"" Writer's Wanderings: Amazing Grace

Monday, November 26, 2007

Amazing Grace

Three days of our overland trip in China were spent cruising on the Yangtze River between Chongqing and Yichang through the Three Gorges area. Before going to China, I had prayed for God to show me moments that would reveal his presence. I knew we would traveling in countries steeped in Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Communism. I longed for His assurance that He was still at work there as well.

The Three Gorges area was beautiful even though we saw most of it through a misty and, at times, rainy fog. At the place where the Daning River empties into the Yangtze, we left our riverboat to board a smaller catamaran for an excursion up the Daning through the Lesser Gorges. Along the way we saw dramatic cliffs rising from the river, lush vegetation, terraced farmlands that reached to the mountaintops, and an occasional pack of monkeys scurrying through the bush or along the shore where they were feeding on corn dumped most likely by the tourist boats.

Because of the dam project near Yichang, the Gorges area is being flooded gradually. The final flood stage will be reached in 2009. Already many towns have disappeared beneath the 150 meters of water that has filled the Yangtze and its tributaries. The population is being relocated to new apartment buildings along the hilltops near the river. The younger generation is happy to have the new lodging. The older generation is very sad to leave their generational farms and homes. It is all for the need of a fresh water source for China as well as hydroelectric power for a county whose industrial progress and modernization is moving too fast for the old systems to keep up.

This was all explained quite well by the local guide on our excursion up the Daning. On our return trip, she told of some of the customs and traditions of the area and sang a folk song in her language. Then she asked the 100 English-speaking guests to sing to her a song she had heard in English, Amazing Grace. A hundred voices rang out in the middle of one of the most beautiful places in China. It was the biggest "God moment" of my trip.

His grace is truly amazing.

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