Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 80 – Sunday in Beijing

Day 80 – Sunday in Beijing

We checked out of the hotel and the bus drove us to where the Beijing Branches of the Church meet.  I was missing our little intimate meeting that we have in our Virtual Branch, but it was nice to attend in a more familiar setting also.  It is on the 4th floor of an office building.

The office building where we went to Church.

We got there just as the Sunday School class was starting and so the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves and say where we were from.  After we did that, he decided to dispense with the lesson he had planned and go into some of the history of the Church in China.  What I found most interesting was how they got the space that they are now using for Church. 

At first, they were meeting in homes.  As the Church slowly grew in Beijing, it just didn’t fit anymore and they needed to find some place where they could meet.  They had to get approval to do this from the Chinese government AND from the Church headquarters.  Permission was received from the Chinese government for them to meet and the Church said to look for a place.  They looked around and finally found the 4th floor of an office building that would work.  Negotiations took place and they were able to get the rent down to 18,000 RMB per month, so they sent it to the Church committee.  They came back and said that they wouldn’t pay more than 10,000 RMB.  The people in the building had been very kind, but the negotiations had been hard and the local leaders were wondering how they were going to go back to these people and try and get the rent down that far. 

As they were praying and talking, they got a call from the office owners.  They were looking at the plans the Church had for that fourth floor and thought that some of the tenets of the building might like the configuration of having some of the smaller rooms (classrooms) made available for meetings.  Would they be willing to allow them use those smaller rooms during the week when they weren’t needed and reduce the rent to 10,000 RMB?  I just thrilled to hear this story!
China's World Trade Center.

We were taken from Church to the Silk Market.  David and I found a pizza restaurant and had a pizza.  It was pretty close to regular pizza from the States.  Then we looked around the shops.  The shop people all yell, “Hey Lady, you wanna buy?”  Some grab your arms.  Some follow you a ways.  David really hates it.  We have to learn to ignore them and it is hard because we want to look, and be friendly, but if you give them the slightest nod of acknowledgement, they pull you in and don’t let you go!  We had been looking for some silk shirts for David and one of the couples had just bought some, so we went to the place where they were and got a deal of about $20 a shirt.  Then we wandered some more, just because we didn’t have anything else to do.  Got some pretty good ice cream.  Then we decided it was close enough to the time to meet so we could leave, so we went out to the bus and waited for all the rest to come.

They drove us to the train station where we caught the high-speed train back to Ji’nan.  I really like riding that high speed train.  It gets you where you need to go fairly fast and you don’t have to worry about your ears popping (from the high altitude) and the stops and starts are really smooth.  We got a cab for the ride home and we were glad to be back in Ji’nan.  Beijing was nice and we had really great weather, even though it was cold, and the smog was non-existent for us, and we saw some really wonderful things, but we like Ji’nan!

CCTV building.  China's broadcasting center for TV.  Cool building1

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