The Cross – Jesus In China

Video Transcripts
 


Episode 1
The Spring of Life

 

Prelude

(Narration)

In China, the story of the “Cross” once seemed as strange and far away as the other side of the universe. But today its message is here, right in our midst.

 

1900during the Boxer Rebellion, 188 western missionaries, and 20,000 Chinese Christians were killed.

 

In the following fifty years, more western missionaries came to China. They established 13 universities, over 6,000 elementary schools and high schools, and more than 900 hospitals. The number of Chinese Christians grew to 700,000.

 

The Chinese Communist Party believed this success was the result of imperialist cultural invasion.  They expelled all western missionaries,  forced Chinese missionaries to renounce their religion, and mandated a secular education for all Chinese.

 

Fifty more years have passed and today there are approximately 70 million Christians in China, an increase of 100 fold!

 

(Title sequence: The Cross – Jesus In China)

 

Narration:

In the last 20 years, China has become a giant dragon soaring across the sky. This dragon cares for nothing but its own achievement. The startling material growth of the nation is mirrored only by the steep decline of morality and personal values. 

 

However, the whole country, from its leaders to its citizens, is ignoring its hollow moral core.

 

Episode 1  The Spring of Life

(Subtitle: To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  -- Revelation 21: 6)

 

Testimony

Li Mindan/Guangzhou:

In a single night at a casino in Burma, I lost twenty years of savings.  I was greatly depressed when I went back to Guangzhou, my hometown.  To ease my pain, my friends took me to the nightclubs. I thought I’d found relief, but this kind of relief didn’t last long.  When I came back to reality, I was in even deeper pain.  That’s when I sought out God.  I browsed through all the bookstores for a copy of the Bible, but I didn’t find any.  One day, while having dinner with a friend, I told him I wanted to know about the Bible and Christianity. He told me he knew a Christian and made a phone call for me that night.  The next day, I met with this Christian. He knelt down and prayed for me to accept Jesus.  I quit smoking, drinking, marijuana, and popping Ecstasy pills.  Quitting these habits was such a hard struggle, but inside me I felt a source of strength that was helping me all the way.  My belief has greatly changed my life.  There was a time when I really wanted to get back all the money, the cars, and the houses I’d lost. But now I’m a changed man. I still work hard, but that’s not everything in my life.  I go walking with my wife after dinner, and I spend time with my family. Studying the scriptures has become the greatest joy in my life.  My family has completely changed their opinion of me.

 

Mrs. Li:

 He has changed so much.  He loves me and cares about me more than ever.  We’re so grateful that he has made so many good friends at church.  Our family is truly blessed. I feel great.

 

Zhang Zemin / Da-Chin (While preaching on the streets):

Jesus said: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 4:11).

 

Sister / Da-Chin:

You have no idea how he was before.  He was one of those so-called “gangsters”; robbing, street fighting, and doing the worst things you can imagine.  If a farm had plump chickens, he and his gang would steal them at night. They’d break the necks of the chickens and eat them when they got home.

 

Zhang Zemin / Da-Chin

If I saw a young girl I wanted, I would go straight to her mother to threaten her.

 

Sister / Da-Chin: 

He was always cursing.  He never talked without swearing or picking a fight with somebody.  He could never pass a young girl without feeling her up.

 

Sister / Da-Chin:  Only God’s power could change such a man.  Shouldn’t we be thankful to God? 

 

Zhang Zemin / Da-Chin (While preaching on the streets): 

I believe in Jesus Christ, and today I’d like to introduce the Lord to you. 

 

  

Narration:

People in China know very little about Christianity. Many think of it as nothing more than a superstitious belief, or an unwelcome import from western culture, or a social force. In reality, the birth of Christ has only one purpose: it is to redeem his people from sin. Today, the Gospel is cleansing and purifying all the sins in the hearts of the Chinese people, like a clear spring of living water.

