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China: Changing the Ten Commandments

Digital rendition. Photo by Bob Fu

Previous posts have told about China’s new stricter laws for churches.  Some churches have been forced to replace their crosses with the state flag and a photo of China’s president.

Late last year, officials in one of China’s provinces dropped by a church to search and inspect it. One officer stopped at the pulpit where the Ten Commandments were displayed. He demanded that the first commandment be removed, then he crossed it out.

Officials told everyone who complained, “The president opposes this statement.”

To Talk About
*What is the first of the Ten Commandments? (See Exodus 20:3.)
*King Darius had Daniel thrown into a lions’ den because Daniel put God before the king. Read what Darius said in Daniel 6:25-26. Can you think of other situations in which someone replaced false beliefs with the truth about God?
*Do some research and find out the name of the president of China. What will you pray for him?


Bold Chinese Believers

A Christian worker from China shared with The Voice of the Martyrs the following testimonies about believers in China, where the government has increased their control over Christian activities.

“This is a very serious situation we are working under today,” the worker said. “Most people have heard about the addition of millions of cameras with face-recognition software. So on a day-to-day basis, we know that any of us can be tracked with every movement we make, every meeting we have. We have to be more cautious not to have anyone arrested and go to prison.

“In the old days, God made blind eyes see. Pray that He will make the seeing eyes [of the cameras] blind, and that much of our work is not seen by the cameras.

Released from Prison Weeping
But many Christians in China have learned to share the love of Jesus wherever they go. “One of my dear friends, a close friend, spent over 16 years in prison,” the Christian worker said. “The last prison sentence he had was seven years.”

The man was not allowed to have his Bible in prison during the entire seven years. Even though he knew the risks and didn’t have a Bible, he planted a church inside the prison! He wept on the day he was released from prison because he was sad to leave his congregation.

Learn more in Bold Believers in China, available in the Downloads section.

To Talk About
What would you do differently if you knew that cameras tracked you whenever you were outside your house?


China: No Christmas for Kids

In 2017, officials in the city of Wenzhou in China banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens. A communist group at a Chinese university warned students against being “blindly excited by Western holidays like Christmas.”

Restrictions against Christians are increasing in China. Some adult Christians are concerned that children and youth will not be able to stand firm in their faith in God if the rules against Christianity become even stricter.

Pray for Chinese Christians and their children at Christmastime.

Chinese boy with a Bible


Thankful in Prison

Children in Myanmar

Pastor John Cao did not spend Thanksgiving last year with his wife and two sons in North Carolina. Instead, he spent the holiday in a Chinese prison.

“John committed the crime of doing good,” said a Christian friend of the pastor. Pastor John helped build 16 schools in Myanmar (Burma). The schools provide an education for 2,000 children in poverty. The students study the Bible in their classes, and many have come to Christ.

Pastor John’s wife and sons are American citizens, but he was born in China. He has kept his Chinese citizenship to make it easier for him to minister in Asia. In recent times, the Chinese government has increased control over Christian activities. Christians believe Pastor John may have been imprisoned because of stricter government rules.

Pastor John has been sentenced to seven years in prison. He is allowed to write only one letter a month. He misses his wife, children, mother, and siblings. He has several physical ailments.

But this is what Pastor John said in a letter to a family member: “Rejoice with me because I count this as kind of a privilege to suffer with my Lord. I am serious. I am not joking. This is a privilege.”

Pastor Cao hopes to be back at home with his family soon. But like the apostles in Acts 5, Pastor John is thankful for the opportunity to endure hard times for the name of Jesus.

This Thanksgiving, remember Christians who are in prison (Hebrew 13:3), and thank God for their faithful example to us and to those in prison with them.

(Sources include: vomradio.net and prisoneralert.com.)


Mama in Prison

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions, and from the Kids of Courage archives. SDOK is in the Netherlands. The story has been translated then edited for length and clarity.)

Dad had always thought that one day he would be taken prisoner. But then Mom was arrested.

My father, Du Hongbo, worked for the church in the city where we lived. My mother, Cheng Jie, was director of a kindergarten. Agents came to our house and they took Mom with them. Dad was not at home at that moment. We were all very shocked by the arrest. The kindergarten schoolbooks did not mention anything about God or Jesus. In the kindergarten, the children did learn important Christian rules such as loyalty and honesty. The government says that the kindergarten did not follow the Chinese education law.

Dad Does His Best
My father found it very difficult that my mother was not there. He said: “Every time I looked at my children, I felt sad. I do not know how to take care of children. When they asked me something, I did not know what to say.”

But I thought he was doing his best. My brother was still a baby when Mom was arrested, so he did not remember her. But I missed her very much. I always asked for Mom.

Hard Work
Mom was sentenced to two years in prison. Dad was furious at first. But then he got peace. “I believe that God has everything in His hand,” he said. “This event teaches me to trust in the Lord. All I can do is pray and wait for God’s time.”

Mom had to work hard in prison. She got up at 5 am and worked until 10 pm! She got little food. Dad was allowed to visit her for half an hour a month. But Mom remained courageous. She told the Gospel to fellow prisoners and some of them believed.

I Keep Talking About Jesus
Mom was released in 2016! But she was closely watched. We have therefore moved to another province. My parents do not stop with their work for God. Dad says, “I always want to serve God. Wherever we are, I tell others about Jesus.”

I am proud of my parents.