Since China enacted its new Religious laws in February 2018 a consistent wave of persecution across all of China has broken out that has resulted in hundreds of pastors, church leaders and believers being arrested, jailed and imprisoned. Some have been killed while others have simply disappeared.
Yet in the midst of this dark moment… God used China’s police to guide a husband who had no interest in Christianity to become a believer.
MASSIVE ARRESTS IN CHINA
One well know house church in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province suffered a series of major arrests 4 months ago that resulted in their pastor and his wife (Pastor Wang Yi and Jiang Rong) being arrested on allegations of “inciting subversion of state power”, and could face up to 15 years in prison. Since then over 300 members of their house church have been arrested and interrogated. Some have been released while others are still under arrest.
One female member of this house church, sister Bing, was arrested and placed in jail. She had no idea what she would face or what would happen to her husband and family. Would her husband even know that she had been arrested?
Her husband Shen Bing, a non-believer, discovered she had been arrested and was in jail – and tried to visit her. The police, thinking they had another Christian, arrested the husband and locked him up in jail only to discover he wasn’t a Christian.
POLICE INTERROGATION LEADS HIM TO FAITH
During his interrogations, police asked him repeatedly what he thought about Pastor Wang Yi’s preaching, the pastor of his wife’s house church. Shen said he wasn’t sure what he thought because he had never listened to his preaching. After he was finally released, he went home and surprisingly began listening to Pastor Wang Yi’s sermon recordings. Each time he listened he felt drawn to what the pastor was saying. Over the course of several weeks listening to these sermons, Shen Bing came to believe in Jesus as his Savior just like his wife!
Just two weeks ago, Shen wrote a response to one of Pastor Wang Yi’s sermons in which he expressed agreement with what the house church pastor was saying. He posted his comments on social media. Shortly afterwards on Friday March 22nd, the police showed up at his home and arrested him for the comments he had written and posted on the internet, and placed him in criminal detention. He is still in jail today.
What is so miraculous is that in December, Shen Bing went to jail without Christ. Now three months later, he is in jail with Christ. Pray for him, for his family, and for the many Christians who are in jail throughout China today!
Yours for Asia’s Harvest,
Rev. Dale R. Hiscock
MONDAY / Nepal - CHRISTIANS BLAMED FOR VILLAGER’S DEATHS
When five people died within a week in a small Nepalese village in January, the only Christian family in the Hindu village was blamed for the deaths. Gianprakash and his family were asked to leave the village because they were following a foreign God.
One night, six young men came to Gianprakash’s home, shouting and trying to break down the door. When Gianprakash asked them why they were disturbing his family, one of the young men said, “We know the death spirit is here, and that’s why five people are dead!” Before leaving, they broke the home’s water cistern. Gianprakash and his family have temporarily moved to another city.
• Ask our Lord, the great encourager and provider to minister to this family.
• Pray the Lord will surround the family with love and support of fellow believers.
• Pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the village. May many of the villagers come to know the living Christ and put their hope in Him.
TUESDAY / Indonesia - FEMALE PASTOR MURDERED
A young female pastor was found dead last week in South Sumatra, Indonesia. The body of Pastor Melinda Zidemi was found on Tuesday, March 26th on a palm oil plantation (see video).
Melinda Zidemi was a pastor and church activist in the Sungai Baung area. The “polite” and “kind” pastor was well known by locals and plantation workers alike as she often came to speak with them. “She cared for everybody”, one of the workers said.
Local police said it was likely that she had been raped and strangled to death by attackers before they abandoned her body in the plantation. The young witness (of about 10 years old) described two men to police. They are yet to be found.
• Ask the Lord to comfort and minister to those who mourn the loss of this young pastor.
• Remember her family, her church, members of the community and the young witness.
• Thank the Lord that her loved ones do not need to grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). May they take enormous comfort, that she is with her Lord.
• Pray for the authorities seeking the perpetrators.
• Pray too for those responsible, that they would feel great conviction and that they may be brought to repentance.
WEDNESDAY / China - UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP - LIMIN PEOPLE OF CHINA
Nestled among the Yi, Miao and Buyi peoples of western Guizhou Province are nearly 100,000 Limin (Lee-meen) who need Jesus. They call themselves Li and are not to be confused with the Li of Hainan Island or the Limi of Yunnan Province.
Although they speak the local Guizhou dialect of Mandarin Chinese and dress in clothing nearly indistinguishable from the neighboring Han people, the Li consider themselves a distinct ethnic group.