 

Testimony

Li Ru-Chin / Guangdong:

I was a big time gangster.  I owned a casino, and I was a loan shark.  Later, I became addicted to drugs and lost every penny I had. I tried to quit about twenty times but I just couldn’t.  One day, my mother said to me, “Son, believe in Jesus.”  Kind of passively, I said, “Okay, Mom. I’ll try.” She took my hand and started praying, “Jesus, my Lord, I thank you.  Now my son has agreed to follow you.  I have brought him before you. Please help me.  I will give my life to you if you save him.”  I was deeply touched by her prayer, so I said: “All right, I’d like to repent all my sins.” In about half hour, I fell asleep.  When I got up the next morning, I felt a new strength inside me. I’d no idea where this strength had come from.  Several years have gone by, and since that day I’ve never gambled.  I still don’t know where that strength came from.  It had to have come from Christ.

 

Li Ru-Chin / Guangdong:

While I was having dinner one day with some of the former police chiefs, I told them I needed to pray before eating.  I told them how Christ had saved me.  One of them said, “It took that long? If you’d been saved earlier, we wouldn’t have had all this chaos in our country. Why don’t you bring your old buddies to Jesus?  Please help them. I’ll support you.”  I said, “ Praise the Lord.  Why don’t you join us?”

 

Wang Qian / Xiamen:

 I don’t remember what we were looking up in the Bible at the time.  All I remember was they asked me if I had any questions. I said, “I don’t know how to love.”  It was true.  I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loved when I tried so hard to love others.  I was having trouble with my boyfriend. I was heart-broken, so I started going out with anybody who asked me.  Yet, I never felt loved.  There were two Christian girls in my dorm.  They asked me if I would accept the Lord.  I agreed to try, and they said, “Let’s learn about the love of God together.”

 

Narration:

Historically, the concept of repentance has never been part of China’s belief system. It’s a completely revolutionary, spiritual experience for Chinese people when they discover that we are all sinners and we have all fallen short of God’s Glory. What a miraculous change for a Chinese man or woman to finally admit they are sinners and need forgiveness and baptism from God.

 

(Chapter 1:  Sin)
 

Testimony

Chef: 

I used to be a drunk. After I became a Christian, I quit smoking and drinking altogether.  Sometimes when I fight with my wife, I feel like swearing, but somehow the curses just won’t come out of my mouth anymore.

 

Sister: 

The last time we fought, I lay in bed for two days and nights without eating or drinking water. I thought to myself: I might as well try to believe in Jesus. If it works, we’ll spend the rest of our lives together. If not, I’ll either divorce him or kill myself.  It has been six years since we became Christians.  Now we get along pretty well.

 

Brother: 

A Christian doesn’t swear, fight, steal, or rob. You can’t live a good life without faith in God.

 

Narration:

The amazing thing is that no matter who you are, whether you’re a farmer, an intellectual, you are from a broken family, or live in the underbelly of society, you can live a new life once you come to Jesus.   

 

Testimony

Ya Xi:

Sometimes I felt discouraged when I prayed about him.  He didn’t seem to change at all. In fact, I felt he was getting worse and worse.

 

Zhu Yi: 

Paul confessed to being a great sinner. I felt that I was, too. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera mentioned that there are two kinds of men.  One finds the virtues of all women in one woman, the other finds the virtues of one woman in all women.”  I chose to be the latter.  I fell into a deeper and deeper trap. I was a big sinner. Not only was I destroying the life of my faithful wife, but also I was deceiving myself, numbing my own conscience. But I still couldn’t get out of the trap. I thought I could deal with all the affairs I was having at the same time, but it was really exhausting. Later on I thought divorce might be a shortcut, a better way out. I kept screaming for a divorce, but I knew I didn’t have the guts to do it.

 

Ya Xi: 

I had to endure all kinds of verbal abuse from him, but God gave me the strength of patience, the kind of patience I never had before I became a believer.  When my husband attacked me, I just found a quiet corner and prayed. I asked God’s help to change him.

