January 13—Puyang

After a nice buffet breakfast, we drove a few miles through heavy AM rush hour traffic in search of an easy access to the Dong Guan Church. It was built in 1917 by Mennonite missionaries and for the next several years served as the “mother church” of missionary work in the area. We were met by several elderly ladies who welcomed us by singing in Chinese “Silent Night” and in English, “Amazing Grace”.

Our final stop of the morning was at a large new church. Built in 2003, this structure has sanctuary seating for perhaps 1,000. We were welcomed by Madam Zhang Yan Min, one of the church pastors, and five young woman singing hymns around a magnificent new grand. In response to an invitation from the singing ladies of Mu En, our group reciprocated by a nice rendition of the “606”—the “Praise God” closing song in many US services today. Following the visit to the sanctuary, we were invited to a warm meeting room for some snacks and additional briefing about the Mu En Church.

After lunch and back at the hotel, Guo Xu provided some interesting reflections on his grandfather, his legal profession, the values he learned—and appreciated—exhibited in the actions of the Mennonnite missionaries, and his efforts at helping local churches regain their properties confiscated earlier by the Chinese Government.

Our last evening meal was a Mongolian hot pot event—featuring individulal electrically-heated hot pots into which each guest added thinly sliced meats of various types, bean curd, fresh vegetables, noodles, etc.. These were cooked to taste, then withdrawn with chopsticks, sometimes dipped in peanut or sesame sauce—and eaten! A very enjoyable dinning experience!