URGENT UPDATES from D. & J. (China)

November 19, 2009

Friends, the word “saga” applies here, but not in the facetious, over-wrought sense in which we so often use it.  This is serious stuff.  Please read D.’s chronology, from the top and scroll down, and keep our millions-upon-millions of brothers and sisters in your fervent, faithful pr^ers, in anticipation of the free worship we’ll share together in Heaven.

In case it seems like it’s just “we Xians” who care about the Ch* in China, read here for perspective from the Wall Street Journal …

October 19, 2009

I was about to send exciting news of praise as well as pr^er requests for recent security concerns.  However, both my praise and pr^er concerns need to be put in the back burner for now.  After my time with two Beijing leaders, I realized that my local brothers are engaging in intense spiritual battles at a different magnitude that need your pr^ers this week.  
 
 *Pr^ for Pstr G.  I don’t know if words can describe his situation, but imagine leading the largest ch^ network in Beijing with the normal stresses of shepherding 1,500 people in a couple dozen locations.  The work load is so heavy that the only time he can meet with people is often after 10pm.  On top of the regular stresses of pstral ministry, Pstr G told me tonight that he was called into the police station recently and was verbally abused while four of his meeting points have been physically blocked by the police since July.  When I asked if it was worse now than during the Olympics, he said that actually it was worse last year when 200 police raided 8 of his locations.  In any case, I haven’t seen Pstr G so worn and tired.  I asked how I could help and he just said, “Pr^ for me.  I’m exhausted.  This was supposed to be my sabbatical year, but it hasn’t worked out that way”.  Only the L^ knows the level of burden Pstr G is enduring.  J. baked him some carrot cake since Pstr G was her former English student.  What we can do for now is pr^ for Pstr G that the L^ will strengthen him at this time.   
 
*Pr^ for Pstr T.   The burden for Pstr T is no less, as this coming Sunday will be the last Sunday of wshp at the current location.  The police have forced the landlords to give up the current rented ch^ space of a weekly attendance of almost 1,000.   A ch^ building campaign to purchase new space has already been raised ($2.5 million USD), but another 1.2 million USD is needed in 8 days in order to purchase property.  Pstr T believes that this kind of faith is going to shake the foundations of financial security of the ch^.  Unless ch^ members are willing to sacrifice out of cost rather than surplus, there will be no spiritual strength for future mi^ons and kingdom impact.  If the funds are not in next week there will be no space for wshp and the ch^ leadership decision is to wshp outdoors in the park which would most likely lead to a clash with police followed by arrests.   Pstr T is a close friend whom even during this critical time has personally shared with me, “I am at peace.  Whatever happens is in the L^’s hand”.  Two Sundays from now could shape the future urban ch^ in China or make the headline news (or both).  Pr^ for God to raise 1.2 million USD in 8 days for the ch^ to purchase property to openly wshp .  Pr^ for the ch^ leaders and members to stand firm during pressure from the authorities. 
 
(The ch^ is willing to receive gifts from abroad for those who feel led.) 
 
Please pr^ for our two local brothers, Pstr G and Pstr T.  Pr^ for their spouses, their family and their ch^ during this time of hardship.  For those who want to join with me in a fast these next few days, please do so. 

October 25, 2009

This Sunday morning message from Pstr T was one of the most inspiring messages I’ve heard of courage, peace and joy in the midst of great uncertainty and challenges ahead.  During the [ ] service, I was moved to tears as I only see this kind of courage in the movies (ie: the final scene of Braveheart).   This is the last Sunday of wshp in the rented office space.  Authorities have pressured the landlords to kick out the ch^ and thus have already ended the rental contract on Friday Oct 30th.   Everything must be moved out in 5 days.  Wed night Oct 28th will be the last pr^er meeting at the ch^. 
 
