Date: October 2, 2020
Despite ongoing 24-hour monitoring and suppression by CCP authorities, Yingqiang knows the freedom that only God gives. He recounts the following:
Recently, as my wife and I left home, planning to take our two kids for a trip, two young men sitting in the corridor started following us. As I hailed a taxi, the men intercepted, advising the taxi driver they were police and that he could not transport us.
When I argued with these police at the roadside, they replied, “We are just doing what our supervisor asked us to do.”
“May we travel to another city today,” I asked.
“You have to wait,” they said. “A police car is on the way.”
A man, who evidently had been reading my journals of grace, arrived riding an electric bicycle. He asked me, “Teacher, where are you going?”
“I want to go to Leshan, may I go by train?”
“I can give you a ride,” he said. But then, he suddenly changed his mind. “You cannot go anywhere today. You must either go back home or ride in a police car to the police station.”
My kids began to cry.
Being banned from taking a taxi frustrated me. The day before, those monitoring me only photographed the taxi’s plate.
Police officers who arrived expelled all nearby taxis as well as private cars. “Why did the other police not allow us to take a taxi?” I asked.
He did not answer this question but invited me to sit in his police car. This officer then had to leave for another call.
After my family and I returned home, we walked to a nearby park. Afterward, we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. During this time, two plain-clothes police followed us, even when I went to the restroom with my kids.
“Would you like to have lunch with us?” I asked them.
The two officers refused.
As no empty tables were available inside, I asked the restaurant owner to set a table outside for me and my family. While sitting there, singing hymns, and praying, I recalled the time when our church met in the chapel on Baihua Lane where more than 600 brothers and sisters could meet for services. In the past, I regularly met for lunch in nearby restaurants with many of those brothers and sisters. One day earlier, I had revisited the chapel now used as a pharmaceutical company’s office.
Two women remained “on shift” when we returned home that day. Later, I learned that CCP officials were also monitoring several other Christians from our church.
Since December 9, 2018, authorities have strictly monitored numerous fellow servant leaders’ families, with police only loosening their surveillance for a little at times.
My family and I returned to Chengdu to stay with and shepherd fellow brothers and sisters. I remember the encouragement to “remember those who are in bonds as though you were bound with them, and those who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body,” In a sense, we are not to go back to Chengdu to shepherd other brothers and sisters, however, but to experience the tribulation as well as God’s peace with them.
Although scheduled to preach on September 27, to an unbidden guest’s visit, I had to cancel. The main verses of my preaching included 1 Peter 3:13-22. 1 Peter 3:13-16 encourages:
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
I pray that God keeps these verses in our minds. I consider it a great blessing to experience tribulations for our belief, to be in union with Christ.
When my son became upset that morning because he could not go for our trip, I held him in my arms and said, “It is natural for us to feel frustrated when our freedom is restrained. But how tiny is this compared with what Jesus suffered for us? Through Him, God has given us freedom. So there’s nothing to be upset about. If we cannot go far away for a trip, we can have fun near home. If they do not allow us to go by car, we go on foot. If someday, they do not even allow us to leave home, we will still praise God, because even the freedom to stay home is God’s grace.”
From Heaven, God always takes care of us. Without His permission, not even a swallow can ever fall to the ground. So, my heart, filled with peace, proclaims, “praise the Lord….”
~ Yingqiang, September 30, 2020
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