Greetings from China!

By Colleen Earp
M.Div. student, Richmond Campus
One way you can tell we’re in China is the sudden lapse in social media posts from our team, as those websites are all blocked here (Google and Gmail too — we promise we’re not ignoring you back home!). All kidding aside, we are pretty limited in what we can share and how for the next few days til we’re in Shanghai (where many restrictions are reduced), so stay tuned here on the travel blog.
Today was another incredible adventure. We spent time hiking the Great Wall at Juyong Pass, with a clear view of the enormous city of Beijing beyond the mountains. At over 2,500 years old, it was absolutely surreal to stand upon. We covered a very small part of the 13,000+ mile long Great Wall and did so almost entirely vertically, climbing stairs for almost an hour, with great views. Truly awesome.
Hiking the Great Wall
Hiking the Great Wall
We then visited the Ming tombs, where 13 Ming Dynasty emperors are buried. After all of those stairs up, we climbed down into the Dingling Tomb, which was fully excavated in the 1950s. It was built out of enormous stones several stories beneath the surface of the foothills of some beautiful mountains near Beijing (Of course, when you climb down several flights of stairs, you eventually have to go back up!).
Visiting the Ming tombs
Our legs may be tired, but our hearts are so full after our morning at Yanjing Theological Seminary. The second largest seminary in China, the institution recently celebrated 30 years of training ministers. We met with seminary president┬áRev. Gao Ying, an incredible scholar and leader who studied systematic and feminist theologies in the United States. She introduced us to several students, most of whom came to seminary right out of high school (seminary in China is a bachelor’s degree program). I was excited to meet a woman who, like myself, is studying theology now after a B.A. and M.A. in a not-especially-related field; God calls us from all sorts of places and experiences!
Visiting Yanjing Theological Seminary
And as we continue to experience how the church is working in East Asia, I think our whole group is finding great encouragement knowing a little more about this part of that very extended family.

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