Pstr T shared about the blessings,  the memories and the milestone significance these past 3+ years in the rented office space with over 300 baptized at the location.  He shared about how the Chinese ch^ during persecution went underground and Xianity became an internal personalized faith as many suffered due to the external environment.  The ch^ slowly grew to involve families in homes which grew into a movement of millions called the house ch^ movement.  From the homes, the urban ch^ moved to rented office space as it entered a new era becoming a visible presence in the community and an active part in engaging society as a future mi^on-sending ch^.  This was the milestone for the Chinese ch^ as it has “risen to the surface”.  It stood firm last year wshp-ing openly and boldly even after the raid and constant harassment on its members.  The leadership of the ch^ has a strong leading from the L^ to move forward in purchasing their own location as the next stage of the Chinese ch^.  There is no going back to the homes or to rented offices as the ch^ continues forward to have a Good News impact in society and a mi^onal impact in the world. 
 
Pstr T asked “Can we be assured that we have a place to wshp next week?  No.  Can we be assured that we will NOT have a place to wshp next week? No.  We do our part in preparing, but ultimately we trust in G^.”
 
As of this Sunday, 2.8 million USD has been raised with another $1.47 million USD (my figures of $1.2 million last week were not correct) needed by Wednesday (in 3 days).  We are encouraged to hear that ch^es from different parts of China and overseas (a ch^ in NYC has donated $20,000 USD, a ministry in Australia $5,000 USD… and other individuals) who are also coming to stand together with the ch^ during this time. 
 
The ch^ is ready to wshp in the park.  It’s not the cold weather that will be the greatest challenge… 
 
Next Sunday will be a showdown to see His provision.  More to come…
 
What can you do? This is spiritual warfare.  We can do only one thing: Pr^ for His provision in times of need!

October 31, 2009

 Thanks for all your pr^ers.  We received news today that the ch^ leaders’ decision is to wshp in the park.  In 8 hours Sunday morning 10am (Beijing Standard Time), there will be an outdoor service in freezing temperature at a local park in Beijing.
 
*Pr^ especially for Pstr T and the Ch leadership that G^ will give them strength to stand strong during this time as they will be breaking new ground in a test of faith.
 
*Pr^ for leniency and openness from the authorities to be able to see that ch^es and Xians benefit society.  Pr^ that the positive elements in the Chinese government toward Xianity will have a larger voice than those who are against Xians in the government.  Pr^ against Satan’s schemes and that those who are against us will be put to shame and lose their power and positions of influence.  
  
*Pr^ for the ch^ worldwide to stand alongside in pr^er and support for our Chinese brothers and sisters during this time.  Many who have a peripheral knowledge of China and/or the situation on ground may tend to criticize.  Pr^ for unity within China and overseas as the Chinese ch^ makes a stand to surface from underground to have visible kingdom impact in their communities.    
 
*Pr^ for J. and me as we stand alongside tomorrow with our beloved Chinese brothers and sisters in X.    We realize the risks to our long-term presence in even sharing this news with you, yet we realize that our Chinese friends are facing much greater risks and would treasure your pr^ers tomorrow and the days to come.    We trust in G^ and His providence that He has a divine plan and we are at peace with what is in store ahead.   
 
*Pr^ for our children.  This week all three children (J., M., and B.) have come down with flu symptoms with fevers and cough.   Whether this is the swine flu or not, pr^ for us as we are experiencing attacks from the enemy on our children.  Pr^ for spiritual and physical protection and healing for our kids.   
     
*Thanksgiving!  His goodness and mercies are new every morning.  Great is His Faithfulness.

November 4, 2009

1) Praise G^ that after more than seven days, all kids are well now and able to go to school tomorrow. 
 
2) Visas- we will be submitting our visa applications for renewal tomorrow. Last week in Beijing a 20 year China veteran M and businessman’s visa got denied.  Two months ago a similar veteran from Shanghai with a multinational company was kicked out.  While we understand the risks that comes with our kind of work, we trust that all is in His hands. Pr^ for the visa office for favorable acceptance for our family.
 
3) SW, the HC we attend. Last Sunday we met at the park.  The snow storm was G^’s protection as His presence was there. Still waiting for the new location, for more funding.  Since kids were sick, J. stayed home to care for kids.  After service, Pstr T thanked me for representing our family in standing together with them.  Our Chinese brother and sisters have much more at stake. Pr^ for courage and peace during this time.

