It’s no longer safe to be a Christian in China. That’s why I fled and came here to Kenya three and a half years ago. I found a church where there was a mixture of Kenyan and Chinese worshippers. That was where I met and fell in love with Aluna, a beautiful Kenyan woman.
The first time we talked to each other, I was surprised by how well she spoke Mandarin. She explained to me that she had spent four years studying Mandarin in Nanning which is in Southwest China.
“Which part of China are you from?” she asked.
“Sichuan. It’s a province in Southwest China. It’s home to the giant panda bears.”
“Why did you leave?”
“My family and I were of an unregistered illegal congregation which was stormed by Communist authorities in December. Many members and the pastor were arrested. He was charged with ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ My family fled to Taiwan but I came here to Kenya. I always wanted to come here.”
“Well, I’m glad you chose to come here.”
“Me too. I got to meet you.”
“You don’t have a girlfriend, do you?”
“No. What about you? Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Would you date me?”
“What about your family?”
“They don’t have a problem with me dating you but they would have if you weren’t a Christian.”
“I don’t think my family would have a problem with us dating either because you’re a Christian too.”
“Tell me more about life for Christians in China,” she asked me now as we hung out in City Park after we had lunch at the Westgate Shopping Mall.
“The government under Chinese President Xi Jinping sees our faith as a threat to China’s future. All religions have been ordered to observe and follow Chinese and Community Party beliefs and doctrine. Churches face retributions when they don’t do that and are seen as being disloyal. As a result, Chinese authorities bulldoze church buildings, tear down crosses and edit sermons. They install security cameras on church buildings to monitor the members. There is no such thing as religious freedom. We can’t worship the way we should. It’s like China is at war with Christianity which is sad. If more people embraced our faith, their lives would be so much better. My father is hoping that one day China will become a country where people are not arrested or imprisoned for their faith and when it does, he will return.”
“Let’s continue to pray for China–for the Christians still living there and the government.”
“Yes and for my family too. My father is hoping to be granted asylum in the United States.”
“If your family gets through for the US and after they have settled, are you going leave here and go there to be with them?”
“No. I will visit them but I’m staying here.”
“Because you like it here in Nairobi?”
“Yes. And I like the people too.”
“Do you like anyone in particular?” she asked coyly as she brushed the yellow flower I had picked for her against her face. She looked exquisite.
“Yes. I like one person in particular. She’s beautiful, speaks Mandarin fluently and sounds like an angel when she sings.”
“She sounds very interesting.”
“She is. And when I asked her to marry me, she said yes.”
Smiling, I went over to her and taking her by her hands, I pull her to her feet. I gazed down into her eyes for a moment and then, I kissed her. For me this was the closest thing to Heaven on earth. Afterwards, we walked into the sunshine, holding hands.
We got married the following year in the Spring and my family flew in from Los Angeles to be there. My father said that life was good in America but he urged us to continue to “pray for China to stop burning Bibles, closing or destroying churches and jailing people. I wish it were like America where there is a separation between church and state. There, we can worship openly and share our faith with others.”
I’m frequently in touch with a Christian friend living Shanghai who said that his church continues to send out daily scripture and post videos of sermons. They were fighting the good fight. Aluna and I help my friend, his church and other Christians in China by praying for them and sending Bibles. And we donate to the Voice of Martyrs. Our donations go towards living expenses for the family of an imprisoned Christian, provide medical care for a believer injured in an attack or supply other practical needs.
We want to do as much as we can to help persecuted Christians and converts from Muslim or Buddhist backgrounds. We are hoping that one of these days, we visit our Christian brothers and sisters in China and encourage them as they continue to share the Gospel, winning souls for Christ.
This story is fiction but it is based on true events. China is at war with Christianity. Churches are closed and demolished. House churches are raided. Pastors are handcuffed mid-service. Christians are arrested, interrogated and imprisoned. Crosses are removed from church buildings. If you want to help persecuted Christians in China, Voice of Martyrs offers these three ways:
PRAY FOR CHINA
Thank you for praying for believers who live and serve in China. Please continue to pray for our Chinese Christian brothers and sisters as they work to advance the Gospel despite growing opposition. Ask the Lord to grant them endurance for the days ahead and to make them “strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7).
BIBLES FOR CHINA
The need for Bibles continues to grow as more Chinese come to know Christ despite increasing persecution. VOM has identified hundreds of thousands of believers who are still waiting for their first copy of God’s Word. Your gift can be the answer to their need for a Bible.
CHINA PERSECUTION RESPONSE
VOM is ready to help when our brothers and sisters suffer persecution in China and other nations hostile to Christ. We may assist with living expenses for the family of an imprisoned Christian, provide medical care for a believer injured in an attack or supply other practical needs. Your gifts are used to respond to the needs of persecuted Christians.
Visit Voices of the Martyrs to do one of the above or to learn more information.
Sources: The Guardian; CNN; Christian Headlines; The Guardian; The Voice of Martyrs; Open Doors