Postcards From China Blog #7: Finding Joy in Everyday Moments in Xi’an – Asbury University
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Postcards From China Blog #7: Finding Joy in Everyday Moments in Xi’an

October 19, 2018

Michael Secen ’20 finds faith and beauty in the daily grind during the Asbury University China Study Abroad program. 

We have spent the past seven weeks of the Asbury University China Study Abroad semester living in Xi’an, China, and to say it has been life-changing would be an understatement. This is my first time living in another culture.

Sure, I have been to Jamaica, Puerto Rico and a few islands in the Caribbean for vacation, but I spent no more than a few hours in each place.

In the United States, I have never spent more than a couple of weeks at a time in places outside of Kentucky, and even then, the culture is nearly the same. Xi’an, on the other hand, has been an experience that has changed me deeply. I know I will never be the same person I was when I stepped off that plane in Beijing.

Our day to day routine in Xi’an was the same every day: get up, go to class, study, sleep. Though this might sound mundane, nothing could be further from the truth. Getting to know my teachers, learning the language, traveling to different historical sites, experiencing a brand-new culture, eating new food and interacting with locals have all created an extraordinary experience that has shattered my worldview. The past few weeks have allowed me to see China through clearer lenses and not those clouded by my own preconceived notions.

This has become apparent to me as I walk down the streets of the city. I recognize that there are millions of people in my world searching for something more than what they have. People without Christ looking for love and peace and fulfillment in places it cannot be found. Yet my heart was never oriented toward telling these people how to find it. I was once in the very same place: wanting peace and happiness yet always failing to attain it apart from Christ.

I wanted to be able to live my life and have what God offered. I wanted the cake and wanted to eat it too. But surrendering my life to Christ brought that peace and fulfillment I had been searching for. There is not always happiness, but there is always joy in Christ. 

Living in Xi’an and having Christ let me see the world through His eyes has impressed upon me the kind of Christian I want to be. During my time in Xi’an, He has shown me that I need to not squander what He has given me, but obey Him, lay my life down before His feet, and in humility, proclaim His name boldly. And for that, I’m thankful for the opportunity to grow my faith as a student on Asbury’s China Study Abroad program.