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By Open Doors USA – Although China ‘s Constitution allows citizens to believe in religion, it does not guarantee the right to practice that religion. Therefore, Chinese Christians are usually arrested for the “illegal” religious activities that are a natural outgrowth of their faith. When adult believers are arrested, they face severe consequences. But because “belief” is legal, they generally are not required to deny their faith.

When children are caught, however, officials take a different approach. In an attempt to weaken their faith, children are often encouraged to deny Jesus altogether. What Chinese officials don’t realize, however, is that God is able to make believers “strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Pet. 5:10) regardless of their age.

Recently, Sister Jing, who has taught children and trained Sunday school teachers all over China , shared the following inspiring account with one of our Open Doors colleagues.

Sunday school was in full swing for more than 30 children when the sound of vehicles interrupted the class. Before the children even had time to put away their books, public Security Bureau officers burst into the room, confiscated “incriminating evidence,” and unceremoniously herded the children into a van.

By now the children knew what was happening. Their teachers had warned them it might happen one day and had taught them what to do. Now their time of testing had come.

As the van sped toward the police station, the children clung together to steady themselves. Then one child started singing. Before long, the van was filled with song as all the children enthusiastically joined in-much to the annoyance of the officials in the van.

Upon arrival at the police station, the children marched bravely into the interrogation room still singing, “In the name of Jesus, we have the victory.”

This was not the cowering group of children the police interrogator had anticipated! He began to threaten the children, telling them they would have to write “I do not believe in Jesus” one hundred times before he would release them. Instead, the defiant children wrote, “I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever!”

Unprepared for such a strong stand from young school children, the officials weren’t sure how to respond. In exasperation, they called the children’s parents. When the parents arrived, they were told the children would be released only if the parents said they were not Christians. Because many of the parents were not believers, they readily affirmed they didn’t believe in Jesus and took their children home.

But when a widowed believer came to pick up her twin sons, she refused to deny Jesus. The officers threatened her, “If you do not deny Jesus, we will not release your sons!”

Unshaken, the widow replied, “Well, I guess you will just have to keep them, because without Jesus, there would be no way for me to take care of them!”

Exasperated by continued, unexpected resistance to their threats, the officials said in disgust, “Take your sons and go!”

We thank God for stories like this because we know that children are the future of the Church. That’s why, with your generous support, Open Doors is working hard to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to China ‘s 40 million children. And by God’s grace, children like these are embracing it with their whole hearts!

© Copyright 2005 Open Doors USA