Today we just hung out around the apartment until evening. Then my and Sally went to meet with the local branch. Since it was just dinner rather than a church meeting, I was allowed to attend. Because of schedules, only a few members were able to come. It was the older members who aren’t busy with school and classes. They were awesome. There was the Yang Family. Brother Yang is the branch president and has been a member since 1998. He joined the church while visiting family in Hong Kong. His wife, mother and children have since joined the church. There was Max Huang, from Taiwan. He is also a convert who came over to China for his work for Ferrari. Until last year he wasn’t able to meet with Chinese members either but since then the Chinese government has decided that since Taiwan is part of China, so are Taiwanese people. His wife is a recent covert from Kunming in South China who wasn’t able to join us. There was also Sister Teng, a sister in probably her late 50s early 60s. She’s the one who got her mission call to Toronto. We all met in the apartment of the Zhou Family. Brother Zhou was baptized ten years ago in Singapore. His wife spend most of the time in the kitchen so I didn’t get to hear her story but their daughter Zhou Lin was adorable. Brother Yang bragged of how she would be the first child baptized at eight here in Dalian.
The Zhous lived on the other side of town close to where Sally went to college. We met the Yangs at the soccer complex where I was yesterday. From there we took a taxi to the Zhous’. Since a cab can only hold four people and there were five of us, I got to live out one of my lifetime fantasies. We got into a cab, pointed at the one in front of us and said “Follow that car.” The driver did a good job at this, despite the fact that the other driver was a fair bit more aggressive than he was. This led to many “movie car chase moments” when we would try to catch up, weaving in and out of traffic. It was scary, but awesome at the same time. At one point we ended up in front of the ca we were following. I don’t know how it happened but it was pretty funny.
Once we got out of the cars we walked to the Zhous, who lived in a huge complex of modern apartment complexes. All I could think was how glad I was that I didn’t have to tract them. As soon as we walked in the door, I could feel a real difference in the Zhous’ home. Maybe it was the Chinese proclamation to the world on the wall.
We sat and talked. They asked me questions about my mission and Sally about here conversion. They told us about the history of the church in Dalian. I was stunned and in awe of their faith and testimony. They haven’t had the easiest time here, but they have thrived. Together we ate potstickers and laughed. They seemed to like to play a game the members in Sydney would play “Wait until the white kid puts food in his mouth to ask him a question.” They were awesome people and I really have a feeling like this won’t be the only time that we see them. It’s good to know that when this country opens it’s doors, there will already be such a strong base to build one.
After dinner we walked to Sally’s college and took the bus that she would ride every week to get home. It was a long bus ride through a couple different parts of town. The size of this city continues to catch me by surprise.