LIVE POST - Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Updates

As news of Wang Yi’s arrest and the persecution of Early Rain Covenant Church begins to gain increased attention across various media platforms, China Partnership is concerned that an accurate narrative of events is made available. In an effort to help establish the correct timeline of events and an accurate understanding of the level of persecution, we have agreed to maintain a live post of the updates coming directly from Early Rain itself. All new updates posted by Early Rain will be posted here within 24 hours of release.

Additional materials:

Letter for All Christian Churches to Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, by Western China Presbytery
China Partnership’s Early Rain Prayer Guide, by Ryan Zhang
My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience, by Wang Yi
Wang Yi’s 14 Decisions: In the Face of Persecution, What Will I Do?, by Wang Yi
How the Church Should Face Persecution, by Li Yingqiang
The Church-State Conflict: 20 Ways Persecution Is God’s Way to Shepherd Us, by Wang Yi
A Statement from CP on Requests for Permission to Repost Early Rain Material, by Hannah Nation

We also hope that as you read these updates you will pray for these brothers and sisters, bringing them before the throne of our Heavenly Father.

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (01/09/19-01/15/19)

“’May every street know the name of the Lord Jesus!’ 

We don’t know how many streets have heard the name of the Lord Jesus until now, but we know this number is increasing. This increase is not on account of our initiative, nor did we orchestrate it. And God is still continuing to send his ‘special ambassadors’ to prison. This week, eight brothers and sisters were released on bail pending trial, and four more were placed in administrative detention. We use the passive tense here because regardless of whether we are being arrested or being released, we are not doing this of our own initiative. 

Jan. 8: The lawyer whom Pastor Wang Yi appointed for himself was taken away by Chengdu police after meeting with Pastor Wang Yi’s mother and son. He was released after six hours. As of now, none of the lawyers working the “12/9” case have seen their clients. 

Jan. 9: Brother Zhu Xiaoguang, who was locked up for 27 days in criminal detention, was released on bail pending trial and returned home. He is the first brother we know of to triumphantly return home. He was charged with “illegal business operations,” and his crime was helping the church mail some books. He is the father of little Abel mentioned in the last church bulletin. All of his children were still counting flower pedals today looking forward to their father’s return. God has given them an unexpected surprise!

Jan. 10: Brother Fu Lijun and sister Lü Jinheng, who were both in criminal detention, were released on bail pending trial. Brother Liu Yingxu, with whom we had lost contact for a long time, was also released on bail pending trial. Only then did we learn that he had been locked up the whole time. We could not learn any information about him no matter who we asked. 

Brother Fu Lijun was the first Christian arrested during the first wave of the “12/9” arrests at Early Rain Covenant Church. His crime was selling the book with the highest volume of sales in the world, the Bible. The sales volume of this book in China is no exception. 

Jan. 11: Through help of Facebook staff, our stolen account was returned to us. We officially began using it again on the 11th. These past few days, people have still continually been trying to break into it, resetting the password, and so on. But they have not succeeded. It is likely that these attacks will continue. 

We were notified by chance that one sister has been continually and closely guarded at her home by 20 to 30 people since December 9th. She is not even being allowed to leave her home. When she tried getting on a public bus she was dragged off. Because communication channels are being blocked, we did not know that there are some brothers and sisters facing situations like this. Please pray fervently for them! 

Jan. 12: Sister Huang Yaling and brother Luo Yao were released on bail pending trial. 

Brother Li believed and was baptized in the intensive care ward at the hospital. Praise the Lord! He caused brother Li, who had been in a coma, to wake up that afternoon. His mind was clear and he could clearly communicate. His baptism went smoothly. 

Jan. 13: For this second Lord’s Day of 2019, the Scripture was Matthew 12:28-34 and the topic was ‘Loving God and Loving Neighbor.’ 

One small group was raided while worshipping at a home. A total of eleven adults and three children were taken away during the ordeal. The youngest child was two years old, and the oldest was seven. While police were waiting for more people to come to take them away, brothers and sisters there still continued fellowshipping. Throughout the afternoon until late at night, news trickled in of the brothers and sisters being released one by one. On the second day, it was confirmed that five brothers and sisters had been placed in administrative detention. The sentence of one of them was temporarily suspended, and he was allowed to return home because his wife is still in detention and they have a young child. 

Jan. 14: We learned that sister Huang Yutian was released on bail pending trial and returned to her home in Chongqing on the 13th. Brother Wang Fei was also released on bail pending trial. 

A young couple announced that they are beginning a relationship together. They shared with everyone about how God led them these past six months from not knowing each other to falling in love with each other, and especially about how God worked all things together for good in the midst of danger and persecution. Through this, God made each of them know for sure that He was the one leading them to enter into a relationship. Even though they are currently forced to be apart and cannot see each other, may God bless them and allow them to break through the distance barrier so that they can know and love each other more, seeking a future running the Heavenly race together. 

Jan. 15: Brothers and sisters are still often suddenly being visited by police and taken to the police station for a few hours of interrogation (in some cases even more than 20 hours). Police are searching their phones and trying to crack their passwords. This happened to two more brothers and sisters today. Video cameras have been installed outside the doors of brothers and sisters whose homes are being monitored. They are still being closely followed or secretly stalked. Photos are still secretly being taken of them, and so on. May the Lord give us brothers and sisters an alert mind to help us look out for each other! 

National News: 

Jan. 10: Fountain of Life Church, which belongs to Western China Presbytery, was raided. The Civil Affairs Bureau, the Religious Affairs Bureau, the Department of Culture, and the police came together, led by the deputy director of the police station. They cited social management regulations (Civil Affairs Bureau), the new religious regulations (Religious Affairs Bureau), and cultural management regulations (Department of Culture). They gave a verbal warning that the church could not organize illegal religious activities. The elders were briefly interrogated and refused to answer many questions. Authorities took a few books. 

Jan. 15: At 9:00 a.m., around 50 people with the City Management and Law Enforcement Bureau in Xiamen, Fujian Province, illegally and forcefully removed the aluminum-framed glass partitions, the stainless steel security door, and the electronic lock on the 5th floor of the No. 6 commercial building in Yuanbo Liuli on Xinglin Street in Jimei District without presenting any legal documents. They did so under the pretense of it being a security risk, but their real reason was because the owner of the 5th floor is homeschooling many children and toddlers and throughout the year puts on many cooperative community group activities on the 5th floor, gives education training for teaching mixed classes of regular and special-needs children, hosts activities for families to help each other, holds training for parents, and so on. The security door prevented them from easily entering. 

At 11:00 a.m., around 150 Christians in Nanyang prefecture in Henan Province were surrounded by armed police while attending a dinner at the Nanyang Bright Moon Hotel. A few believers who fainted were taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Phone signals inside the hotel were blocked. Details of the situation are not clear. 

Summary and Prayer:

After seeing that brothers and sisters of one of our small groups were taken away, a pastor in Wenzhou responded in a message saying, “Thank God! The persecution you are encountering has greatly encouraged me. In the midst of trials and tribulations, you have steadfast hope. This has caused me to repent by fleeing comfort. The next time my church encounters persecution, you suffering saints will remind me that the cross is my glory. Christ’s perfect Kingdom of Heaven has sounded forth out of this environment in which you are trapped and has caused a chain reaction. God has heard our cries.” 

Our lives are a play. People will watch it, whether we want them to or not. Sometimes it seems like we are living in peaceful times, but in reality, danger lurks around the corner. Sometimes it seems like the waves are crashing in, but in reality, we are safe and sound. If God uses us to let people see spiritual reality through the play of our lives, then we have lived worthy lives. 

As we watch this persecution continue, churches and brothers and sisters from all over the country are being pulled into this storm. This is an opportunity to spread the gospel to the authorities and to all of society, to tell them that God’s only Son Jesus, the savior and king of mankind, was killed in order to save us sinners, was buried, and was raised from the dead by the power of God, that he overcame the power of sin and death. Out of his his love and mercy, God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At in any time, any person can repent of any sin and turn to Christ and fear God, obtaining for himself eternal life and bringing upon his family and country the generous blessings of God. 

Early Rain Covenant Church
January 16, 2019”

Attached:
List of Early Rain Covenant Church Christians with whom we have lost contact or who have been put in jail throughout the “12/9” persecution:

“List of those in criminal detention (22 people, 8 have already been released on bail pending trial, 14 are still in detention):

1. Pastor Wang Yi (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)
2. Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention) 
3. Elder Li Yingqiang (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
4. Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
5. Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
6. Sister Li Xiaofeng (illegal business operations)
*7. Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial)
*8. Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial)
*9. Sister Huang Yaling (picking quarrels and provoking trouble; 01/12/19 released on bail pending trial)
10. Elder Li Zihu (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
11. Brother Wang Fei (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
12. Elder Su Bingsen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/17/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
*13. Brother Zhu Xiaoguang (illegal business operations, 12/13/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center; 01/09/19 released on bail pending trial)
*14. Sister Huang Yutian (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a Christian from Chongqing, detained for visiting a sister from Early Rain; 01/13/19 released on bail pending trial and sent back to Chongqing)
15. Brother Dai Zhichao (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/19/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
16. Brother Zhu Dong (charge unknown, 12/15/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
*17. Preacher Cao Qingen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/14/18, detained at Chengdu Detention Center)
18. Brother Liang Huali (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
19. Brother Song Enguang (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center) 
*20. Brother Luo Yao ( charge unknown, 12/12/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center; 01/12/19 released on bail pending trial)
21. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/15/18 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and transferred to criminal detention after serving his sentence, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
22. Brother Liu Yingxu (originally lost contact for a long time; 01/11/19 released on bail pending trial, after which we learned that he was locked up)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time (1 person):

23. Brother Ding Shuqi

List of those in administrative detention (12 people, 1 has been transferred to criminal detention, 4 have completed their sentences, 7 are still in detention):

24. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention on 12/15/18 for 14 days then transferred to criminal detention) 
25. Brother Wang Jun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/18/18 for worshipping outdoors; sentence completed)
26. Brother Liu Hongliang (placed in administrative detention for 10 days on 12/17/18; sentence completed)
27. Brother Liu Xin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/10/18; sentence completed)
28. Brother Chen Bin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/17/18; sentence completed)
29. Sister Li Chengju (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
30. Brother Zhu Hong (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
31. Sister Deng Keli (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 01/07/19)
32. Brother Zhang Jianqing (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
33. Sister Yu Zhixue (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
34. Brother Qiu Hao (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)
35. Sister Zhang Haiyan (placed in administrative detention for 15 days on 01/12/19)

Early Rain Covenant Church 
01/15/2019”

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (01/02/19-01/08/19)

“Praise the Lord! Brothers and sisters at Early Rain Covenant Church welcomed the new year with a New Year’s prayer meeting. Brothers and sisters sacrificed their love and their knees for the church and for those brothers and sisters in prison. They were also comforted and encouraged by God and by each other. In this new year, members of Early Rain Covenant Church are still being harassed in their workplaces and persecuted because of their faith. School authorities are greatly pressuring some members at their schools, and church workers who have not yet been detained are still being closely monitored through various methods.