 

Zhu Yi: 

Before she found faith in Jesus, she always assumed that I was lying, even when I wasn’t.  After she became a Christian, she became very trusting.  All I had to tell her was I needed to go out, and she’d say “All right.”  Gradually, I stopped lying to her because I didn’t want to be unworthy of her trust.

 

Ya Xi: 

After I converted, I found peace within myself.  There’s nothing worth getting angry over.

 

Zhu Yi: 

Sometimes I purposely tried to provoke a fight. But to my surprise, instead of fighting with me, she would go into the kitchen or the bathroom to pray.  I said to myself, “This is impossible.  This girl doesn’t have strength like that.”

 

Ya Xi: 

When he got angry, I kept quiet. I prayed and asked the Lord to calm him down.  To my surprise, I saw the flame of his anger dimming, little by little.  Poof! Then it died.  I heard him sigh and then come over to comfort me.  Ah! How grateful I was to the Lord! This was God’s work.  He was right there.

 

Zhu Yi: 

When she prayed for me she was often in tears. One day God told her, “Restrain your eyes from tears, he will return from the land of the enemy...” (Jer 31:16)

 

Ya Xi:

April 10th, 1998.  It was our wedding anniversary.

 

Zhu Yi:

That evening she had a church gathering. I offered to drop her off, because Beijing was dangerous at night.  I thought I’d wait outside till the meeting was over and then I’d escort her home.  But I was brought inside immediately and seated at the very front.  When we got home, I told my wife that I’d like to pray, but didn’t know how.  She took me to the bathroom, and we knelt down.  She asked me to repent, so I did.  She told me she’d never seen me crying out loud like that before.

 

Ya Xi: 

It was the first time I saw him cry and repent.  At first, he was sobbing. Later, he started crying out loud.

 

Zhu Yi: 

I felt the sky had turned into a huge book in front of my eyes.  After I repented for a sin recorded on a particular page, that page would be turned to the next one. I remembered things I’d long forgotten.  It was miraculous! If I hadn’t decided to follow Jesus Christ at that time, I might have ended up dead.

 

Ya Xi:

 I didn’t realize what a new life we’d received until we both accepted God.  We are so grateful to the Lord.

 

Zhu Yi: 

Really. Now we have very good communication.  She understands me, I understand her.  We have become one, as God says. God is with us.  It feels so good to come close to God together as husband and wife.  I feel that she’s not hard to talk to and she needs my love so much.  And I feel that, with her as the only woman to love in my life, I am complete.  One time I told her that I felt like we were falling in love all over again.  God is full of wonder.  He brought love into our home, and saved us from the hands of Satan.  Our life has gone back to the state of Eden. There’s no deception.  In the past, I hid my cell phone and beeper because I didn’t want her to find out about all my love affairs.  But now I can leave her my cell phone and beeper if I’m not available.  I ask her to help me answer the calls and take care of my stuff.  She has become my personal secretary, and I’ve become hers, too.  There are no secrets between us.  We have become one, physically and spiritually.

 

Narration:

We may never understand why Christ’s death on the cross has such tremendous power to revive our souls and our lives.  But throughout history, this miracle has kept on happening -- and the Chinese people in the 21st century are no exception. 

 

Testimony

Zhang Dongsheng: 

We didn’t talk about divorce, but we were separated.  Our marriage was in danger. 

 

Mrs. Zhang:

When I was working in Shen-Zheng, my job made me feels very important.  We were on the verge of divorce, and my family life felt meaningless.

 

Zhang’s daughter: 

I felt that my parents were only together out of convenience.  I didn’t see why we should stay together as a family.

 

Zhang: 

My wife decided to convert only after she saw the change in.

 

Mrs. Zhang: 

He asked me to go home and see the changes. I replied, “What belief?  You smoke and drink. You don’t know how to love anyone. You’re a lazy slob, and you never help around the house.”

