Dear brothers and sisters:
Peace in the Lord! On June 26th, Shouwang had her twelfth Sunday outdoor worship service. Brothers and sisters continue to seek and worship our God with passion and hope.
June 26th, Beijing, sunny. In the past weekend, many believers who are on the list of local police stations were detained at home, and some individuals were taken to hotels to be detained. Therefore, only a few dozen people managed to arrive at the planned location for outdoor worship on Sunday. Some believers who tried to enter the planned location and some who were nearby were taken away by police waiting there. As far as we know, at least fourteen believers were taken away on Sunday morning (it does not include one believer who was taken to a hotel by local police on Friday night), and then were sent to ten different local police stations. Till 10pm of 26th, all of them were released. Besides believers from Shouwang Church, there were several believers from other churches and from other areas (we do not know their names) taken to police stations when they came to join the outdoor worship service. Among those who were taken to police stations, at least two sisters had long conversations with several pastors (two of them said that they were from Chaoyang Church) from TSPM churches who were invited by police stations. Those pastors tried to persuade them to give up attending outdoor worship, but to join TSPM churches; their behavior once again reveals the nature of TSPM as a patriotic organization.
Around five o’clock in the afternoon of 27th, a brother was taken away by three police from Dongsheng police station and Haidian police station while he was repairing his cellphone in the market. He then was handed over to people from the government of his hometown in Shandong province, and was not allowed to use cellphone. They later escorted him by force to Shandong province, and arrived at the local town government around ten o’clock in the evening of 27th. This brother did not get a chance to send text messages to tell us about his situation until eight o’clock in the morning of 28th. He was sent home at noon, and with his ID card confiscated, he was warned not to return to Beijing after July 1st. Village cadres also received a notice of watching him. We believe that this practice of forced repatriation by Dongsheng and Haidian police stations is an utter contempt and violation of existing laws; the basic right of a citizen is with no protection. We particularly protest and condemn this illegal practice.
Since Shouwang Church started to have outdoor worship service, there have been police watching Xinshu Church’s Sunday worship service. They started to interfere directly since May 15th, sometimes with the excuse of finding out believers from Shouwang Church, and sometimes with no excuse. They either watched outside the gathering place, or broke into the church, and they even requested to check ID cards of all the believers. On June 26th, some individual police watching at Xinshu’s service were especially rude. In addition to Xinshu Church’s normal religious activities being constantly disturbed, believers’ life is also being affected. Around 00:40 am of 26th, police station chief of Huoying police station took four police with him and broke into the home of two sisters from Xinshu Church. After the interrogation, they sent people to watch them and did not allow them to go out until 17:30pm of that day. These two sisters were detained simply because they wanted to join our outdoor worship service. Worse still, they were threatened by their landlord to move out within three days, which brought great disturbance to their normal life. We express particular concern and sincere prayers to Xinshu Church as their Sunday worship and believers’ life being disturbed. We continue to give thanks to our God for each believer, for those who are able to go out to join the outdoor worship service, for those who are able to worship in peace at home while in detainment, and for those who continue to accompany Shouwang Church with patience even they hold different views. Twelve weeks have gone by, and God still sustains his Church with his mighty hands. Without God’s mercy and mighty works, Shouwang Church won’t be able to stand firm until today. Most of us did not expect to have such a long period of outdoor service, and we do not know how much longer it will last. However, we are already in awe to see God’s work. We believe that what we have experienced is from his guidance, and there is God’s good will in it for his church and for this country.
May we continue to obey God’s guidance for Shouwang Church with fear; we believe that though we are in difficult situations, what we have experienced will not be in vain. May we wait and watch God’s might works with fear. Our God is full of mercy and is slow to anger, yet he is also righteous; he will not allow the evil, revealed in this period, to spread with no constraint. In this process, we are no longer outsiders. May we intercede with prayers in fear. May God have mercy on our country and our city, and bless his church. May the price paid by God’s children with a willingful heart for his kingdom become blessings to this generation.
May peace and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the mercy and love of Father God, and the console and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, be with each brother and sister of Shouwang Church and all the churches who remember Shouwang Church in prayers, from this time on and forevermore! Amen.
Beijing Shouwang Church