Jan. 3: Brother C, who went missing for 48 hours, suddenly returned home and was being monitored by community police officers with “red armbands.” During these 48 hours, brother C was detained at the Chengdu City East Gate Police Station. On the first day of interrogations, police handcuffed this brother to the interrogation chair for 24 hours. He did not sleep or rest and was given no food or drink during this time. Many phones and computers from his home were taken. His wife was taken to the police station for interrogation while carrying her swaddled child. Three men and one woman, none of whom identified themselves, interrogated brother C for 48 hours straight using harsh language, threats, and yelling.

Jan. 4: 90-year-old scholar and brother Zhang Xianchi came down with a sudden illness and was rushed to the hospital. Brothers and sisters dropped what they were doing and went to the hospital. Brother H, from one of the church plants, was being strictly monitored at the time. He broke away from those trying to prevent him from leaving and came to Chengdu to be at the bedside of brother Zhang with the other brothers and sisters. They prayed, sang worship songs, and accompanied him during the hospital stay.

Jan. 5: In the afternoon, the wife of one brother in criminal detention who had had been pregnant for 10 weeks hemorrhaged badly. Brothers and sisters rushed to help her get to the hospital. Our Father in Heaven took the child in her womb back to himself. His mom named him Abel and wrote a poem titled “On the Road.” Little Abel has already returned home. We are still on the road, waiting for the day when we all arrive home! (During the Dec. 9th incident at Early Rain Covenant Church, area police officers broke down their door in the middle of the night and dragged this sister from her bed to the courtyard of their complex. She was interrogated for a long time at the police station.)

Jan. 6: This was the first Lord’s Day worship of the new year. The Scripture was the Gospel of John 14:1-14 and the sermon was “Do not Be Troubled.” At 5:00 p.m., while nearly 20 students of the Gospel Class [a Sunday School class for seekers] were eating at a restaurant, area police officers from the Shuyuan Road Police Station arrested them. Students of the Gospel Class were released one by one around midnight. They were required to sign pledges that had been printed off ahead of time which forbade them from meeting together and from attending Lord’s Day worship and Bible studies at Early Rain Covenant Church. The next day, three people were taken back to the police station and interrogated. These three members (sister Li Chengju, sister Deng Keli, and brother Zhu Hong) were still not released after 24 hours. After many inquiries, we were told that they are being kept at the Pixian County Detention Center. Their relatives have not yet received any legal documents regarding their detention.

Jan. 7: Brother Chenbing finally found sister Xiaofeng’s detention notice at the post office. The reason it was stuck at the post office was because the mailing address on the notice did not contain the name of her residential district. Brother Chenbing can finally send clothes to his wife. Some sisters said, “We are truly joyful people in the Lord. When we receive a detention notice we are excited and thankful, as though we just received a letter of admission into the Kingdom of Heaven…God has not forgotten the female criminals in prison. He has sent them a few gospel heroines!”

Since the “December 9th incident” at Early Rain Covenant Church, churches from all around the world have been praying for Early Rain Covenant Church in many ways. There have been outdoor prayer meetings. There have been calls to pray every day at a certain time. There are also brothers and sisters from all around the country who are fasting and praying on their own for the members of Early Rain Covenant Church. We believe that God has allowed suffering to come to his children in order to accomplish something greater. Our ultimate hope is not that this country would allow freedom of worship, for the kind of worship our Father in Heaven desires is worship in spirit and in truth, and this worship cannot be restricted. Our ultimate hope is that the gospel would spread throughout the whole world and that the Kingdom of Heaven would come in its fullness!

Early Rain Covenant Church
January 8, 2019  

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (12/26/18-01/01/19)

“12/26: In addition to Christmas Eve gatherings in small groups, there were also small group gatherings in the middle of the week. Brothers and sisters studied, shared, and prayed together, and everyone was greatly comforted. The homes of some brothers and sisters were closely monitored on Wednesday evening and all day Sunday, preventing them from attending the gatherings. 

12/28: Preacher Cheng Zhangchun was transferred to criminal detention after his sentence in administrative detention was served. 

12/29: Little sister Zimi returned to her heavenly home. Around 70 brothers and sisters gathered at Zimi’s home in the evening to bid her a solemn farewell. They were very grateful. Two police officers came. It was a testimony of the gospel for them.

Twenty-some families have husbands or wives in jail. Family members who expressed their thoughts on Weibo or WeChat all had their accounts closed and their articles deleted. They started a public Telegram channel called “Reflections on the Early Rain Covenant Church 12/9 Incident” (https://t.me/qysysnpd). You are welcome to subscribe!

12/30: On the Lord’s Day, we gathered together for worship using special methods. The sermon was “The LORD Will Double Your Blessings” and the Scripture was Job 42:1-17. Everyone was greatly encouraged. However long we suffer, we will be blessed with double blessings for just as long, and this entire process will testify to the glory of God. 

On the previous Lord’s Day, worship was interrupted at the home of Elder Su Bingsen. Almost 20 adults and children were taken to the police station until 5:00 p.m. On this week’s Lord’s Day, all of these people still persisted meeting together and used this as an opportunity to practice doing “small things” for the Lord and to practice overcoming fear and worry in their hearts. Praise the Lord! This was the first time these two groups finished a worship service in its entirety without interruption since December 9th. 

Brother Wang Jun, who led the outdoor worship service on the Lord’s Day of December 16th by the river, completed his sentence today and returned home! Everyone called him “The Long-Bearded Knight” and “The Missionary.” 

As New Year’s Day approaches, there are still brothers and sisters being forced to leave their homes immediately. They are looking for temporary places to stay and trying to pack. They are experiencing many difficulties. The law firm where one sister works terminated her contract after she refused to sign a pledge promising not to attend gatherings at Early Rain Covenant Church. She may now not be able to obtain her lawyer’s certification. Many brothers and sisters have been given a “final notice” that if they attend a gathering at Early Rain Covenant Church again, they will be placed in detention. 

12/31: The New Year’s prayer meeting began at 8:30. Each small group took turns leading everyone in a song and in a prayer and shared what they were thankful for. The brothers and sisters were greatly comforted and encouraged. As they entered the new year, everyone listened to the hymn “Everlasting Lord,” based on Psalm 90, hoping that they will have as many days of joy as they do of suffering. 

1/1/19: Many family members of those detained have appointed lawyers to take on the 12/9 case, but the lawyers are still not being allowed to meet with their clients. The reason given by the detention center is still that the case is being reviewed. One of the litigants is from Guangdong and is not a Christian. She has been kept in Chengdu under suspicion of “illegal business operations.” Her lawyer has also not been able to meet with her. Not only have these appointed lawyers not been able to see their clients, they have been asked, one after another, by relevant departments to drop their cases. 

Nation-wide News:

A Three-Self Church in Luoning County, Henan Province has been forced to remove the First Commandment from the Ten Commandments. Earlier in August, the cross on this church’s building was taken down by the government. Bibles have reportedly been completely removed in order to make way for a new translation of the Bible based on so-called “traditional culture” and the core values of socialism. The government has also required all churches to teach the “core values of socialism” as doctrines. 

The homes of villagers in Anhui Province have started being searched and all things related to Christ are being destroyed. Some illiterate sisters have been sending voice messages to encourage each other not to voluntarily take down religious décor in their homes. As a result, their WeChat accounts have been deleted. House churches in cities are also being closed and banned. 

Summary and Prayer

The new year will bring more challenges. Persecution may become commonplace in more areas. Ask the Lord to lead us and protect us as we walk in the will of God, that we would do so by faith and not by sight, that we would trust in the good purposes of God, that we would have hearts of gratitude and joy, and that we would respond to all maltreatment with a spirit of gentleness. Pray for all pastors, leaders, brothers, and sisters who are detained and in prison. Ask the Lord to comfort, strengthen, and protect their bodies, souls, and spirits from harm. Ask him to open doors for the gospel, that they may boldly preach the gospel! Ask the Lord to look after and protect those who have been forced to move, those who have been threatened at work, and other brothers and sisters who are being coerced and forced into difficult situations. Ask that they would resolutely follow Him, that they would give the most beautiful testimonies for him on earth. Ask that those in authority would not abuse their authority, that those carrying out laws would not violate their consciences, and, more importantly, that God would soften their hearts and open the door of salvation! May the Kingdom of God come quickly!”

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (12/28/18)

Since the ‘12/9’ incident began, Early Rain Covenant Church’s WeChat [i.e. social media] groups, including evangelism groups, Bible study groups, fellowship groups, education groups, and humanitarian groups (nearly 200 in all), as well as over half of the personal WeChat accounts of church members, have all been permanently shut down or restricted from sending messages. Tencent, the company to which WeChat belongs, did not give any explanation when they shut down these ministry groups of Early Rain Covenant Church. Church members’ personal WeChat accounts have been shut down with notices saying the accounts are “fake,” “too large,” or “unused,” and they have not been given an opportunity to appeal. 

The radio station used by the church to spread the gospel has been deleted by NetEase. NetEase has not only restricted the public from listening to the gospel through the NetEase cloud service, they have also deleted all of the gospel materials in the account and forcefully taken away Early Rain Covenant Church’s ownership of all the audio recordings in the account. 

On December 11th, the church’s Facebook account was stolen, preventing us from telling the public about the harsh persecution brothers and sisters of Early Rain Covenant Church are experiencing. 

Through a series of restrictions on Early Rain Covenant Church and on the faith of brothers and sisters, and through increasingly strict measures preventing church members from preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, authorities are suppressing true churches like Early Rain Covenant Church by controlling various public resources. In this moment we see the mighty arm of God upholding his people, showing them favor and performing wondrous works. 

