2020 has been a difficult year of doing ministry via zoom meetings, Skype video conferences and thousands of phone calls. I have been unable to go back to China since the virus outbreak in November 2019. I came home from China on December 28, 2019 virus free and in March 2020 the Chinese Government canceled my 12 month visa until further notice. Until China reopens the country and allows non-essential foreigners to get new visas to come back I am stranded at home for the time being. As soon as China opens the border and United Airlines is again permitted to fly into Beijing I will return to the mission field.
In the interim the mission work doesn’t stop. Working virtually online via telephone and WeChat evangelism we daily spend many long hours supporting and communicating with our seven Chinese field staff helping them equipping, reaching, teaching, training and mobilizing men and women for Jesus Christ. The situation for believers in China has become extremely difficult, as Xi Jinping and the Communist Party gradually prepare for what seems like a final assault to try to rid Christianity from the country once and for all.
The Body of Christ, however, has grown to such a size under Communism that they will find it impossible to completely eradicate God’s people. Instead, the authorities have been putting plans into place to “corrupt” the Gospel. By doing so, they hope to control the Church and ultimately render it powerless and subservient to the Communist system.
To that end, the government has openly announced plans to “reinterpret” the Bible and other religious texts, so they will have “socialistic characteristics.” A glimpse into what that might look like was seen recently when a government publisher altered the ending of the account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Their “blasphemous” version now has Jesus concluding his talk by saying: “I too am a sinner,” instead of, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The battle lines are drawn. Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in China. This year, tens of thousands of house church pastors and evangelists have gone missing, especially in those provinces with a large concentration of Christians.
Most of those tens of thousands are still alive, but in preparation for the struggle ahead, they have gone into hiding. They have completely disconnected from all phones and computers, because those devices are used by the government to track their location. Each person in China must have an ID card. It is impossible for a person to catch a flight or train, open a bank account, get a job, or rent an apartment without using their card. Each ID card contains a computer chip which is also used to track people’s movements. Many Christian leaders, before they go into hiding, have placed their cards inside a microwave oven for a few seconds, which ruins the chips and renders them useless.
Despite all that, it is a wonderful example of how the kingdom of God has grown so powerfully in China, despite seven decades of efforts to crush and suppress God’s people by the God-hating Communist Party.