Day 4: Nanjing part 2
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Our second day in Nanjing proved to be as busy as the first. After another wonderful breakfast we headed up to our rooms to pack our bags because we were on the move yet again. Once we had checked out of the hotel, we set off for The Nanjing Massacre Museum. The Nanjing Massacre occurred in December of 1937 when the Japanese army invaded Nanjing and proceeded to serve up heartless and appalling barbarity, murder, and rape throughout the city. There were an estimated 300,000 Chinese killed, and 20,000 women raped. The killings included men, women and children of all ages.
Entering the museum there was a distinct atmosphere of solemnity and sadness. Walking further, a copper path with impressions of the footprints of people who witnessed and survived this horrible tragedy lined the walk. Our hearts went out to those survivors even more so than those killed, because they continue to live with this memory forever.
The museum was built after workers uncovered burial pits where 10,000 bodies were found. Close to the site, a beautiful and haunting statue of a woman searching for her child stands in a barren field of rock and tree stumps. It was heartbreaking. This was the feeling we continued to experience throughout the exhibit this sad and significant time in Chinese history. To this day the Chinese have received no formal apology, no repentance, from the Japanese people.
As we prepared to leave, we were approached by a couple of young girls learning English and eager to hear about America, which lifted our spirits a bit. They spent a few minutes with us sharing, and laughing, and practicing their English before we said good bye.
From the Massacre Museum we headed straight to the Amity Printing Press where all the Bibles in China are printed and distributed. Amity has printed over 30 million Bibles since they first opened in the 1980’s and, in addition to the Chinese Bible (New Revised International Version), they print the Chinese-English version, Children’s Bibles, hymnals in Chinese and Chinese-English versions, Braille Bibles, the book of Luke, and Study Bibles, as well as Chinese-English dictionaries. Our host, Peter Dean, assistant to the General Director of Amity Printing Press assured us that – despite rumors to the contrary – the Bibles printed at Amity are indeed “real” Bibles, with all of the books intact. Peter is a New Zealander who has been at Amity for more than a decade, and takes true pride in this ministry. He provided us with a lovely lunch at the Press of which even Pastor Joe approved.
After some pictures we said our good-byes as we had a 3-hour flight to Chengdu ahead of us. This flight was the first time since we left home that all seven of us sat together on the plane which was a real treat. Things got even better as we checked into our hotel which was luxurious compared to our previous ones. This experience is truly making us appreciate everything we have at home.
After exploring our hotel and getting settled, we set off for dinner. Chengdu is situated in the Sichuan province which is well-reputed even by the Chinese for having the best food in all of China. As promised, the food was amazing (though some dishes where quite hot and spicy – another Sichuan trait). We’ve found that, besides the wonderful food, spending time with these amazing people is something special all on its own.
As a group, today was the first day that everyone really connected and the atmosphere was comfortable, relaxed, and so much fun. After dinner, all eight of us (Cathy included) went for a walk through the shopping strips and streets, laughing and having a great time. Some of us (ladies) tried on the traditional silk dresses (beautiful), and – as a little treat, or maybe a “cheat” – we indulged ourselves with a small dish of ice cream at the local Haagen Daz.
It was surely God’s will to bring us all together and let us enjoy each other’s company during this special pilgrimage.
From the other side of the world,
Your loving band of pilgrims,
Alicia Perras and …
Dana Baker, Pam Koller, Peggy Matteson, Daniel McDuffie, Joe Tripp and Megan Weymouth