|Su Tianfu (left) with Yang Hua (right).|
(Photo: China Aid)
Translated by Carolyn Song. Written and edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Guiyang, Guizhou—Feb. 11, 2016) The wife of a prominent house church pastor released a letter explaining the situation of the church and its leaders, many of whom are currently detained.
Wang Hongwu, the wife of Huoshi Church’s Yang Hua, asked for prayer and support for the families of the detainees. Authorities placed Yang Hua in administrative detention on Dec. 10, and another Huoshi pastor, Su Tianfu, is currently under 24-hour surveillance after being released on bail. Zhang Xiuhong, the chairwoman of the church’s deacons, oversaw church finances but has been in detention since July 2015.
Wang expressed her concern for the families of the detained and for the church’s expenses, which must continue being paid, even though income has stopped after authorities banned all church meetings. A full translation of Wang’s letter can be found below.
Prayer letter from Wang Hongwu, wife of Huoshi Church’s Pastor Yang Hua
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you for the concern and prayers from our kinsmen all over the world, given to us at a time when Guiyang’s Huoshi Church is experiencing such a shock, with pastors and church members detained and beaten and our meeting place closed. We are gratified when we are walking on the road of the cross.
Recently, many Christians asked me about the situation of Huoshi Church, so I will describe what I know in the following. Please pray for us, dear Christian brothers and sisters.
1. Three meeting places of Huoshi Church have been banned. Prayer groups of more than 20 people are prohibited from gathering. Now, many worshippers are leaderless, and some go to other [house] churches, some go to the Three-Self church, some go nowhere and worship at home. Only a handful of Christians gather in homes.
The Church’s property, located on the 24th floor of Building 3 in the Huaguoyuan International Center, is about 600 square feet. We pay 30,000 Yuan (U.S. $4,500) on the monthly mortgage. We have a 10-year bank loan and have already paid [on the loan] for two years. Now, the government has banned our location and froze our offering of more than 600,000 Yuan (U.S. $91,000). We have no meetings, no offering, and no financial resources for this monthly mortgage payment. Thinking of these [hardships], the only thing I can do is to ask Christians to continue praying for us and let us know what we can do in this circumstance besides praying.
2. The situation of Pastor Su Tianfu: I asked Pastor Su [how he and his family are doing], and he said there is nothing needed for the time being, but I am more worried about his family’s economic situation. Su’s wife does not work. They have three children; the oldest child is 12 years old, the second is 5 years old, and the youngest is only 8 months old. [Su’s] mother, who is over 70 years old and in poor health, [also lives with them]. Besides living expenses, they have to pay the Church’s monthly mortgage and pay the rent for their home. Now that the Church has been banned, they rely on God to supply what is needed to pay their monthly living expenses. Pastor Su is now [out of prison on] bail and under surveillance 24 hours a day. Please support and pray for them.
My husband, Pastor Yang Hua, was arrested on Dec. 9, 2015, and put in administrative detention from Dec. 10–20. I personally saw as he was transferred from the administrative detention center to Nanming Detention Center, wearing a black hood. He was in criminal custody from Dec. 20, 2015 to Jan. 21, 2016 for “illegally possessing state secrets.” He was formally arrested on charges of “divulging state secrets” on Jan. 22, 2016.
We were not allowed to meet until today, so we didn’t know his situation. Yang Hua is not in good health and has three “highs” (high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure). He has ankylosing spondylitis, [a form of inflammatory arthritis] (10 years), and enteritis, [or inflammation of the intestine], caused by the ankylosing spondylitis. He has inflammation of the eye, mouth ulcers, neck pain, back pain, chills and such a series of problems. All this makes me worried about Yang Hua’s health, and I hope the Lord’s grace will lift up him, care for him, and enable him to face the time in prison.
3. Sister Zhang Xiuhong’s situation: Zhang Xiuhong is the chairman of our church’s deacons committee and oversees finances. Since July 2015, she has been under arrest for the charge of taking cash from a cash register. Her family has five people: her, her husband, their two children (an older boy in college and a young girl about 3 years old), and her mother, who is more than 70 years old. After Xiuhong was arrested, the family’s economic situation has been greatly affected. Please pray for their families.
Finally, there are two families: one of a Christian man named Yu Lei, a religious investigator. Another is that of a Christian woman named Wang Yao, who came from another church. I don’t know much about them. I only know they were arrested in connection with the case against Huoshi Church. Please pray for strength for them in prison and for their families. Pray that the Lord has special grace upon these two, not only for them but also for their families, that they experience comfort and hope from the Lord.
John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Amen! Thank God, for we are now experiencing such words. May the Lord’s love in this dark, perverse, unjust world manifest in this wonderful way, and may we witness it. Ask the Lord to bless all Christians.
Guiyang Huoshi Church
Pastor Yang Hua’s wife: Wang Hongwu
January 28, 2016