A Chinese business man who converted to Christianity from Buddhism in 2009 has announced plans to build a Biblical-theme park in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a small city of around 36,000 residents.
I have actually been surprised by the amount of attention this announcement received from Christian and secular media around the world.
Sun Wenqing will be working with the owner of a Moose Jaw cemetery, Marc L’Hoir, to build the park that will include a full-sized replica of Noah’s ark. Sill in the planning stages, the ark will be three stories high and 133 meters long and 23 meters wide.
Though some may question if this park will ever come to fruition, according to China Christian Daily, Wenqing has already built a similar park in Shenyang, China.
With 6.3 million citizens, it is the capital of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. According to Wikipedia, Liaoning Province has one of the lowest rates of Christian persecution in China and features a number of Christian organizations including a seminary.
Moose Jaw city council has granted approval for the park, but were a bit surprised by the proposed Ark scheduled to be built at a later stage. Noah’s ark still has to receive local and provincial approval.
In an interview with the National Post, L’Hoir said:
“This is part of the legacy, he [Wenqing] wants to leave behind, that he wants to spread the word.”
However, there will be more to this park than a full-sized Noah’s ark.
It will also include a replica of the Tabernacle of Moses that has already been constructed in China and shipped to Moose Jaw. The full-sized Tabernacle will feature all the furniture of the original including a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, the bronze basin and golden lamp stand.
It is estimated that the Moose Jaw park will cost over $1.2 million and according to an article in the Regina Leader Post will be built in four stages.
- The first phase will include the Tabernacle of Moses and furniture.
- The second stage will see other Biblical features added such as waterways to represent the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River.
- The third phase will be Noah’s ark which will be nearly the same length as a Canadian League football field and slightly less than half the width.
- In the last stage, they will complete the inside of Noah’s ark that will include three floors featuring a child’s play area, a display of Jesus’s life and replica of the inside the ark.
The China Christian Daily (CCD) reported that Wenqing, now in his 50s, was caught up in the Chinese cultural revolution and sent to live in the country where he suffered extreme poverty. This gave him a desire to become wealthy.
He eventually started a successful restaurant in Shenyang, China and later formed a cemetery company and today has all the money he envisioned as a youth.
Wenqing became a Buddhist shortly after he started the restaurant due to the influence of his mother-in-law.
Though he fully embraced the lifestyle, he became disillusioned after joining fellow Buddhists in visiting the baths and soliciting prostitutes. He felt guilty about what he was doing and this eventually led him to become a Christian in 2009 after an accidental meeting with another believer.
The decision transformed his life.
He told CCD:
“Only Christ can stop the lust of man’s eyes, the cravings of sinful man, and the boasting of what he has and does.”
Today he reads the Bible and listens to Sermons every day.
Though he has wealth for big houses and the latest sports car, Wenqing now wants to use his money to glorify God and spread the Gospel. A year after his conversion, he helped rebuild Donnguan Church in Shenyang.
Though people questioned why he gave money to such a project, Wenqing said God has given him a purpose for his life:
“I was chosen by God and he prepared me for the project. I ask God to use me to do more things. In the two years of the rebuilding I experience many miracles. God blessed me so much with things that money couldn’t give. What I think is to preach the Gospel. I experience so many miracles, God loves me so much I want to lead my wife, children, brothers and sisters and everyone else to know God.”
The group expects to finish the first phase of the Moose Jaw Biblical-theme park later later this year.
To date, there are three known larger-scale replicas of Noah’s ark. There is full-scale model at Ark Encounter, a Biblical theme park in Kentucky that opened on July 7, 2016.
Dutch carpenter, Johan Huibers, spent seven years building a floating version of Noah’s ark. Though smaller than the original, it was damaged in June after colliding with a Norwegian Coast Guard ship in the Oslo harbor. Over one million people have visited this ark that features live animals. Huibers eventually plans to build a full-scale version.
There is also Noah’s ark theme hotel in Hong Kong constructed in 2009.
- Buddhist merchant converts to Christianity dreams to preach the gospel: China Christian Daily
- Ex-Buddhist creates gospel strategy reminiscent of Joshua 4: Charisma News
- A Biblical theme park proposed near Moose Jaw will have a replica of Noah’s ark: Regina Leader Post
- A developer wants to build a biblical theme park with a three-storeys high Noah’s ark in Moose Jaw: National Post