On Friday morning I experienced another "first" while living here in China. One of our Chinese friend's mother passed away suddenly last week and so on Friday I (and others on the team) attended her funeral. I had never met her, but it was still difficult to hold back tears when I saw her family weeping and mourning. Our friend is a "family" member so I know that our Father will comfort he and his family in this difficult time.
The funeral home is also the crematorium as cremation does not require precious land to be used for burying bodies. There is only one funeral home here in Xi'an, a city of 9 million people, so you can imagine it was crowded and is constantly busy. In fact the ceremony was incredibly short as they have to use each room in the place multiple times a day, they only give you a few minutes before the next family needs to use it. Outside of the room where the body was viewed and the ceremony took place, there was an LED sign, much like you would see at an airport, with schedules scrolling along to tell which family will use the room next. Very, very different indeed.