By Mark Ellis —
A pastor visiting the underground Chinese church surprised his hosts by telling them he would not pray for them to become more like American Christians.
At the end of a three-day training conference, one of the Chinese Christians said, “You guys can gather like this any time you want in America. Could you pray that one day we’ll be just like you?”
“I will not do that,” the pastor said, surprising his hosts. “You guys rode a train 13 hours to get here. In my country, if you have to drive more than an hour, people won’t come.”
“You sat on a wooden floor for three days. In my country, if people have to sit for more than 40 minutes they leave. You sat here for not only three days on a hard wooden floor, in my country if it’s not padded pews and air conditioning, people will not come back.”
“In my country, we have an average of two Bibles per family. We don’t read any of them. You hardly have any Bibles and you memorize them from pieces of paper.”
“I will not pray that you become like us, but I will pray that we become just like you,” he said.
The pastor learned that 18 of the attendees had previously been imprisoned for their faith.
“If we get caught what will happen?” the pastor asked.
“You will get deported in 24 hours and we will go to prison for three years,” they said.
After beginning his lesson, the pastor realized he had not brought enough Bibles to accommodate all the Chinese believers.
He said, “Turn to 2 Peter 1, we are going to read it.” Then he noticed one Chinese woman handed her Bible to the person next to her.
At a break, he approached the woman and said, “You recited the whole chapter.”
He learned she memorized the entire book of 2 Peter. “In prison, you have much time,” she replied.
“Don’t they confiscate the Bible?” he asked.
She said that while Bibles and other printed Christian literature is confiscated, people smuggle in Scripture written on paper and manage to conceal it from the guards.
“That’s why we memorize it as fast as we can because even though they can take the paper away, they can’t take what’s hidden in your heart,” she noted.