At 9 am, Brother Chen had just finished reading Philippians 1:12-18 to the others: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” While Brother Chen prayed, however, Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs personnel, state security and police officers with several people from the community and sub district abruptly entered the room. Officers not only disrupted the prayer, they condemned those gathering for holding “an illegal rally.”
Police recorded each person’s ID and their interrogations. They also examined the retreat attendees’ cell phones.
On March 20, Brother Chen and the two other detained Christians from the retreat completed serving their 3-days detention and received the “certificate of release from detention” that the detention center issued. Brother Chen thanks Christian brothers and sisters for their prayer intercession.
Brother Chen reported:
- …I wish that we as Christians could have a place like prison for retreat or used as school. My three-day retreat held in a city became a more authentic “retreat,” isolating from the world.
- I experienced life in the world but not belonging to the world; that Christians should never attempt to flee the world while still living in the world.
- I accomplished four projects in those three days:
- I fasted for three days.
- I saw a blurry world (officers temporarily confiscated my glasses).
- I didn’t hear anything from the world (officers temporarily confiscated my cell phone).
- I shared the gospel with others at a specific time in the three days.
Thank God and praise the Lord. He used his mighty power to enable me to complete the “retreat” using some related departments.
If God wills, I hope that I get to experience this type retreat again. May all glory and praise be to our Heavenly Father. Amen…
~ Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Reporter
*For this retreat, these Christians had selected a quiet, peaceful place to center on building their bodies, hearts and souls in their faith. Similar to times recorded in the four gospels when Jesus stayed away from crowds of people (alone or with disciples) to focus on God, those attending the retreat planned to prayerfully focus on their relationships with God. They also were to confront the clash between secular views/objects to the world views the Bible teaches.