Here’s an incredible update from a great friend of mine working in China. This will make you appreciate freedom on July 4th!
Happy Independence Day – hope you’re doing something to celebrate your American-ness. Like eating a hot dog. Or watching football. Or shooting off fireworks with really dangerous names. Or spreading the Gospel like crazy in your city. Yeah, don’t forget about that last one… let me remind you why..
Yesterday I met with S. and T. for a couple hours. Afterwards T. and I were heading out, went down the elevator, opened up the front door to the building, and lo, a police officer standing right outside the door. And the questions started coming (and didn’t stop for a long time): who are you, where do you live, who else lives here, what do they do, are they registered, etc. Told him that a couple Americans live there (the American guys who are visiting us this summer). Well, let’s go up and have a look around, he says.
So we ride up the elevator, knock on the door, give S. a heart attack when he opens the door and sees me and T. with the officer. So he comes in, sits down in our big room, and continues the interrogation. What do you do here, what are all these chairs for, what kind of parties do you have, how do you teach them chinese, how do you teach them english, and on and on and on. Fortunately, everything checked out – we had language learning books laying all over the place from classes, all the Bibles were put away in the other room.
Anyway, the officer pretty much just told us that the students needed to register at the police station. This check is like an annual check (and then I remembered that an officer came to our house last year sometime, too) to make sure they know that nothing illegal is going on in the building. Tough on crime, tough on freedom. So, no big deal – we sent the guys to take care of their registration at the police station, they have to pay a fee (not surprising).
So that whole terrifying ordeal reminded us once again that what we do is illegal and could be shut down at anytime. And we have to be careful, as much as we’d love to throw caution to the wind, make like Americans, and preach the Gospel recklessly, openly, and boldly. At least, I hope we use our freedoms like that. This weekend while you celebrate your freedoms of football and fireworks, remember that for a Christian, there’s no greater celebration of political freedom than the proclamation of the Gospel.