Monday, July 12, 2010

Group Journal #9 (Thursday, July 8, 2010)

Dear Friends,

Yesterday (July 7) was another wonderful day for all of us. Our daily routine study on inter-cultural communication was conducted right after our morning worship, focusing on the theme of noticing God in spiritual gifts. We continued the theme in our afternoon worship before leaving for a visit to Amity Art Center, where many artistic handicrafts made by Christians from minority ethnic groups in China can be purchased, and the old campus of the Jinling Union Theological Seminary across the street. We then divided into groups of two or three Chinese participants with one U.S. participant to dine at different restaurants. Everyone enjoyed both the delicious food and sweet fellowship throughout the evening.

We began our day on July 8 with the morning worship focusing on noticing God in lingering and practiced the soaking prayer, a wonderful spiritual practice that has greatly blessed many participants. An English conversation game developed by Dr. Rebecca Ritchey for her teaching at Honam Theological University and Seminary in Korea was played in groups of four. It was an excellent tool for interactions.

We honored Mr. Zhang, the head chef and his co-workers at the Bible school’s kitchen, for their most diligent service in cooking all the meals, during lunch time. David Shi, General Secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Council, bought a cake for us for the occasion. We also presented them with handmade crosses Dr. Ritchey brought from Korea. After lunch, we went over to Nanjing’s old city wall by Xuanwu Lake for a visit.

We also visited, after the tour on the city wall, the Nanjing Museum where the Matteo Ricci Exhibition has been on display since June 4 and will end on July 25. The exhibition is titled "An Encounter of Civilizations in Ming China." It is an exhibition, which, for the first time in China, reconstructs the events and follows the footsteps of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit from Italy. Ricci was considered as “the first person who established a solid cultural bridge between the West and China, opening that great country to the world towards the end of the Ming dynasty.”

Dr. Don Snow, our denomination’s Regional Liaison for China, who authored the book we used for the program, was with us throughout the day. He will join us again tomorrow morning.

We shared at the evening worship service about how we have seen Christ in all the Chinese participants who joined the program for the first time this year. We did the same for returnees at the morning worship yesterday as well. It was indeed a wonderful exercise.

Tomorrow (July 9) will be the last day of the program. We will have the breaking of the bread after the morning worship. The closing ceremony is scheduled after lunch. All the Chinese participants will leave at the conclusion of the ceremony to return to their respective cities in order to get ready for ministry over the weekend.

I’m sure you will rejoice with us as we celebrate one last time this excellent exchange in spirituality tomorrow.

Peter Lim