May Trip 2016 China Update No 3: by Tricia Johnston
Tues 24th May and today’s Itinerary is a meeting with staff from Shandong Christian Council and Shandong Seminary, lunch and then a flight to Shenyang.
The Seminary was founded in 1987 and upgraded in 2011 from a two year to a four year undergraduate programme. They currently have 130 undergraduates, 70 students undergoing one year volunteer training (they may later be ordained as Elders) and 40 students in the one year Church music programme – some of the singing coming from that part of the building was just amazing. Training is Biblically based and a balance between the academic and spiritual development. Students get up at 5.30am for personal devotions. In addition there are morning and evening prayers and a prayer and praise meeting on a Sunday evening. The campus Church is open to local Christians to attend Sunday worship. Students have to be recommended by their local church in order to be considered for selection.
There are 4,000 congregations in the Province and 100,000 Christians in Jinan (where the Seminary is situated). Some parts of the Province are very poor and the local churches in these areas have very limited resources.
There are a number of cults working in China, some from within the country and some from Korea. Students are instructed on how to combat the false messages of the cults.
After lunch it was off to the airport to catch my flight to Shenyang. I checked in my luggage and was walking away from the counter when a staff member came after me to say Security wanted to have a look inside my case, he then added, ‘Security here sucks. Just tell them you don’t want them to open your case and it’ll be fine.’!!! I was helpless! As it was, a 2nd scan cleared up any questions Security had and ‘it was fine’!!
The flight was quite turbulent and so I decided to say to the Shenyang folks I didn’t want anything to eat and would just like to go straight to my hotel. I arrived and was met by Hospital staff to be told ‘The Head of the President’s Office is waiting for you at the restaurant so we’ll go straight there’…….. Actually, it was a very informal meal (still about 10 dishes) so that was fine.
Finally I got checked in to my (extremely) nice hotel just before 10.00pm and could finally unpack my case. Thank goodness! Best wishes, Tricia