 

Zhang’s daughter: 

I prayed for my parents, and the year I graduated, my parents finally got back together.

 

Mrs. Zhang: 

He has never treated me so well. Not since the day we got married. When I was young, I wasn’t ugly.  Actually, I was quite a pretty girl.  But even back then, I wasn’t able to change him.  Now I’m old, and he’s so nice to me. 

 

Zhang’s daughter:

Five years ago we had three cars, and now we have three bicycles instead. But I’ve no desire to go back to the life we had before. Although we only have bicycles, our life has completely changed.

 

Mrs. Zhang: 

I was always the one who made tea for my husband. But now when I wake up from my afternoon nap, a cup of Oo-Long tea is always there. It’s my favorite tea, and my husband makes it especially for me.  If it weren’t for God’s power, this never would have happened.

 

(Chorus)

He is the source of love and life

His work and miracles have prevailed

Let’s stay close and love each another

Come!  Let’s praise Him forever

Glory to the Lord

 

Testimony

Orphan from Si-Chuan:

I didn’t know whether this love comes from Jesus or from somebody else, but they really love me.  It’s a fact, an unchangeable fact.

 

(Chapter 2:  Love)

 

Narration:

This orphan had spent most of his life wandering the streets. In 1999, he was adopted by a house-church in Cheng Du, and later became a preacher

 

Testimony

Si-Chuan Orphan: 

I left home when I was twelve and lived on the streets for four years.  During that time, I got involved in tons of street fights. I have a lot of scars from those days. One day I was stabbed in the back. I lost a lot of blood and had to be taken to the hospital.

 

Narration:

The church set up orphanages to adopt these homeless children who spent most of their lives wandering aimlessly through the streets and train stations.

 

Testimony

A teacher at an orphanage: 

These children had been living on the streets when we found them.  They had picked up lots of bad habits. We loved them with the pure love only Christ can give, and we taught them God’s word.

 

Director of the orphanage: 

I see immediate changes in mischievous children soon after they join our big family.  It’s God’s love that changes and renews the lives of these children.

 

(Chorus: Psalm 96:1-3)

Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

 

Testimony:

Orphan One: 

I’m from Inner Mongolia.  My parents abandoned me because I was blind.

 

Orphan Two: 

After my parents were jailed, I was home alone. So I started to wander the streets.

 

Orphan Three: 

I ran away from home because my parents beat me.

Orphan Four: 

I felt that my mother hated me after my father died, so I took twenty yuan and left home.  Auntie Zhang found me and brought me here. 

 

Orphan Five:

 My father died from an overdose of drugs.  My mother ran off with somebody and remarried.  She told everybody that I wasn’t her son.

 

Orphan Six: 

My father sold my brothers, and he wanted to sell me, too.  He beat me. So I left home and picked pockets on the trains, in the streets and just about everywhere I went.

 

Director: 

He was mute and deaf.  At first, he was always hitting the other children here.  Later on, he stopped hitting and started to help others.

 

Director: 

How old are you? Say “ Four.” (Note: the director is helping the orphan to talk, the orphan has a speech impediment)

 

Orphan Seven: 

Four.

 

Director: 

Where are you from? 

 

Director: 

Where are your parents?

 

Director: 

Auntie Gao and two other sisters found him when he was just a baby. 

 

Si-Shuan Orphan: 

I’d always felt inferior and had no respect for myself.  But after I saw the selfless love of the teachers at the orphanage, I learned to love others.   It’s all because of the love of Jesus.

 

(Singing of a blind child)

To open the people’s eyes to see God

We have walked through gales and storms

We wish to walk all over the world

To plant the seeds of love

 

Narration:

These sisters receive no wages for their work, and they never have a vacation, They do this with no accolades or recognition from society.  In fact, they have to do all this secretly because it is a service of the house- churches, which are illegal. 

