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Changes in China

Sunday school class in China

(Sources: China Aid and VOMRadio.net. Quotes edited for clarity and length.)

Churches in part of China were recently warned by authorities who want greater control over religion in their country.

The churches were told:
*You must remove the crosses at your building and replace them with a picture of the president of China or a Chinese flag.

*You must keep all children away from your church.

New government rules also say that churches must be willing to install surveillance cameras in their meeting places.

“Many pastors have gone into hiding because they know they are on the list to be the first to be arrested,” said a Christian worker in China. “Pastors are being arrested, some have been imprisoned, and churches have been closed…. In January [a church] was dynamited — the government blew it up.

“It is illegal to teach children Christianity. In one case, there was a grandmother who had been taking her grandson to church with her. The government told this family that the grandmother, who was on kidney dialysis, would no longer be allowed to continue the dialysis treatments if she continued to bring her grandson to church. So, what a choice!” (Dialysis is a procedure that keeps people alive whose kidneys have failed.)

“Christians are worried,” said a VOM worker. “We have no good answer except prayer.”

What Can You Pray?
*What can you pray for churches and pastors?
*What can you pray for Chinese government officials?
*What can you pray for the grandmother?
*What can you pray for her grandson and other children in China?


Back to School

 

(Photo: Two children at a school in Africa. Their faces are covered to protect their identity from people who may want to harm them or their families.)

This is the time of year when most American kids return to school for the fall semester. But Christian kids in some countries don’t always have the freedom to get a good education in peace.

*Cuba
Christian children are sometimes mocked, bullied, and not promoted to the next grade.

*China
Officials in China closed a Christian school last year, claiming that the children were “brainwashed.”

*Indonesia
Muslim parents warn their children not to play with Christian children or make friends with them.

*Uganda
In parts of Uganda, Christian children are not welcome to attend school in Muslim areas.

*Mexico
In Chiapas, Mexico, authorities sometimes refuse to let children stay in school if their parents become Christians.

*Egypt
Christian children in Egypt have been forced to sit in the back of the class, and some students are given bad grades just because they are Christians.

*Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan are often hired to do only low-paying jobs. They sometimes can’t afford to send their children to school.

To Talk About
*Will you thank God today for your school assignments and for the opportunity to get an education?
*Ask God to protect and provide for children in each of the countries mentioned above.


Rules for Schools

Chinese girl with her Bible

Suppose you went to school one day, and your teacher gave the class the following instructions:

1. You must not ever enter a church.
2. You should not have any Christian beliefs or beliefs of any other religion.
3. You must not share any religious beliefs with others.

Teachers in one part of China received online notices telling them to warn students not to disobey the instructions.

What will happen if the students do not obey the orders? The school will be punished. The teachers will have to make sure the students obey so the teachers won’t get in trouble.

Christian parents in part of China also received warnings. Their bosses were told to reduce the pay of Christians to discourage them from attending church.


China: Bibles Before Food

A Chinese Bible

In one mountainous area of northern China, most of the land will not produce crops. The farmers and their families are very poor. Each family earns only about $255 a year, so they can’t afford things they need.

But the farmers’ faith in God is strong. They quoted a verse from Matthew 6:26 to VOM contacts who visited them: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

The Christian farmers knew that VOM was willing to help them with their needs. They had one main request. “Our spiritual food is much more important than bread,” they said. “Please help us with the Word of God. If you come with bread but no Bibles, we will be disappointed.”

To Talk About
What did the Chinese farmers want more than food?
If the farmers are hungry, why do you think they wanted something more than food?

(Source: VOM Australia)


Pastor Released!

Mu’en, Xiangen, and their mother

Mu’en and Xiangen were 14 and 5 when their father, Yang Hua, was in prison.

Yang Hua is a pastor in China. His church, The Living Stone Church, started with about 20 members in 2009. By 2015, more than 700 people attended the church.

Government workers have given the church a hard time since it opened. Once they even cut off the church’s water and electricity during Christmas services.

Later they arrested Yang Hua and put him in prison. Mu’en, Xiangen, and their mother prayed for Him while he was gone. The Voice of the Martyrs told Yang Hua’s story on the prisoneralert.com website, and Christians in the United States wrote him encouraging letters and prayed for him, too.

Last month, praise God, Yang Hua was released! What do you think he did when he first left the prison? He began singing loud songs of praise to God.

You can learn more about Yang Hua and other released prisoners, and Christians still in prison, at prisoneralert.com. Can you choose one prisoner on the site who has not yet been released and join Christians around the world in praying for them?