Story China | 30 January 2024

Casting out fear in China


Show: true / Country: China / China
Sometimes, it can be difficult to grasp how much risk our persecuted brothers and sisters take. For those of us who live in a place where we can freely worship, share our faith and have fellowship, doing something as simple as attending a seminar seems like a strange activity to be anxious about.

But a recent situation in China (No. 19 on the 2024 World Watch List) shows what life under constant pressure looks like.

Li*, a local Open Doors partner, recently held a persecution preparedness seminar in central China. The training was attended by at least 90 church workers who are working with the next generation of Chinese Christians. These persecution preparedness seminars are led by Open Doors teams and local partners throughout the world. They’re one of the primary tools we offer to believers in places where following Jesus can bring persecution and discrimination. The training equips participants with the biblical understanding of suffering as well as practical ways to respond to persecution.

Most of the participants in this training were familiar with some level of persecution or pressure for their faith. Some had been interrogated, detained or even beaten in the past. 

But toward the end of the seminar, Li received a call from the person who had rented the space for the training: “[Local authorities] are here now!”

“Usually, in this situation, people would just run and dodge and escape as soon as possible to protect themselves,” Li says. “This time, everyone chose to respond differently! One person started praying, and others immediately joined him. We prayed together, silently. We had to remain silent, otherwise, we would get in trouble if found out by the officials.”

Filled with courage and faith in God, the group of church workers sought God’s guidance. “In a soft murmur, we prayed: ‘Heavenly Father, we pray that Your name is above every other name,’” Li says. “‘You make all impossible possible. We ask for your protection, that You hide us under your wings.’”

Li felt that no one was afraid. Instead, they continuously uttered their prayers. Li was inspired because it was exactly what he hoped for after the seminar. “This is what we want to see after the training!” he says. “Praise the Lord for the change of heart! The atmosphere was filled with peace and love; fear had no place to stay.”

And they knew their prayers had been answered when they were told that the authorities had already left; the officials only stayed in the building entrance and did not check or search the meeting room, which they would normally do. But in this instance, they did not. Everyone was safe!

“I thank God for this experience,” Li says. “It was as if a timely practice of the training we were having. We got to learn to rely on God to overcome all persecutions and stay victorious!” 

Wu*, one of the participants, shares how the seminar helped him. “Being a Christian does not mean everything in life is perfect and easy,” he says. “Facing obstacles is inevitable. What can men do to us? We must only cry out to God, and He shall extend His help to us. Through this training, I learned that God gives us a weapon to overcome evil. We got to learn about persecution, its sources and its types. This course is a practical need for Christian workers, so we can help other believers build up confidence. We need to build intimacy with God and let His love be the driving force of our lives.”

Please continue to pray for Li, Wu and the other church workers who were there on that day. Ask that God will continue to protect them and allow their ministries to continue. Praise God that He saved them from interrogation or additional pressure in this instance, and ask that He would grow His church in China. 

*Pseudonyms used for security reasons

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