In October of 2007, I spent 3 weeks as a Global Volunteer in Xian, China bringing native English speaking to a school in Xianyang, about a one hour drive from Xian. This October 2014, I just returned to China as a tourist, stopping in Xian again to visit my friends from 2007. I was saddened to learn that the thriving school of 2000 students where we engaged students in English conversation is now closed. The city was originally built to accommodate the thousands of employees of Rainbow Company. Besides schools, there were day cares, hospitals, restaurants, shops, community centers, parks, and city infrastructure. Xianyang was the headquarters of the Rainbow Company that made picture tube televisions back in 2007. With the advent of flat screen televisions, this company’s product became obsolete and they were unable to retool and produce a modern appliance. Unfortunately the company had to close its plant that employed thousands. The city has shrunk in size and is now a place for the elderly and their grandchildren whose parents had to move away to find other work.
It’s been seven years, and I wonder where are those young people we encountered are today? Are they the ones on the streets of cities with cell phone in hand, at computers surfing the internet, or sitting in the college classrooms. Oh how I hope they have a bright future.
When things change quickly and we do not adapt, we can be left behind doing things the old way. When the Holy Spirit moves into a new season, we need to move with him. There are new understandings of the Word, new ways to pray, new ways to worship, and even new ways to “do church.” Watch out for obsolescence.