Twin Bells?

The second bell that Noël Piper and I found in China was at a church in Ya’an, Sichuan Province. Like the bell we had found the day before, this one was cast in a foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pastor didn’t know what had happened to the bell during the Cultural Revolution, and how it had survived. She did know, however, that it had been taken from the old church building (no longer standing) in the 1960s and returned in the 1980s.

BW yaan bell

Inside the main entryway of the downtown campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis sits a giant black bell tucked unceremoniously in the corner. Unless you’re paying attention, you will probably not even notice it. But as you can see, there is a striking similarity to the bell in Ya’an. Hmm…

BW bbcbell

Is that just a coincidence, or is there an actual link between the old bell at Bethlehem Baptist Church and the one in Ya’an? In order to learn the answer to that question, you’ll have to read my book, The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China OR come on out to the north campus of Bethlehem on Saturday, February 11 at 6:30PM.

I will be telling the story of these bells as well as few others I found in China. As fun as the stories are, however, the bells also serve as vehicles for telling the story of God’s faithfulness to the church in China.

And speaking of fun, here’s a bonus photo of a very young Pastor John Piper with the old Bethlehem church bell! (Thanks, Noël!)

old bbc bell

Event details:

Bethlehem Baptist Church (north campus)
5151 Program Ave.
Mounds View, MN
Time: 6:30PM

If you’re in the Twin Cities, come on over!

Friday Photo: Cooking Ham

Four years ago today I was in the city of Ya’an, in Sichuan Province. Ham is popular in that region of the country, and everywhere we went we saw little “ham shops” – storefronts where people were not just selling ham, but actually cooking it. If you’re looking for a new way to cook your Easter ham, give this a try:


Related Posts:

Friday Photo: The Happy Couple

Friday Photo: Old and New

Friday Photo: Reading the Bible

Kid in a Basket

Bear One Another’s Burdens

Tea and Games

The School on the Hill

On a small hill in the middle of the city of Ya’an stands an old school building that was built by Baptist missionaries in the early 1900’s. On park grounds today, it is no longer in use.

One sign on the building indicates that it was most recently the office of the local park administration. A peek into the broken windows and locked doors almost gives the sense of sudden abandonment.

Another sign high above the portico  says  that it is (was) the Ming De (Bright Morality) Middle School.

One of the things that we have learned on this research trip is that all of the schools that were started by the Baptists were named Ming De, and all of the hospitals were named Ren De (Benevolent Morality).  So when we saw the Ming De sign on the building and on the nearby stone designating the building as a Provinciall Cultural Protected Site, we knew that it was the school we were looking for.

Although Esther did not work directly at this school, we imagine that she would have come up here from time to time.