Through much hard work, Early Rain Covenant Church members have opened new media accounts in order to spread the glorious gospel and eternal hope of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are as follows: 

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Gospel information Telegram channel: https://t.me/earlyraincovenantchurch

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Telegram group for “seekers” [i.e. non-Christians interested in Christianity]: https://t.me/joinchat/KgFdAle4UqB81s4Q6Zc2KQ

Early Rain Covenant Church’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/cha…/UCn7IF7YEKrgKi0LaCsX8YCg/about…

Early Rain Covenant Church’s GitHub account: https://github.com/chengduqiuyu/-/issues

Email: earlyraincovenantchurch@gmail.com

At 6:00 p.m. this evening, a number of police officers came to the home of Preacher Cheng Zhangchun and searched his house. They took a few books, CDs, and his cell phone. Those who came notified his family that Preacher Cheng Zhangchun has been transferred from administrative detention to criminal detention. He is now being held by authorities at the Chengdu City Detention City.

On December 15th, authorities placed Preacher Cheng Zhangchun in administrative detention for 14 days on charges of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.’ He was originally scheduled to be released on the 29th of this month. According to Chinese criminal law and the usual practices of the justice department, Cheng Zhangchun and the other brothers and sisters in detention might be facing indefinite detention. Authorities can continually alternate forms of detention, prolonging it for several years. The coming days will determine whether or not this is the case for Preacher Cheng Zhangchun.

We just received news that many family members of those in detention have been told they cannot leave their homes tomorrow because city leaders are coming. 

A preacher from Enfu Church was notified that authorities are currently trying to determine how close the connection is between the two churches [i.e. Early Rain Covenant Church and Enfu Church].

During this ‘smokeless war’ in China today, when you see the Chinese government shutting down an influential house church on December 9th, when you see Pastor Wang Yi and other brothers and sisters continually being thrown in prison, when you see the following list of those in detention, all of this tells you the actual situation in China. 

List of Early Rain Covenant Church Christians with whom we have lost contact or who are being detained (as of 7:51 p.m. on 12/28/18):

List of those in criminal detention (21 people):

1. Pastor Wang Yi (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)
2. Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention) 
3. Elder Li Yingqiang (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
4. Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
5. Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
6. Sister Li Xiaofeng (illegal business operations)
7. Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
8. Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
9. Sister Huang Yaling (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
10. Elder Li Zihu (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
11. Brother Wang Fei (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
12. Elder Su Bingsen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/17/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
13. Brother Zhu Xiaoguang (illegal business operations, 12/13/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
14. Sister Huang Yutian (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a Christian from Chongqing, detained for visiting a sister from Early Rain)
15. Brother Dai Zhichao (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/19/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
16. Brother Zhu Dong (charge unknown, 12/15/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
17. Preacher Cao Qingen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/14/18, detained at Chengdu Detention Center)
18. Brother Liang Huali (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
19. Brother Song Enguang (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center) 
20. Brother Luo Yao ( charge unknown, 12/12/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
21. Preacher Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/15/18 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and transferred to criminal detention after serving his sentence, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)

List of those in administrative detention (4 people, 3 have completed their sentence):

22. Brother Wang Jun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/18/18 for worshipping outdoors)
23. Brother Liu Hongliang (placed in administrative detention for 10 days on 12/17/18)
24. Brother Liu Xin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/10/18)
25. Brother Chen Bin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/17/18)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time (2 people):

26. Brother Liu Yingxu
27. Brother Ding Shuqi

Early Rain Covenant Church
8:56 p.m. on 12/28/18”

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #22

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” (Matt. 2:13-15)

Like the “White Terror” during the first Christmas, brothers and sisters of Early Rain Covenant Church, as members of the Lord Jesus, are currently walking the path that the Church's Head once walked. Authorities are continuing to suppress Early Rain Covenant Church through everything from criminal detention, administrative detention, enforced disappearances, stalking, and financial pressure to the seizing of church property. 

On Christmas Eve, the 23rd-floor sanctuary of Early Rain Covenant Church was taken over by the Chengdu Qingyang District Shuangyanjing Community Police and converted to a community police office space. Linxishu Church, a church plant of Early Rain Covenant Church, was seized by the Pidu District authorities and community police. The church property at Enyue Church, another church plant of Early Rain, was cleared out by New Tianfu District authorities. The current church spaces were privately purchased or rented. As long as the civil contract has not expired, no one is allowed to alter or cancel it without the permission of both parties. Officials and local governments have violated both the law and morality. They have stolen nearly 1000-square-feet of real estate without paying one penny. 

And yet, Lord, we still praise you. Lord’s Day worship at Early Rain Covenant Church was observed in the homes of families and small groups called and set apart by the Lord, as well as other locations. Some brothers and sisters were confined to their own homes. One small-group’s worship was interrupted by police. A total of 20 people (including 8 children) were all taken to the police station. They returned peacefully to their homes the same day. Another small group was forced to change locations. Yet another was spoken to by police after the meeting ended. In these difficult circumstances, the Spirit of the Lord has been feeding, strengthening, and challenging everyone through Chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel and through His servants who are in the middle of these trials and tribulations. 

Lord, I thank you because we have been praying about a prison ministry for a long time. We have seen your hand. One brother who has not been baptized gave the following testimony after being detained for five days: “[Even though] there were only 11 beds and 31 people living there, everyone there eagerly wanted to hear the gospel. Everyone asked me to give them my phone number. Some of them were drug dealers. They said they would contact me as soon as they got out and that they would take their wives to church. They all called me Professor and loved listening to me talk about the gospel…As long as someone was willing to speak, everyone else loved to listen. When it came time for me to leave, they didn’t want me to leave. They bought a kettle, put hot water inside of it, and wrapped it in a blanket until the evening. When evening came, they said, 'Professor, you’re leaving and we don’t want you to leave. Let us wash your feet.' This was such an uncommon occurrence there. Having my feet washed with warm water moved me so much.” When the sisters from the church heard this testimony, they were also deeply moved. They thought of their husbands, who are all good speakers, and realized that there are many people eager to listen to them. They knew that God had clearly sent them to the people in that place. Mrs. Su said, ‘I think we can describe this as hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Each person is longing to hear someone tell them about the gospel, to tell them about the Truth.’ Amen! You have opened the prison doors and allowed us to see your good, acceptable, and perfect will. (Rom. 12:2)

Lord, we confess our weaknesses and inabilities, our little faith, and our nervousness and anxiety while facing persecution. Forgives us in Christ and grant us more of your power, wisdom, and endurance. Let us see the wondrous, steadfast love you have shown to [us] in a besieged city. (Ps. 31:21)

Lord, even though the shepherds have been stricken and the sheep scattered, this Christmas Eve the saints of Early Rain Covenant Church heard the praises of the heavenly hosts who appeared in the sky when the Lord was born. We see the ancient cross. We have been raised from the dead and hidden in Christ. In the midst of this spiritual war, we hear Chinese churches all around the world today singing “God’s Love is in China” and “For the Cause.” Through faith we see from afar the great jubilation of the Lord’s second coming. We long for that day to come quickly! Lord, on Christmas we hear the sound of the prayers of churches everywhere, like the sound of many waters. We hear them worshipping together with all the saints in Heaven and the twenty-four elders and every creature saying loudly together, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13)

Lord, thank you. God, Immanuel, you are with your children today through your Holy Spirit. You are our God, and we are your people. Thank you for sending us to be ambassadors of the gospel for your Kingdom, for giving us the whole armor of God to wage war on this evil day against our enemies—namely, sin, the corrupt world, and demonic forces. Thank you for raising up prayer warriors from all over the world to pray for Early Rain Covenant Church and to pray for the thousands of Chinese churches being persecuted for the sake of the Lord’s name. We see what Elisha saw and cry, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” (2 Kg. 2:12)

Pray for the brothers and sisters who are locked up. Ask that the Lord would protect, strengthen and use them mightily, that they may become unique ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. 

Pray for the family members and children of those who are locked up. Ask the Lord to comfort, protect, and provide for them, to be for them a husband and a father. 

Pray that God would provide for the brothers and sisters in the midst of their hardships, that they would be led and comforted by the Word of God, that they would have wisdom and creativity in meeting together informally as they are prevented from meeting in the way they used to, and that they would strengthen and support each other. 

Pray for the police officers, guards, and grid monitors that the brothers and sisters are encountering. Ask the Lord to awaken their consciences, to bring them out of deception, and to cause them to be drawn to and persuaded by the gospel to which the brothers and sisters are testifying. 

Pray for the hearts of the authorities, officials, and executives. Ask Jehovah to manifest his righteousness to them and to forgive their ignorance. Ask God to spare them of his wrath, for in this day and age, they do not know what they are doing. Ask the Lord Christ to give them a spirit of repentance!

Early Rain Covenant Church
Tuesday (Christmas Day), December 25, 2018 

List of Early Rain Covenant Church Christians with whom we have lost contact or who are being detained (12/25/18):

List of those in criminal detention (19 people):

1. Pastor Wang Yi (inciting to subvert state power, in secret detention)
2. Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (inciting to subvert state power, 12/10/18, in secret detention)  
3. Elder Li Yingqiang (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
4. Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
5. Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
6. Sister Li Xiaofeng (illegal business operations)
7. Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
8. Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
9. Sister Huang Yaling (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
10. Elder Li Zihu (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
11. Brother Wang Fei (picking quarrels and provoking trouble)
12. Elder Su Bingsen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/17/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
13. Brother Zhu Xiaoguang (illegal business operations, 12/13/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
14. Sister Huang Yutian (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, a Christian from Chongqing, detained for visiting a sister from Early Rain)
15. Brother Dai Zhichao (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/19/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
16. Brother Zhu Dong (charge unknown, 12/15/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
17. Preacher Cao Qingen (picking quarrels and provoking trouble, 12/14/18, detained at Chengdu Detention Center)
18. Brother Liang Huali (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center)
19. Brother Song Enguang (illegal business operations, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center) 
20. Brother Luo Yao ( charge unknown, 12/12/18, detained at Chengdu City Detention Center) 

List of those in administrative detention (5 people, 2 have completed their sentence):

21. Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 12/15/18 on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”)
22. Brother Wang Jun (placed in administrative detention by authorities for 14 days on 12/18/18 for worshipping outdoors)
23. Brother Liu Hongliang (placed in administrative detention for 10 days on 12/17/18)
24. Brother Liu Xin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/10/18)
25. Brother Chen Bin (placed in administrative detention for 5 days on 12/17/18)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time (2 people):

26. Brother Liu Yingxu
27. Brother Ding Shuqi

Early Rain Covenant Church Bulletin (12/22/18)

As of today, 16 members of Early Rain Covenant Church have been placed by authorities in criminal detention, 4 have been placed in administrative detention, 5 have gone missing, and more than 150 have been arrested and taken to police stations for long interrogations, including pregnant women, children, and elderly people. Nearly 700 members are being monitored, followed, and threatened by community authorities and security departments of their workplaces. Two people have been beaten and suffered serious wounds. The sanctuary on the 23rd floor, the library on the 21st floor, the liberal arts college and seminary on the 19th floor, and the sanctuary and K-12 school on the 6th floor have all been ransacked and emptied. 

