International Ministries


July 6, 2016 Journal
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The city Shangri-La is famous in history and culture for its beautiful, natural scenery.  In Tibetan, Shangri-La means the "sun and moon in heart", an ideal home only found in heaven.  Shangri-La is a county-level city in northwestern Yunnan province, People's Republic of China and is the location of the seat of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.  The city was called Zhongdian, but in an effort to promote tourism in the area, it was renamed in 2001 as Shangri-La after the fictional land of Shangri-La in the 1933 James Hilton novel “Lost Horizon."  Here, inhabited by hard-working, honest, hospitable Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi, Bai, Yi, Hui, Miao, Nu, Pumi and 25 other ethnic groups, there are 9 ethnic groups which have more than a thousand people and 33.81% of the population in this Shangri-La county is Tibetan.

After our intensive training ministry at the Wa and Lahu Training centers in late May, we took a three days’ vacation in Shangri-La.  When we planned for this trip to Yunnan, we questioned whether we should go to Shangri-La.  Based on our physical condition and our ages, we doubted that we should go to this high elevation area.  We knew, however, as we become older, it will be more difficult for us to visit Shangri-La, and May's climate is good for us to go there (even if we need to wear goose down clothes) so we went.

On the first day, a local believer was our guide and took us to visit the old town of Jiantang that was built in CE 800.  Although the town is old, the style of wood sculptures and artwork on the buildings are still remarkably detailed and beautiful.  When we heard our guide say that her church lacked music instruments and there’s a lady in the church who wanted to learn to play the drum, by chance we walked by a drum store, we went into the store where Ivy and our guide truly enjoyed learning to play the drum.  At the end, our guide was surprised to receive two drums from us as the gifts to the church.  We joked with her that we look forward to hearing a praise team from the church when we come back in the next time.

Before we left the drum store, Ivy asked the sales lady if she could pray for her, because this lady has mentioned she had a Christian boyfriend before and she has spent about an hour to teach us to play the drum with the inconvenience and pain of removing the tooth the day before.  The prayer so touched the sales lady's heart that she cried.  Though the Chinese culture is not comfortable with hugging, Ivy hugged her for a while before saying bye-bye to her.  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)  “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:19-21)  

After we left the drum store, we had a spicy noodle soup for lunch.  Then we went back to the hotel to rest and try to adjust to the high altitude environment.  On the way back to hotel, Ivy saw two senior local ladies sitting on a bench, and she sat down to greet and talk with them.  In the evening we went to an outdoor open field that had hundreds of people dancing together.   Ivy was impressed by their dance and could not resist jumping in to dance with the crowd.  She even had a picture taken with two ladies dressed in their ethnic costumes.  After the dance, we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner that was a great treat for us.

On the second day, we went to the Pudacuo National Park, a 500-square-mile national park located in Shangri-La County.  The park was opened in 2007 and is notable as the first national park in China to meet the standards of the International Union for Nature Conservation.  It incorporates the Bita Lake Nature Reserve and the Duhu Scenic Area in the Hongshan region.  As such they are part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.  The Bita Hai Lake is about 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by dense, deciduous forests.  We spent more than four hours to hike the 1.6 km (1.0 mi) trail around entitle Bita Hai Lake, and because of the altitude, we had to use oxygen tank.  Our guide accompanied us, and we all praised the Lord for His creation of this beautiful place.  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11)

On the third day, we went to Napa Hai Lake, which is 3270 meters above sea level, covering a total area of 66 square kilometers. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides.  On the valley floor, where the nature reserve lies, the climate is more temperate, with mild weather reigning from late spring to late fall.  For about 3 hours we enjoyed a lovely ride to the small lake through Tibetan villages.  The road goes about 40 kilometers around a grass plain where yaks, cattle, sheep and pigs graze.  After we returned to Shangri-La city, we had a family type lunch of typical Tibetan food with the local sister's family.

As servants of Christ, it is our duty to minister and share the "Good News" even when we are on vacation.  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Our own goodness or what we do when we present Christ to others is not important.  It matters only that we tell others about our Savior.  It is Jesus, the Savior himself who draws them to Him.