URGENT M/O UPDATE: China, April 17th Outdoor Worship

April 20, 2011

Beijing Shouwang Church

Announcement regarding April 17th Outdoor Worship

Dear brothers and sisters:

Peace in the Lord! We want to express our appreciation to members in the body of Christ throughout the world who have been praying for Shouwang Church. God is sustaining us with his mighty hands and has led us to pass through April 17th as another unusual Sunday.

April 17th was a cloudy and windy day in Beijing. We continued to haveoutdoor worship at the same time and at the same location. Compared to lastSunday, more coworkers and believers were watched and detained at home by local police, neighborhood committee members and residential security guards.  Many of our members were prevented from attending outdoor worship. On April 16th Saturday 8:00pm, pastorTianming was summoned to the Haidian police station and was released 8:00 am the next day. Pastor Xiaobai was summoned to the Guangying police station and was sent home after midnight. However, brothers and sisters, knowing what they were going to face if they went outdoors to worship, still went out with faith and boldness.

This Sunday (April 17th) more than one hundred believers headed out to attend our outdoor worship. Following our church instructions, people arrived at the designated worship location in small groups. Since police blocked our worship location, the church was not able to worship together as a whole.  Instead, worship took place in small groups in open space and in restaurants nearby. Forty-seven believers were taken away by the police; some before and some after worship.  Pastor Xiaofeng was arrested at a restaurant before worship. Most of those who were arrested were taken to the Haidian police station and then sent to their local police station for interrogation and inquisition. Other believers who were not taken to the police station were detained, questioned and recorded by their local police in their homes.

At the local police prescient, many believers were required to write down a statement of guarantee, stating that they would not join outdoor worship again. Some were searched and asked to leave fingerprints, while some were asked to hold their names like criminals for a picture. Zhongguancun police station did not offer believers any food or water for the whole day, and even limited their use of the restroom. At Liulitun police station, a sister was treated badly during interrogation by the national security and was forcefully taken home for a search. Only seventeen believers were released on April 17th.  The other believers, including pastor Xiaofeng,were released after 24 hours. While under detainment, many hearts were full of joy and peace. Yet others, who were treated like criminals were greatly afflicted and wounded in their spirits, need consolation, healing, and restoration from the Lord.

For those of us who were not able to go out on April 17th, we believe our hearts were bonded closely with those who were able to go out. We rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and suffer with those who are hurting. Although wewere not able to worship together physically, we believe that we were worshipping together in spirit as we sang songs and read Scripture at the same time in different locations.  As members of the body in different places, God’s Spirit connects us and unites us as one body in Christ. We believe that our worship, with no compromise to truth and with reverence to Yahweh God as our Lord, is pleasing and acceptable to ourheavenly Father.

In each generation, we are aware there is a price to pay for those who hold on to an uncompromising faith.  The cost might be our homes, our jobs, our families, our properties, our freedom, and even our lives. Among those who went out to worship outdoors, some were forced out by theirlandlords while others fired from their companies. Please pray for them and may God remember them and care for their needs as they are paying the price forholding on to their faith. We deeply believe that, “this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

We want to state clearly again that Shouwang Church belongs to Christ and is not under the control of, or being used by, any foreign or local organization. Our Lord knows his servants who are appointed and used by him. God establishes the order of confirming his appointed leaders in the church; leaders appointed by God were acknowledgedthrough this spiritual order guided by the Spirit. Therefore, no single person nor any organization or force, has the authority to appoint a person as God’s servant. In this spiritual warfare, we need to be careful with what we think and what we say.  Let us not pass suspicion or judgment toward coworkers of the Church board or other coworkers. We need to be aware of Satan’s tricks, not leaving any breach for the enemy who wants to cause division in the church.

We do not know how long this spiritual warfare will last, but we will continue to hold on to our position, till our Lord opens a way for his church. During this Holy Week, let us be still and abide in Christ and meditate in Spirit.  Let us suffer together with our Lord who has suffered for us.  Let us bear our cross as we follow Christ in walking this narrow road. We believe as we are united in death with Christ’s crucifixion, we will surely be united with Christ in the power of his resurrection, and will surely see the glory of Christ’s resurrection revealed in this country.

Peace be with Shouwang Church and churches around the world! Please continue to pray for Shouwang Church. May God continue to sustain his church with his mightyhands, so that his church will stand in victory with him!                                   

Shouwang Church Board

4/19/2011

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