It has been five years since my father died. My mother had passed away ten years ago. My father who was a kind and hardworking man, raised my younger sister, Ju and me. Life was hard for us, especially since we were Christians.
My father was the reason why I left China for good. It was near impossible being a Christian in such an anti-Christian country. Churches within China must register either with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement if they’re Protestant or with the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Millions of Christians worship in underground congregations because the extreme regulations.
When my father died, the village officials threatened to arrest us if we didn’t conduct a secular funeral. It was unthinkable but we didn’t want to go against them. My father had been a believer for decades and yet he was denied a fitting send off. We weren’t even allowed to put a cross on the tomb.
Pastor Huang had to sneak into our home to say a quick prayer. If he had been caught or reported, we would have all been arrested. Ju had a friend named Daiyu who lived in Wuhan. Her mother died and she was arrested while the family was arranging the funeral. Someone, probably a neighbor had reported the family to authorities. Daiyu was released two days later but that was after the funeral. She hadn’t even been able to attend and pay her final respects to her mother.
China has become an intolerable place to live because of its anti-Christian stance. I had to leave. Ju went to America where she was able to find a sponsor and hold down a job. I chose to come to Canada where I met and married Sandra, a beautiful Asian-Canadian woman. We moved from Vancouver to Toronto where the cost of living is much cheaper. I have a good paying job. Life in Canada is good.
When I told Sandra about life for Christians in China, she said that “The Chinese government is just a puppet. The devil is pulling the strings. He doesn’t want the light of God or the love of Jesus to reach the people. He wants to keep them in darkness. He can’t touch us here in Canada. Here we have the freedom to practice our religion without fear of persecution or death.”
The first time she took me to church, I was so happy that I was almost in tears. It’s such a relief and huge blessing to live in a country where I can worship freely and not fear that I would get arrested at a wedding or a funeral. Religion is a human right which should not be taken away. No government should be allowed to take this right away from its citizens.
I pray that China will end its war on Christianity. In the meantime, Christians will continue to worship God. Many of them do so in underground congregations. The enemy is trying prevent them from worshipping God but he’s actually driving them closer to Him which is what God wants. They are more determined to praise God. So in the face of persecution and opposition from the enemy through the government, God’s people are drawing nearer to Him.
I left China because of the persecution but many chose to stay. I did what was best for me and so did my sister. We didn’t leave God when we left China. God is with us wherever we are. He’s here in Canada. He’s there in America. And He’s there in China despite the government’s attempts to stamp out Christianity.
This story is fiction but the subject matter isn’t. Christians continue to be persecuted in China. Please pray for them and the government which is persecuting them. This isn’t just a religious rights issue, it’s a human rights issue.
Jesus warned that there would be persecution. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:19–20, NKJV).
I find it comforting that Jesus once went through persecution and the reason was He was not of this world. Likewise, we are not of this world. We are His and that’s why we are under attack. We will overcome, though, just as He did for He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).