 

Testimony

A teacher at the orphanage: 

But I know the love of God is here.  When I love others, I learn the greatness of love.  Love is devotion and sacrifice.  Love is sacred.

 

Narration:

In a world of selfishness, these faithful followers of Christ are willing to follow the example of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

 

Testimony

Li Min Dan: 

Nowadays, what’s missing in China is love, the universal love that comes from our Lord, Jesus.  Once we accept God’s love, it will grow in everyone’s heart, and flow out continually like a living spring.

 

Mrs. Zhang: 

God’s love has brought peace into families. If more people believe in God, peace will spread out from family units into the whole of society. 

 

Yu Jie: 

Today humanity is the main problem of Chinese society. I think Chinese have lost the ability to love. This is very sad and dreadful.

 

Narration:

China’s intellectuals have begun to discuss and pursue the love of Christ in their own unique way. 

 

Testimony

Yu Jie:  Many considered me a harsh critic of our society.  However, this is only one part of me. There’s another part closer to my true self, such as love, pity, and compassion.  Those qualities come from my understanding and study of the Bible and Christianity.

 

President Bush's remarks at Tsinghua University: 95% of Americans say they believe in God, and I am one of them.

 

Testimony:

Ren Bu Mei: 

When President Bush talked about 9-11 in his speech during his visit to China, he had tears in his eyes.  The host of the meeting and also the students who were there should have expressed concern and compassion about the catastrophe.  I’m sad to say that no questions or remarks were made.  I believe they simply didn’t feel the pain, because they don’t have God’s love in their hearts. They can’t feel others’ pain as their own. All they cared about was the possible armed conflict between China and Taiwan.

 

President Bush's remarks at Tsinghua University: Freedom of religion is not something to be feared but to be welcomed, because faith gives us a moral core and teaches us to hold ourselves to high standards, to love and to serve others.

 

Testimony:

Wang Yong Sheng: 

It’s important for an artist to spread God’s love.  Otherwise his or her artwork will have no significance despite the apparent aesthetic value. A good artist should bring a healthy and positive energy to his society.

 

Narration:

Wang Yongsheng, a well-known artist in China, once was falling deeper and deeper into a life of sin.

 

Testimony

Wang Yong Sheng: 

I used to change girlfriends as often as I changed clothes.  Friends and fellow artists around me were all in similar situations.  A lot of them were successful artists but failures when it came to family.

 

(Clips from “China’s Confession”:  This is a land without forgiveness and unselfish love.  Success is the only measure of accomplishment.  Conspiracy is defined as wisdom, and warfare is glorified.  )

 

(Song in the Cultural Revolution)

Let’s have a new triumph in the Cultural Revolution

Beat him down with all our might

Down with Chinese Nikita Khrushchev

Crush him hard! Crush him under our feet!

 

Testimony

Wang Yong Sheng: 

After watching “China’s Confession”, I finally realized what the Chinese people need.  I also realized that my ignorance of love was pretty normal given the circumstances I grew up in.  I didn’t have too much difficulty in becoming a Christian.  After I watched “China’s Confession”, I read some books by Liu Xiao Feng.  A missionary came to my house and talked to me for a while.  I’ve been a Christian for only one year.  I’m still an infant really, but I pray every day.  I also pray for my friends, and look forward to meetings on Sunday.  Most people in our group are artists. The group is called “Artists’ Fellowship”.  Every week, we get together and talk with each other.  I feel at home, very comfortable. It’s really nice.

 

Sister (hosting a gathering): 

Today, the love of God has brought us here.

 

Yang Tao: 

There’s a song I can’t sing well. How can I sing it well if it doesn’t have God’s love in it? It won’t have any power of spiritual awakening.

 

Yang Tao: 

I used to own a bar. I got drunk every day, and I also used drugs for a while.  I was numb about everything.  Then I read in the Bible, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Pro 4:23).” I was deeply moved.  I knew that I’d lost touch with my heart. Right about then, I met my wife in Beijing.  In order to date her, I ended up in church because that’s where she was.

