We are excited to going back to China. We left part of our hearts there in April of last year and now we are able to return. September 16th is our departure date and we will be back home on October 2nd.
This trip will bring us to the Xinjiang region ringed with mountains surrounding the Taklamaken desert in northwest China. This area has been lately often in the news as Beijing is fighting a war against separatists in Xinjiang, a vast, predominately Muslim region, which for centuries linked the East and the West along winding trade routes that mark the ancient Silk Road.
Uighurs make up roughly 47 percent of Xinjiang’s 18 million people and are linguistically and culturally different from China’s Han ethnic majority. They had their own republic, called East Turkestan, shortly before the communists took power in 1949, and anti-Chinese sentiment has escalated ever since then. Following the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, China launched a major offensive in Xinjiang, sending soldiers into the region’s cities and towns to close mosques and arrest scores of suspected separatists.
“The crackdown in the region has intensified with pro-independence supporters being branded as separatists or terrorists,” the human rights group Amnesty International said last month. “Uighurs have been the main target, mosques have been closed down, Islamic clergy have been detained, and Uighur books have been burnt. Freedom of expression and association have been severely restricted and thousands of people remain imprisoned across the region as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.” Thousands of young Muslim men fled to other regions of the country following the crackdown, while others escaped to nearby countries, such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, slipping out through China’s porous mountain borders.
Going into this restricted region the biggest struggle we will face will be not being able to freely talk to the people about Jesus Christ. But, praise God, He is bigger than all the challenges and struggles. He is also faithful and we just need to be trusting, willing and available. Pray that we would “be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Corinthians 3:18) and that these people will see a difference in us and be drawn to His glory.
On the financial side we were able to secure a total of $2,900 from our network of supporters, leaving us short $3,100. We would very much appreciate whatever gifts could be contributed towards this mission trip.
Thank you for all the prayers, your partnership, and spiritual investments.