Artisan Highlight: Living Traditions

The Art of Storytelling

I have the privilege of talking with artisans from all around the world. I get to hear the why and how behind the products they create and then share their stories with you! Which, frankly, can be quite difficult.

How do you write in a way that expresses the same emotion they spoke with? How do you capture their stories so much so that when someone reads it, it is as if they were the one looking into the artisan’s eyes?

I was greatly moved by the artisans in Turkey and wanted to share the incredible stories that they have walked through. So, here is just a glimpse into their hearts. Though I cannot do it justice, I pray you are able to understand more of who they are and what they care about.

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Four Syrian Refugees, One Beautiful Dream

Four men sat around a table drinking tea, laughing, joking, and speaking in a language I do not know. Though I could not understand them, I did not need words to feel the bond of brotherhood that was between them. As the translator shared the stories they were telling, the ache in each of their hearts was just as piercing and powerful as their friendship.

Four men, hard-working and dedicated to their country, fled Syria during the civil war that devastated the country. Their homes were burnt down, and their jobs were lost. In fear and an incomprehensible amount of uncertainty, they were forced out of their country, separated from their families and community.

By the Lord’s divine intervention, they found work with Living Traditions - a business that provides a fair wage, artistic work, and reasonable hours, enabling them to spend time with the family members that were able to come with them. The men enjoy working with their hands and watching their ideas and designs come to fruition.

Though they are incredibly grateful for this job, water, electricity, safety, internet, and a country of peace with no fear, they long to return to Syria. All four of them stand united in this dream: “to rebuild our homes and rebuild our country.”

Incredibly powerful words just came from their mouths. They want to leave the security and safety they have found in Turkey to fight for the nation they love. To rebuild their homes, to see peace within Syria, and “to gather [their families] in one place.”

Faithfulness

Faithfulness: the theme I have noticed within each of the artisans I interview. Not all of them love what they do, but they all work with a devotion that I have never seen before. Why do they do what they do? Because they are dedicated to their family, their community, their God, and their country. They will do anything and learn any skill to fight for what matters most to them.

I find that incredibly inspiring.

After talking with these four men, Isaiah 58:12 came to mind.

“Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will restore the foundations laid long ago; you will be called the repairer of broken walls, the restorer of streets where people live.”

My prayer for these men is that they will join the Lord in the restoration of Syria; rebuilding together. Though they might not see this in their lifetime, their faithfulness to fight for it is a fight that I want to be a part of.

I used to ask our artisans what they do and what their favorite part of it is. But I no longer want that to be the focus. I want to ask them why they do what they do. These artisans are a lot more than artisans. They are beautiful people with powerful, oftentimes traumatic, stories, and I pray you see that. I pray you see the why behind their work, and that it would challenge you to do the same for yourself.

Next time you meet someone, instead of asking what they do, ask why. I have found that question to be transformative for both of us. Our why is what keeps us going. The Genesis Box is devoted to distributing products that capture the country and the artisan. I think the best way to do that is by sharing their stories. To show what these people care about, what their lives are like, and how God is using them in magnificent ways.

Remember your why today and help others do the same,
Kareena

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