The news of Pastor Yuan's death continues to make the news. Today Asia News is reporting on his funeral.
He spent 22 years in prison and forced labour camps for refusing to join the official Protestant Church. On his death bed, he called on believers to pray for China’s leaders.
Isn't it amazing how he called to pray for the leadership of China instead of himself while he was dying. What a powerful testimony.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Rev Allen Yuan Xiangchen, one of the pillars of the mainland's unofficial Protestant church movement, was laid to rest in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. Some 2,500 people attended the funeral service, mostly from house churches. Plain-clothed policemen prevented another thousand from participating.
Pastor Yuan wasn't without controversy during his life either. Read on...
Once, invited to the White House, he refused a breakfast prayer meeting because he did not want to worship with a member of the official Protestant Church.
Yet he also inspired thousands by his example.
In a testimonial written years later (and published by Voice of Martyrs), he said: “During those years in prison my wife suffered untold hardships in bringing up the children. I was sent to near the Russian border doing farm work, growing rice. Wang Ming Dao [a fellow pastor also sentenced to the camp] and I thought we would die martyrs there. . . .”
“In the labour camp it was very cold,” he wrote, “food was bad, and the work was hard, but in 22 years I never once got sick. I was thin and wore glasses, but I came back alive; many did not. I also had no Bible for the 22 years and there were no other Protestant Christians there. I met only four Catholic priests. They were in the same situation I was in; they refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.”
Can you imagine not having a Bible for 22 years and keeping your faith in Christ Jesus. This is amazing and what a powerful testimony of hiding the word of God in your heart.
Yuan was released in 1979 and went back to do God’s work. His friends said he never saw his mission as being “underground”; he never concealed what he did.
Please do as Pastor Yuan asked and pray for the leadership of China. Thank you.