It's been almost three years since I left to go to China. I loved China. I cannot really explain it, but I felt God's presence so keenly while I
was there. There was a line so clearly drawn between those who loved Him and those who did not. I was the only Christian on my trip. I usually have a church to be involved in or a Bible study to fall back on whenever I am here in the States, but there I had none of that. For me being a Christian in America with a church and friends was way different than being a Christian in a different country with a group of people whose attitudes toward God varied from disinterested to hostile. It made me very aware of my insecurities, my weaknesses, and my vulnerabilities. It taught me how much I needed God. And it taught me that my relationship with Him was, indeed, my own. It was me and Him. He taught me so much in that semester. It was one of the most
amazing and difficult semesters of my life and it took me a long while
to process that experience and understand it. I think sometimes I still am learning from it. I still dream about it pretty regularly. And when I do dream about it Xi'an is almost always part of it. I loved Xi'an. Of all the cities we visited and stayed in besides Jingdezhen, Xi'an stands out more boldly than the others. Something about Xi'an engaged all my senses and somehow imprinted itself on my memory. Also I met a Christian man while in Xi'an...the only Christian I met on the entire trip with the exception of a brief visit with a very dear friend who happened to be there at the same time. We randomly met while I was at Starbucks one time and we chatted over tea. After three months without a church or Christian friend there with me I cannot say how much this really blessed and encouraged me. And our conversation, though very short, left a big impression on me. I guess being there also taught me that although our walk with God is personal having a church that functions together is so vital! It was the most refreshing part of the whole trip.
Yesterday while at Starbucks (coincidentally) I read an article in the paper about China, and Xi'an in particular, which I have no doubt is why I dreamed about it last night. It and its people and culture have a hold on my heart. I miss it.