China Report 1998
by John Dee
Jon Dee's ministry to the house churches of China comprises information, prayer, and fund raising. House Church Central does not solicit funds as a matter of policy (see the article, "Giving to HCC.") Those who wish to participate in Jon's ministry to the house churches of China may contact him through his web site, presently under construction.
|The underground house church described below, taken during|
Jon's 1998 visit. The faces of these Christian brothers and sisters have
been deliberately obscured.
Dearest beloved family in the Lord,
May the Lord Jesus be praised forever. "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised."
Christian greetings from our house church to your church. I also bring greetings, encouragement and blessings from your underground church family in China.
In writing this report, I pray that the Holy Spirit will expand my words and increase your understanding of what I saw and felt. It took me 33 hours to fly from the province I visited and land at the Atlanta airport. I came home in good health, just extremely tired. I am privileged to serve the Lordís precious, persecuted church with occasional visits, bringing them your offerings and encouragement. It is difficult to adequately describe the events that I witnessed.
For security reasons I am not going to use the proper names of people, cities, or provinces. One never knows who might see this report. I flew directly into China through City A, where going through customs was a snap. A well-dressed man was waiting for me holding a sign with my name on it. He greeted me in English (letís call him Johnny). We drove to his home in his chauffeured car. Johnny is a very successful Christian business man who serves in this way but has no other contact with the underground church except through Joseph who is the Lordís new provision for me into China.
While driving to his home, I told Johnny that I needed some US currency exchanged as some folks had given me last minute offerings. He called his moneychanger by cell phone to meet us at his home. By the way, the exchange rate was 2 points better than I received from my local bank in NC. On my next trip, I will exchange US dollars in China. All of you sent me to China with a 100% increase in offerings above last year, PTL. All of this money is on its way to 130 homeless and martyred families. Their only crime was to be faithful to the Lord in hosting a house church gathering.
I noticed Johnnyís Bible and asked him where he got it. He said that Bibles are easily obtainable inside China. They are printed for the government controlled and registered Three Self Patriotic Church. They consist of the Old and New Testaments with English and Chinese side by side, and cost a surprisingly low $2.70. He said it would be no problem for him to buy them by the box and ship them to inland China. For those of you who are led of the Lord to supply Bibles to millions who are being saved and are starving for His Word, you can now help fill that vast need. We thank the Lord for this provision.
After some fruit and tea, Johnny and his wife helped me stuff 130 envelopes with Chinese bills, each worth nearly $100 US. We included a letter of explanation, greeting and encouragement from the Free Church. The back of the letter of greeting, included chapters 16&17 of John, which may be the only printed scripture they will have. The next morning, I flew to city B, where Joseph would pick me up at the airport.
Joseph, Chris, a female Christian agent and two apostles, "Joshua" and "Caleb" met me. We drove to a huge facility that was secure from government intrusion. We also met David, another key underground Christian who escaped the Tiananmen Square massacre.
"Joshua" and "Caleb" are young men under forty years old. Both were imprisoned twice and tortured almost to death. I had only enough time to listen to one tell of the brutal torture he suffered. Joshua was on an evangelistic outreach when the police surrounded the event and arrested him. They took him to the local police station and beat him for information.
Please prepare yourself as I tell you briefly about his torture. They used a bamboo rod of about two feet long and three inches in diameter. The rod is designed not to break bones but will sting the flesh as it smashes the skin all over the body. It was even used on the cheeks so his face was swollen and completely disfigured. This was done to him for three consecutive days. After the third day, he was in such complete pain that he could not move or walk. He told the Lord, "I do not think my body can take another day of this torture." He asked the Lord, "prepare to receive my spirit." He heard the Lord say; "I will be with you." The next day, they resumed the brutal beatings on his body, but this time he felt absolutely no pain whatsoever.
Surprisingly, they never beat him again during the normal "re-education" attempt. The story doesnít end with his suffering. His family suffered extensively as well. The children were taken out of their normal school and put into an inferior setting. Other children ridiculed them because their father was in prison and their grades went down. They cried and prayed for him and fell into despair. His wife cried and prayed for him day and night, and while seeing her children in despair, she went into a deep depression. Eventually her parents had to take the children from her.
