Friday, June 26: A Day of Contrasts

Today, Friday, June 26 was, in some respects a day of contrasts. We began with young people filled with hope and promise and ended the day with ancient figures, many broken in pieces.

Students at the Shaanxi Bible College in Xi’an

Students at the Shaanxi Bible College in Xi’an

What a joy it was to visit the Shaanxi Bible College in Xi’an! We were welcomed by Rev. Holly Wanghong (principal) and Rev. Chen Dingliang (vice-principal) and treated to delicious fruit and tea. Then we joined some of the 130 students who had prepared a special program of singing and dance. The beautiful dancing was led by a student from Tibet. One of the 16 provincial Bible colleges, Shaanxi has a special heart for educating students from minority groups. Then, they invited us to sing. The students also had done some thinking about breaking down barriers of language and culture, and they involved us in some games, including something like charades, that had everybody laughing. 

The school, which needs more space to meet the demand for new church leaders, hopes to relocate to a bigger campus in about three years. It offers a one year lay training program and a four year pastoral training program. Outreach has partnered with this school for about a decade.

After a delicious meal with school leaders, we headed outside the city to see the Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The sculpted warriors, horses and chariots were buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC to protect the emperor in the afterlife. They were lost to history until discovered by a farmer in 1974. It is an amazing thing to see, but not as moving as what we saw  earlier in the day.

Ancient life-size terracotta warriors lined up to protect the emperor

Ancient life-size terracotta warriors lined up to protect the emperor

In the afternoon we saw warriors made from terracotta fashioned for an uncertain afterlife by an emperor who united China by defeating in battle six other kingdoms. In the morning we met servant leaders confident about life with God now and after death united in Christ and committed to blessing all the peoples of the earth in his name.

Tomorrow, on to Nanjing!

Blessings from the team