An update from Elder Li Yingqiang of the Early Rain Covenant Church
Elder Li after returning from police station
After being in jail (and later probation) for nearly two years, Elder Li Yingqiang of Early Rain Covenant Church moved his family back to Chengdu to reunite with their fellow church members.
When authorities in Chengdu got word of his return, however, they immediately began harassing and threatening his family again.
On Sunday, October 11th, Chengdu authorities took Elder Li Yingqiang to the police station for questioning. Below is a translation of an update he sent detailing his experience.
October 11, 2020 (Lord’s Day):
After being forcibly taken to the police station, Officer Xu stated two things very clearly to me:
1) ERCC is banned by Chengdu authorities, and we will thoroughly enforce this ban and will not give your church any room to survive.
2) You are not welcome in Chengdu, and as long as you are here, we will make sure you can’t do anything or see anyone.
Elder Li is pictured with his family.
They repeatedly emphasized that ERCC has been banned and that no activities can be conducted in its name. I replied, “The church is heavenly and no earthly power can restrict its existence.”
They answered, “Stop dreaming! We will never give your church any space. We will only continually squeeze you.”
I have to be honest, during my conversation with them today, I was asking myself the question: Why do I want to continue living in Chengdu? In fact, God has been asking me this question for over a month now through everything that has happened.
Here’s what came to mind this morning at the police station and this afternoon when I got home. I didn’t tell this to the police, but I think they know.
We returned to Chengdu to pastor the church. God has put many from ERCC, including Pastor Wang Yi, in “prison seminary” to study. As an elder and pastoral assistant in this church, it is only right that I return to Chengdu to shepherd this flock.
When the sheep are facing wolves and tigers and leopards, it is the duty of the shepherd to protect them. My duty is to take care of this flock according to the will of God, “not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being an example to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:2-3)
What does it mean to serve the Lord? It is to act according to his will and not our own. Suffering for the name of the Lord, suffering for the church of Christ, is a blessing that Christians all long for. What we must be on guard against is our flesh and our pride, which may flare up at any time. If I thought myself worthy because of my sufferings, or if I thought I had merit because of my endurance, then I would be in sin.
Police constructed this building outside of Elder Li's home in order to spy on him.
Pray that the Lord would give me faith and grace to enjoy heavenly freedom in the midst of this lack of freedom, heavenly peace in the midst of this turmoil, and heavenly joy in the midst of these frequent tears and pain. Ask that I would not only love our dear brothers and sisters in this city—our family members—but also the millions of lost souls here and those who guard us, stalk us, summon us, detain us, and even those who threaten our wives and force our children to make our stay here uncomfortable.
At noon on October 10, 2020, when I went downstairs to take out the trash, I saw that the police had built a temporary housing unit below us. It looked as though they were making preparations to guard us for a long time.
On the evening of October 11, 2020, during our family worship, each of us shared our thoughts about the day. We thanked the Lord for comforting the frightened hearts of my wife and children and for turning our hearts from carnal anger to dependence on the Lord.
Then we sang together:
The Lord is my strength and my song;
My enemy pushed me hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
His hand exalts and saves.
He sets me in broad places, praise the Lord!
Update - Pastor Wang Yi’s Wife and Son are Monitored 24/7
Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong
(Sichuan, China-August 24, 2020) Jiang Rong, the wife of Pastor Wang Yi who is sentenced to 9 years because of preaching, was released on bail and her bailout was over several months ago, but authorities still put Jiang Rong under house arrest and monitor her closely.
Jiang Rong has been isolated from the world, CCP authorities have coercively barred her from interacting with her family, brothers and sisters of the church, and friends.
It is said that Jiang Rong miss brothers and sisters of the church dearly and often pray for this in tears!
Jiang Rong and her underage son, Wang Shuya, have been in inhumane custody since the “129” incident happened and Pastor Wang Yi is imprisoned. Chengdu police retaliates Pastor Wang Yi cruelly by taking Wang Shuya, the son of Pastor Wang Yi and Jiang Rong, to a designated school to brainwash him. Jiang Rong under house arrest has been treated inhumanely, and Pastor Wang Yi is jailed inside high walls and under electric barbed wires, which are juxtaposed and become a spectacle.
Early Rain Church Building is Forcibly Occupied
The following pictures show that Floors 23 and 19 of Early Rain Covenant Church are forcibly occupied and rented out by the sub district office and the community after being raided in the “129” incident. (Photos taken on August 24, 2020)