Neil and I were so blessed to meet the leaders of house churches (underground churches) the second time I went to China. We had a translator/guide who assured us that there was absolutely NO communism in China and that absolutely no persecutions of Christian Chinese.
We met xxxx who was the pastor of a huge underground church in Shanghai. Our translator had continued to assure us, swore to us, that it was a lie about Christian Chinese being persecuted or put into jail.
But he met xxx and as he translated for her hewas broken. xxx told us in detail about how not only she, but her family were imprisoned because of her faith.
She took us to a large building in the dark. It was her church. It didn’t start until after dark. It was so hot in there The walls were made of some kind of metal. It was packed with worshipers. I asked her how often their church meets. ‘six days a week’. The people were intense. She stood and told someone to recite the chapter of the bible that they were to memorize that week. Chapter! Not verse! They all could do it.
Believe it or not every Chinese believer I saw there had a Bible and wow! Did they study them!
I was asked to minister and I chose the passage in the bible about the prophet who was asked to prophecy in a way that would please the leader. I would read Numbers 22:2-24:9 about the prophet who said he could not. He could not say what the Lord had said not to say. He could not curse Israel. I told my translator what I was going to use as a message. He refused to translated for me. He took me aside and hissed, “Don’t you know there are police here!”
Wait a minute! Hadn’t he said there was no danger? No communism? Suddenly he was rigid with fear. But I wasn’t.
I shouted “Can someone translate for me!” a zealous woman came forward and translated about how important it was to speak the truth, say what God says to say and not what the politics of the times requires.
Later I sang with the children. It was such a blessing.
When I returned to the US a local radio program asked me to answer some questions. One was, “Did you see joy there?”
“No! No I said. Not joy. I say fervency. I saw desperation to get the word to all. Not joy.”
The radio program didn’t want me to speak anymore.