Beijing, Saturday, June 7, 1986
We arose at 5 a.m for our flight to Beijing. We rode along smoothly in the propeller plane until the roller-coaster type landing resulting in my severe motion sickness. Because of this combined with exhaustion, I skipped seeing the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, but I sent my camera along with one of the nurses.
I treasured being alone in this beautiful luxurious Holiday Inn where we are staying, quite an upgrade from the cockroach-infested hotel in Xian. After I slept, read my Bible, and wrote a letter, I ordered an American dinner from the menu of a hamburger, French Fries, milkshake, and wonton soup. I cringed at spending $8 (a hamburger costs me 62 cents in the USA), but this was the first American food I have tasted in a week since coming to China. I savored every bite. I’ve eaten more rice this past week than I’ve eaten all year. I hope my stomach feels better by tomorrow when we climb the Great Wall.
Mary is a delightful Christian nurse from Alaska on the tour and we have been enjoying sweet fellowship together. We are hoping to take a taxi tomorrow to visit a church. The Lord’s will be done.
Beijing, Monday, June 9, 1986
Yesterday was another full day. We climbed the Great Wall in 95-degree heat in the morning. The view from the top of the arid and rugged mountains enthralled me. The emperor began building it in 300 BC to defend China from the Manchurians in the north. He made it wide enough so his whole army could march along the top of it. The wall stretches over 3000 miles from east to west in China. They estimate 400,000 slaves died while building it and were entombed in the wall.
I climbed a small ladder to sit on a camel and had my photo taken with the wall in the background. As I climbed down from him, he tried to bite me.
After lunch, we went to the Ming Tombs. My stomach still rebelled, so I just sat in the garden and drank Coke. The others said they walked down five flights of stairs to a large underground empty cavern. Then we had a nice dinner at the Marco restaurant- western style. I felt much better after dinner.
Mary and I checked on the Protestant church, but they only had morning services, so we had our own service together in the quiet hotel courtyard garden. We read John 21 and comments from F.B. Meyer on the life of Peter. I can’t help but think of the verses in John 21 when Christ asked Peter three times, “Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep” (KJV). The three requirements for service are love, humility, and courage. May God give me all three. I have no idea what God wants me to do in relation to China. Mary and I then had a wonderful time in prayer together for the people of China to receive Christ as their Savior. Our time of worship together refreshed our hearts.
Today, we toured the beautiful Summer Palace built on the Hill of Longevity overlooking Kunming Lake. After being destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in 1886 for Empress Cixi and became a public park in 1924. We enjoyed an excellent lunch including sweet red bean steamed rolls, just like the Korean ladies served me back home.
The comical mama pandas at the zoo combed the fur of the baby panda as he played.
The memorable Peking duck dinner was my favorite meal. They roasted the honey-coated duck over a fruitwood fire for two days until all the fat drained off. We put the sliced duck inside a crepe with scallions and plum sauce and rolled it up like a hot dog. Delicious!
Tuesday, June 10, 1986
We visited a general hospital for adults this morning with our friendly nurse tour guides. A neurology nurse gave me her address and asked me to write to her. I included a gospel of John and gospel tract inside my hospital’s magazine that I gave her as a small gift. The Director of Nursing offered me a teaching job to my amazement. But the whole atmosphere is so dark and depressing. I don’t think I would survive there alone for very long.
The traditional pharmacy across the street from the hospital stocked dried lizards, snakes, and essence of frog and antlers among other things.
I also walked the back streets alone for the first time where I witnessed poverty and smelled the stench from minimal hygiene. As the people glared at me, I felt frightened for the first time during the trip. I came across a market where they sold vegetables, live chickens, and roasted ducks. The average Chinese does not own a refrigerator so they need to buy food daily. I was glad when I found my way back to the safety of the hotel.
In the early evening, we flew to Guangzhou (formerly called Canton) in southern China. We stayed at a beautiful hotel in the country by a lake and had our superb farewell Cantonese dinner. We said goodbye to Mr. Li, our Communist tour guide. He told us this hotel was formerly only used by government party leaders.
Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Wednesday, June 11, 1986
I still have about 15 Chinese gospels of John which I don’t want to take back home. After asking the Lord what to do, I decided to leave them in my hotel room. I pray the housekeeper will deliver them to people who have hungry hearts to know the truth. I am thankful that God’s word never returns void.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV)
After breakfast, we boarded the express train to Hong Kong. We saw the building boom in Guangzhou with bamboo scaffolding everywhere. The scaffolds don’t look too sturdy to me.
We viewed the gorgeous countryside from the train window as we rolled past brilliant green rice fields, water buffaloes, and fishing ponds. Farewell, China.
Dear Lord, Thank You for giving me the privilege of visiting this ancient country. How I pray that You would bless the believers, strengthen, and protect them as they give out Your good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I pray that many will receive You as their Savior. Amen
I thank God for allowing me to go to China after reading so many missionary books about it. I didn’t have any further trouble with my eyes, and my mother did well with her cancer treatment while I was away.
The Lord opened the door for me to return to Beijing in 2004 to assist in caring for some orphans. During a break, I was able to tour Tiananmen Square and the fascinating Forbidden City that I missed in 1986 because of my motion sickness.
Next post I will tell you about the end of the tour in Hong Kong and my time in New York City on the return trip.