Threatened landlord evicts Minister Li Jie of Linfen Covenant Church

Inside Linfen Covenant Church, sister church of Taiyuan Zion Church.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Linfen, Shanxi Province —Jan. 17, 2021) On January 12, after repeated pressure from local police and threats by community members to shut off water and electricity, the landlord of Minister Li Jie of Lifen Covenant Church reluctantly gave him a two-day eviction notice. As the landlord had not experienced problems with Minister Li in the past, she repeatedly asked authorities to rescind orders for her to evict him. 

When officials refused to concede, the landlord reluctantly broke the lease with Minister Li. Although she struggled with doing so with temperatures at times freezing, the landlord shut off the water, heat, and power to Mr. Li’s home, an approach the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) often uses to oppress Christians. 

In 2018, Minister Li signed “A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” which Pastor Wang Yi had launched, calling on authorities to not only stop repressing and persecuting house churches, but to also respect a person’s faith and freedom of conscience. Later, CCP officials targeted the pastors, ministers, and elders who signed the joint statement. Police reportedly regularly warn and threaten them “to maintain the stability of society.” They also frequently harass those attending the petitioners’ churches.
According to Mr. Zine, Minister Li stated, “Brother An will be released in two days. Some people started to panic and asked us to move out immediately. The landlord informed me the day before yesterday that we should move out by January 15. Moving out of our home within two days in the chilliest month of the year is hard. Yesterday, however, even while hearing the news, I felt unexpectedly peaceful and joyful.”

Since implementing the New Religious Affairs Regulations, the CCP has added Linfen Covenant Church to the list of churches to persecute because believers there hold fast to their faith and principles. They have not surrendered to man’s dictates but continue to serve God even when officials of the Ethic and Religious Affairs Bureau sent more than 20 strong men to the church to threaten them, and raid the church school.

Minister Li asks Christians, “Please pray for the landlord’s family. I love and care for them.

“We are so grateful that when brothers and sisters learned that our landlord was forcing us to move, they began to look for other places we could rent. One elderly woman came by our place and told us details of each potential rental she found. She even invited us to stay at her family’s place. Several brothers and sisters constantly send text messages to comfort us. Even a non-Christian friend who attends the church has helped us search for rentals at night; video chatting and showing us possible places to move.”

Another Christian whom CCP authorities have been persecuting told Minister Li’s wife, “It’s glorious to experience persecutions together. Ministers need to take persecution as a normal part of their lives. When persecution comes, we as Christians are to face it. When the times of persecution leave, we are to go back to our normal lives and work.”

I take pleasure in infirmities, 
in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, 
in distresses, for Christ’s sake. 
For when I am weak, 
then I am strong.
                                     ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10

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