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Project: Christmas Care China

Project: Christmas Care China

Christmas Care 2020 blessed Christian children living in remote villages in China.

A summary of the field report is below:

Children in three remote villages were blessed with Christmas Care packs in December. It took between eight to ten hours for us to travel to each village. The villages do not have electricity or running water. The residents rely on river water for drinking, cooking and washing.

Each Christmas Care pack contained a children’s Bible, Christian story books, school supplies, a Christian themed t-shirt, a toothbrush, toothpaste and biscuits.

At each distribution, we shared God’s Word with the children. We asked the children a question after sharing with them. The question, “Who is Jesus?” was answered with confidence. We heard, “Son of God” and “Saviour of the world” amongst the answers. The children were delighted with the Bibles and story books, filled with colourful pictures. They were very happy to receive all the other gifts too. Their parents are poor and unable to supply much beyond basic needs.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations of $2 or more to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

A joint prayer network in Beijing has been disbanded by the local government. Many pastors within the network were summoned and asked to shut down their churches.

The Beijing Ministerial Joint Prayer Network (BMJPN) was founded in 2004 by Pastor Jin Mingri from one of the largest house churches in Beijing, Shouwang Church. He has gathered dozens of pastors to regularly pray for church revival and missions. While it started in Beijing, now there are pastors from different provinces who are actively involved in BMJPN.

Recently the authorities have summoned many pastors who are part of the BMJPN to the local religious affairs bureau to receive interrogation. They informed the pastors that BMJPN has not registered with the government, so its activities are considered “illegal religious activities.” They should be banned from preaching online and they were asked to dismiss their churches.

A pastor told Gospel Herald (Hong Kong) that he will not dismiss the BMJPN. He is also prepared to see churches forcibly shut down by the authorities. Many churches have been gathering in smaller groups these days, both due to the pandemic and the increased crackdown.

During the pandemic, China has further tightened its grip on house churches; it first used the excuse of COVID-19 to stop in-person gathering, now not only does it pressure the church to stay closed, it is also clamping down on online services and gatherings.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the courage of the believers in China. Pray they will remain faithful as they face escalating opposition.
  • Pray these prayer network members will see the Lord at work in these difficult times and rejoice, even in the midst of their sufferings.
  • Pray for those in authority who oppose the Gospel, that they will experience the new-found hope and joy found through a relationship with Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Underground Bible School in China

Underground Bible School in China

There are thirteen official (state-run) theological seminaries and Bible schools in China, that are recognised by the Chinese Communist Party. Communism theory and Patriotism Education are compulsory courses in these seminaries.

However, in the underground church, thousands of Bible schools and training groups have been teaching sound doctrine and biblical truth. It is estimated that there are more than 100 Bible schools and training organisations in Beijing alone. These schools have educated thousands of believers to become qualified pastors and preachers for the local churches in north China.

A Bible school in a suburb north of Beijing has trained 650 students over the past 21 years. VOM’s support started in 2012 and in the past eight years, 30 students from poor area churches have been sponsored by VOM and have graduated from the school. Of the 650 students who have graduated, 95% of them have become pastors.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has increased its supervision and control of the Chinese people. As a result of this, the school has had to move to a smaller space and split into two sections – the boys in one and the girls in another.

The pandemic has resulted in the churches giving greater urgency to the Great Commission and so in the last month, the school has increased the number of students – there are now 15 more than last year. All of them are from Inner Mongolia and poor areas of the north-east. VOM is supporting nine of these additional students.

The students’ books, accommodation, and other needs are supplied. The only thing they need to do is to focus on studying.

A testimony of one of the students

Max is 18 years old and is from Inner Mongolia. This year, he was due to finish high school with the hope of attending university in 2021. However, in May of this year, his plans changed.

Max’s mother is a Christian. She worked for a clothing factory; her main task was primarily cutting and sewing. In May, the factory manager purchased some machines to produce face masks. As there is a great need for masks, it was decided it would be a good opportunity to make money.

However, the factory was not qualified to produce sterile medical products, so Max’s mother refused to work on mask production.

The Party Secretary (in China every factory, school, even every residence block has the local party organisation member, led by a Communist Party secretary) of the factory came said to her and her colleagues that the masks must be produced, to sell to other provinces and also to Europe.

Max’s mother and another Christian worker said they would never do such an improper and deceitful thing. They reported the case to the municipal government. The mayor’s office said they would investigate the issue, however, a week later, they were fired from their jobs and threatened to not speak of it.

The factory continues to make the masks though they remain unqualified.

We thank God that these Christian ladies stood up for right principals.

When Max’s mother lost her job, the family could no longer afford Max’s tuition fees, at any school. When a VOM contact heard of the incident. He visited the family.

At first, the VOM worker wanted to help with financial support, but Max’s mother and husband said, that they did only what the Lord commanded so they didn’t want to receive money. They needed only prayer, that they would be vindicated by God.

