Washington DC: December 27, 2018. (Crosswalk) The spouse of a member of China’s Early Rain Covenant Church, who is one of the many people who have been detained this month due to their connection or participation with an unregistered church, states that others in the detention center were greatly interested in learning about the gospel while he was in holding.
“[Even though] there were only 11 beds and 31 people living there, everyone there eagerly wanted to hear the gospel,” reads a testimony posted as part of a status on the Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church Facebook page.
The man’s name was not given, but the notation that he had been detained for five days was provided. He is allegedly not a church member, and, at this point, is not yet a Christian, but his wife is. He was taken into custody along with his spouse and left in the detention center.
“Everyone asked me to give them my phone number. Some of them were drug dealers. They said they would contact me as soon as they got out and that they would take their wives to church,” the testimony articulates. “They all called me professor and loved listening to me talk about the gospel. … As long as someone was willing to speak, everyone else loved to listen.”
The man explained that the people being held with him expressed a desire to wash his prior to his departure.
“When it came time for me to leave, they didn’t want me to leave,” he noted. “They bought a kettle, put hot water inside of it, and wrapped it in a blanket until the evening. When evening came, they said, ‘Professor, you’re leaving and we don’t want you to leave. Let us wash your feet.’ This was such an uncommon occurrence there. Having my feet washed with warm water moved me so much.”
One member of Early Rain Covenant Church said that the man came to her home and opened up about the time he had spent at the detention center. His story, she recalled, was an encouragement to her heart.
“I thought of our husbands. They are all very good speakers, and there are many people willing to listen to them there. God has clearly sent them to the people in that place,” the woman stated. “I think we can describe this as hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Each person is longing to hear someone tell them about the gospel, to tell them about the Truth.”
As reported previously, on Dec. 9, Chinese authorities raided Early Rain Covenant Church and went to the homes of numerous members of the church to bring them to the police station for questioning. Several others were tracked down via their cell phones.
Wang Yi, who served as the pastor of the church, which is not registered with the Chinese government/Three-Self Church, was put under arrest for “inciting subversion of state power.” Additionally, various elders were held under charges of “stirring up trouble” and “illegal business operations.” A number of reports claim that the church was closed down as it was “unauthorized.”
The following Sunday, the individuals who were free attempted to come together at the church, but authorities circled the building and made it impossible for anyone to enter. Dozens of members decided to meet in an area park where they hoped to worship the Lord together, but police cut off those who were leading the gathering. Christians were required to meet in their houses or other destinations this past Lord’s Day.
At this time, 20 Christians connected to the church are being held in criminal detention, while another 5 are being held in administrative detention.
Early Rain Covenant Church claims that the Chengdu Qingyang District Shuangyanjing Community Police are currently making use of the church sanctuary as police office space, and two associated church plants—Linxishu Church and Enyue Church—have been captured by authorities.
The church requests prayer for those who are dealing with criminal charges, as well as for their families. Additionally, the church asks that Christians pray for the salvation of the police officers and other individuals in positions of power who have persecuted them.
“Pray for the brothers and sisters who are locked up. Ask that the Lord would protect, strengthen and use them mightily, that they may become unique ambassadors of the Kingdom of God,” the Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church page published on Monday. “Pray for the family members and children of those who are locked up. Ask the Lord to comfort, protect, and provide for them, to be for them a husband and a father.”
“Pray for the police officers, guards, and grid monitors that the brothers and sisters are encountering. Ask the Lord to awaken their consciences, to bring them out of deception, and to cause them to be drawn to and persuaded by the gospel to which the brothers and sisters are testifying.”