Interview With A Member Of A Persecuted Chinese Church
04/23/2012 China (ChinaAid) – On April 1, just days before the April 10 one-year anniversary of Beijing Shouwang Church’s forced outdoor worship service, reporter Zhong Dao conducted the following interview with a Shouwang member, Sister L, at her home.
Q: Could you speak about your personal experience of the outdoor Sunday worship service on April 10 last year?
Sister L: It will soon be a year since last April 10, so it is a good time now to look back on that day. I remember feeling a little nervous and worried that day. I felt that worshipping our Lord in this way, on an open-air platform, would be very different from before. But I was also very much looking forward to it. After all, we would be worshipping our Lord in the embrace of nature, so I felt strangely excited. As we approached the platform, we saw many police vehicles parked around the area. Assuming that they were there on routine business, my husband and I didn’t think much of it as we walked straight for the platform. To our surprise, plainclothes police came up and barred us, and tried to drag us violently into a police vehicle. … What happened next is now known to all.
Q: When you were being dragged into the police vehicle, did you know where they were going to take you, were you nervous?
Sister L: I really wanted to resist when they shoved me into their vehicle. I felt that these police were just preposterous, and I felt really unsettled and angry. As for where we were going, I wasn’t very scared because I was with my husband so I didn’t feel too nervous.
Q: After you were put into the police vehicle, which familiar faces of other sisters and brothers did you see?
Sister L: There were about seven or eight brothers and sisters in that vehicle and half of them were people knew from when I attended Xinshu Church, such as sister M, brother Y and his wife. This was the first time that we had gathered together in this way, so we all felt a bit awkward and for a while no one could think of anything to say, everyone was silent. I remember that a young sister whom I didn’t know suddenly lost control and burst into tears. She looked terrified. Someone immediately went over to comfort her. I felt very really bad.
Q: We later learned that you were taken to Caihefang Elementary School, which had become a concentration camp for members of Shouwang Church, guarded on all sides by police. How did you feel when you were taken into a classroom and saw so many brothers and sisters detained there already?
Sister L: I was shocked—so many brothers and sisters were already there, 40 or 50 of them and they were all praying. There was a sister whom I knew from before when I was attending Xinshu Church. She was leading others in prayer. Her voice was loud and assured, and she prayed from the heart for the government officials holding power, pleading with God to open their hearts so that they would know our God Jehovah. I didn’t sense any resentment and fear in her voice and I couldn’t help but be startled: This brave, resolute sister praying such powerful prayers before me, could it be the same sister who normally is so amiable and speaks softly and pleasantly? I could hardly believe my ears! In front of so many people, be they church members or police, people she knew or didn’t know, she just prayed loudly and boldly. I thought, “Who but our God has the ability to do such an incredible thing?”
Q: Who else made a deep impression on you?
Sister L: The brothers and sisters of our church, they were unforgettable. At the time, police were standing around the podium, and we were where the students normally sit, either standing or sitting, in several small groups of three and five. Using the service worship sheets that our church had previously distributed, we worshiped there as we would normally have done. There was praise and preaching and prayer, not a single part was left out. An older sister kept sharing the gospel with two or three policemen. She was not only gracious and amiable but also spoke with the authority of an elder, which left those policemen not knowing how to respond. All they could do was listen and agree. She radiated a kind of special power to convert people when she tells them about the Gospel. It was really amazing.
Also, when they took us out of the classroom and herded us into police vehicles, we were waiting to be taken to our respective local police stations and a young brother from our church—he looked about 16 or 17 years old—really left a deep impression on me. I remember he was filled with joy and constantly quoting God’s words from the Bible to cheer us up and encourage those of us who were feeling anxious. Wow! God was using a young brother who had little experience of life to show us that He was with us. I was so grateful for this and also so thankful for this young brother. As it happened, later we were taken to the same local police station, and we continued praying, sharing and encouraging each other there. It was truly a beautiful experience. After we were released from the police station, we had a meal and took pictures together to remember that day. I believe God will continue to watch over this little brother.