"I give thanks to God for the reference Bible and books I received. All the churches within a 200-mile radius are lacking in Bibles. Even if we received 5,000 Bibles, they still wouldn't meet the need of every believer. Because of the lack of Bibles, believers face the problem of understanding God's Word.
Although we have about 40 young preachers called by God, we continue to carry a great burden.... Many places only have three or four Bibles between all Christians, and there are some places where four or five people share a single Bible. The brothers and sisters are crying out to the Lord that He will meet their spiritual nourishment."1
"My efforts to find a Christian friend have been in vain. Nor have I been successful in borrowing a Bible. So far, I have only attended one Sunday service in secret. My mother feels that believing in Christ will bring me much trouble. Hence, I dare not share my faith with others. One day I told a friend that I no longer believed in God, and I experienced real conflict. I could neither sleep nor eat. My thoughts bothered me. I have tried so hard to stand up as a Christian without any support. No one, not even my parents, understands me."2
"I am a young farmer, aged just 22. Last summer I met a Christian friend who shared the gospel with me and invited me to attend their meetings. Every time I had to ride my bicycle 20 miles to reach the church, but I experienced the great power of the Lord. I have never experienced such a peaceful atmosphere. People help and support one another.
I have not been baptized yet, but from the first meeting I decided in my heart to become a Christian. According to our customs we have to bow before the idols during Chinese New Year. I know that God is watching me, but I lack the courage not to bow to the idols, since I do not want to go against my parents and relatives."3
"Although I do not quite understand the teachings of the Bible, I fully believe that all men have sinned and refuse to repent, especially in China with several thousand years of history! Our communities are full of exploitation and deceit. The light has dimmed and darkness is everywhere. I cannot see anything, but please believe me, I want to repent! Please pray for me and wish me success. How can I become a Christian? How should a Christian live, learn and work? What are his responsibilities?"4
"One year after I came to the Lord I was afflicted with a disease. It has tortured me emotionally because appearance is very important to a girl. I have considered suicide, but am afraid of what others might say. Besides, committing suicide will disgrace God's holy name. Does the disease remain because I am not sincere? Or is it because I doubt the Lord's ability to heal? Should I give up using medication and rely totally on the Lord? I really don't know what to do. Due to family pressure, I seldom attend church services. I know very little about the Lord."5
"Thanks be to God! For several years there has been an annual average increase of 200 people baptized in our church. Because our meeting place is small, we need to have two services on Sunday mornings and one in the evening. We also have Bible studies on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. We invite people to listen to gospel programs, so that more people may know our only true God, Jesus Christ!"6
"We live in a village and have many chores to do. Going to church often becomes a formality and we receive no inspiration from reading the Bible. Our prayers lack power. It seems God is not listening to us. Often we feel weak and hopeless. We are poor in spirit and there are many reasons why we are not filled with the Spirit. First, we have no desire for growth. Second, we are spiritually dry without revival meetings. We only have one pastor in our county and he seldom visits the village churches. As a result we only have holy communion twice a year."7
"In our county there is no official church organization, but we have established a house meeting. We have laid down three conditions, namely that there must be more than 30 believers, that a suitable meeting place is found, and that we are led by a voluntary worker. Hitherto we had to walk more than ten miles to worship together, and this has proved very difficult for elderly believers and those with children. "8
"Five years ago, when I became a Christian, there were only elderly people in our church. Now God has added many young people, but the quality of our shepherds has not improved. This has led the sheep to go astray. Some days ago, several people came from Beijing. With Bibles in their hands, they taught many things such as 'The Holy Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible.' Some people stopped coming to services after listening to them, and some even went to be baptized again by them."9
"I converted to Christ after listening to your broadcast. I regard you as my close friends and need your opinion on witchcraft. I previously believed in it and owned a mirror which could supposedly protect me from evil. My mother has one too. After conversion I broke mine, but my mother forbids me to throw hers away. A witch once advised me to renovate our bathroom. Should I change it back? I want my mother to believe in Christ, but she fears there will be accidents and attacks by demons. She heard that the daughter of a new convert accidentally died. This sister left Jesus as she thought God had failed to protect her family. I want to preach the gospel to them but I don't have the necessary weapon, i.e. the Bible."10
"My mother had to do all the household work. Because of her poor health she once asked me to help her. I was so selfish that I only thought of myself and I refused. Unfortunately, she died soon after. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I thought of committing suicide. I didn't do so because I had to take care of my aging father and the family. It was at this time that I came to know Jesus Christ. I repented and accepted Him as my Savior. From then on I possessed a new life and new hope. Glory to the Lord for His mercy and love!"11
"This is law-enforcement year. The government is rigorously cracking down on criminals and exerting control over house church meetings. We were interrupted by the Public Security Bureau, who claimed that house church meetings are prohibited. They said all worship has to be conducted in open churches, or we will be fined, imprisoned, and treated as criminals. The churches in a neighboring county are being persecuted too. Many house churches have been forced to close down, so we just stay home and listen to gospel radio."12
"Quite a number of my classmates are religious. Some are Muslims, some Buddhists, but the most are Christians. The majority of the class claim to be atheists. Some even believe there is a God but just don't know who He is. I introduced Jesus Christ to them and thank God, some converted and now we have formed a prayer group. When we gather, we share and try to resolve spiritual and daily life difficulties. "13
"Our church has grown from seven to over 300 people. The local Religious Affairs Bureau tried to stop us meeting. Even when we attempted to register they still interfered. They put pressure on our landlord who had rented a barn for us to meet in, and we were driven out. They tried all sorts of tricks.