November 11, 2009

Pr^ our visas as they will be picked up tomorrow at the police station.  I apologize for the misunderstanding, but while our visa applications have been accepted, final approval is given during visa pickup.  If our visas are not approved tomorrow, our family will have 2 days left.   In light of what is happening on Sundays, please especially pr^ for our visas to be approved.  It seems counter intuitive but Pstr T shared with me that it is not a coincidence that our wshp in the park came before our visa approval to test our faith. 
 
Pr^ for Pstr T as he was detained on Sunday morning and could not attend the service.  He was released later that day.  Around 700+ people showed up to wshp with a human chain surrounding the ch^.  This ch^ is moving from the hidden underground to become an open wshp for all.  Believers are not afraid to sing and praise G^ in the open.  In moving in this direction, the urban ch^in China is becoming a “City on a Hill” (Mtth 5). 
 
Mtth 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

November 13, 2009

PTL!  Our visas have been approved for another 2 years.
 
Pr^ for Pstr T and many members are under tremendous pressure.  Congregation members are being threatened including Ja., a former employee of X Consulting, who is our kids’ SS teacher.  He was called into the police station and threatened by the police.  Yesterday, the police threatened his landlord and now Ja. and his roommate D. (our X Consulting employee) are being kicked out of their apartments.  Ja. and D. are both in their mid 20s.  Students are being threaten that they will not graduate and others are being harassed at work.  The whole ch^ is under attack but is holding ground and standing firm. 
 
I will be sending some English translated announcements from the ch^ with more explanation why they are standing firm.   I am quite sure that this will be a watershed moment for Chinese ch^ as these events enfold will change the course of the ch^ in China. 

November 15, 2009

We received the message that our wshp location had been changed this Sunday to an auditorium instead of the park.  Upon entering the auditorium, I asked Pstr T if things were ok.  He seemed a little frazzled and tried to say it would be ok soon.  Apparently, two of our pstrs were detained outside their homes as they were trying to leave for ch^ service.  I asked one of the wives (J.’s friend) what happened and she said that 6 people surrounded her husband and wouldn’t release him.  Pstr T then went up to the podium and announced that we would not begin wshp until our 2 pstrs were released.   We kept on singing hymns for over an hour and a half. At 11:30am, the first pstr arrived and there was an applause.   We officially begin wshp service at 11:40am as the second pstr was in the taxi on the way.  The choir then put on their robes and service officially began.  The other pstr arrived at 12:15pm at the end of the service.  Outside the auditorium, there were a dozen plainclothes police waiting around as we departed. 

I noticed a few media personnel were in the wshp service.   The story now is becoming headline news since Obama is arriving tonight into Beijing.    The media attention is a mixed blessing as on the one hand there is temporary protection, but on the other hand it is exactly what irritates the Chinese government which may cause a harsher response later.   After speaking with others, my sense is the crisis will continue to escalate and could possibly end in a major crackdown.  Pr^ for a peaceful resolution that can provide SW ch^ a place for wshp, but also save face for the government.  Pray for President Obama to be able to handle this delicate situation with care and diplomacy which will be a win situation for all.

Send me an email if you are interested in helping.  In the meantime, please continue to pr^ for Pstr T and SW ch^.

November 19, 2009

 I met with Pstr TM (actually his name is now on international news) on Tuesday morning.  Pr^ for him as he needs some time to process what has happened these past few weeks.  I won’t go into the details, but I was introduced by a friend to an article on WSJ (see above) that described very accurately our Sunday auditorium experience. 

Pr^ also for another friend who is on our Lausanne committee Pstr CQ from WB church in Shanghai with around 2000.  Their wshp location was closed down and were forced the ch^ to meet in a 3Self meeting point with assigned government pstrs, which was a terrible wshp experience.   Several hundred decided to wshp outside the meeting point instead.  Like SW ch^ in Beijing, WB in Shanghai has no place to go and are planning to wshp outside as well.  Since I’m not in Shanghai, my facts are secondhand. 

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