Brother Wang Jun, while peacefully and reasonably negotiating with police, was seriously and violently attacked. His head, knees, and toes received wounds in multiple places. After the church lost its sanctuary, he, along with other brothers and sisters, worshipped Christ the Lord beside the Funan River on the Sabbath last Sunday, where he was once again detained. His child, who had just turned one year old, and his wife Tang Shuangfei were also detained. After being interrogated for more than 30 hours straight, brother Wang Jun was sentenced to 14 days in administrative detention. 

On December 20th, police came again to the home of Elder Su Bingsen and searched it without a warrant, violating the privacy of other family members. Elder Su Bingsen, as well as the other pastors, elders, preachers, and members in criminal detention, have been deprived of the right to meet with an attorney. We have no way of knowing with reasonable certainty how police are treating them, whether or not they have been abused or tortured while in detention. We plead for the Lord’s mercy. 

Normal gatherings at the homes of brothers and sisters are being greatly disrupted. Authorities are sending unidentified men to stand guard outside the buildings and residential areas where these homes are located. These men are following members when they go out and preventing people from visiting them. Families opening their homes for Bible studies are being greatly pressured and coerced. Police are threatening them by saying that if they open their homes again, they will immediately be placed in criminal detention on charges of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.’ 

Even so, brothers and sisters are still holding fast to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible to not stop meeting together. They are still bravely preaching His Truth and meeting together in various forms to study the Bible and to comprehend God’s Word. 

We offer up thanksgiving to God. As his church is under great assault, he is reviving multitudes of His faithful children.

Early Rain Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church
Saturday, December 22, 2018

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #21

"'If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small…My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.' (Prov. 24:10, 13)

The arrests and persecution of the church are now entering their tenth day. Suppression of brothers and sisters in the church continues. Since they could not enter the church sanctuary on the Lord’s Day of December 16th, some church members worshipped outside. Many members were confined to their homes. After arresting members on the Lord’s Day, police are still seeking to arrest the 'organizers of the outdoor worship.' They are continually suppressing members, not even allowing them to hold group activities outdoors. Some members were warned by police that if they gathered 'illegally' again, they would be placed in criminal detention. Not even two or three people are allowed to meet together. 

Elder Su Bingsen was taken to the police station on December 15th and has been there for nearly 72 hours. He has yet to be released. We have confirmed that he is in criminal detention. We have heard no news regarding Preacher Cao Qingen, who was taken more than 48 hours ago on the 16th. His family members went to the police station to inquire about him. As soon as they mentioned his name, the police went into a rage and refused to provide any information. Brother Wang Jun was taken on the 16th for participating in outdoor worship. On the 18th, he refused to sign a pledge and was placed in administrative detention for 14 days. His wife and nursing child were released. As church members are being brought to the police station, their phones are being forcefully opened and inspected. Brothers and sisters are still being sought, taken away, and required to sign pledges. 

This morning, seminary student Dai Zhichao was taken from his home and his family members threatened. Elder Li Yingqiang’s home was once again searched by police today. We just received word that brother Liu Hongliang, a member of the church, has been placed in criminal detention for 10 days. 

We have been unable to sign in to the church Facebook account since December 11th. We have already confirmed that it is under police control, and other accounts related to it have been hacked. The persecution is starting to expand to the elders of other churches in the presbytery, including Elders Wen Hongbin and Yan Hong. Police have come to their homes and put pressure on them. Some are being followed when they leave their homes. Some are being directly forbidden by police from leaving. 

We especially ask all churches praying for the brothers and sisters of Early Rain Covenant Church who are in the middle of these trials to still pray with great joy. Even though now, for a little while, we have been grieved by various trials, these trials are testing the genuineness of our faith—more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire—so that it may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6-7)

May the Lord give strength to those in prison and help them to stand firm. May he give grace to those brothers and sisters who are being restricted and do not yet have freedom, that they may continue, through various means, meeting together in small-group Bible studies, having fellowship, and worshipping on the Lord’s Day. 

As churches intercede on our behalf, we ask that you especially pray for those in this midst of this persecution whose faith is weak and who are afraid. Ask that neither personal failures (like signing a pledge under coercion) nor personal victories (which cause us to look down on others) become barriers in our fellowship with Jesus. May we firmly believe that all of this is covered by God in the goodness and grace of Christ and that the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse us from all sin, for we have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and who intercedes for us in Heaven. May the Holy Spirit help brothers and sisters to be able to taste the sweetness of the good Word of God, and may He grant joy to their souls in the midst of this tribulation. 

May the Lord give faith to the deacons, elders, staff, and other brothers and sisters. Even as the darkness temporarily hides us, may we light in our hearts advent candles looking forward to the coming of Christ, causing hope, faith, joy, and peace to rise up within us. May we believe that the true light which came to this world 2000 years ago will enlighten all men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (Jn. 1:9)

A song written by a brother titled ‘Darkness has Temporarily Hidden Us’: 

Tribulation stalks us, our enemies surround us,  
But life continues to multiply. 
Inside the walls I see the silhouettes of my beloved brothers,
Gentle and mild.
All men who resolve to be godly 
Are temporarily hidden by darkness.
Coming from the same hope, 
They are united and divided in this world;
They meet and then part. 

O Lord, lead us like sheep into the midst of wolves,
We walk freely toward chains. 
For you, too, were once given over to death
For our sins.
This faith is ever strengthened. 
Before the night runs toward dawn,
See that the world is like yesterday,
Forever gone,
Fleeting like a mist.

See how all things are faintly intertwined,
Forming a Heavenly song.
Wait until the frigid winter passes, when rain is plentiful
And the past stops. 

Goodness quietly encircles us;
Each day comes new comfort.
In Babylon, we remember Zion;
In a land without a Lord,
We weep and bless,
Endure and wait,
Pray and ask.

Goodness quietly encircles us;
Each day comes new comfort.
In Babylon, we remember Zion;
In a land without a Lord,
We weep and bless,

Goodness quietly encircles us;
Each day comes new comfort.
In Babylon, we remember Zion;
In a land without a Lord,
We weep and bless,
weep and bless.

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 2:00 a.m. on 12/19/18

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 210 hours, we have still not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)
Brother Wang Fei (stirring up trouble)
Elder Su Bingsen (detention term began 12/17/18; his wife has seen the detention notice; he is being kept at the Chengdu City Detention Center)

List of those placed in administrative detention:
Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 12/15 on charges of “stirring up trouble”)
Brother Liu Xin (summoned on 12/10 on charges of “stirring up trouble” for posting prayer updates on Wechat and later placed under administrative detention for 5 days; on 12/16 he was set free.)
Brother Wang Jun (arrested on 12/16; placed in administrative detention on 12/15 for not signing a pledge)
Liu Hongliang (arrested on 12/16; placed in administrative detention for 10 days)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:
Detained for more than 216 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi, Liang Huali”

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #20

The arresting of church members has continued for over one week now. Yesterday, there was once again large-scale suppression of the Lord’s Day gathering at the church. The building entrance was full of uniformed and plainclothes police officers. Brothers and sisters in proximity of the church were all taken away. Members meeting together outside were also taken away by police, who had gotten word of the meetings. Those brothers and sisters who were taken away included nursing infants. They were not released from the police station until after 1:00 a.m. today. 

None of the lawyers of those in criminal detention have been able to see their clients. They have been refused for various reasons. For example, they have been prevented on the grounds that their clients are still being interrogated. At present, the lawyer of Ge Yingfeng cannot meet with Ge Yingfeng. The lawyer of Pastor Wang Yi was also immediately prevented by public security officials from meeting with Wang Yi’s family and was later spoken to by judicial administration agencies. 

Communication networks between church members have been blocked off. Cell phones are being monitored. Members are being prevented from visiting each other. When members leave their homes, they will be followed by police or community authorities. A weak sister will be monitored and followed by three to four people. May God open their hearts and let them see what they are afraid of. Brothers and sisters are continually being sought and required to sign pledges. 

We have received no news regarding Elder Su Bingsen (12/15) and Preacher Cao Qingen (12/16) since they were taken away more than 24 hours ago. 

The following is taken from notes written by one brother who was just released: 

‘Love for police officers means accepting illegal detention at any time and joyfully walking into the interrogation room. 

‘While inside, as soon as I thought about my wife and family (everyone in the church is family), I thought about us spreading the gospel in one accord. I couldn’t help but suddenly start praying out loud for them and thanking God for them. I was not afraid of anything. 

‘The officer said, “Security is more important than anything.” I responded, “The value of a soul is greater.” 

‘After completing the record, the officer asked, “What doctrines do you all teach?” I sat up straight and recited, “What is your only comfort in life and death? Answer: That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”' 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 5:00 p.m. on 12/17/18

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)
Brother Wang Fei (stirring up trouble)

List of those placed in administrative detention:

Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 12/15 on charges of “stirring up trouble”)
Brother Liu Xin (summoned on 12/10 on charges of “stirring up trouble” for posting prayer updates on Wechat and later placed under administrative detention for 5 days; as of this morning he is free.)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Detained for more than 192 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi, Liang Huali

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #19

The many arrests of church members that began the Lord's Day evening of December 9th have continued for an entire week now. The Lord’s Day gathering at the church today was suppressed again. All brothers and sisters in proximity of the church sanctuary were taken away. A gathering of fifty to sixty brothers and sisters that met at a nearby park was interrupted, and three church workers leading the service were taken away by police. Some sisters took young children to a sports field at a school to bask in the sun (the husbands of some of these sisters have been criminally detained or summoned). All of them were taken by police to the police station and have not yet returned. Among them are nursing infants. 

