Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Hebrews 13:3 NLT
The verse above has always been central to CSW’s work, as we seek to obey the Apostle Paul’s instructions. This week we are remembering Qin Defu, an elder of Early Rain Church in China, who was detained in December 2018 and sentenced in November 2019 to four years in prison.1 His wife wrote the letter below begging Christians to pray for her and her family.
‘I know my weakness, so I am begging for my brothers and sisters to pray’
Dear brothers and sisters,
My name is Xiao Hongliu, I am Qin Defu’s wife. I am begging for intercessory prayers for my family and me.
Defu has been in jail for more than six months.
I had received his phone calls from the jail at the beginning of his sentence.
Although the calls were only two or three minutes long, as long as I could hear his voice, I knew he was safe and alive.
Although I could not see him personally, I knew he was alive somewhere, where God could see him.
However, since the end of March, I have not received his calls anymore.
I have lost contact with him for more than 70 days, which makes my heart worry.
My reasoning makes me believe he is still alive, and God is with him.
However, not hearing from him is like an enemy. It hurts me so much that I suffer every day.
Normally, my husband would be managing the church, busy before and after, and I would merely hope for him to return home a bit earlier each night.
Now, my hope is causing me pain.
Every day, I just want to receive one three-minute call from him, but this apparently has become an extravagant hope.
Dear God, please let me follow behind you, pulling on the hem of your clothes, because I am no better off than the women [sic] who suffered from a blood issue for 12 years.
I know my weakness, so I am begging for my brothers and sisters to pray for me and Qin Defu.
God, please, out of charity, give us mercy. We are so lowly we cannot bear it!
Last November Qin Defu was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted on a charge of ‘illegal business operations’, apparently in relation to 20,000 Christian books used by the church. He was taken into custody in December 2018 in a mass crackdown on the church, during which around 100 people were seized.
Most have since been released, but some are still in detention or on bail.
This Thursday marks five years since the ‘709 Crackdown’ began on 9 July 2015, when over 300 lawyers, human rights defenders, and their colleagues and family members were detained, interrogated or imprisoned. Many of those detained had defended freedom of religion or belief. Join us to pray for true freedom in China.
In summary, please pray:
- For the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen Qin’s wife, Xiao Hongliu, as she waits to hear news of her husband.
- That Qin Defu will be released and allowed to return home to his family.
- That all the members of Early Rain Church will be freed and allowed to practise their faith peacefully, and the authorities will cease their campaign of harassment and intimidation.