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More Than Mission

Posted by Jennifer Whiteman , 22 November 2010 · 1129 views

Earlier this fall, we had a researcher here in the Archives from Germany who was studying Tibetan-Muslim relations in the Gansu (Kansu) area. She had found lots of profitable resources on our website and contacted us about making a special trip to see our other holdings - missionary generated letters, photos, books, reports, and movies. Dr. Horlemann was confident that she would find references to everyday Tibetan life in our records from pioneer missionaries to that area - Ekvalls, Carlsons, Christies, Snyders, and Holtons. During her last day with us, Dr. Horlemann was watching one final video we had pulled, footage that had been shot by Carter & Lora Holton in the 1940s. She asked for a copy of it and excitedly reported that in the middle of the video was what she thought to be very rare footage of a minority tribe. Sure enough...I received an email several weeks later from a professor in China that Dr. H had been in contact with:

"...though very short, this video is, to my knowledge, the only existent video of this group of people, the Minhe Mangghuer people (officially classified as part of the Tu minority in China). The fact that it shows women wearing traditional headdresses and hairstyles, as well as clothing, is very valuable. Is there more?"

The anthropologist in me was ecstatic!

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Wrapped up in some of our old mission reports, letters, photos, surveys, etc... are also the accounts of everyday life from some of the most remote, undocumented people and places. We have attracted multiple researchers over the years who are interested in more than the mission...and while on their quest for social/historical data they are also encountering the stories of sold out missionaries and their incredible passion for the lost. I love that the C&MA Archives is a gateway for this kind of academic ministry.

If you would like to see rare footage of the Tu minority, please see this link: http://www.flickr.co...nor/5199711852/

Wow, good story, Jenn. Thanks for continuing to share with us the rich contents of Alliance archives--this is a great ministry! God is good.
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