Communication networks between church members are being blocked. Cell phones are being monitored and controlled. People are being followed, guarded, dispersed, and taken away. Brothers and sisters are not being allowed to visit and comfort each other. Two sisters who went to visit the wife of Elder Li Yingqiang were taken away by police. In addition, brother Lu Xuetao was taken by police from his home. Sister Ren Ruiting and brother Jiang Wenyu were each spoken to by police this afternoon. Seeing that we have not been able to contact many brothers and sisters, we conservatively estimate that more than 60 brothers and sisters were taken away by police today. We are grateful that some small groups were still able to find somewhere to peacefully meet and share this Lord’s Day together. 

Locks were replaced by the landlord of the church building rented by church plant Deyang Field Church. They were unable to enter. Elder Hao Ming led the brothers and sisters in regular Lord’s Day worship at the riverside. Everything was peaceful. 

Because Preacher Jiang Tian is being guarded at his home 24 hours a day, close to 30 brothers and sisters of church plant Gospel Church came to his home for worship. Soon after they began, close to 30 police officers, Domestic Security Protection Bureau officers, and Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau officers arrived, including a secretary and bureau chief. They took away Preacher Jiang Tian’s phone and hit him. They even tore up his clothes. They later searched materials in his home and tried threatening him to sign a pledge. 

In the afternoon, Preacher Cao Qingen of church plant Linxishu Church was taken away from the entrance of the church by a police car with license plate number A7303. They’ve been sitting around waiting by the church entrance for the past week. When Preacher Cao Qingen approached, a few Domestic Security Protection Bureau officers and police officers came and surrounded him. Some recorded video of him for five minutes and then made him get inside the police car and took him away. 

Lord, your servant Pastor Wang Yi has been arrested now for one week. He has used his life to practice these words he preached: 

‘As for me, I live for three things:
Kneeling while praying, standing while preaching, and running while evangelizing. 
For this, the Lord has given me three silk bags:* 
Moving at any moment, being imprisoned at any moment, and returning to my heavenly home at any moment.' 

The Lord’s love not only greatly drives him, it drives all of us brothers and sisters. We care not whether we live or die, as long as the Lord’s gospel is spread quickly. China needs the gospel. This ancient kingdom needs a baptism of repentance by your Spirit. There are more than 1.3 billion people here who do not know you and who will go to hell. May the Lord give the future of China to the Chinese church and call these 1.3 billion souls by your name, the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As for us, we gaze upon your face through your beloved Son and our hearts are satisfied. 

I march on with a mission,
Awakening China from its slumber.
Even when I bleed, 
I will never turn back. 
I march on with a vision, 
Seeing China evangelized
And the gospel taken to the corners of the earth. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 7:00 p.m. on 12/16/18

*In ancient China, a silk bag was used as a kind of envelope for delivering letters. 

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)
Brother Wang Fei (stirring up trouble)

List of those placed in administrative detention:

Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 12/15 on charges of “stirring up trouble”)
Brother Liu Xin (summoned on 12/10 on charges of “stirring up trouble” for posting prayer updates on Wechat and later placed under administrative detention for 5 days; as of this morning he is free.)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Detained for more than 168 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi, Liang Huali
Detained for more than 144 hours: Zhang Xiaohong, Liu Xin

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #18

According to the command of Scripture, today is the Lord’s Day, a day to worship God. Even though most brothers and sisters are under the supervision and control of community authorities at their homes, and more than a dozen brothers, sisters, pastors, and preachers are in prison, those brothers and sisters who can still freely leave their homes went to our church sanctuary in the Jiangxin Building as usual to prepare to meet the Lord. 

The metal gate below the building where the church is was locked, and every entrance had many plainclothes police officers and SWAT team officers preventing people from entering the church. They took away some of the brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters then conducted a small-scale worship meeting at a nearby park, which was also shut down by police. Police took away more than 30 brothers and sisters.

Last night at 11:00 p.m., police went to the home of a church member to advise him not to go to church the next day. After he refused, they held the church member to the ground and tied his hands behind his back with a rope before taking him to the police station. Police also went to the home of the wife of an elder who is being criminally detained and threatened her, telling her she was not allowed to open her home for worship gatherings. This is the current situation. 

Lord, today we worship you in police cars. We worship you in police stations. We worship you in detention centers. We worship you in prisons. And we worship you in homes. We have no other goal except to worship you alone. We ride in buses heading to police stations as though riding down the road to Zion. For you tell us, Lord, that you are looking for worshipers who worship you in spirit and in truth. May you be pleased with our worship. We have nothing to offer you but our hearts. We offer them up sincerely to you now. 

Wherever I am,
Whatever I meet,
I will follow your will forever. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 10:30 a.m. on 12/16/18

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)
Brother Wang Fei (stirring up trouble)

List of those placed in administrative detention:

Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention for 14 days on 12/15 on charges of “stirring up trouble”)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Detained for more than 144 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi, Liang Huali
Detained for more than 120 hours: Zhang Xiaohong, Liu Xin

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #17

The police have given the wife of Preacher Cheng Zhangchun a notice of administrative detention. He has been placed under administrative detention for 14 days. He is being held at the Pidu District Detention Center. Brother Wang Fei of Enyue Church has been placed under criminal detention on suspicion of “stirring up trouble.” Deacon Xu Jiale and small group leaders Zhu Hong and Guohai have each been taken from their homes. Some other small group leaders are also being monitored at their homes. Just a minute ago, Elder Su Bingsen was summoned from his home on charges of “stirring up trouble.” 

The church is in a difficult situation, but the brothers and sisters and church staff still have fiery hearts of worship. Police are using great force to try to keep us from worshiping God tomorrow. May the Lord confound their schemes. 

Lord, you alone are our support. You alone are our joy. You alone are our peace. Although this Christmas month has not been very peaceful, we know that you were born into this world for us. We are waiting for you. It appears as though evil has triumphed, but Christ still reigns. 

Christ is the Son of the eternal God. He died for our sins, rose on the third day, and gave us eternal life. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. And so we live in order to worship the Lord. We are looking forward to the Lord’s Day tomorrow. 

I follow the Lord to Gethsemane,
I follow him to the Place of the Skull,
And then to that everlasting home
Where sorrow and darkness are no more. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 10:00 p.m. on 12/15/18.

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)
Brother Wang Fei (stirring up trouble)

List of those placed under administrative detention:

Cheng Zhangchun (placed in administrative detention on 12/15 on charges of “stirring up trouble”)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Detained for more than 144 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi, Liang Huali
Detained for more than 120 hours: Zhang Xiaohong, Liu Xin
Detained for more than 72 hours: Luo Yao

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #16

Preacher Cheng Zhangchun was taken from his home last night at 8:00 p.m. and has not yet returned. Police sent a text message to his wife and notified her that Preacher Cheng has been summoned on suspicion of illegal activity. Husband and wife Wang Yunpai and Wang Shanshan were taken from their home at 8:00 p.m. last night and have not yet returned. At present there are still many police officers guarding the apartment buildings of some church staff and some brothers and sisters. Many brothers and sisters who have been sent back to their hometowns are still being harassed and guarded by local government authorities. 

According to some testimonies of brothers and sisters that have emerged, they have been sharing the gospel while under guard. They have been using their suffering as a beautiful testimony for the Lord. Some police officers and workers have been very interested in the gospel, even giving their addresses and asking for Bibles. May the Lord choose for himself children from among these law enforcement officers persecuting the church. 

Lord, the greatest freedom in the world is the freedom of becoming your children. You say that we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. May your Spirit fill us and make us to worship freely, to enter prison freely, to spread the gospel freely. Give us free and noble hearts. Turn us into liberated criminals willing to be detained by the world. For a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted you, they will persecute us. 

We also ask you to forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Open their eyes to see your glory and turn them into free children! May you become for them salvation and hope that they might escape the judgement of eternal death! 

In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever;
All our sins are washed away
Only by His blood. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 11:00 a.m. on 12/15/18.

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Detained for more than 130 hours: Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi 
Detained for more than 120 hours: Zhang Xiaohong, Zhu Zijun, Lin Endian, Zhang Yan, Chen Xuelin, Jiao Zhen
Detained for more than 115 hours: Liu Xin
Detained for more than 72 hours: Luo Yao, Ren Ruiting

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #15

Brother Zhu Xiaoguang was taken from his home to Taisheng Road Police Station. Police notified him verbally that his wife may be criminally detained on the charge of “illegal business operations.” He has not yet received a written notice. We do know Elder Li Zihu was placed under criminal detention on the charge of “stirring up trouble.” In addition, there is evidence of a security breach that indicates that the Facebook page of Early Rain Covenant Church is being controlled by police. For this reason, we have stopped using the Early Rain Covenant Church Facebook page.

In our previous prayer update, we mentioned the names of a few pastors who have come to visit Chengdu from various cities. Because we did not ask for their permission ahead of time, we may have caused them unnecessary trouble during their visit. We apologize for this. May the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ cover us and help us to complement each other well as the Kingdome comes together.

“As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:36-39)

May the Lord on this gloomy day,
All tears shed in secret wipe away,
Make me learn that you are my stay, 
And let me bless others all of my days.

Sent by Early Rain Covenant Church at 9:00 p.m. on 12/14/18

Attached: An announcement by Early Rain Covenant Church regarding legal aid

From the time this incident began on December 9, more than ten brothers and sisters (including pastors, elders, and deacons) have been investigated for criminal responsibility and have been issued legal documents. At the same time, there are also a few lawyers who have expressed willingness to provide legal help. Considering the fact that this is, in the first place, a spiritual battle, we will not deny our faith, including all facts and evidence related to it. We also believe that those pastors and workers who have been detained do not believe they have any criminal intention or have taken part in any criminal activity.

Because our goal is to testify to our faith, and for the benefit of law enforcement officers, we will assist families in hiring lawyers to defend them at the appropriate time. But at the moment, considering the potential dangers facing lawyers, as well as the present realities regarding the judicial process, we do not recommend lawyers to intervene on a large scale for now.

The church expresses sincere gratitude to all of those lawyers who have bravely come forward, motivated by righteousness and personal friendship. May the Lord remember your sacrifice!

