– Li Wei* a Christian father and a church deacon in China
I cannot imagine what it would be like to move home three times in the middle of the pandemic. The stress of finding a new place. The worry about being evicted again at short notice. The anxious look in your children’s eyes because they do not understand why this is happening to them.
To be honest, I tear up just thinking about this.
But many of our brothers and sisters in Christ living in China, India, Iran, and Egypt do not have to imagine this heart-breaking situation.
Li Wei and his wife are good tenants. They always pay their rent on time and keep their flat tidy. But since January 2020 they have been evicted from three apartments simply because of their faith in Jesus.
The landlords were pressured by Communist party members to evict Li Wei’s family and this situation has been devastating.
But this is not all.
Recently, the authorities cut both the water and the electricity supplies in Li Wei’s apartment. So, when some friends from their church visited them, they found Wei’s wife using a torch to help her children do their homework.
Later, with a smile on her face she started to cook some food to share using just a small camp stove.
“We are forced to live in darkness” she said. “But our hearts are full of light. The light that comes from God’s Word.”
Release International’s partners in China and elsewhere have shared with us many stories from believers like Li Wei who are experiencing many pressures daily from local authorities or religious leaders who actively oppose the spread of the gospel.
Christians are being told things like: “You are under house arrest because your prayer activities are illegal.”
“Stop believing in Jesus and we’ll help your family.” “Forget about your God and you would not be evicted anymore.”
In China, the government has already shut hundreds of ‘house churches’ and has intensified its efforts to ‘sinicise’ Christianity. In other words, to adapt our faith and even re-write the Bible to comply with the ideals of the Communist party.
But, perhaps the most worrying trend in China is the increase in digital surveillance, including the use of biometric technology and artificial intelligence. Surveillance is making it harder for Christians to talk to each other or to gather (even virtually) for prayer or Bible study.
Recently a house church pastor who invited friends to a virtual prayer meeting had a visit from the local police a day or two after he sent out invitations from his phone. The pastor was told his virtual prayer meeting was illegal and he was put under house arrest for 10 days.
In countries like India or Pakistan Christian day labourers and church leaders who depend on daily wages or support from their congregations have found themselves with no income, unable to buy food and to provide for their families.
Will you send a gift of £30, £50 or even £100 to Release International to enable our partners in China and elsewhere to help believers like Li Wei to stand firm in their faith?
You and I might never experience the kind of situations Christians like Li Wei are up against, but we can do something to show them that they are not alone.
By giving to Release International today you can show a precious brother or sister in Christ who is being oppressed for their faith that God has put them in your heart and that you love them.
Your gift will be used to provide financial support and basic supplies for oppressed Christians and their families, as well as pastoral care and discipleship resources.
If you want to help those who are experiencing oppression, please call us on 01689 823491, or you can give securely online using this 'Give Now' button.
At a time like this when persecution of Christians is more visible than ever before, thank you in advance for putting your faith and love into action by helping oppressed believers like Li Wei.
Serving God and His people together,
CEO, Release International
* Names have been changed in order to protect the identity of the people we serve.
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Lord, we pray for all of our poor and marginalised brothers and sisters who are really struggling during these times of oppression because of their love for You and the additional restrictions placed on their lives due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Father, these dear people suffer so much simply because they love You and now they face even more oppression due to coronavirus restrictions making them even more marginalised in the communities where they live.
Dear Lord, thank you that You continue to walk with them as they seek to survive with no work, no wages and no provisions; help us to help them with prayers and gifts of money which can be used to support them both spiritually and physically.
Father, thank you for their faith in You, bless them and help them to break out of this crushing cycle of oppression and poverty.
In Your precious name we pray.
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