the climate and location – sometimes a plane that was supposed to come pick you up might not be able to land. He was on the airstrip once waiting for the plane, heard it come and circle for about 45 minutes, and then fly away. There were too many clouds to land. He would have to wait til next week to leave. However, Tom said there is a cell phone tower out there now, they have electricity and water. Chan is the place that wants a native English speaker to come and teach them, a place where there would be potential for relationships. It’s a place I’m trying to figure out if I should try and visit even during this time here.
The team in Hat city mentioned that there would need to be a couple out there for a single woman to go – and I think that is why I’m not pressing it right now. Everything else is set up and in place, but since there isn’t a couple there, and since I have the next phase of my trip planned out already – it’s almost like getting my hopes up for something that 1) isn’t quite ready for a single girl, and 2) is still a year away! I think I’ll wait (I have to!!), and really pray about that opportunity and for Him to bring others to Chan.
Then there are the Ku people – a nomadic group of people, also really intrigue me. We passed several Ku villages – they live in goat/sheep skin tents that are set up in a place, where they settle for period of time (I’m not sure how long), then they pack up and move on to the next place. I asked Tom about any work among them, he said there wasn’t any. He said because they move around, no one has really been able to stay with them, connect with them. I asked if anyone had ever tried living with them. He said some foreigners had talked about, but no one had ever done it. He said the government tried to set up schools or like stations for them, but that was hard to maintain because the Ku people don’t make their decisions based on a schedule necessary. The leaders of the village might decide one night to move and the next day, they’ll go. So, a program or schedule of stations/schools just doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Tom said because of that, they are mostly illiterate.