They live mostly in Luzhi, Guanling, Qinglong, Pu’an, Xingren, Zhenning and Anlong counties of Guizhou.
When government officials sought to classify them under one of the minority groups of China at the end of the 20th century, the Li asked to be identified as Yi and were granted their request, although their ethnic origin is still unknown.
Some of the neighboring Miao peoples have come to Christ, but the majority of Li remain spiritually lost. Some Li engage in spirit and ancestor worship, as the neighboring people groups do, but most Li claim no religious belief system at all.
It is reported that several Li Christians are scattered throughout western Guizhou, and that two Li evangelists sought to share Christ with their own people in 1999. When they were not well received, they spread the Good News instead to the neighboring Buyi, resulting in about 300 believers.
• Ask God to raise up local believers with a heart for the lost Li people.
• Pray He will show them how to share the Good News in such a way that the Li will see Christ as He truly is and receive Him.
• Pray that the Li will hunger for God and know that only He can satisfy their every need.
THURSDAY / China - ANOTHER CROSS REMOVED FROM CHURCH BUILDING
On February 24, a house church pastor and more than a dozen believers were holding a gathering at a rented property in central China’s Henan Province. Several government officials stormed into the facility and ordered them to end their gathering.
One official threatened, “The government doesn’t allow the existence of house church meetings. Even if we discover three people gathering at a home, that is impermissible. Holding meetings at your home is against the law. What’s more, several children are present. Allowing minors to believe in God is also against the law.”
An officer from the local National Security Brigade threatened the preacher: “If we find people coming to your home again to worship God, you will be treated as a criminal.”
One attendee tried to use a cellphone to record what was happening. But a government official immediately grabbed the phone and deleted its contents.
The police registered the names and addresses of all the believers and took photos of them. They destroyed all the religious symbols in the home and confiscated Bibles, hymnbooks, and other religious
Officials also forced the landlord to terminate the rental agreement with the pastor. Meeting locations of house church believer are now constantly being raided, Bibles and religious articles seized, and believers registered and photographed for further surveillance.
• Pray for China’s house churches that they will have creativity in how to meet unobserved by government authorities.
• Pray that Chinese believers will not live in fear and discouragement of the police and authorities but will live purposefully and wisely in knowing how to respond to the constant harassment they are under.
• Pray for the growth of the church!
FRIDAY / India - INCREASING ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS WITH ELECTION TO TAKE PLACE
There’s been a sharp rise in attacks on Christians in India so far this year – and many fear that things could get worse with a general election on the horizon.
There were 77 recorded incidents of hatred and violence against Christians in the first two months of 2019. This is up from 49 cases over the same period last year, according to the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (RLC-EFI).
This tally includes two murders by Maoist militants last month. Christians fear that violence may increase now that elections have been scheduled to start on 11 April.
In many instances, Christians are being persecuted by those who should be protecting their rights. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, police have reportedly joined with Hindus going door-to-door telling Christians not to meet for worship.
In Uttar Pradesh, that borders Nepal, Pastor Sindhu Bharti was beaten unconscious by police after they arrested her and five other church members during a Sunday service. All six Christians were charged with intent to offend religious feelings, defiling a place of worship and rioting.
The RLC-EFI documented 325 incidents against Christians in India last year – with 40% of attacks happening in Uttar Pradesh.
An estimated 900 million Indians will be heading to the polls beginning this month to elect their next parliament and prime minister. One of the candidates running for re-election is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi represents the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a nationalist group that advocates Hindutva an ideology that defines culture in terms of Hindu values; in other words, “To be Indian is to be Hindu.”
Religious minorities regard both Modi and the BJP as significant threats to their freedom.
• Pray for peace and protection for God’s people in India.
• Pray that God will renew in them a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10).
• Pray that India would elect a leader a godly leader who respects all religious faiths in India.
• Pray that the new government elected will take firm action to uphold religious freedom for all India’s citizens.
SATURDAY / North Korea - GROWING SHORTAGES OF FOOD AND MONEY
Recently, Kim Jong-un has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “appeal to international organizations that North Korea is running out of food.” An estimated 11 million people inside the country — nearly 44% — are undernourished, the UN’s 2019 North Korea Needs and Priorities report found.
• Pray that the current North Korean regime would collapse and a new leader who really cares for the people of North Korea would arise in order to lead North Korea into the path of life.
• Pray with North Korea’s underground church that the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un will come to know Christ and that his nation will find true peace in God
• Pray for our children’s feeding program that provides one good meal a day, 6 days a week to 10,000 children!