Yunnan Province, China
Team leader: Pastor Mike Gibson
Christ Lutheran has been engaged in Yunnan Province, China since 2006 (Pastor Mike Gibson has been serving in Yunnan since 2002). Since that time we have participated in a number of service projects to provide healthy and sustainable water projects that are so desperately need in isolated mountain villages. We do a project every other year in Yunnan due to the significant cost and preparation that goes into each journey.
Yunnan Province is located in southwest China above Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Yunnan is one of the poorest and most culturally diverse provinces in the nation. The Miao is the people group that we work with the most. As struggles between China’s minority groups and the majority Han Chinese occurred in the first part of the 20th century, the pacifist Miao were pushed out of the fertile valleys to rocky mountain tops. Most of the Miao people today spend their lives working the mountain sides as subsistence farmers. Many Miao are Christian, having been reached with the Gospel by British Missionary, Samuel Pollard of the Inland China Mission (Hudson Taylor) around the turn of the 20th century. (Samuel Pollard – Pioneer Missionary in China, by Rev. W. A. Grist, originally published in 1920 is available free on-line). Miao churches are famous across Asia for their excellent choirs. The many Hmong people who immigrated to the US from Southeast Asia are cousins of the Miao.
Travel into Yunnan is usually done through the city of Kunming, the provincial capital. During WWII Kunming was the headquarters for America’s Fighting Tigers P-40 air wing that fought against the Japanese in partnership with the Chinese before and after the events of Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941). Kunming is a cross-roads city where it is common to see a brand new Mercedes sedan and a horse cart sitting side-by-side waiting for a traffic light.
Yunnan is home to the beautiful cities and locations of Dali, Shangri-La, the Three-Rivers Gorge, and the gateway to Tibet. All of its diversity, food, culture, traditional minority group clothing, and practices of this ancient land make it an incredible place to visit and serve. While Christ, Costa Mesa has done projects in a number of outlying areas of the province, most are done within several hours drive of Kunming to improve accessibility.