26 March 2011

Bible School

The Baotou Bible School admitted its first class two years ago to train church workers in theology and leadership. The school is attached to one of the Christian churches but supported by all 100 churches and church meeting points in the district. This building houses the classrooms and dormitories, and there's also a cafeteria on campus.
Our friend Ruth shows Daniel the library. To attend, one must be a Christian for five years, have a letter of support from your pastor, and pass an admission test.
A hundred students attend this two year program. Ranging in age from 18 to 71, about 80% are women.
Ruth shows us her bed in the 10 person dormitory room. Married with a 12 year old son, she stays here during the week and goes home on the weekend.
Pastor Han is the director of the college and the only ordained person on staff. Since ordained people are rare, most Chinese churches are led by members with additional training as provided by the bible school. Church workers receive a stipend and rely upon family to support for their work.
The future leaders of the Christian church in China are coming from bible schools like this one.

22 March 2011

No Longer Notice

After 8 months in China, we no longer notice some things that used to surprise us. Every day we see men and children urinating in public. Diapers are rare, so parents toilet their toddlers on the street. Apparently back in the '50s this was such a problem that the government had a "public nuisance" campaign. But no longer.
This is our bedroom window ledge after a couple of days, and we have yet to see the real sand storms. Silt and soot are everywhere and in everything. Sigh.
We learned these are sidewalks for the blind. Somehow there's a bit of a gap between the idea and the implementation.
When you go to China Post (both a post office and a bank) to mail a package, you're given a sheet of plastic plus a needle thread to make your own mailer. Walking backwards is popular in China, and you often see older people taking a backward stroll. It's supposed to improve balance and cognition. Why not give it a try -- millions can't be wrong.

09 March 2011

Walk in the Park

Baotou has a surprising number of parks, so we try to get out a couple times a week, dust the chalk off our clothes, and enjoy a stroll.
The three wise monkeys (see, speak, and hear no evil) are here with their do-no-evil companion.
We see many kiting enthusiasts in the parks, with large reels to navigate their kites that sometimes fly almost out of sight.
Diane has been telling Daniel to go fly a kite, and it looks like he might. There's certainly a lot of choice.
The carving of intials in a tree trunk must be a universal.
We ended the day with a gourmet cup of coffee, complete with whipped cream and artistically shaped spoons. At these moments we feel we're living in the lap of luxury.