Postcards From China Blog #4: “What China has Taught Me so Far” – Asbury University
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Postcards From China Blog #4: “What China has Taught Me so Far”

September 14, 2018

by Wesley Prindle (visiting student from Faith Baptist Bible College)

Did you know — students from other colleges and universities are invited to apply for Asbury University’s study abroad programs? Learn more.

The China Study Abroad semester has been more challenging, rewarding, and stretching than anything I have ever experienced before. I have learned so much already — both in and outside of the classroom!

One lesson that has been continually reinforced during my time here is the fact that every person on this planet—whether they realize it or not—is on a search for ultimate meaning and truth. I have seen this spiritual quest illustrated in vivid detail here in the Middle Kingdom. Desperate materialism and blind hedonism drive masses of people to gaudy shopping malls and sleazy night clubs.

The mysterious, yet disillusioning teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism draw countless thousands to temples and various other sacred sites. The strict guidelines laid down in the Quran dictate the lives of 30 million Muslims here.

The claims of Christ attract equally impressive numbers of people to participate in weekly church services. Together, these and a myriad of other belief systems form the fascinating, endlessly unique tapestry of competing ideologies and worldviews found in China.

Encountering unfamiliar religions firsthand has been eye-opening for me. Being in China has challenged (more like forced!) me to consider my own beliefs. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15) has a whole new significance for me.

Culturally, China has taught me to be more open-minded. Daily interaction with the locals in Xi’an has allowed me to experience a few of the sometimes glaring, sometimes subtle differences between American culture and Chinese culture. For example, individuality is a concept taken for granted in the West. Here, however, relationships and “saving face” are the driving factors behind everything one does.

I am learning to embrace the challenge of navigating a culture so different from my own. As my understanding of their country and culture grows, my desire to truly connect with the Chinese has deepened.

I will sum it all up by simply saying that China has changed me. I am so thankful for the incredible opportunity to participate in this semester and I pray that God will continue to use it to conform me to the image of His Son.