120 Years of Hard Soil: Part Two

Editor’s note: After a difficult year of persecution against many house church congregations in 2020, believers in Shanxi Province were dismayed to realize that 2021 brought an intensification of their troubles. In 2021, however, it was not only church bodies who dealt with harsh restrictions, but many individual Christians were targeted.

In light of this, the author believes that Christians in his province are being called to take up their cross and suffer for the sake of the knowledge of God and the renewal of their homeland. The troubles began around the time this house church pastor’s church decided to commemorate missionaries who were martyred in the Boxer Rebellion. Although he thought that time was in the past, he believes that perhaps the time has again come for Chinese Christians to publicly suffer for their faith.

Preacher Huang wrote and shared the following reflection in a private group with other house church Christians. The first half of his reflection can be found here.


“Feelings of Powerlessness and Discouragement”

At 7 a.m. on May 17, Brother Zhao Weikai, who was still sleeping, was taken away. His home was raided and he was placed in administrative detention. The reason he was seized was that he was homeschooling his children. Inexplicably, the authorities said this was in violation of Public Security Administrative Punishment Law. On June 1, Brother Zhao was released from detention; however, he was not given any of the paperwork he should have been provided with at the time. He began to seek legal redress for his treatment, but his case was rejected for lack of evidence. On July 7, authorities called Brother Zhao back in to meet him at the Wenshui Public Security Bureau, charging him with possession of terrorist materials on his home computer. When Brother Zhao’s attorneys arrived to represent him, they were made to wait outside in the heat, and, at the instruction of their department, refused to meet with his attorneys.

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“For the sake of justice, China’s leaders repeatedly say they want to ‘keep power in a cage.’ But they themselves have been fattened by this power, and are actively caging others.

All this was enough to engender feelings of powerlessness and discouragement. Who would have thought there was more to come? 


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On July 13, Brother Zhang Ligong was placed in administrative detainment after his Fenyang home was raided. On July 28, everyone (including state security guards) expected his release. Two brothers, Wang Runyun and Zhang Yaowen, drove to the detention center and waited to meet him at the gate. Yet the officials in that center invited this brothers inside the center, then locked them in and charged them with “illegally crossing the border” and formally placed the pair of them in criminal detention as well.

At the time, Brother Wang Shiqiang was at home with his wife, who had just given birth three months earlier. Officials deceived him by asking him to come sign a document, then locked him up as well. Another older brother, Song Shoushan, was a senior pastor who served the Lord for many years and retired only two years before. One Sunday, he came to serve as a guest preacher in Wenshui and baptize new members of the church there. During his sermon, police called and asked him to come meet them at the Xiying police station, where they detained him. Who knew it would be such a long trip!

In Fenyang, five Christian men were also recently detained. We learned from their families that authorities had asked them many times to join the Three-Self Church [bringing their house church under the authority of the Communist Party]. But these Christian brothers winsomely refused the invitation, and remained a part of the house church. The authorities were so angry that out of thin air they created charges against these brothers: that they had illegally sneaked across the border. However, the truth is that these men obtained passports through the normal procedures, and traveled through the regular customs queues and security checks, entry and exit processes which were authenticated over a year ago. [The men traveled to Malaysia in January of 2020 to attend a Christian conference in Kuala Lumpur.] Their travel was reasonable and legal.

God Is Calling Chinese Christians to Take Up Their Cross

But these lawless people in possession of power have freedom to put their own personal interpretation on the law and convict the innocent. Of course, they do not realize that the Christians they condemn have already been saved from condemnation and justified before the judgment and mercy seats of God himself. These believers partake in the resurrection of Christ (who was himself condemned on the cross), who is seated in righteousness at the right hand of God the Father. Since that time, the name of Jesus Christ has become the only salvation on earth!

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“As Chinese Christians, God has called us to take up the cross and suffer the injustice of these fabricated charges in order to renew China in Christ.

For the sake of justice, China’s leaders repeatedly say they want to “keep power in a cage.” But they themselves have been fattened by this power, and are actively caging others. These leaders actively go beyond the law. Their actions may be a deliberate exhibition of power; perhaps this unlawful persecution is characteristic of China and of Chinese people. As Chinese Christians, God has called us to take up the cross and suffer the injustice of these fabricated charges in order to renew China in Christ. We are called to suffer in this way in order to renew this drought-stricken land of Shanxi Province, the region where we grow and live. We suffer in this way in order to renew the knowledge of God in the hearts of those in power, including those who make these arrests. We suffer in this way in order to renew their knowledge of God’s kingdom, of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and of the people in this kingdom who belong to God.

Implicated in the Love and Call Which Moved the Missionaries

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“Perhaps we are ‘incriminated’ with being united with the body of Christ.

Remembering the missionaries of 120 years ago seems to have brought us a series of troubles. Could it be that remembering these missionaries has “incriminated” us? Perhaps this “incrimination” is the evidence of the union of love on the cross. Perhaps we are “incriminated” with being united with the body of Christ. Perhaps this “incrimination” caused the missionaries to live and gain their reward in Christ. If our troubles are linked with the commemoration of these missionaries, then being “incriminated” by them is actually the way of the cross that the Lord Jesus Christ has reserved for us. If all this is so, we ask God to give us the strength to once again reaffirm, respond to, and follow his call.

On August 7 of this year, nine church staff from Golden Lamp House Church in Linfen were taken away. All of us are all part of a play, and God is the director. We do not know how to act in this play, but we pray the Lord will teach us to be submissive. 

I used to think that the blood of the martyrs, shed 120 years ago, was enough to define the land of Shanxi. I never thought that we, the unworthy offspring of these martyrs, would also be invited onstage. Lord, please grant us your extraordinary help!


Preacher Huang is a pseudonym for a pastor serving a Chinese house church in northern China.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for the Lord to give his people in Shanxi “the strength to once again reaffirm, respond to, and follow his call.”

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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