While being transferred from the police station to the prison, he asked if he could have a meal with his family. Permission was granted (another miracle) and when his children saw him so disfigured, they all cried and hugged each other. His son told him "Daddy, you donít have to worry about me, I will never stop serving Jesus." Folks, itís ok if you are touched and shed a tear at this point." This is real; it happens over and over again. The pressure on these leaders knowing that their family suffers so, is as bad as the beatings they receive. They are willing to give up everything dear to them to serve the Lord Jesus as He calls them.
When the police arrest a house church leader, everything in the house is sold and the money goes to the police for a reward. These homeless families lost everything, that is the reason I take our offerings to China. I asked these two faithful men of God if we couldnít develop a better plan, rather than bringing money after the fact to help these families. I felt a change was needed and I was looking for it. After some discussion and sleeping on it overnight, I believe the Lord spoke through these brothers and presented a plan that destroys the enemies advantage over these families. What I am about to tell you excites me to no end.
They suggested developing a system of safe houses for the families of apostles and evangelists who leave their homes to service the worldís greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The persecution continues to fuel the 20,000 a day church growth. These safe houses will accommodate two or three families of children that belong to these church leaders. An elder sister will become the surrogate mother for them. If the police catch their parents, there is no disruption to the childrenís family life other than praying for their parents while they are in prison.
They also made me aware of another increasing need. Safe houses for the aging sisters who have been serving the Lord as far back as the Cultural Revolution. Many have never married or are now widowed; some are sickly; most are without any support. The sisters who are healthy and able will become the surrogate mothers for the family safe houses.
There is an additional need to equip the house church leaders with communication equipment. This complex where we met will become a base of operations for the Lordís persecuted church. Here they will receive information and encouragement from the free church. This will be done via web site, fax machines and GSM cell phones ($400 each in China). In the rural areas, they donít have phones or phone lines so cell phones are the only method of communication. As the underground church increases, they are finding new ways to get advanced warnings of police strikes on house churches. A cell phone can warn the leader in that area of the coming strike. Saints, this early warning can save a leader from arrest, torture, imprisonment or even death. Can we deny them this tool?
We need to equip brother David with the latest lap top computer that will be easy to store and hide. Now, he has a slow 486 desktop. I was only able to show him some of house church centralís web site at www.hccentral.com. The graphics were too much for it. Faxing information is the safest way to communicate with them. When Christians are arrested, we need this information so that the agencies the Lord has established here in the states can respond and pass it along to the Congressmen that are willing to apply pressure diplomatically. The evil deeds of men and governments do not like the light of exposure.
"Caleb" then showed me a list of 117 families, mostly in one province, that are destitute because the father is in prison. We prayed and laid hands on these envelopes. Through the many tears of joy, we asked the Lord to multiply these gifts as Jesus did with the loaves and fishes. We prayed the Lord would bless these families as well as those who gave the offerings. The presence of the Lord was so powerful, I could hardly stand it. I then gave "Caleb" and "Joshua" enough travel money to distribute the envelopes to these needy families.
What I have just briefly shared with you, I liken to sitting in a war room planning where the future spiritual battles will be fought. Mercy is the fruit of supplying this need. As the persecution continues, this plan gives early warnings to the churches and sanctuary to the children. This is truly a free house church project. We have started to meet the needs in just 2 of the 30 provinces. As the Lord supplies through all of us, the blessings can be expanded into more provinces.
After saying good bye to these men of God, we flew to a province in Northern China, where a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit is taking place. So that I would not be detected, we arrived at the rural farmhouse at night. The host family of this farm treated us with great respect and hospitality. They were at tremendous risk of being arrested, tortured, imprisoned and losing all their possessions, for simply using their gift of hospitality to host this 10 year old church.
Joseph asked if I would teach on house church theology. I was awakened by the Lord at 2:00 am in the morning. I prayed for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to speak only what He wanted me to share. After all, I could only confirm by scripture what the Holy Spirit has them doing already. At 5:00 am, I heard some rustling out side. At 5:15 am, I heard the most beautiful heavenly singing. I jumped out of bed and realized the church had already gathered in this large meeting room. What was taking place was a scheduled one and one half-hour prayer meeting in advance of the regular meeting. These people had walked in the dark, some of them from long distances to get there at 5:00 am. Is it any wonder why one of the great characteristics of the persecuted church is the powerful presence of the Lord in their midst? That comes from their great investment in prayer.
