Witness to Power
These twelve personal stories of ordinary Chinese Christians challenge us afresh about human endurance and faith in God who sustains individuals and works quietly and powerfully, ensuring the growth of his Church in China.
In the Muslim dominated Xinjiang in the Northeast of China, a Christian student maintained a quiet and consistent witness for Christ at university and resisted pressure to join the Communist Youth League; there was a cost however. Although she was allowed to complete her course, she was under observation and was denied a diploma at the end. She remembered her father's words to her as a young girl: 'In times of trial, learn to depend on Jesus'. These were not empty words. Her father had been locked up by the Chinese Red Guards for 5 years for 'crimes against the Communist party and the people'.
In 1994 in Yunnan Province, over a hundred students had gathered for a pastoral training class in one of the Lisu villages. One day a fire spread rapidly through the village, destroying all 36 houses and the church. The following Sunday, as the believers sat amidst the ashes to worship, the paramount concern was to re-build the church before attending to their own houses.
In 1997 an evangelistic trip was organised to the remote Dulong people in Yunnan Province, and as it was not accessible by road it entailed hours of walking each day, sometimes through difficult terrain and weather, with supplies carried as backpacks. As the team were leaving, one of the villagers said, 'I have lived in this place my whole life and never have I heard such good news. In spite of many difficulties you came from faraway to share the Good News with us. I really thank you from the bottom of my heart...'
In spite of years of atheistic education, suffering and deprivation, the phenomenal growth of the Chinese Church has pointed to the power of the risen Christ. We have much to learn from this church, not least that costly commitment to Christ is not just an early church concept, but must be an on-going reality in our own generation.