Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, October 16 – Most people who haven’t been to China don’t realize that there are a large number of government sanctioned Christian churches which are perfectly legal for Chinese citizens to attend. The teachings aren’t the same as in foreign Christian churches though. You must commit your life to China first and God second. Christians who don’t agree with this often turn to “underground” churches, and those are the ones that the government isn’t happy about. In areas with a lot of foreigners, there are often special services, depending on the area, you need to show a foreign passport to participate in these. Leah was invited to attend a youth group at a Chinese Christian Church today. She took the bus to the town of Shilong which was about an hour and 10 minute bus ride from us. The youth group was held upstairs from the main congregation, and she took the first picture on her way up; you can see it’s a full house! In the picture with the sign, the part with the red cross is the church name, Shilong Fuyin Tang, basically Shilong Christian or Gospel Church. This was at the back of the building, which used to be the main entrance, so the rest of the sign says where to enter the church now. She went to a small museum in the afternoon, and the church she attended supposedly has about a 150 year history. The other picture shows an old picture of the church. Leah said the caption reads that “Christianity was brought to Shilong in the late 19th century. In 1863, an American missionary built Shilong Church, called Presbyterian Church. After the Boxer Rebellion (1900), the church was destroyed.” At some point (possibly 1918) it must have been rebuilt because it says a school was established, and that during a famine it was used to provide food and medicine. Thanks to Leah for the pictures and translations.