Fearful Thoughts About Coming to China
Before coming to China, we heard a lot about what life should be like in China. We were in Churches that never heard of a missionary to China to churches that supported several missionaries to China. We met people who had friends or family living in China and people who had just read stories on the internet about China. We also met people who had served and lived in China themselves. Everyone’s experience relating to China and how they viewed the current situation varied, therefore we received encouraging and yet not so encouraging news about our plans to move to this country.
One of the encouraging times was when a previous missionaries to China took me out to dinner and shared his story with me. He shared of his struggles and how God brought them through. He shared of the victories of how He was used of God to lead several to Christ. He then offered a helping hand through prayer with understanding of what we were about to enter in the months ahead. They were really a blessing to me. But not everyone was like that!
A lot of the time when people spoke to us about China it would cause fear to come knocking on the door. It was a battle I had to learn to deal with over the next several months (I am thankful for a pastor and mentor who helped me keep the right focus).
I first met opposition when I called pastors to book meetings. Some pastor’s would tell me crazy stories they heard about China. They seemed to”know” about China and unwilling to learn about China. Here are some of the oppositions:
- A pastor told me I couldn’t do what I was claiming, he even called to ask friends, he wasn’t comfortable having us in because of it.
- A pastor told me that I can’t…(be a church planter in China).
- A pastor told me they can’t support a missionary to China because it is against the government and you have to lie to get into the country.
- A pastor told me that I was too open on the internet and there was no way the government would let me into the country once I got to the border.
But it wasn’t just from pastor’s over the phone. It came from many other people, people we met in person, over email, on Facebook, or random phone calls. They would tell us:
- Don’t be open on the internet, use Facebook, or anything like that.
- Make sure your name doesn’t show up in google, especially with anything religious or about China.
- Don’t use Skype in China because they screen your calls and know what you’re saying.
- Don’t download anything on Chinese servers because they all include spyware.
- Your telephones are tapped in China so you have to be careful what you say.
- Speak in code words, don’t openly talk about the ministry.
- People follow you around and will constantly be watching you.
- Be careful what you write in emails because they are scanned by the government.
When people are constantly telling you things like this, it begins to cause fear to set in. When your life is going to be under complete surveillance, it causes you to act and think differently. Especially when the next thing happens…