Earlier this week I spent some time with a friend of mine who is going to China as a missionary. My friend was excited about the opportunity to break out of the rut they were in, since they have attended the same fellowship for over twenty years. As they were sharing with me their initial desire to go to China, to teach, they also shared that the organization they have partnered with is really an organization where they help people, like my friend, who want to visit China, actually train to be missionaries in China. So, my friend, thought that they were really going to help teach English, but in reality they found the Lord leading them to be a missionary and help plant a church, right there in Communist China.
I was privy to some cool information about how they plan to communicate with us back home, since we all know that China monitors the internet and is looking out for anything they feel threatening to the communism in China.
I was also relieved to hear that in the event my friend is caught trying to evangelize or found guilty of being a Christian, all that would happen - Lord willing - is they would be sent back to America. My prayer is that they are able to serve the whole year they will be in China and also that their faith will be strengthened as they see what it's like to be a Christian in a communist country.
China Aid has a story citing David Aikman - who is not only an expert on China, but understands the religious freedom and oppression issues in China, and while what he shares is not anything new, it is still a wake up call for all of us who have religious freedom, to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith, who are restricted in their religious freedom. Here's part of the China Aid article:
Rob Kerby, Senior Editor | 2:05pm Sunday August 7, 2011
“China tolerates Christian church services,” writes former Time magazine correspondent David Aikman, ”but only within the narrow boundaries of theology and church life dictated by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, which oversees two church umbrella groups, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and, for Protestants, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).”
Aikman, who spent decades covering China — and who speaks fluent Chinese — worries in an article for American Roundtable about the fate of China’s millions of Christians. Some say China has more Christians than any other nation.
“Estimates of the number of Christians in China vary widely, ranging from the Three-Self figure of about 20 million for its own churches to that of outside observers who say the total is as high as 130 million. The reason? Most Chinese Christians belong to unofficial house churches like Shouwang, which reject Communist Party-controlled Three-Self theology and consider God — not the Communist Party — the head of the church. The number of house-church Christians, while hard to estimate, is likely more than 60 million.”
Source: China Aid and BeliefNet