We attended one of the old established churches of Chengdu. Like all churches I’ve seen so far, just about every seat was taken, but this crowd was an older crowd than I’ve been used to seeing here in China. The hymns were traditional, and mostly western tunes. The pastor must be at least in his eighties, and the speaker this morning was the president of the small seminary that is attached to this church. He spoke on 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray…” He was clearly an engaging communicator, drawing response from the crowd, though I couldn’t understand anything of what he was saying except for the odd “Jesu.” This trip has been a great reminder for me of how difficult it must be for many of our new Chinese immigrants at Peace to follow what is happening in our services.
We needed to leave the service a little early to meet the dean of the seminary next door who gave us a guided tour. I’ll let the pictures tell the inspiring story of these young people, so many of them from the minority groups in western China, who are so dedicated to preparing for a life of ministry among their own people. This seminary is very strategic for this reason: it is the only seminary in China to be especially focussed on giving theological training to China’s ethnic minorities.
The afternoon was free, so we all went our own ways to be tourists in Chengdu. Some toured a big Buddhist monastery, others visited the Tibetan section of the city, but I followed Claire and Kate to the hi-tech section of the city and Global Mall, the largest free standing building in the world. It’s hard to even begin to describe this massive structure which has five times the floor space of the West Edmonton Mall. Even the tv screen at the front is so enormous that it makes one rather dizzy as you walk up to the building. And the entire massive interior of this mall is covered in gorgeous marble. Claire said that marble is quite cheap here; it must be!
On our way back Claire and Kate got off the subway a few stations ahead of me to head home. I continued on to Tian Fu Square, walked around the city centre for awhile, and then found my way back to the hotel. The four “single” guys hung out in Harold’s and my room for the rest of the evening swapping stories. It’s our last evening together. I fly out to Beijing Monday evening in order to catch an early morning flight to Tokyo and then Vancouver early Tuesday morning. It’s almost over. So excited about getting back to Sandra, and the boys. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d be quite ready for this trip to be over.