Sent by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/14/18

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (stirring up trouble)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 120 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (stirring up trouble)
Elder Li Zihu (stirring up trouble)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:
Liu Yingxu, Song Enguang, Ding Shuqi (no contact for more than 120 hours)

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #14

Those students who are currently being held at the Xinjin County Legal Learning Center are being deported back to their hometowns one by one. Their hometown’s local governments, neighborhood communities, police stations, and so on are seeking them out one by one and talking with them. Their ID cards are being withheld, they are being placed under surveillance at home, and they are being forbidden from returning to Chengdu. 

Last night one sister gave birth to a son. This is their first child. Her husband (who is also a student at the liberal arts college) asked repeatedly to be with her for the delivery, but he was not allowed. Instead, he was forced to return to his hometown in Shanxi. 

Thank the Lord! Pastors all over China are encouraging and comforting us in many ways. Pastor Jin Tianming of Beijing Shouwang Church, Pastor Yang Hua of Guiyang Living Stone Church, Elder Zhang Chunlei of Guiyang Renai Reformed Church, and others released a statement stating that they are guilty of the same crime as Pastor Wang Yi. Pastor Fang Xiaojun of Xuzhou Daoen Presbyterian Church, Preacher Yang Xibo of Xiamen Xunsiding Church, Preacher Fu Yonggang of Sichuan Mount Olivet Church, and other pastors came to Chengdu to be persecuted alongside Early Rain Covenant Church. Pastor Fang Xiaojun has already been found by Domestic Security Protection Bureau officers who came over from Xuzhou. 

Thank the Lord! Overseas churches are all closely following our situation and praying for us. Pastor John Piper, Pastor John Frame, Pastor Tim Keller, Pastor Stephen Childers, and other pastors, brothers and sisters are all praying for us. 

Lord, this is your good pleasure. Through this church’s suffering, you are spurring on your children to walk the path of the cross. The cross connects the eternal world with the temporal world. For authorities who do not believe in God, the cross is the only means by which they can know Him. 

From where is love born? It is born from the Place of the Skull. It is born from Golgotha. It is born from the cross. It is born from the bleeding side of Christ. For it is there where Christ suffered for the sake of love. 

“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor. 5:13-15)

Obey the will of God alone,
Do not ask what the future may hold. 
Strive together, work as one, 
And let the gospel flourish. 

Sent by Early Rain Covenant Church at 11:00 a.m. on 12/14/18

Attached: List of those who have already been placed in criminal detention:

Pastor Wang Yi (incitement to subvert state power)
Pastor’s wife Jiang Rong (incitement to subvert state power)
Elder Li Yingqiang (creating disturbances)
Elder Qin Defu (illegal business operations)
Deacon Ge Yingfeng (illegal business operations)
Sister Li Xiaofeng (summoned on the charge of illegal business operations; after 110 hours, we still have not received a detention notice)
Sister Lü Jinheng (illegal business operations)
Brother Fu Lijun (illegal business operations)
Sister Huang Yaling (creating disturbances)

List of those with whom we have lost contact for an extended period of time:

Liu Yingxu, Ding Shuqi, Song Enguang (no contact for more than 110 hours)

Letter from Wife to Detained Husband

Dear husband, 

Last night I slept well. When I woke up this morning, I heard that you had been taken away. At that moment, my heart had great peace because I knew you had already prepared for this moment long ago. 

I haven’t been able to sleep tonight. I’m sure things are hard for you right now, too. So I’ll just accompany you in your sleeplessness. I want to tell you a few things in case you might see this. 

I heard that they usually bring you back to your home when they search it. I subconsciously hoped to use that opportunity to see you for a moment, but they still haven’t come. I’m not going to wait any longer. I’m not afraid of them at all. On the contrary, I pity them. I hope you do, too. 

I know you must be worried about me, because you’ve seen how much of a mess I’ve been lately. But I’m doing very well now. I’ve loved the Lord more these past two days than I ever have before. More than anything, my heart is joyful and at peace. At night, tears flow by themselves. But it’s not grief. It’s hard to say exactly what it is. I just spent a long time thinking about it, and I’m still thinking to myself, “Why are you crying?” I finally asked myself, “Aren’t you willing to experience this tiny little bit of pain for the Lord?” My conclusion was, “I’m willing.” I’m very willing, because I know that this slight, momentary affliction is not worth comparing to that eternal glory that is to come. I’m willing to foot that bill. So why am I crying? It might just be because I’m human. But you can completely relax. Crying is one thing. Finishing crying is another. I allow myself to cry, but I haven’t felt the least bit of despair. Even if I look for it, I can’t find any. Sometimes I want to despair for a moment and grieve a little bit, but I really don’t feel like it. So, forget about it. I think the Lord has replaced that despair with his fullness. 

The little ones miss you. I told them, “Missing daddy is normal. It would be strange not to miss him. If you miss him, then miss him.” Little Di then immediately said, “After we fall asleep, we won’t miss him anymore.” And then he immediately fell asleep. 

This afternoon I prayed with you according to our agreed upon time. Sorry, I was ten or so minutes late. 

Lastly, I want to say that knowing what I’m going to receive as a result of what I’m going through now makes me feel so much better. I really do thank our Father in Heaven. His plans are most certainly the best. They cannot be mistaken. So, what more is there to say? I will joyfully accept them. 

I love you! I’m going to bed now. 

Sent by Zhang Xinyue, the wife of elder Li Yingqiang, on 12/12/2018 at 3:52 a.m.

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #13 

Today around noon, the wife of Elder Qin Defu received a registered letter dated December 10th. Elder Qin Defu has been placed in criminal detention on the charge of “illegal business operations.” In addition, brother Fu Lijun has also been placed in criminal detention on the charge of “illegal business operations.” 

More than ten police officers visited the home of Preacher Cheng Zhangchun, of church plant Canaan Church, to speak with him. Soon afterward, he was taken to the police station and released at 9:00. Surveillance cameras have been installed outside the door of his home and outside the door of the church. Preacher Wu Jiannan, of church plant Deyang Field Church, was taken from his home in Deyang this morning to Chengbei Police Station. Elder Li Zihu, of church plant Enyue Church, was taken from the church along with his wife last night. We have had no contact with them for 24 hours. Enyue Church worker sister Huang Yaling has been placed in criminal detention on the charge of “provocation and troublemaking.”

Preacher Jiang Tian, of church plant Gospel Church, was threatened and told that if they continue meeting he will be detained. The doors of church plant Lin Xi Shu Church and of the home of Preacher Cao Qingen are being monitored by people 24/7. 

Lord, we can only give you the glory. This is a group of children you bore through the cross. They are joyfully willing to pay the price for their faith. They are willing to lay down their lives, not for themselves but for your kingdom, to love souls and to hold fast to the calling to which you have called them. 

For to live is Christ, and to die is gain. We honor Christ alone in everything. If the king commands us to disobey Christ, then we will not submit to his command. We will lay down our lives again and again. The authorities want to use violence to frighten us and make us surrender, but the love in us overcomes all of these things, and this love is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Thank you to all brothers and sisters around the world for your prayers and concern. The church is the body of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. 

The ancient cross is my support,
A disgrace to the world, a treasure to me. 
I take up my cross and run down that path, 
The cross is ever my glory!

Sent by Early Rain Covenant Church at 7:00 p.m. on 12/13/18

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #12

There are reports that Jiang Rong, [Wang Yi’s] wife, is being kept at an assigned residence under the charge of “inciting subversion of the state.” Lawyers requested to visit Deacon Ge Yingfeng at the detention center, but they were denied for various reasons. Limiting visitations like this is a violation of the law. To correct some previous information, sister Lü Jinheng was charged with “illegal business operations.” Elder Qin Defu has been detained now for more than 84 hours. We do not have any information about him at the moment.

In addition, we have received some very terrible news. Sometime after 7:00 p.m. on the 9th, more than 10 people shut off the power to the home of sister Li Xiaofeng, a worker at the seminary, in order to break into her home. They summoned her on charges of “illegal business operations.” They restrained and took away her husband Shen Bing. Then they restrained her and crudely search her home. They confiscated many books, cell phones, and hard drives. After handcuffing and detaining Shen Bing for 24 hours, they gave him all of her clothes. So far, they have not notified him of her whereabouts. 

Last night we lost contact with seminary student sister Ren Ruiting and seminary worker Kang Yuhong. Elder Li Zihu took more than 20 brothers and sisters to visit Enyue Church, the church plant that was banned and closed down. We received word that more than 20 officers with the Religious Affairs Bureau came over, after which we lost contact with everyone. 

While Preacher Wu Jiannan was preparing to take some brothers and sisters to visit Deyang Field Church, a church plant that was banned and closed down, they were dispersed by police. When he returned home, he found the door pried open, but nothing was taken. 

We received word that brother Song Enguang will be escorted by police back to his hometown in Henan. Police called his wife and told her that he will leave Chengdu before 12:00 p.m. this afternoon. In addition, we have lost contact with seminary student brother Ding Shuqi for over 80 hours now. Those brothers and sisters who were arrested and later released have not seen him either. 

One sister who has been released said there are more than 50 students from the seminary and liberal arts college at the Xinjin County Legal Learning Center waiting to be deported. The brothers and sisters chose a student representative to negotiate with officials. He succeeded in gaining them freedom to read their Bibles and worship together. Each day they choose a student to lead devotionals. The brothers and sisters there have transformed that place into a sanctuary through their fiery faith. 

Lord, you are the Almighty One, yesterday, today, and forever. We will worship you in our homes. We will worship you in churches. We will worship you in detention centers and in prisons. This nation does not worship you, but we will worship you. For you are the only Lord who has died and risen again, and you will rule forever! The church is the bride of Christ, holy and spotless. May the Lord accept our worship!

King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
You alone are worthy of worship and honor!

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church at 10:10 a.m. on 12/13/18.

 

Western China Covenant College 12/9 Persecution Update

Members of the body who are deeply concerned about us, peace be with you! Beginning on December 9th, Early Rain Covenant Church, Early Rain Academy, the seminary, and the liberal arts college were persecuted one after another in various ways. The pastor and elders were forcefully taken away. Four student dormitories were consecutively broken into. All students in the dormitories were forcefully taken away without any cause or procedure. 

On December 9 at around 8:30 p.m., the Shubei Xiang male dormitory of the liberal arts college was broken into and all of the brothers were forcefully taken away, 8 in total. 

