MASS ARREST OF CHRISTIANS
We have just received news of a mass arrest of 170 house church Christians in Nanyang County, Henan Province.
The believers had assembled for worship when Public Security Bureau officers raided the meeting place. After the arrest, the police started processing the detainees to identify the leaders. They are presently holding 14 leaders, while the rest of the Christians were forced to pay fines before being fingerprinted, warned, and released. The 14 leaders face more serious charges and may be imprisoned. It is usual in such arrests for the leaders to be beaten and tortured at this stage, so they and their families would appreciate your prayers on their behalf.
Nanyang County is one of the strongest Christian areas in China. It first experienced a tremendous revival which started in the 1970s and continues to this day. Perhaps 40% to 50% of the 1.1 million population in the county believe in the Lord Jesus, including many entire villages. Over the years it has been the scene of some of China's strongest and most diabolical persecution. Nanyang has produced many of China's house church leaders, including Brother Yun and Peter Xu Yongze.
Please pray that God would be glorified through the lives of the 14 arrested house church leaders. Pray they would be a good witness to the authorities, and their families would stand in faith during this testing time.
Please pray that God would work good through this hardship, resulting in Jesus Christ being lifted up, so that many more souls would be drawn to Him.
The house churches in China have recently reported a critical lack of Bibles. Many thousands of new believers cannot obtain a copy of God's Word. The shortage is even more acute than normal because of the government's decision to decrease the number of Bibles that are allowed to be officially printed in China. Even though "official" Bibles are intended for the registered church, the house churches have creatively found ways to obtain significant quantities of these for their own use.
- The Voice of the Martyrs News, September 3, 2003.