After the prayer meeting, I was invited into the room to teach. They greeted me in English "welcome Jon Dee." The presence of the Lord was so powerful that at first I could not speak. As I struggled to speak, but could not, another wave of the Holy Spirit came upon us and we worshipped the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It was then that I realized why the Lord had awakened me at 2:00 am. It was to prepare me to be in His presence in a measure I had not known before.
I taught in three sessions for a total of eight hours. Joseph translated for me, with a rhythm that could only be described as divine. In between, we had two meals and more praise and worship. I believe the Lord gave me a sweet sensitive spirit that was to reflect our gentle Lord. As praise and worship began before the third session, I was asked to come quickly and watch the young men as they danced to the singing. The three young men were doing precision movements to the songs. As is my nature, I jumped in at the end of the line. As I awkwardly tried to keep up with these young men, everybody started laughing hysterically at me. We had felt the Lord in many powerful ways during the day and so this instant explosion of joy rounded off the "manifold wisdom of God" that we are charged to make known, (Eph. 3:10).
After a brief review of the teachings, it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful church. In such a short time, I learned to love and respect them. I blessed the church and gave each one a hug. The time was 8:00 PM. They had been in this house for 15 hours sitting on narrow boards with bricks holding up the ends. They looked fresh and I was totally exhausted. They came in the darkness and left in the darkness. They went out knowing more about the Jesus they loved and the church He designed. I left the leaders with five envelopes for five families of our martyred brothers who live in the area.
In concluding this letter, we as the free church are challenged by the apostle Paul. When the Jerusalem church was in distress due to a great famine, Paul asked the churches to put aside weekly offerings so that he could collect it and assist the hurting believers there. It is too easy to neglect them as we have done for years because they are so far away from us. It is the Lordís doing, as He desires to bring them into focus for us. For every safe house that we establish the fear and fangs are removed from the roaring lion, whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy the Christian. Remember, we are very fortunate (in this age of heavy administrative costs) that every penny given goes to the Lordís persecuted church. Nothing comes out for expenses.
My computer software database is Office 97. I need some help to set up this project properly. I will keep track of a giving family, and the receiving safe house family. If you like, I can arrange to have pictures exchanged, and give you directions to visit them in China someday. To do this correctly, we need a continual commitment from you. We canít set up a safe house and then not have the funds to support it.
These are the giving options that the Lord now has made us aware of:
- Safe house for families $50.00 per month. (S/H family)
- Safe house for the elder saints $30.00 per month. (S/H elderly)
- Purchase Bibles $2.70 each. (Bibles)
- Communications equipment Phase I, $6500.00 (equipment)
As "Caleb" and "Joshua" are busy distributing the offerings, they are now in the process of setting up safe houses. Lord willing, I am planning to take an offering over every six months so that the safe houses can have enough supply for six months. Please pray fervently about the part you can play in this strategic plan to bring relief to this living cloud of witnesses.
For scriptural help please read 2 Cor. 8 & 9. Three outstanding scriptures are:
- "At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." (2 Cor. 8:14-15).
- "Now about the collection for Godís people. So what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made" (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
- "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7).
All of these scriptures are referring to the collection for the distressed church. They give us specific clear direction. The process of decision is between the Lord and us. Nobody on earth or in hell can play with our head or make us feel guilty, if we are obedient to Him. The truth is, we are the Lordís answer to somebodyís prayer.
I know this report is long and I apologize for that, but I tried to keep it short. Please write to me and let me know your thoughts about the proposed plan. You may have a good idea that we need to hear. Can I ask you to become a personal missionary to the persecuted church? Seek out your friends and family and tell them of this need.
Remember, that all donations are tax deductible, just simply make your checks payable to PCC. I pray Godís peace and blessings on you and your family. As the Lord leads, I am available to come and share about the persecuted church in China. Until next time.
Living in His design, and loving it.