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China: Cracking Down on Christians

Youth reading Chinese Bibles

The previous post told about the efforts of China’s president, Xi Jinping, to control religious activity in his country.

News reports said that Chinese government officials told Christian villagers in one part of China, “Jesus Christ won’t drag you out of poverty or cure your illnesses, but the Chinese Communist Party will. So take down those pictures of Christ and put up a nice photograph of President Xi Jinping.”

(Source: Breakpoint)

To Discuss with Your Class or Family
Suppose you were a Chinese Christian. How would you answer the government officials? Do you think there might be a way you could witness for Christ in your reply?

Read about the differences between life under communism and in free countries here.


China: Birthday Prayer

Chinese children

Government officials in some parts of China have been cracking down on Christian activity. (Read an earlier report about government officials ordering crosses to be removed from churches here.)

President Xi Jinping has been trying to increase his control over all religions. On June 15, President Xi will turn 65. Will you pray for him and his country for a week and on his birthday?

*Pray that President Xi will think about his relationship to God and be drawn to salvation through His Son Jesus.
* Pray that President Xi will rule with justice and fairness.
* Pray that Chinese Christians will not be afraid to share the gospel.
* Pray that more of China’s leaders will follow Christ.
*Ask God to bless and protect Chinese churches.
* Pray that all Chinese children will learn that Jesus loves them.

Find more prayer suggestions in the book Bold Believers in China, available in the free Downloads section.


Fitting In

As a girl in England, Gladys Aylward sometimes felt like she didn’t fit in. Many of the other girls had long blonde curls, and Gladys had black hair. Gladys was less than five feet tall; other girls were much taller. But in China where Gladys later served the Lord as a missionary, the people were shorter and had black hair!

When Gladys arrived in China she gave up English customs to fit in better with the people of China. Mrs. Smith, a missionary in China, gave Gladys quilted slacks and jackets like those worn by Chinese women. In later years, Gladys said, “I lived exactly like a Chinese woman. I wore Chinese clothes, ate their food, spoke their language.”

But in other ways, Gladys did not try to fit in. One day she saw a woman on the street trying to sell a little girl. It was a shocking sight! She reported the situation to the Mandarin — a government official. He told her to ignore the child sellers. Gladys said, “I have to inform you, Mandarin, that I did not come to China only to observe your laws, I came for the love of Jesus Christ, and I shall act upon the principles of His teaching, no matter what you say.”

To Think About
Is it ever a good thing to not fit in? If so, can you give some examples? Should Gladys have obeyed the Mandarin to fit in? What are some ways you would not change to fit in with others?

The story above is taken from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book and DVD set, available at VOMBooks.com. The book includes 144 pages of stories, devotionals, challenging coloring pages, extreme dot-to-dots, crafts, and activities related to the 16 heroes on the accompanying Torchlighters DVDs. Learn more here.


Gladys Aylward

British missionary Gladys Aylward traveled to China by train and boat across Europe and Asia. God protected her through many hardships and adventures during her trip. After she arrived in China, Gladys helped an older missionary manage an inn where they shared Bible stories with visitors who passed through the area.

Then a local leader appointed Gladys as a foot inspector to help end the custom of foot binding. The Chinese considered small feet to be beautiful, so preschool girls had their toes bent down under the soles of their feet and bandaged tightly to create smaller feet. The procedure was painful and made it hard to walk normally. As a foot inspector, Gladys unbound the girls’ feet and shared the story of Jesus with many Chinese people. (The photos illustrate the size of shoes worn by adult women whose feet had been bound since the women were children.)

Gladys also helped stop a prison riot and taught the prisoners about Jesus. She was able to serve God in many other ways in China, because she was willing to be used by Him wherever He needed her.

Gladys said, “I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done in China. I don’t know who was. It must have been a man, a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing. And God looked down and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said, ‘Well, she’s willing.’”

Note: “The Torchlighters: The Gladys Aylward Story” is a children’s DVD that tells how Gladys led more than 100 children on a hike through mountains in China to escape enemy soldiers. The DVD is available at vombooks.com. View an English trailer for the DVD in the video section and an Arabic version here.

To Think About
Why might someone not be willing to follow the Bible’s teachings and God’s will? Do you think they might not trust God to provide for all their needs if they follow Him? Read Proverbs 3:5-6.


Sunday School Around the World: China

In some areas of in China, officials try to prevent children from learning about Jesus. Government workers are monitoring churches in the Zhejiang province of China to restrict the number of children who attend church activities. The authorities in more than 100 churches in the province have also received warnings against teenagers attending church services, Sunday school, or other church activities.

Pray:
That Chinese Christian children and youth will have ways to grow in their faith.
That the parents of Christian children will remain strong in their faith.
That more Chinese officials will come to know Jesus.

The woman in the photo is reading a children’s Bible to Chinese Sunday school children.