China

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For those of you who have remembered the CampsAbroad Asia trip, thanks so much and please continue. All of our flights have gone remarkably well – a miracle in itself nowadays. We had a good visit in South Korea with a group of dear believers. I learned much from them even in our short stay. On one of our jet-lag recovery days, they took us up to the border of North Korea and we were able to see the Northern territory for ourselves. We also went down deep underground to walk in one of the four tunnels that had been discovered running from North to South Korea – one of them came to the surface just 52 km from Seoul. Hmmm… wonder what that was for? (The fourth was discovered as late as 1990!). Anyway, we had some good discussion concerning the future of the youth in S. Korea. The potential is quite amazing.

We arrived in Beijing on July 16th. I was able to meet with some friends and have some good conversation before joining others in our group at the hotel. Today we went to see the “Temple of Heaven.” How fascinating to see such an amazing building built around 1400 during the Yang dynasty. We have nothing old in the U.S. The ancient Chinese Emporer’s sacrificed blood sacrifices twice a year to the “god of heaven”. The Emporer was seen as the “Son of heaven” — the one connection between the people of earth and this god of heaven. There are no idols in the temple — the offerings were to this unseen god. The middle door of the temple courtyard remained forever closed, since no man could approach the perfection of heaven. The number 9 plays prominently into the architecture, being the emporer’s number — one short of number 10 which is the number of the god of heaven — perfection. The temple courtyard is square — representing the earth, but the temple itself is round — representing heaven. Quite interesting.

Thus far, I have had many good conversations that have been helpful in gaining better understanding of this vast country populated by 1.3 billion souls. Getting one’s arms around a culture that is so varied is quite a challenge. Please continue to ask for wisdom and insight.

Report by Matt Collier


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