Then, on November 11, they mobilized 100 police officers to drive all the believers out and they locked and sealed our church. They posted a notice saying they would demolish the building, but the brothers and sisters were not afraid. They prayed with tears, testified, and sang hymns so that many passers-by and our neighbors came to support us, and some came to faith. After prayer, we church workers decided to take the road we had gone down before—meeting secretly in house churches."14
"I am 26-years-old. My family is worried about my single status. They want me to get married as soon as possible and they even search for boyfriends for me. I have always preferred a believer to be my spiritual companion, and for a long time I have prayed to God for one. As a Christian I take marriage very seriously, since divorce is not allowed. Moreover, the Bible says, 'Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.' If I marry an unbeliever and he persecutes me, I will be responsible for my own suffering. If the marriage is prepared by God, He will look after me on all matters. Therefore I am unwilling to dive into something which would harm my faith and body."15
"Four years ago we had a house church in our village and I found faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for mankind. However, after a short while attendance at the church began to drop. Our minister had only one Bible and no commentary of any kind. His preaching style was very simple: just a few Bible passages and a song. Later he became ill and because his prayer for healing was not answered, he lost faith and the church was dissolved."16
"I converted to Jesus Christ about two months ago. At first I didn't tell my husband because he's an atheist. I tried to share God's goodness with him but his response was very negative and he blasphemed God. Sometime later I felt I had to inform him of the changes in my life. He reacted angrily and tore my Bible to pieces. His family also oppose my faith. I pray God will forgive them.
Since my Bible was destroyed I have felt lost and sad. I am sorry that I was too weak to safeguard my Bible.... Now I listen to your programs secretly at night and can't attend church services. Please tell me how to face my husband."17
"I have believed in the Lord for less than a year. Since then, He has helped me change my attitude and thinking. Prior to my conversion I had a bad attitude and constantly yelled at people and even fought with them. At home I often quarreled with my parents, but since trusting in the Lord, His grace has helped me change all that. Now I am very happy inside.
I then suffered a serious back injury and could not work. Even walking was difficult. I spent a lot of money on treatment and went to many hospitals for medication, but there was no improvement. One night I heard that the Lord can heal. I did not believe in such things and asked some Christians if it was true. They told me, 'If you truly believe in the Lord, He will heal you.' Thinking I would try it out, I went to church. Each time they prayed for me my back would get better. Though I have not totally recovered, I don't need to take medication anymore and can do some work. It's all by the grace granted to me by our Lord Jesus Christ."18
"Here in Shenxian there are more than 30,000 Christians and 250 meeting places, both large and small. This is all by God's grace, but we have very few Christian workers. The Three-Self committee often persecutes believers on behalf of the government. In our county, if you want to study theology you have to be approved by the Three-Self officials. Up until now only four people have been allowed to study."19
"After graduating from high school I was not able to study at university. The pain of not being able to reach my education goals was intense. I felt sorry for myself and cried all the time. I felt there was no hope for the future. I was depressed and angry and my self-confidence was totally crushed.
Thankfully, God did not forsake me. My mother is a Christian. When I felt hopeless, she shared the gospel of salvation and the mystery of the kingdom of heaven with me. At first I thought the gospel was nonsense owing to my atheist education. When I opened the Bible and read about how God created man from the dust I couldn't accept it. My mother then took me to church. As a grown man, at first I found sitting among senior folks rather absurd but I didn't quit. Later, I participated in singing hymns and studied God's Word. Gradually I felt peace and joy. At last I mourned for my sins and repented. I am now a new creature in Christ."20
"I turned to Jesus Christ in 1997. The first time I stepped into a church meeting I was deeply moved by the sermon. The light of the Holy Spirit shone on me and revealed my sins, and I could not stop weeping. I repented immediately and sought God's mercy.
In the past I was a timid and introverted person. My health was not strong and I easily grew tired. Thanks be to God for now He has changed my life! I have become a girl who is vibrant, cheerful, healthy, strong, and full of vigor and vitality. All these changes help me understand the great love of the Lord."21
1. Far East Broadcasting, January 1990.
2. Far East Broadcasting, November 1991.
3. Far East Broadcasting, June 1992.
4. Far East Broadcasting, December 1992.
5. Far East Broadcasting, March 1993.
6. Far East Broadcasting, May 1993.
7. Far East Broadcasting, July 1993.
8. Tianfeng (August 1993).
9. Far East Broadcasting, March 1995.
10. Far East Broadcasting, March 1995.
11. Far East Broadcasting, January 1996.
12. Far East Broadcasting, August 1996.
13. Far East Broadcasting, February 1997.
14. Compass Direct (December 1997).
15. Far East Broadcasting, March 1998.
16. Far East Broadcasting, June 1998.
17. Far East Broadcasting, October 1998.
18. Trans World Radio, November 1998.
19. Lift Up Our Holy Hands, January 1999.
20. Far East Broadcasting, July 1999.
21. Far East Broadcasting, November 1999.
© This article is an extract from Paul Hattaway's book 'Shandong: The Revival Province'. You can order this or any of The China Chronicles books and e-books from our online bookstore.