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Continued from Church in China (part 2) and Church in China (part 1)

I went to bed early Saturday night so I would be able to get up and be ready for church on time. I knew I would need a shower and then extra time to let my hair air dry. I got up at 5 a.m. to start getting ready. At 6’o’clock, Vivian had not gotten up yet, and I started to get worried because I knew it would take us about 30 minutes to get to the church. I sat on my bed in my room waiting for Vivian’s door to open. 6:30 and nothing. So, I texted her to ask if we were going to church. She texted back that Music, Secret and Flower wanted to take me to a church in Beijing today and that they would leave at 8:30 a.m. (Sadly, Vivian did not accompany us.)

I was so relieved that I would not miss church. I thought if we missed the 7 a.m. church time that I would miss my opportunity to go to church this week and that made me very sad. I should have known to let God take care of it and not get all worked up because things weren’t happening on my schedule–well, not really my schedule, but the one I knew of.

So, at 8:30, Music, Secret, Flower and I hopped on the bus to Beijing. We arrived at 10 a.m. and headed to the subway. The church, I learned, was all the way on the other side of Beijing–we came in on the east side and the church was the next to last stop on the west side. That was another hour ride across the city on the subway. Once we got off, we started walking. We had a little trouble with the directions, but luckily Sharon, a friend of Flower’s sister, met us and led us the six or so blocks to the church. We got there just as the service was starting and it was standing room only. Sharon disappeared for a moment and then returned to drag me to sit squished between two tiny but friendly Asians.

It was a service in English (those dear teachers looking out for me) and was filled with a mixture of Chinese and a few westerners. The message was good. The band sang songs I knew. What a special blessing to finally get to worship at a church here in China, and how exciting to see such a thriving one. It has a big sanctuary and five services each Sunday, four of them in Chinese.

November 27, 2011. The sanctuary. The walls to the left and the back are lined at least three rows deep of shoulder-to-shoulder people.

After the service we were invited to lunch. The group of people that Sharon introduced us to insisted I meet an older couple from Ohio who hold a Bible study in their home on Sunday afternoon. They call the couple Grandfather and Grandmother. So after lunch we went to the grandparent’s house for the Bible study. It was mostly in Chinese, but often people would answer in English. Many times they would answer one way and translate their answer in the other language. The study was over Moses and the ten commandments. I was excited for it being in Chinese because I knew the teachers would get something out of it because the service was too hard for them to understand.

At 5:00 p.m. we had to leave to figure out how to get back to Yanjiao. We caught a bus to a subway stop and began our three-hour trip home.

November 27, 2011. The giant Christmas tree in the parking lot. They were having a tree-lighting ceremony that evening. But we had to get back before the buses stopped running.

November 27, 2011. Flower, Laura, Music.