While taking the public transportation as a foreigner in Bucharest made you the target of the pocket thieves, that didn’t seem to apply to Beijing. I felt safe there, even though I stayed alert to what was going on around me, with all my documents and cash placed in a pouch hanging under my clothes. It looked like the many years of practicing fencing helped me be on guard and pretty vigilant.
We checked in the hotel and went to leave our bags in our rooms before taking a walk in the city. Not everybody from our team came back from the field and our meeting was at dinner. About an hour under the hot sun by the tall buildings, and walking without a specific target, we lost our interest in discovering the city on foot. Had some lunch and walked back to the hotel.
When I saw it. I was mesmerized. It was a small purse shop in the subway.
Some may wonder what was so amazing about that? I’ll tell you what: those purses had personality. Their design was so unique and beautiful that made me slow down and let my friends go without me. “Are you sure you don’t want to come back with us?” the translator asked me. I was sure. The hotel was straight ahead at about ten minutes away. They didn’t insist. I walked down to the subway again and got inside that store. It was full of dust, with bags and purses piled on top of each other, to maximize every inch. I didn’t care. There were at least ten purses I overwhelmingly liked from the first sight.
You may think that I’m a purse spender. I’m not. Every time when I needed, it was hard for me to find the “perfect” purse. But there they were lined up, faultless.
Made of black and purple leather with long handles, this one was parted in two compartments, with a tiny clasp on the exterior that was Mickey Mouse’s head. I bought it. Yes, I came to China from California and got a Disneyland purse.
Looking around the table I could see us, the few men and women who left the LAX airport not long ago, but something significant was changed. We missed one of us.
After being spread into the heart of China and encountering such a need for the Word of God, after being witnesses of poverty and pain in so many ways, we gained a new heart, a humble heart.
(To be continued)