What a whirlwind of a trip we are having. On Tuesday we drove from Nanjing to Hefei, where we visited the provincial seminary. They are doing so much with so little, it was inspiring and wonderful to see.

We were also privileged in Hefei to attend the memorial service of Rev. Shaotang Zhu, father of Xiaoling Zhu. Xiaoling is head of the East Asia Office of Global Ministries, and has been our host on this trip. The memorial service was very moving. Rev. Zhu was baptized by Disciples missionaries at the age of 17, in 1931. He paid for his faith dearly during the Cultural Revolution, but survived to become one of the fathers of the new Christian Church in China. We were honored to be witnesses to his life and his work.

From Heife, we flew to Chengdu, in the Szechwan Province — which is as far west as you can go in China before reaching Tibet. There we visited with Elizabeth and Doug Searles, our Global Ministries mission personnel. The Searles teach English classes for teachers from China’s ethnic minority areas. We had the opportunity to visit with some of their students — a delightful group of young adults who are committed to helping their communities thrive.

Tonight we flew from Chengdu to Xi’an, where we will meet with local church groups. We’ll also have a chance to visit the famous tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor of all China. The tomb is filled with hundreds of life-size terracotta soldiers and horses. I’m looking forward to that trip.

I am learning so much on this trip, and finding that so many of my previous ideas about China were incomplete at best, and sometimes downright wrong. I have definitely been bitten by the China bug, and am already planning my next trip to this land of so much history and so many big cities — this land of profound contradictions.

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