Dr. Smith returns from two weeks in China

Dr. Smith returns from two weeks in China

Thank you for your prayers over the last two weeks. Dr. Xu, Dr. Lanpher and I had a great trip to China and your prayers were so important! We just arrived back from a mission to meet with many of the underground church leaders in this country of 1.4 billion people. We celebrated a first ever CIU graduation and went from north to south to meet CIU grads and pastors. We traveled thousands of miles. We met with leaders over house churches with as many as two million people (they meet in groups of 50) and with leaders of much smaller house churches. God was with us in protection, and we had a nice trip.

One of the things I learned is that Dr. Jim (Lanpher) has a stomach of steel. He eats everything - pig brains, duck, fish head, fish eyes and beef intestine……. and he does not get sick. He is also a joy to travel with as is Dr. Xu, who is God’s servant. I love these men. By the way, I only tried the fish eyes and duck.

I want you to catch a glimpse of what it is like for our CIU friends and alums in China. Folks, the Chinese government crackdown is real. They say it is the worst they remember. In the last month, in one province, over 100 churches were closed. Police stand at their door fronts to block the entrance. We had to cancel one place where I was to preach because they considered it unsafe for a Westerner to speak in their church during this sensitive period of time, so we met somewhere else. On another day, I met with a different group of leaders; 27 of their churches had been closed that week. One man met with us and shared that the day before his church of 200 had been bulldozed by the government while his people wept.

Pastor after pastor has been arrested and detained. Many are sent to concentration camps for brainwashing for 50 days. Some probably will not return alive. Others are being beaten so badly that they are unable to function. We wept with these pastors, loved on them and encouraged them with the Word. Yet their indomitable spirits, encouraged by the Holy Spirit and your prayers, cause them to say - we will follow Christ no matter what. Please pray for them!

You say, “How can this happen?” Well, there are an estimated 10 cameras (I am told and saw) on every street corner and major road. Everyone has to be recognized by facial ID. You can’t go eat, buy food, buy a car, go to a hotel, go into McDonald’s, get a pizza, get a Coke or anything without first having your picture taken. There is a security guard at every apartment complex and along every road, and cameras taking pictures of you every mile of the road. America, if you don’t believe this is coming to you, get ready. When I got on the Delta Airlines plane this time in Atlanta, it was with facial recognition. We are only a few years behind, and all of our freedoms will be gone.

Church, let’s get prepared, and let’s be like these church leaders who remind me of the old song, “How Firm a Foundation,” which says:  “That soul though all hell should endeavor to shake - I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.” Christ is our Rock.

Regarding the CIU graduation, we were thrilled to celebrate with a room full of CIU friends, students and alums who love the Lord. Fiona was exceptional in helping us. Dr. Debbie Moore is so loved in China - thank you, Deb, for your love for the work.

God is in control. The church leaders in China say He is sifting wheat from chaff in His church.  Our faith is a deep, abiding faith in a Christ who transforms lives. Christ’s church is about the concept of loving God with all our heart and loving people! May God help us to understand this at CIU. Pray, church, pray!

Again thank you for your prayers! Now for this jet lag.......Lol!

Dr. Smith