Date: November 23, 2023
Dear partners for the persecuted,
As we prepare for today's Thanksgiving celebration with our family and loved ones, our ChinaAid team thanks you for persistently partnering and walking with our persecuted brothers and sisters in China this year.
Recently I was asked to have an encrypted conversation with human rights lawyer Lu Siwei. He was just released under bail pending trial after a journey of escape in July from China, with a unsuccessful rescue by ChinaAid. It was a rare failed rescue by our team.
Lu is a renown human rights lawyer in China. He was given an overseas travel ban by the CCP’s security forces. But after a carefully planned and initially successful escape out of China, he was kidnapped by Communist Laotian government agents while our ChinaAid team members were escorting him from a train station in Laos' capital city to Thailand on July 28. We had bought his flight tickets to Los Angeles already.
We thought everything was set and ready to go.
After all, we had a successful rescue experience with another family of four under similar situations four years ago.
Then a terrible failure happened. You can imagine how disappointed we all were. We made appeals to the Laos government through various democratic countries trying hard to pressure officials to release him to unite with his Christian wife and daughter who had already settled in California.
Another twist and turn happened. When I learned from an internal source that the Chinese regime was about to extract him back to China from a Laos prison on September 23, I flew to DC and had an emergency meeting on Sunday September 24 with senior officials from State Department and Congress. The Laos government continued to lie to the world that Lu was still held in a Laos prison, but in fact he was already secretly handed over to the Chinese regime’s security agents on September 23. Later in September, Chinese government confirmed Siwei was already taken back to China.
What a dramatic turn! I felt devastated by this bad news. Brothers and sisters, from a human perspective it is indeed a story of bad news and failure.
I was even asking the Lord why.
Then Lu shared with me about his experience in the Laos prison.
He said that after all, he felt this imprisonment experience in Laos was truly worth it because he had read the New Testament twice and Old Testament once during his time in prison, and he found his life totally transformed and renewed with more humbleness.
Lu told me excitedly and joyfully during our conversation that he was slapped by one Lao border security agent when he was handed over to China at the Laos-China border when he asked for his Bible back. Every belonging, including his underwear, was confiscated by the Lao government. But the only item he wanted back was that copy of the Bible. For that he was beaten.
He kept repeating “It’s worth it because I finally found God..."
The Scriptures teache us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17). Indeed to God, there is nothing called Bad or unfortunate News because in His redemptive will, God is always the Winner with His goodness and love revealed even in a hidden way some times. Just like Psalms tells us - “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1-3)
Once again, we thank you for enabling multiple ChinaAid team members to travel to Laos and Thailand from July to September, sometimes at hours’ notice, and for participating in Lu Siwei’s life journey of redemption in Christ. It’s indeed worth it.
Your coworker in Christ
Pastor Bob Fu