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MINISTRY//Give thanks in all circumstances

MINISTRY//Give thanks in all circumstances

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
(1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Our posts on Mondays highlight stories about the people our ministry touches and the people who make our ministry possible. Today, however, we highlight a breaking story from China. It is the story of current government persecution and eternal Christian faith.

Imagine the government arresting and detaining your pastor and 100 members of your church. Now imagine how you would respond. Where on your list of responses would "Thank God" occur?

ChurchLeaders.com reports on a church in west-central China that found itself in that situation.

"Overnight on December 9 and 10, government officials arrested leaders and members of Early Rain Covenant Church [in Chengdu], one of the country’s most prominent unregistered churches. Since then, some people have been released, while others are being closely watched. Some members report rough treatment while in custody."

"Following the detention of its pastor and about 100 members earlier this week, a Christian church in Chengdu, China, is thanking God and preparing for even more hardships. Shortly before his arrest, elder Li Yingqiang wrote a letter to his church from a hiding spot. Describing the “large-scale persecution” as a “reward,” Li expresses confidence that the detainees are within God’s “sovereign providence” during their trials.

The ChurchLaders.com article continues, "Citing 1 Peter 4:12-14, Li asks his fellow Christians, 'Are you rejoicing in the fact that you are suffering with Christ because of this church? Do you know that we are blessed?'

"He then thanks God for being present during the ordeal, 'for training us through these days of hardship,' and 'for sculpting us through today’s persecution.” Though the future is uncertain, Li says, he expects the crackdown on Christians to 'become the status quo for us in the future.'"

Sources: ChurchLeaders.com, Urban Farmer Press, Independent, South China Morning Post 01, South China Morning Post 02.

News about Early Rain Church, December 17, 2019: Police arrest 60 more members. Tap here for the report from World Magazine

What you can do: China’s efforts to control religion within its borders is exerting increasing pressure on Christians there. Ask the Spirit to encourage those believers with the good news of his grace. Ask that, in the face of persecution, he continues to grow his Church.