Our Final Blog from China
We're sorry that this will be our last blog from the 2014 China Presbyterian Heritage Trip Team. But it's been a very special time and we've enjoyed sharing it with you. On Saturday, we woke to an early breakfast at our hotel in Wei Hei and drove to the ferry terminal where we met Rev. Lu and his daughter, Elive, and Ms. Su. The morning was foggy, but otherwise clear. Elive and Ms. Su served as ours guides as we boarded the ferry for Liugong Island.
We first visited the museum, which is close to the ferry terminal and just off the beach. The largest part of the museum commemorates the defeat of the Chinese Imperial Navy in the 1894-5 War between Japan and China. The Chinese fleet was the superior force, but was defeated in large part due to corruption and betrayal which left the fleet with inadequate ammunition to sustain the engagement with the Japanese. The defeat led to atrocities that further embittered the relationship between the two countries and contributed to yet more atrocities in World War II.
After viewing the excellent dioramas, models and artifacts, we took the open electric sightseeing train around the island to the naval administrative buildings that have been restored to their appearance in 1895.
We returned to our hotel in the afternoon and after a brief rest, Rev. Lu, his daughter, and Ms. Su returned to take us to the Fumen Church for a tour. The church is an impressive group of buildings that house a sanctuary seating over 2,500, classrooms, a kitchen, several dining areas, a dormitory and and a display area featuring pictures commemorating key points during the history of the church. All in all, the facility bears witness to the faith, vision and obedience of the congregation and clergy over the past ten years.
When construction was completed in 2005, the church was located in a remote area next to a natural gas facility and a crematorium. Today, the gas facility and crematorium are gone and the city has grown to include the church property. A high-speed train station is expected to open within the year just a short 15-minute walk away.
After the tour, we withdrew to a local restaurant to enjoy an excellent meal and conversation together. Rev. Todd Leach presented a few gifts to Rev. Lu and expressed our gratitude for the generous hospitality.
Sunday morning under sunny skies, we returned to the church at 8:30 a.m. for the service. Outreach's Rev. Peter Lim was the guest preacher. After worship, we again met with Rev. Lu for conversation over freshly brewed tea. We proposed to pray for more pastors for Weihei, while Rev. Lu would pray for the success of our new pastor at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. We will communicate with each other as our needs change and develop.
After a warm discussion, we shared a wonderful lunch prepared by the church kitchen on short notice. Rev. Tan, wife of Rev. Lu, graciously joined us as her busy schedule permitted. After lunch, we drove to the Wei Hei airport and returned to Beijing, where we separated to complete our individual journeys.
We all were excited by the friendships we formed and the affirmation that can only come from realizing that while half a world apart, we are nurtured by one spirit and part of one body. We look forward to future celebrations of the blessing God has so generously bestowed on us all and the work that God has waiting for us together.
Grace and Peace, Edward Wood for the entire China Presbyterian Heritage Team