On December 9 at around 8:37 p.m., the Caojia Xiang female dormitory of the liberal arts college was broken into and all of the sisters were taken away in two waves, 12 in total. After being taken to the Caojia Xiang Police Station and fingerprinted, they were transferred to the Xinjin County Legal Education Center around midnight. 

On December 9 in the evening, the Yinghua Si male dormitory of the liberal arts college was broken into. Brother Weng Guanghe was taken away. Shortly afterwards, police came back and took away 4 undergraduate brothers. 

On December 9 at around 10:00 p.m., brother Jianqing of the liberal arts college and sister Li Chengju from his small group were detained at the home of another believer. Their personal information was illegally searched because they both refused to cooperate with officers exercising various degrees of violence. They were then handcuffed and taken to Chenghua Tiaodeng River Police Station. (That evening there was a special couples small-group dinner. Without following any proper protocol, 12 plain-clothes officers forced their way into the living room and took Deacon Ge Yingfeng away into custody.)

On Dec. 10 at around 10:00 p.m., the door of the Taisheng Building dormitory of the liberal arts college was pried open. Sister Zhang Yan and sister Wu Zongman were taken from the dormitory.

On Dec. 10 at around 10:00 p.m., brother Jianqing was released. 

On Dec. 11 at around 11:00 a.m., the door of the Taisheng Building dormitory was forced open again and the remaining 10 female students were all taken away, the youngest being 16 years old.  

At this time, the liberal arts college estimates that 36 students were taken away. We have not received news about them. We only know that they were taken to the Chengdu Xinjin County Legal Education Center. 

On Dec. 11 at around 2:00 p.m., sister Xiao Yue was deported from the Xinjin education center back to her registered permanent address in Dayi County. She is at home now, and we have contacted her. She is in good condition. 

On Dec. 12 at around 9:00 p.m., sister Zhou Xiaojuan was released from Xinjin Education Center and deported to her hometown. She told us that there are still more than 50 brothers and sisters being detained at the Xinjin Legal Education Center, waiting to be deported back to their hometowns. But they all have freedom of movement, and everyone is extremely joyful and unified. After being detained unlawfully for more than 48 hours, everyone took the initiative to choose a representative from among them to negotiate with police and ask for them to give back their Bibles and to grant them freedom to worship. They also decided to fast. Thank the Lord! Negotiations were successful to the point that everyone can read the Bible and have corporate worship. Every day a seminary student leads worship in the morning and evening. They worship continually on the outdoor balcony. The detention center has become a preaching grounds for the Lord’s gospel and a place for his people to worship. Glory to the Lord! May the Lord be glorified! When we heard this news we were greatly comforted. Sister Xiaojuan said that the brothers and sisters inside are in a very stable condition and very joyful. There have been no issues. They’ve been guaranteed standard food and shelter. Everyone is greatly cherishing their time locked up, worshiping together. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

At the same time, sister Wu Zongman was released from Hua Yang Police Station. We have not yet made contact with her.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #11

In the afternoon, Pastor Wang Yi’s mother told us that she received news that Pastor Wang Yi is in criminal detention on the charge of “incitement to subvert the state.” The wife of Elder Li Yingqiang received a phone call from Taisheng Street Police Station and was told that Elder Li Yingqiang is in criminal detention on the charge of "internet provocation.” She was asked to go pick up his personal belongings tomorrow. 

Yesterday we found out that Elder Ge Yingfeng is being detained on the charge of “illegal business operations” and sister Lü Jinheng on the charge of "illegal business operations." Elder Qin Defu, Brother Song Enguang, Brother Liu Yingxu, Brother Ye Yin and the others who were the first to be arrested have been detained for more than 72 hours, and we still have no news from them. We still have had no contact with some brothers and sisters. 

The brothers and sisters detained at Xinjin County Legal Learning Center are being deported back to their hometowns. Authorities have asked the local governments of their place of permanent residence to come to Chengdu to escort them. Some seminary students upon being deported to their hometowns have immediately been sought by local police and interviewed. Nearly all the dormitories of the seminary and liberal arts college have been searched and possessions seized. 

Amidst this persecution, many brothers and sisters still bravely attended their small-group Bible studies tonight. Most were able to meet as usual, brothers and sisters worshipping through hymns and praying fervently. Some small groups were harassed by police. Three police cars are parked outside the home of one small group leader, and police are now examining their personal IDs. These arrests that have lasted three days and three nights are still continuing.  

Lord, you have given great glory to your servants and children. You have allowed them to suffer with you, and you have made them faithful unto death. Lord Jesus Christ, when you were hung on that tree you were charged with “incitement to subvert the state.” Only you can subvert this world that confounds truth and falsehood. The ruler of this world has already been judged. 

Your kingdom has come. Your rule is forever. You forever govern your people with love and truth and give them peace that surpasses all understanding. Subvert us with your truth. Let us proclaim your truth to this nation. For we have no other weapons except the weapons of prayer and the Bible. We have no other hope except your passion and resurrection. 

Christ is Lord. Grace is King.
Bear the cross. Keep the faith. 

May the Lord helps us and give us great joy! 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/12/18 at 8:00 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #10 

We have lost contact with Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, along with approximately 80 church staff, brothers, and sisters, for more than 60 hours now. There are still police cars parked outside some church members’ home with plain-clothes police offers monitoring them all day long. The latest news is that Deacon Ge Yingfeng has been charged with the crime of running an illegal business operation and is being held at the Chengdu City Detention Center.  

Just now, the police took Sister Sun Ailun and her three children, Deacon Xu Jiale and his wife, sister Feng Xiaojing, and Deacon Xiao Luobiao from Zhu Hong’s home to Cao Jiaxiang Police Station while visiting Brother Zhu Hong, who had just been released. 

The church’s elder session published a call for the church to pray and fast all day on December 12. Some other Christians have also sent out appeals themselves for a worldwide fasting and prayer meeting. May the Lord give us love for souls. These law enforcement officers greatly need the gospel of Christ. They have greatly sinned against God. We need to pray for them, for we were once like them. 

May the Lord himself speak words of comfort to us, for he has given his life for us. We suffer with those brothers and sisters who suffer as though imprisoned with them. May God make peace like a river flow through our hearts. 

According to the church’s contingency plan, small groups will meet together this evening as usual. Please strengthen your resolve, brothers and sisters. Experience the filling of the Holy Spirit and the renewal of your lives in the midst of every kind of tribulation and danger. Meeting in homes is our last resort. We are willing to go to the police station, and we are willing to lose our freedom, for we are not willing to lose out on this spiritual feast. 

He bore the curse, that I be blessed;
He drank the cup, that I might feast.

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/12/18 at 1:00 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #9

It has been more than 48 hours since we have lost contact with Pastor Wang Yi and his wife. Pastor Wang Yi previously wrote a statement to be released if he were to be detained for more than 48 hours. We have just released it. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your constant concern and prayers. The Lord will look after his servants. 

The wife of Deacon Ge Yingfeng has been notified that Deacon Ge has been detained. He is being held at Xipu Police Station. Another sister told us that there are 47 brothers and sisters being held at the Xinjin County Legal Learning Center. Two sisters were stripped naked and searched. The husband of a sister who is currently giving birth at the hospital has been out of contact for nearly 48 hours. May the Lord grant a peaceful delivery!

In addition, church plant Elder Li Zihu has been released and set free. The church noticed that there was a prayer letter sent out today at 12:20. We want to clarify that it was not officially released by us. We want to encourage brothers, sisters, and friends to follow and forward personal prayer updates, but please do not use the official church signature. 

As of now, authorities are still forcing brothers and sisters to sign a pledge stating that they will not attend Early Rain Church anymore. Some brothers have been deported back to other cities. Community authorities are using landlords to force brothers and sisters to move out. At the same time, support and prayers for Early Rain Covenant Church and Pastor Wang Yi are continuing to grow, both within China and beyond. Many brothers and sisters have issued statements, under their real names, saying they have committed the same crime as Pastor Wang Yi. 

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments! How inscrutable are his ways! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen!

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/11/18 at 7:50 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Update #8

On December 11th at around 2:00 a.m., Elder Li Yingqiang was arrested while trying to evade police. At present, the pastor and four elders of the main church have all been arrested. Two of the elders have since been released and are being monitored (by authorities) at home. All of the preachers [i.e. unordained pastors] and a portion of the seminary students have either been arrested or are being monitored at home. We have lost contact with our church plant Elder Li Zihu and his wife. All of the church plants have either been officially banned or their possessions confiscated. 

We do not know how long they will continue arresting people, and we do not know if there will be another prayer update because there is no privacy here. They are using violent means and methods to arrest and threaten meek and loving Christians. We are like sheep that have entered a pack of wolves. 

They want to completely eradicate Early Rain Covenant Church from this country, but the will of God is to stamp this church even more firmly onto this country and to engrave it even deeper into their hearts. The Lord’s Church is the only community that will endure forever. Today, may we who bear the weight of eternal life meet head-on all of the hardships, evils, and tears of this world. This is the good intention of the Lord. This is the lot that has fallen in our laps. May the Lord make our cups overflowing!

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/11 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #7

Three brothers and sisters who were just released said violence was used against them in the police station, even to the point of being trampled on. One brother was dragged away in the middle of the night at 1:00 a.m. after his hands and feet were bound. He was detained for a whole day. Many places on his legs are bleeding from the abuse, and his body is covered in wounds. These wicked acts are horrendous. 

One brother said that while being detained for 24 hours, police didn’t even give him one bite of food or any drink of water. He was deprived of rest. He was shackled to a chair the whole evening and only slept two or three hours.  

At about 9:00 p.m. police asked firemen to break down the door of the female dormitory of the liberal arts college. They took away 12 female students. At 9:00 p.m., one of our church plants in Dazhou was raided and inspected by police, and the ministry staff were taken away. 

At 10:00 p.m., a brother saw more than 30 young men wearing badges come out of one or two trucks near the church and enter the church building. We believe these men came prepared to demolish the church and to destroy the equipment and facilities in the church and church school. 

It is late but we are still out of contact with many brothers and sisters. We do not know where to go to look for these brothers and sisters. Parents are searching for their children. Wives are searching for their husbands. Brothers are searching for their sisters. 

