This was to begin our three-day visit to Puyang and Daming, sites where Mennonite missionaries worked in the 1911-48 period before being expelled by the new Communist Government.
At the Zhengzhou train station we met our local guide, “George” who would accompany us to Puyang/Daming. After breakfast, we made a brief visit to the impressive Henan Provincial Museum which focused on the long and rich history of this area, termed by the some as the “cradle of Chinese civilization.”
Back on the bus we entered the major N-S toll road that extended from Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. Along the way we were treated to good visual exposure to agriculture on the country’s North China Plain—an area not unlike that of central Kansas—with cold winters, hot summers, generally fertile soil, minimally-adequate rainfall and farmers in a constant battle with the elements. The typical cropping pattern here features wheat and then a second crop—corn, sown in early spring and harvested in the fall.
At about 2 pm, we pulled into Daming, a mid-sized city of about two million residents. We were impressed with the wide streets in excellent condition, the extensive landscaping around the city and the profusion of neon lights, some in English, advertising the wares and businesses of the city. There we met two of the personalities that would assist in our visits to Puyang (Miss Chen Xian Hong “Esther”) and Daming (Mr. Li Da Qing, a leader in the Daming Church).Following a nice dinner, most of us went to bed; a few began to explore the streets of Puyang at night.