Through his parent’s example, Max was strengthened in his faith. He came to better understand the Scripture “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19 (NKJV). He prayed to the Lord that he was willing to surrender all to Jesus.

The local pastor and church elders recognised Max’s calling and asked the VOM worker if they knew of a Bible school Max could attend.

Max was told of the underground Bible school in Beijing and was advised to not worry about the costs as some friends from far away would be happy to support a student like Max.

Max passed the entrance test to become a student at the Bible school.

We thank God that VOM has been working with frontline workers for decades. We pray that with the support of beloved and faithful supporters of VOM, the work of the Lord will continue, just like in the time of the Apostles.

Keep praying for His glory in the persecuted church.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

CHINA: Protestant House Church Pastor Detained without Trial

CHINA: Protestant House Church Pastor Detained without Trial

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities arrested Pastor Hao Zhiwei in July 2019; however, she still awaits trial. Four months after Hao’s arrest, officials charged her with swindling 2.24 million yuan ($469,340) in church offerings. CCP authorities also accused two church staff members, Hong Ying and Wang Yuanxiang, of fraud but because they “confessed”, they warranted leniency. Prosecutors have not set a trial date for Hao.

“The case is set to have a far-reaching legal impact that could see other house church pastors like Hao come under more legal scrutiny on top of the existing administrative regulations over religious affairs,” Si Weijiang, Hao’s lawyer, said.

Hao’s trial was originally set for January and then apparently postponed until August but there is still no notice of when it will take place. The coronavirus pandemic has also caused delays.

Hao’s husband died two years ago, her two sons, aged 13 and 17, are without both parents.

According to Hao’s 17-year-old son, identifying himself as Paul, “The government is indefinitely postponing the trial as they continue to look for evidence so they can frame my mother by building a fraud case against her that never existed in the first place,” He said he was staying on campus at a university in eastern Zhejiang province but his brother lives at home in Ezhou with a part-time domestic helper.

After authorities arrested Hao and her two co-workers, they contracted to demolish the church to make way for expansion of a steel plant. To justify destroying the church, the local religious affairs department issued a notice in July last year stating that because the church was too close to a power plant, it had to be demolished. Amidst the separation from his mother and the church demolition, Paul stated that he and his brother are at peace. “We have faith in God that he will never give us a trial that we cannot bear.”

Si said Hao refuses to plead guilty and if convicted, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. He expressed concern that a conviction could set a precedent for CCP authorities to use charges of financial irregularities to prosecute other house church leaders.

Sources: ChinaAid, South China Morning Post

  • Remember Hao, her sons and her fellow church members. Pray they will continue to rely on the Lord and His purposes and not lose heart.
  • Pray that God will sustain Hao while in prison and ask Him to provide her with spiritual enrichment while she endures. Ask God to hasten her trial and secure her release.
  • Pray for the authorities responsible; that they will not fear the Gospel but will submit to the Lord’s merciful and sovereign hand.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

CHINA: Low Income Families Ordered to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

CHINA: Low Income Families Ordered to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

In the Chinese government’s continuing persecution of Christians, poor families are now being told to renounce their faith or lose welfare benefits.

The Chinese economy has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially low-income households struggling to make ends meet.  Now government officials are ordering Christians who receive welfare payments to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images inside their homes with portraits of China’s communist leaders. “All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images,” a local pastor said. “The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”

A church member in one of the villages recalled how authorities entered his home and destroyed a calendar with an image of Jesus on it, then replaced it with a portrait of Mao instead. “Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing, they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” he explained.

Enforcing the new regulation started several months ago across China. In April, the government of Xinyu City in the south-eastern province of Jiangxi withheld a disabled Christian’s funds (about $20) because the believer continued to attend worship services. And in Jiangxi’s Poyang county, an elderly Christian woman was taken off the government’s aid list because she said “Thank God” after receiving her monthly cheque (about $40).

In May, a government official in the eastern province of Shandong barged into the home of a Christian and posted portraits of Mao and President Xi Jinping, then said, “These are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones.”

Another elderly woman from Henan’s Shangqiu city lost her welfare benefits in April after officials found a cross displayed on her house door. “They tore it down immediately,” the Christian said. “Afterward, both my minimum living allowance and poverty alleviation subsidy were cancelled. I am being driven to a dead end. I have diabetes and need injections regularly.”

Earlier this year, the communist regime resumed removing crosses from churches throughout China, in addition, portraits of Mao and Xi have replaced images of the Holy Spirit.

Sources: CBN News, Bitter Winter, Australian Prayer Network

  • Pray to the Lord, our provider, on behalf of these brothers and sisters and ask Him to supply their needs.
  • Pray the people of China will be in no way deceived about their leaders – that they are entitled to be worshipped. Pray people will come to know and love the One true God.
  • Thank the Lord the church in China continues to grow. Pray the believers will be courageous as they face escalating opposition.

Post your prayer in the comments below.