Ni Hao 你好 from Beijing, China! Easter Monday 2021
Yesterday many thousands of people did it here in this capital city of over twenty million people. Many millions across this entire nation, the most populous in the world, did it too. Some were on screens. Many wore masks and shared waves and bumps instead of hugs and handshakes. Many met in different places because they no longer possess the venues they used last year. All had to weather the Motherland’s intense efforts to “protect religious people” from sickness – apparently viruses spread more in churches, mosques, and temples than they do in bars, sports stadiums, and massage parlors.
Yes, lots of us here in Beijing, China stepped into the stream of those who have worshipped the Risen Lord Jesus Christ since those who kneeled at His feet before His empty tomb two thousand years ago. Yesterday brought new challenges to our gathering. It was the first time this congregation met in the workplace of one of their members. Worst of all, there was no PowerPoint – but somehow the Holy Spirit managed to show up without it. Most of us here in China plan to meet next Sunday too.
Our preacher yesterday shared new insights from a familiar text – Jesus on the Emmaus Road from Luke 24. This rich slice of Scripture holds wonderful treasures; seeing Jesus through all Scripture “Moses…all the Prophets…in all the Scriptures” (v. 27) – ongoing union with God by the Spirit through the Word “Did not our hearts burn within us…while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (v. 32) – and fresh courage when one meets the Risen Lord “they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem” (v. 33). We heard those great truths yesterday, with an insightful Covid application. Jesus sought two disciples who wandered away from the fellowship of believers; and when they had a fresh meeting with Him they ran back to join the brethren in Jerusalem. How many of us who have grown comfortable watching church wearing pajamas need that nudge?
Tomb Sweeping Day
Full disclosure, there were many more Chinese sweeping tombs yesterday than worshipping Jesus. Tomb Sweeping Day coincided with Easter this year. Families travel to relative’s graves to pay their respects, a Confucian form of posthumous respect and filial piety for ancestors.
Paper money, smart phones, cars, iPads, and luxury
handbags – are sent to ancestors by burning while family members show their
respect by bowing. I am not sure if there are tech instructors to help
great-granny operate their new iPhone 12’s sent by burning paper to the
Those of us who follow the true and living God in China pray that as our foolish friends burn bucks and tidy tombs they will reflect on their life after death. Perhaps they will think about that crazy family member – friend – work colleague – former classmate – bar buddy – college classmate – or that smiling old man who cleans their apartment complex – who told them Jesus’ promise of Resurrection and Life. The old ‘tell somebody who will tell somebody’ still works best to spread the Good News here.
Visit from the Gobi
You can see how a billion people burning paper goodies for their ancestors does not help our breathing in China. In our 12 years here, we have never traveled to the Gobi Desert, so the sands of the Gobi paid us a visit during March. We had several ‘yellow sky’ days. The air quality measurement for Beijing soared beyond the index levels. We will not miss this part of life here.
Different views of Beijing’s Forbidden City within the same week last month!
New Adventures Ahead
Our plan is to leave China in June, finishing our work here. We look back on the last 12 years with praise for all the Lord has done. We treasure friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world that we made here. At this point we hear His call to “Leave” more clearly than where He commands to “Land!” But we trust the Lord who has guided us through 40 years of global mission has a corner of his harvest field for us to serve for the next season.
We plan to land in Portland, Oregon and visit with family there. We are car shopping now. Sometime in late summer we hope to drive East and see friends.
We hope to visit family, friends, and churches in California this coming winter. And then perhaps return to Hawaii in the first quarter of 2022, God willing.
A Work in Progress
Mark is busy writing our mission story. He has finished the rough draft of our Uganda years. It is in need of editing. It might be helpful if you have insomnia…
We hope to see many of you in the coming months. Please let us know your availability, we are putting the pins in our USA map phone app…it has a world map too!
Yours in the Joy of our Risen Savior, Mark and Dayna Blair
Our Mission Pioneers - 10123 William Carey Dr - Orlando, FL 32832 USA
Checks to ‘Pioneers’ – with attached note: ‘Mark and Dayna Blair, Beijing.’
Electronic transfers: https://give.pioneers.org/p-75-give-to-a-missionary-or-project.aspx
(Our Account # is 110565, Mark and Dayna Blair)