Day 5: “Holy Surprises”
Today was a day of tourism for the China trip participants. The day did not look promising for an outdoor excursion to a nearby park with dozens of natural springs. But the rain that began early in the morning ceased just as our group ventured out to the “Black Tiger Spring” and other sights of Jinan. The good thing about the rain was that it reduced the smog. Jinan is a city of contrasts. It has terrible pollution, but at the same time has over seventy-two natural springs scattered throughout the city. Parks are built around some of the bigger of these springs.
The Black Tiger Spring emerges from underground and is a destination point for many citizens of Jinan to come and fill up any size container they have, from a teapot (shown in this photo) to a 5-gallon container. Peter Lim said that this water comes out of the ground purer than the tap water of the city.
Later, at a time of reflection on what we have seen to date in China, Elder Arthur Gilkes of Shadyside Presbyterian Church connected the people of Jinan going to the natural springs to the Chinese going to the churches to receive the living water of Jesus Christ and his word. Peter reminded us that one of the videos we saw at the Amity Printing Company had been titled, “Living Water.”
Our free time, it seemed, serve to reinforce the passion of Chinese Christians to share the word of life with all whom they could. Later that afternoon another of the trip participants, Janet Wood, and I found a new church development meeting in a home right around the corner from our hotel. This is a commercial district, and until May of this year there were no churches. But a believer opened her home to a new meeting for Christians. Two of our group had stumbled upon the church the day before, and we wanted to see if it was open on a Thursday afternoon.
Janet and I walked in as the choir was practicing. A sister named Liu Wei (Chinese Christians refer to themselves as “brothers and sisters”) who spoke English said that this church was named “Mark’s Home,” a reference to the home mentioned in Acts 12 where the mother of Mark hosted a meeting of believers who were praying for Peter’s release from prison. The reason for the choir practice, she told us was that their choir was going to give a Christian concert at a church near Jinan this coming Saturday. The music was delightful, and their spirit was contagious.
We have had one unplanned event after another throughout our time in China. Everything, however, has reinforced the faith of the Chinese that constantly reach out to others leading people to discipleship and establishing new outposts of the Kingdom of God.
Blessings from Jeff Ritchie for the Team