Lord, look at the grievances of your children! This country tramples on the dignity of your children, but these children are the apple of your eye. You will heal these wounds with your loving hands, and teach us to love God and to learn the endurance of Christ in the midst of this suffering. Lord, come quickly! 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 11:45 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #6

We have lost contact with Pastor Wang Yi, many elders and staff for over 24 hour since they were taken. We still do not know where they were taken and for what reason. Some brothers and sisters who were taken have been released and are being monitored in their homes. One seminary student was sent to the Northeast for detention because he helped edit church materials. He is being charged with the crime of illegal publishing. Some other seminary students are also being detained. 

From yesterday until today, many police have entered the church and forbid brothers and sisters from entering. We suspect that the church has been officially banned and closed. In addition, three of our church plants received notices today that they are being banned. Pastors from two of them have been taken to the police station and have lost contact with us. Pastors and preachers from a few other churches in Chengdu are in police custody and are being questioned. 

They continue to harass, threaten, and arrest our brothers and sisters. Police have just broken down the door and entered the female dormitory of the liberal arts college. Because police are still harassing church members at their homes, many members cannot return to their homes this evening and are wandering about homeless. 

The war is continuing. Brothers and sisters, please continue to follow these events and pray for us. This slight, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. May the will of God be fulfilled in us!  

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 8:16 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #5

Currently there are several large trucks parked outside the church building. Police have begun carrying away materials from the church. 

Police continue to go to the homes of church members and are pressuring them to sign a pledge that they will not attend Early Rain for illegal gatherings. Otherwise, they will be arrested. One after another, members are either being taken away or losing contact. Some members are being detained at the church, others are being detained in their homes. Police are also going to the workplaces of members to talk with them and to put pressure on them.

Currently, over 100 brothers and sisters have been taken away. Many of their children have been forced to separate from their parents and are being cared for by other church members. 

There is light after darkness. Lord, open our eyes! Let us see the heavens opened and the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God. Lord, send your angels and the heavenly armies to protect your people. Let us take the suffering mind as our weapon, that we may usher in a great spiritual revival. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 2:20 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #4

We have lost contact with Pastor Wang Yi and many of the elders, church workers, and brothers and sisters for more than 15 hours now. Church workers and members are still being arrested. An elder and a few small group leaders are hiding out in different locations to evade arrest. Their wives and children are being blocked by police officers guarding the doors to their homes.

Police officers are being sent in great numbers throughout communities harassing church members and telling them that the church has been banned. Officers are threatening them, telling them that they must sign a pledge that they will not attend the church. Officers are going to the work places of church members to speak with them. Police are guarding the church building today. The children who came to the church school were sent home. One student was taken to the police station and was made to write a statement. 

The Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs called and informed our church plant, Linxishu Church, that by the afternoon they will be given an official notice that the church has been banned.  

In addition, we continue to lose contact with many brothers and sisters. There is a large-scale disruption to our online communication. Attorney Guo Haibo’s location was discovered and he was taken away. 

It currently appears that authorities are going all over the place and indiscriminately arresting church members, tracking them down all night long and threatening them. Multiple departments are working together to persecute the church. At the same time, preachers from other churches in our presbytery are being interviewed by police. 

May the Lord show us again the same miracle that he performed on May 12. May the Lord pour into our hearts the steadfast love he has for his church. May the Lord make our faith resolute in the midst of this suffering. May he keep us from betraying his name. May he make us willing to suffer, to be imprisoned, and to give our lives for his sake. And may we consider this to be our most glorious crown in this life. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 12:15 p.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #3

Brothers, sisters, and friends from around the world, thank you for your prayers and concern. The mass arrest of church members that began on the evening of Sunday, December 9, is still continuing. Sichuan police even went through the trouble of traveling all the way to Dongbei (Northeast China) to find a church member who had returned home, where he had recently returned. They urgently called him in for interrogation in the middle of the night. The sound of knocking has been ringing from late night into early morning. They are using all kinds of methods to take brothers and sisters away, even breaking down doors, using searchlights, making threats and so on. Many brothers and sisters were woken up in the middle of the night and taken away. Even some young children were taken to the police station with their parents. It is still unclear why. 

The statistics aren’t complete, but at the moment over 80 brothers and sisters have been taken to police stations. Police are guarding the front entrance of the apartments of many brothers and sisters. 

This persecution is also being directed against Christian education. The wife of Elder Su Bingsen (who is still being held at the police station and hasn’t yet been released) said, “Just a minute ago at 4:10 a.m., two women with the Education Bureau came to our home and woke me up. They asked about our children’s situation. They registered our children’s names and ages and then explained the compulsory education law to me. They said we must send our two oldest children to the elementary school near the University of Electronic Science and Technology. They said the country must enforce the compulsory education law. I said, ‘You’ve communicated that, thank you. We are not going. If you want to arrest their parents then do whatever you want.’ They said they would stay in touch, and then they left.”Brothers and sisters, please pray especially for the Early Rain Reformed Academy. 

May the Lord vindicate us. The Lord sees all that is happening. We are continuing to pray and entrust everything to him, displaying our faith to the whole world, because the pierced hands of the Lord Jesus Christ are holding our hands and leading us to the path of eternal life. May the Lord destroy the schemes of Satan, for the Lord of the church, Jesus Christ, has already wounded the head of the serpent. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 8:00 a.m.

Attached: The list of the names of the brothers and sisters who have been taken away as of 5:00 a.m. on 12/10/18

1.    Pastor Wang Yi
2.    Jiang Rong, pastor’s wife
3.    Sister Jiang Ruolin 
4.    Deacon Ge Yingfeng 
5.    Brother Zhu Hong
6.    Elder Yan Defu and Sister Xiao Hong Liu (couple)
7.    Brother Ye Yin
8.    Brother Zhang Jianqing
9.    Brother Liu Yingxi
10.  Zhang Guoqing, Assistant Deacon
11.  Elder Su Bingsen (wife went home at 11 p.m.)
12.  Brother Xiao Yingshan
13.  Song Enguang and Feng Xiaojing (couple)
14.  Brother Xiao Baogang
15.  Sister Zhou Xiaojuan 
16.  Brother Zhou Yong
17.  Lost contact with those at Shubei Lane male dormitory; it was confirmed that it was empty as all were taken away 
18.  Lost contact with those at Caojia Lane female dormitory; it was confirmed that it was empty as all were taken away 
19.  Seminary student Lu Ya and another brother
20.  From the seminary - Sister Wang Xiyan, Sister Huang, Brother Zhou Dongdong (lost contact)
21.  Brother Wu Wuqing
22.  Brother Pan Fei and Brother Liu Hengqi (lost contact)
23.  Elder Yan Xixia 
24.  Brother Ding Shuqi
25.  Brother Yun Yunfei and Sister Wang Wei (couple)
26.  Jiang Tian, pastoral staff 
27.  Brother Wu Size
28.  Brother Fu Lijun 
29.  Sister Li Dehui
30.  Sister Li Chengju and child
31.  Liu Xiaole and the children
32.  Brother Wang Jun
33.  Yan Wenju (couple)
34.  Liang Liangli and roommate
35.  Brother Jiang Wenyu
36.  Sister Ran Xiaoran
37.  Sister Lu Jinheng
38.  Brother Yi Yinxiang brother
39.  Brother Hou Hongen brother
40.  Brother Weng Guanghe
41.  Brother Liu He
42.  Brother Kang Kai
43.  Brother Wang Xiwang
44.  Brother Lin Endian
45.  Brother Yang Luga
46.  Brother Tong Feifei
47.  Brother Kang Shaoxin
48.  Brother Sang Ensui 
49.  Brother Pan Fei
50.  Brother Liu Hengqi
51.  Brother Ran Yifei
52.  Sister Zhu Lei sister
53.  Brother Chen Zhibin

According to our incomplete statistics, the above list exceeds 80 people. 

Updated on 12/10/18 at 7:30 a.m.: Assistant Deacon Zhang Guoqing and Brother Zhou Yong have been released. People in Zhang Guoqing’s home have been placed under 24-hour surveillance.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #2

On Sunday, December 9, starting in the evening, the Chengdu Public Security Bureau deployed a large number of police officers, raiding the homes of workers and brothers and sisters from the church. The pastor and about half of the workers have been taken from their homes. At the moment, more than 50 brothers and sisters have been taken to the police station. Arrests are still being made. Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, Elder Qin Defu, Elder Su Bingsen, Elder Yan Xixia, Deacon Ge Yingfeng, Ran Yunfei and his wife, and brother Song Enguang have all been taken from their homes, and we have lost contact with them. Assistant Deacon Zhang Guoqing and brother Zhu Hong were taken away while checking on others. The church WeChat account has been shut down. The WeChat accounts of most of the church workers have been permanently censored and shut down. Two dormitories of the seminary and liberal arts college have been raided. Students in the dormitories were all taken away. Just before midnight, police banged wildly on the doors of many workers and brothers and sisters, trying to break down the doors and enter. At the same time, some homes were searched and possessions confiscated. The police have been harsh and unreasonable, showing no consideration to wives and young children. Police cars are at the church building and a large number of police officers are circling nearby. 

The time has come. O Lord! Did you not establish this church for this very purpose? May you display your glory as we are taken away on the day you rose from the dead, as we are interrogated on the night you were interrogated. And may your resurrection power fill us. We wait for you, more than watchmen for the morning! Brothers and sisters, please continue to follow these events and pray for us. 

Issued by Early Rain Covenant Church on 12/10/18 at 1:20 a.m.

 

Early Rain Covenant Church Urgent Prayer Request #1 

Today (12/9/18) at around 6:00 p.m., a ministry team member was taken away by a police car downstairs [in front] of the church building. Soon after, a large number of police officers entered his residence and inspected it. At the same time, electricity was cut off at the home of full-time church staff, Song Enguang and his wife. Soon after, police knocked on the door. There were more than a dozen police officers guarding the church entrance and the three brothers who went to check on him were arrested. We have lost contact with Song Enguang. We have also lost contact with Pastor Wang Yi and his wife. Many police and officers with the Domestic Security Protection Bureau guarded the entrance to his apartment. After being presented with a warrant, they were taken away. Over a dozen officers physically restrained Elder Qin Defu at his home while they searched his home. Elder Su Bingsen and his wife, Deacon Ge Yingfeng, and Assistant Deacon Zhang Guoqing were all taken away. There are a large number of police cars at the church building, and many police officers have entered the church. Many police officers have also been going to the homes of many other brothers and sisters and taking them away. Brothers and sisters, please continue to follow these events and pray for us. 

Issued at 9:36 p.m. on 12/9/18.