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PERSECU ION International Christian Concern | September 2013

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Mother

BEHIND BARS

ISSUE 4/4

LO C K E D U P I N C H I N A “Your mother helped to publish a book that the police did not like, so she will be in prison now for a little while,� Pastor John truthfully told his tenyear-old son. That conversation took place nearly two years ago when his wife, Ruth, did not return home one day in November 2011. Though no one bothered to tell him she had been arrested, Pastor John knew his wife was incarcerated. Pastor John went from police precinct to police precinct asking about his missing wife. Eventually, an officer confirmed what he already knew: Ruth had been arrested; but the officer refused to tell him where she was or show any documentation related to her arrest. Ruth would remain in jail for another year without seeing her husband or her then 10-year-old son.

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CH I NS A SOUTH EA T ASIA

M Y W I FE IS A SM A LL WO M A N, N OT VERY S T RO N G PHYSI C A LLY, BUT THA N K G OD SH E IS DE TE R M I NE D. -PA STO R J O HN

T H E T H R E AT O F I M P R I S O N M E N T The government had been monitoring Ruth and John’s business for some time. The couple had founded a Christian publishing company in Beijing, and had been successfully operating it for a few years. Like many thousands of other business owners in Beijing, John and Ruth had paid another company to help them obtain a legal operating license. However, one day, the police came knocking. Ruth ran the day-to-day operations of the company, and now the police were saying the license they obtained was fraudulent and that the couple needed to pay 184,000 yuan (about $30,000 USD) for the mistake. Pastor John and Ruth scrounged and borrowed and in August of 2011 handed over the $30,000. The couple thought they were in the clear. But when Ruth went missing, the payoff proved too little, too late. In November of 2012, a Beijing court sentenced her to two-and-a-half years in prison. The charge was related to operating with an improper business license, but Pastor John knew from all the police questioning that the real reason was because he and his wife had decided to publish books

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and DVDs by a house church pastor, whose preaching was too “bold” for Communist Party censors. “My wife is a small woman, not very strong physically, but thank God she is determined,” Pastor John tells ICC. And determined she is—Ruth has used her arrest and time in prison as a testimony for Christ. Unable to talk about anything sensitive during their visits, it wasn’t until another woman, who had spent a year sharing a cell with his wife, sought him out that he discovered exactly how Ruth had been a witness to her fellow inmates.

ALL FOR GOD In prison, Ruth has been refused access to a Bible and is strictly prohibited from sharing the Gospel with other prisoners. She sleeps crammed together with 20 other inmates on a bunk so small, that if she wants to even turnover, she has to ask the prisoner next to her to turnover first. The lights are left on 24 hours a day and meals are meager and low in nutrition. Despite all of this, her former cellmate told Pastor John that in an entire year, she saw Ruth unhappy only three times. Beaming with constant joy in the midst of a situation that breaks others has opened up the hearts of Ruth’s fellow prisoners. On top of this, Ruth has composed over 30 Christian songs since her imprisonment, which she has taught to those around her. Pastor John tells ICC that every day his wife wakes up in prison ready to follow God’s instructions. It is perhaps Pastor John’s attitude that is the most surprising. Despite having his wife wrongfully locked up for almost two years, he says, “Compared to what Christians have suffered throughout Chinese history, we consider this almost nothing. If you want to work for God, this is quite reasonable.” He asks only that those who hear this story will take some time to pray for him, his wife and his son. He says that when his wife is released in May of next year they will once again consider whether to reenter the Christian publishing business. For now, Pastor John takes comfort in the small, once a month visits he has with her. “Everything we have done, we have done for God.”

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YD AW

YOUR DOLLARS AT WORK SHINING A LIGHT IN DARKNESS: 53 ACCEPT SALVATION IN BURMA Underground Pastors

Underground pastors sponsored by ICC travel from house to house, sharing the Gospel in Burma and planting churches in this predominantly Buddhist nation.

Since January, more than 50 Burmese citizens have given their life to Christ and more than 600 were exposed to the Gospel through the work of ICC-supported underground pastors in Burma (Myanmar). These pastors dedicate their days to traveling from village to village, house to house, sharing the Good News in a nation that has for years discriminated against and persecuted Christians. Their work often requires long hours of travel and, in some villages, they can risk upsetting radical Buddhist leaders or strict government officials simply for sharing the Gospel; but this has not stopped them. Right now, at this moment, the message of God’s love and forgiveness is being shared in Burma, slowly but surely turning the persecutors into the very people they sought to persecute. 4

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SAVING GRACEY Kids Care Gracey, pictured center, the oldest child of ICC’s orphanage in India, had received little formal education prior to her adoption into ICC’s Kids Care program. This put her farther behind in general education. ICC provides a more intensive tutoring program to help her catch up. She is currently learning English and practices with ICC reps.

LIVESTOCK TO FAMILY Suffering Wives and Children When Freedom, center, gave her life to Christ, her husband abused her to the point of paralysis. After he died, her in-laws took her sons because of her faith; without a male in the family, and being a Christian, she has been outcast by the community, unable to provide for three girls. ICC provided livestock as a source of food and income.

HAIR SALON TO CENTRAL ASIAN WOMEN Save Our Sisters When Lydia converted from Islam to Christianity at 15, she was gang-raped by boys in her class wishing to punish her for converting. Now an adult, Lydia remains strong in her faith; but as a single Christian, she has no way to support herself. ICC is helping her open a hair salon, a great need in the village. She desires to disciple secret Christians. You can help today! 800-ICC-5441

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EDUCATION FOR WOMAN, CARE FOR FAMILY Suffering Wives and Children When Dolly converted to Christianity, she and her unborn child were rejected by her village and family. Dolly, like many single Christian women in this region, had nowhere to turn. ICC is providing tuition for a threeyear discipleship and educational program. When she graduates, she will be equipped to care for her daughter.

ASSISTANCE TO SIX MISSION FAMILIES Underground Pastors In central Asia, many regions forbid Christian practices, such as attending church, Bible study (if they even own one) and evangelism. It is difficult for pastors to consistently disciple people without detection. ICC helps sponsor six underground pastors who are taking the Gospel to some of the most dangerous places on earth.

PROJECT RESCUE UPDATE Kids Care Project Rescue currently cares for 119 Bangladesh children trafficked for their faith. Recently, an outbreak of the chicken pox kept caretakers on their toes. Thankfully, all children have recovered, even those who were hospitalized. They are back to their regular routine of school, chores, homework and of course, play time. 6

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YOU CAN HELP TODAY! SEND DONATIONS TO: ICC PO BOX 8056 SILVER SPRING, MD 20907 OR ONLINE AT WWW.PERSECUTION.ORG

GIVING TO ICC VIA YOUR WILL Provide now for a future gift to ICC by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust. If you would like more information on giving to ICC in this way, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.

ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to their gifts. Occasionally, a situation will arise where a project is no longer viable. In that case, ICC will redirect those donated project funds to one of our other funds that is most similar to the donor’s original wishes.

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Persecution magazine, September 2013, 4/4