Here is a history-making breakthrough for God's Church!
The government of the People's Republic of China has officially approved a Feast site in China for the 1984 Festival. Such an invitation has come to no other church since China became a Communist country. This is open only to citizens of the United States and Canada. I feel that hundreds of you will want to go.
I understand The Young Ambassadors may go and perform there in person, as well as our own television crew to film us for either television or movie screens to be shown in our various churches around the world later.
Here are some pertinent facts concerning the Feast:
The Feast for 1984 will be restricted to 500 to 600 people as accommodations for foreign visitors are limited. This is primarily due to three factors: The few available flights into China are already heavily booked a year or two in advance. The same applies to hotel accommodations. There is very limited housing available in all of China. Many of the hotels are booked far in advance, with October being the height of the tourist season.
For 1984 the Feast in China will be limited to members in the United States and Canada. This will simplify the applications for visas as there are restrictions in some countries.
The host hotel for the Feast in Nanjing is a modern 33-story structure that officially opened in October, 1983. It is government operated by employees trained to speak English. They are learning and seem to be willing to serve. The hotel is located in the center of Nanjing where members will have an opportunity to get a firsthand view of the city.
The hotel will serve Chinese food but will gear their service to our dietary regimen.
Nanjing, a city of approximately 2.5 million people, means "southern capital." It is strategically located on the Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province. The name of the river has been changed to Chang Jiang meaning "Long River" since it is more than 6,000 kilometers in length.
Nanjing was a capital city under many emperors and rulers with its history dating back nearly 5,000 years. A stone wall 10 kilometers long was constructed around the city in the 3rd century A.D. During the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, the emperor built a 34-kilometer wall that required 200,000 workers 20 years to complete. Intact portions of this wall, about 70 feet in height, still remain today.
Shanghai will be the point of arrival in the People's Republic of China. There will be educational tours in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River. These tours will be conducted by official translators and guides.
I believe that this can be a very valuable educational experience for Church members. You will not only be able to keep the Feast in a country that has nearly 5,OOO years of history but view present conditions in China. It is a complex mixture of an antiquated country striving to modernize and still fulfill the basic necessities of more than a billion people.
It is important that all who travel to China realize that there will be inconveniences and a society that does many things in a different manner from that of the Western world. The hotel and its services are modern, but many other facilities are antiquated. There are many Chinese people that have seen few or no Westerners. There is a natural curiosity. You members can set an example of exemplary behavior for all to see, which has not always been the case with many North Americans.
The future relations between Ambassador Foundation and the People's Republic of China will be greatly affected by your conduct at the Feast. No doubt, your behavior will be reported to the highest echelons of government.
The Ambassador Foundation is familiar to the governmental leaders in China. This is due to my visit in 1979, last summer's Ambassador College student program at Beijing University and the visit of the recent delegation in planning for the Feast and other future Foundation activities. They know we are religious and are aware that we will have religious meetings. However, they are not interested in inviting other religious conventions and denominations into their country.
Costs and other pertinent Feast information and applications will be available from your local pastor.
The approximate costs for the festival are as follows:
This will vary depending on whether point of departure is San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles;
Cost per day: $60
This includes all transportation costs both local and between cities; all housing and food costs; entrance fees for cultural performances; museum, art gallery and other interesting points; and the services of English-speaking local and national guides.