Shi Minglei: “Why I changed my name to Hope”

Hope holding sign with her name and verse.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(ChinaAid—April 21, 2021) In a letter to her brothers and sisters in the Church, Hope (Shi Minglei) shares “Why I changed my name to Hope.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At times, the experiences we go through seem so painful and hopeless. Right?

 I still remember the fear… I remember security officers arresting my husband.

I still remember poor Aliyah when she finally saw me 30 hours after I dropped her off at kindergarten; after seeing 20 security officers arrest her dad and take him away from our home. Because of the sudden, overwhelming fear she experienced, when she opened her mouth, she had no voice. She could not speak any words.

 I still remember that during the 30 hours Aliyah and I were apart, security officers placed a black hood over my head, handcuffed me, and took me to a secret location where they interrogated me for 20 hours. 


I still remember that at least a thousand times, I felt such pain and loneliness to the point I felt hopeless.


 Sometimes I felt abandoned. When forced to escape from China, I lost most of my friends and work relations.


Aliyah pointing her finger (next to Hope’s hand) to where they lived in China.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

 I still remember how hopeless we (families of the three NGO imprisoned human rights activists) felt when we traveled to Changsha 19 times seeking information about our loved ones, the ChangSha3, but never received any responses or information. We only knew that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities had dismissed their lawyers and assigned CCP lawyers to convince them to plead guilty.

 We felt hopeless and alone…

 I still remember, however, that I learned God never left us alone.

  I still remember sisters and brothers in my church prayed for us every day.

 After they placed me on house arrest, CCP security agents threatened me. When I could not sleep, one sister cried and asked God to protect me:

 My Father, I cry and asked you to protect Sister Shi as the apple of Your eye. Hide her under the shadow of thy wings. She is your daughter, your princess… no one can hurt her… no one can rule over her… no one can threaten her. Please give your peace and hope to her.

I still remember how brothers and sisters loved our family. Because of security concerns, I did not tell anyone when I left China. When they did not hear from me as usual, five brothers and sisters went to my house to try to find me at night. When I arrived in the US and heard this, I cried. I knew they were showing God’s love.


I still remember that one day, I felt so sick, I felt I could not go any further. That day, I prayed like Jesus had prayed in Gethsemane, “Father, …. take this cup from me. But not my will…Your will be done.”


 Jesus spoke to my heart, “I know. I know everything about you.”


 When I arrived in Midland, Texas, Pastor Fu, and ChinaAid staff, with Christian brothers and sisters warmly welcomed us. They had prepared a place for us to stay, brought food, toys, books, and necessary items for us, more than we needed.


 God is good. I know He answered our prayers.


 So, dear brothers and sisters, I want to tell you:


 When we have pain, 

Jesus has healing.

 When we feel alone,

 Jesus prepares support.

When we feel we are abandoned,

 Jesus saves us instead,

leading us to the free and safe land.

 When we feel hopeless,

 Jesus gives us more hope.


  That’s why I changed my name to Hope when I arrived in the United States.


Hope shared the following verses at the end of her letter:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.‭‭
                                                                                              ~ Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1–8‬ ‭(NIV‬‬)

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