Some final thoughts on my recent trip to China…
- I know I’ve gone a lot to China when I can’t accurately recall how many times I’ve gone. I had to consult two of my passports to find out for sure. The final answer? 9 trips to China. (I didn’t go in 2004 like I thought.)
- Since my first foray into China, I think the government has loosened a bit toward Christianity. Still, they are in control and you don’t forget it. I had limited internet access due to the Chinese government blocking Facebook, Blogger and Twitter. If it weren’t for a Korean-American student I met over there, who gave me a link that helped in accessing blocked sites, I wouldn’t have been able to update anything.
- The orphanage we partner with, in Beijing, is easily the best run orphanage I’ve ever worked with in my missionary/humanitarian work over 15 years.
- Air pollution is still a huge problem in Beijing. The people may be fooled by the line that it is just “the clouds trying to rain”, but that doesn’t explain developing the early stages of a smoker’s lung while being in Bejing.
- Granted, air quality isn’t as bad as before. What does it say about a nation when you can’t drive your car two days out of a week to keep air pollution down? It’s bad over there, my friends.
- In a number of my trips to China I’ve been blessed to have elementary school teachers on teams that have worked at the orphanage. This makes my job so much easier and the work so much more effective. And, they’ve all been great people.
- I did a lot of reflecting on my connections with China on this trip. I’m not sure why I’m a conduit for churches and people to get involved in China, but I am nonetheless. Is something big in the works? On one of my many trips to China will I lead someone over there whose life will ultimately be defined by that trip? At this point, it’s no fluke I’m involved with China. Why is that? I’m looking forward to finding out more to answer that question.
- One of the days we were at the orphanage I brought my laptop and showed the kids pics from my previous trips to China. It’s fun to be swarmed by all the kids as they want to see pictures of themselves and old friends who have been adopted. The older orphans, who are no longer able to be adopted, were engrossed by the pictures of themselves from when they were younger. I’ve watched some of these kids grow up over the course of seven years. I can also bear witness to the fact of teams that come over to work in the orphanage do make a positive difference in the lives of these kids.
- Went to a government church the last Sunday we were there, and if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was a normal, evangelical church. Look deeper and you notice things, but at first glance you’d think there was religious freedom in China.
- Once Chinese people under age 18 are allowed to learn about various religions, then one can surmise that China is opening up on the religious front.
- The people in China are still wonderful.
- If you want to get involved with great missions opportunities, China has them in spades. Interested? Let me know…
- The upcoming generation of Communist leaders will want to enjoy their time in the sun. Don’t expect the government’s control to loosen.
- They think Christianity is a political threat to their nation, and it’s easy to see why. Look at evangelical Christian’s influence on politics, the past decade, in America.
- Word is China wants Korea to remain divided because the last thing they want is a united, and ultimately democratic, Korea on their border. This would influence their people toward democracy.
- At the same time, when (not if) North Korea collapses, it will be interesting to see what China does. Kim Jong-Il’s declining health could speed up a collapse. When that does happen, expect to see a flood of refugees into China and South Korea. What does China do then?
- Basketball seems to be the favorite sport in China, and Kobe, Lebron and Shaq all seem more popular than Yao Ming over there.
- Hard to separate which was the better trip, my first trip or this trip. However, while I was so scared at the prospect of leading a team, in January of 2000, that I was laughing at the absurdity of the situation, I feel quite prepared now in dealing with any number of scenarios when heading to China.
- The only Michael W. Smith song I like is an instrumental he did for the album Exodus. I listened to that album repeatedly my first time in China, and I found myself listening to that song on this trip a lot. (Thanks to Ali Fulk-Kliewer who leant me the album way back in 2000.)
- I think some of the food over there is not traditional Chinese food, bur rather food to get sucker tourists to buy. Really, was anyone eating scorpion or starfish kabobs back in the day in China?
- Beijing has its own personality, and is a mecca that most Chinese want to pilgrimage to at least once in their life, but much of the city doesn’t seem Chinese anymore. You want to see and experience China? Get outside Beijing. Next time I take a team over, I’m going to do what I can to make that happen with the team.
- China seemed like it wanted to appear it was doing something to combat swine flu, but if a pandemic is going to occur it will ravage China. It’s nice that my temperature was taken before entering China, every time I entered the hotel we were staying at, and upon entering the government church, but with how unsanitary Beijing is a pandemic would ravage the city.
- What did the Olympics really accomplish for Beijing?
I’m sure there is more, but tomorrow I go back to work at CCC. China will be off the radar for awhile. I’ll post some pics, and some more vignettes may come out on the blog, but all in all it was a phenomenal trip. I was blessed to go again and to work with many on the team.
Looking forward to trip #10…