Some unexpected changes happened to our church three months ago. Looking back, I was grateful that God's grace and protection were truly with us.
I went to church as usual on one Sunday morning in May. Unlike any other Sundays, I encountered a group of police walking towards the elevator when I was about to come out of it.
It brought my heart into my mouth for it was the last thing I would expect on a Sunday morning. I waited until they went down as there were two neighbours around us and I was not sure which one they were looking for. I held to the last hope inside and prayed that they were not aimed for us.
It was a tense time when I walked into church. Some sisters talked about the matter in low voices. From their conversations, I learned that the police came for one of our neighbours. Even though they didn't come for us, there might be high possibility for them to find us one day.
We have heard that churches were cleaned out in various places across Beijing recently. Our church has been very cautious in meeting together lately. We lowered our voices when singing hymns, and left separately to avoid getting noticed by neighbours.
We knew that religious policy was getting stricter and the police were out there. However, we didn't expect that the police would come around to us in such a short time. The situation could be complex with an American pastor, who is highly restricted to preach in China according to the newly-released regulation.
Sudden changes for the church
Given the unpredictable situation, some of us looked uneasy and worried. The usual peace was broken by the police's presence.
Praise God that our faith overcame fear in the end! Our pastor led the worship service as usual and didn't show any concern about what just happened. I thanked God for the positive example of our pastor, who always honour Christ the Lord as holy and worship Him wholeheartedly. It was the first time when I earnestly devoted myself to worship as if it's the last time to meet together.
Not surprisingly, what is meant to come would come. The police knocked on the door of our church and took our pastor in for interrogation that afternoon. Thanks to God's grace, he was released that evening but told not to preach in China anymore.
It's obvious that the current place was not safe for meeting together. And it's not prudent for our pastor to stay in Beijing. It was at that point I realized how precious the time we had together as a church.
The situation was quite critical for us now. On one hand, we need to find a new place to meet, which seems impossible since landlords are hesitating in renting their houses to a church. On the other hand, our pastor had better leave China as soon as possible.
Despite the sudden changes and tightening of policies, God is faithful and mighty! After constant prayer, we finally found a new place for our church. What's more amazing was that we moved all the stuff and decorated the new place nicely within one day.
"I love it here. It's even greater than the old place!" said one person excitedly.
I agreed with her and couldn't thank God enough for His protection and preparation! Personally, this very experience pushed me to reflect on the seriousness and sincerity of my faith. In my daily life, it's easy to go with the current and be insensitive to the voice of Holy Spirit. Fortunately, it's never too late to carry the cross and follow Jesus, as He will never leave us nor forsake us.
This change is a good reminder for me as a Christian: the enemy spares no efforts to attack me. Am I putting on the armour of God and ready to stand steadfast for Him?
Courtesy of Press Service International