The past four days have been a real whirlwind. It all started on Sunday. As I mentioned in our last email update, because of some phone calls received from the police asking questions about the building the underground church meets in, we decided to move out of the building we were meeting in. Sunday’s church service took place in a restaurant meeting room and was a really sweet time worshipping the Lord. As the Chinese pastor was preaching he received a phone call from the police station. He ignored the call and we finished the service with no problems. That afternoon the police came to his house and took him in for questioning. He wasn’t released until about 9 hours later. As he was being questioned, Nancy and I started to receive phone calls from the police station, our landlord, and the person at the university that approved our visas. We decided to ignore the calls and go ahead and leave the country. We quickly made plans and were able to escape to Seoul, Korea on Monday with no problems. Praise the Lord! Only after we arrived in Seoul and after the Chinese pastor was released from questioning did we find out more of the story. Basically, a recent visitor that visited the church a couple times in the past month turned us in. This man claimed to already be a Christian when he came, but acted noticeably strange. According to what the police told the Chinese pastor this man committed a crime of posting an anti-government article online and when being questioned about it accused me and and the Chinese pastor of helping him do it. Of course we were not involved in helping this man do this action and this story was completely made up. So, the police station wanted to question me and the Chinese pastor about this accusation. The whole thing is very strange and we aren’t sure if this guy is really in trouble with the police and is trying to find someone to blame so he can get out of dodge or if he actually works undercover for the police and the posting an article online accusation is just a set-up to get me to come to the police station. Either way the result was that the church was found out and the police got a hold of my personal information.
After staying a day in Seoul, Nancy and I flew back to the US and arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday morning. After safely leaving China, I replied back to the visa guy at the university and he gave me a police officers contact who was looking for me. I have been chatting with this police officer on WeChat. So far she has just been asking me general questions about if I helped that guy that accused us. I told her that I did not help him. Also, the original guy whose name the church building was rented in who first told us that the police wanted to investigate what was going on in our building has been contacted again by the police to answer some questions. He should talk to them Monday when he gets back from a business trip to Japan. So to sum it up, this story is not over yet. Right now we are just waiting to find out what more happens and are praying for God’s protection on everyone involved. Pray for protection of the Chinese pastor and church members. Pray that the church could find a way to continue to meet together. Please pray for the protection of other friends put in risk by the church being found out. Pray for God to give Nancy and I wisdom on what to do next as we are trying to just take it one day at a time right now.
We know that God will use all of this to further the Gospel. We know God will be with his children and not forsake them. We know persecution has happened and will continue to happen because the world hates Jesus, but we also know that we are called to follow Jesus no matter the cost. Thank you for praying for us!
The following verses have been a real encouragement to me recently:
Psalm 27:12-14 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: For false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13 I had fainted, unless I had believed To see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Also, with temporarily being back in the States, we should have some of the upcoming Sundays open to visit supporting churches and give an update. (We would like to try to stay within two or three hours from the Atlanta metro area) If you would be interested in us coming by, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org