Saigon to Singers Glen
One Hundred Moments in the Life of a Mennonite Farm Boy
On a global yet intimate scale, this thoughtful memoir invites you to explore a life well lived. Get to know Jim Bowman: he grew up in a conservative Mennonite farm family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, came of age in the war-torn streets of Saigon, and has since lived a life of adventures across the globe, from the farming communities of Indonesia to the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi, Kenya and back to Virginia.
In constellations of stories and philosophical musings, Bowman traces the transformation of his worldview. In his childhood, being faithful was mostly about following the rules of the church. His time in Vietnam as a conscientious objector and in Indonesia as an agricultural development worker expanded his perceptions of culture and ethics. Back in Virginia, the death of his son dealt a mighty challenge to the faith on which he had long relied. The raw grief and violent upheaval of his foundational beliefs led to a series of questions and new answers as he learned how to find peace again.
Throughout the journey, Bowman’s tone is humble, honest, and always open to the experiences of others. Reflect on your own understanding of life in this changing, increasingly connected twenty-first century by reading about one exemplary life.
Jim Bowman lives near Singers Glen, Virginia, with his wife, Cathy,on a hillside piece of land hived off from the farm where he grew up. He is father to two living children, and two grand children. He is partially retired, and enjoys gardening, cycling and hiking. Bowman spent 15 years of his adult life working as a volunteer for an international development agency (Mennonite Central Committee [MCC]), and 20 years as a farmer specializing strawberries and other vegetables. He graduated with a degree in sociology from Eastern Mennonite University, and then earned a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation, also from Eastern Mennonite. Bowman currently serves as President of the Board of Gift and Thrift in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a recycling and repurposing non-profit operation which raises money for the international relief and development work of MCC. Bowman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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