(For security purposes we have not included pictures and names in this article)
In June 2017, we were invited by local leaders of the underground church in Eastern China to run a School of Christ School. Here in the land of Chairman Mao and the Great Wall, Christianity has very little freedom. The government does allow for registered churches, and they have the freedom of a bird in a cage. Therefore, most of the true church, fruit that remains of such ministers as Hudson Taylor and Watchman Nee, have been forced underground.
We had 50+ students who had come from over 15 different locations throughout China in order to hear the teachings of the School of Christ. Among these students were pastors, elders, deacons, as well as a handful of young people who feel the call of God upon their lives for ministry. The discipline and the curriculum of the School is exactly what young ministers need and we were very glad to have them in our midst. They are the future of this great nation.
Getting out of bed every morning at 5 am, we prayed for an hour and a half to ask the Lord to prepare our hearts to receive from Him. Being a short school of 10 days, we preached until 9 pm every evening and closed with prayer. The students had never heard such deep teaching before. They sat with their mouths open like birds, and it was halfway through the first week before the light bulb started to come on. When the revelation came that the purpose of the born-again believer is to contain the very Creator of the universe, they wept and shouted with great joy! At times the teaching had to stop as we shouted along with them as the Lord opened their eyes to the deep truths of the Scriptures.
One lesson was cut short as the presence of the Lord was so strong that both the speaker and the translator could no longer stand. The whole assembly was affected with tears and groanings as the Lord swept over us. After some time, when the presence of the Lord finally began to lift, man after man stood up and confessed sin in loud voices before the whole congregation. They then stood up from their position of laying on the floor before God, and begin to make fresh consecrations unto the Lord. They rejoice in the freedom that came as the Lord purged them of sin!
The pastor who hosted the SOC School has had a vision since 2004 to reach out to places which no Westerner can go. Places like Iran, Iraq, and other nations which deny visas to us but are open to the Chinese. During the School, the hosting pastor was very encouraged and his vision renewed. He, along with his team, has now made plans to immediately go to the Middle East! Because of our network, we were able to assist him with contacts, and they will be there by the time you read this report. Praise the Lord!
At the graduation every single student made a fresh commitment to the cause of Christ. They had found new strength to continue to pastor, plant churches, and to suffer with Christ in this country which the government says is closed. Yet we, who minister this great Christ, know that the Lord opens doors which no man can shut! Hallelujah!