 

Ya Ya: 

I was the only Christian in my class, and I started to spread the gospel among my classmates.  Many of them also became Christians.  Our attitude towards learning and working made a good impression on our teachers. 

 

Dancer One: 

I was awarded the Best Dancer award in the national dancing contest.  While I was waiting for my turn, I was praying quietly.  I might have appeared odd to everybody else, but I didn’t care.

 

Dancer Two:  My attitude is different from before. Though the trials and difficulties are still there, I feel joy all the time.

 

Dancer Three: 

The thought of God often brings tears to my eyes.  They aren’t tears of pain, but tears of joy and peace.

 

Dancer Four: 

I think the world is cold, except for the love of God.

                       

Ya Ya: 

I feel that God is holding my hand and walking with me, even in the dark. I never feel lost.

 

(The dancers are saying the Lord’s prayer)

…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Mat 6:13)

 

Xie Yu Qing (a ballet teacher): 

I played Mahjong every Friday and Saturday night.  We stayed up all night playing. Sometimes there were so many people the entire three floors of my house would be full.  I lost ninety thousand yuan in six months.  One day, a sister brought me to church. I’d never felt so good before. That night I opened up and told them everything about me.  I felt as if I was talking with my family.  I wish I’d met God earlier (sobbing….). Words are not enough to express how deeply my heart was touched.

 

 (Mrs. Yuan Zheng singing)

            Today I pray for you

            My beloved China

            May my sincere prayer

            Bloom thousands of lilies

            All over the fields

            All over the hills

            This is my beloved China 

 

Tesimony:

 

Yuan Zheng (A famous singer): 

Many brothers and sisters often ask me how I became a Christian.  In fact, God has been guiding me all the time. It came naturally. I didn’t experience many ups-and-downs, or go through much suffering.

 

Yuan Zheng (A famous singer): 

I’m in a profession where fame and wealth are the top priorities, not to mention all kinds of dirty tricks and sins.  Thank God for choosing me, bringing me to a clean place, and allowing me to be in contact with decent people. Of course, our thoughts are not always clean. Even now, I’m still troubled by distracting thoughts.

 

Lu Li Ping (a famous actress): 

I’m sometimes weak, and self-centered. I don’t follow God’s word all the time. I have a strong personality.  But I know I‘m still a child of God. It’s not that you don’t leave Him; it’s He who doesn’t leave you. He’s always there to help me get back on my feet when I trip and fall.

 

Lu Li Ping:  Nothing should be new for a forty-year-old because I have experienced so much in life. But for me, somehow everything is always fresh.  I wonder why I’m like this, why I’m so easily moved? When I need passion in my acting, the passion comes out fully. Before I act, I usually pray. It’s because of God’s love that my heart is touched so easily.

 

Sister (talking about her husband): 

For more than six months, he would go to church every Sunday and argue about whether God existed.

 

(Chapter 3:  Spirit)

 

Testimony:

Brother: 

I realized faith was a move I had to make on my own. It’s like a person who hears from others that an apple tastes good.  If he keeps on analyzing its composition without taking a bite, he or she will never know the true taste of an apple. So I told myself, “Just believe it!” 

 

Gao Yan De: 

I went to one of the best high schools in China, Nan Kai High School in Tien Jing.  After that, I went to one of the top universities in China, Qing Hua University.  Because of my academic success, I was really bigheaded.  I loved to ask tough or unusual questions. It’s called reasoning, but really it’s sophistry.  One thing that greatly influenced my decision to become a Christian was my first prayer. Before I opened my mouth, I felt very uncomfortable.  Once I started, somehow I calmed down right away. My “questions” didn’t bother me any more.  They weren’t resolved. But I stopped thinking about them.  I became a very happy person.  My wife and I joined the gospel meetings around the same time, and we accepted the Lord at the same time too. Every night we study the scriptures together.  We take turns reading them aloud, and then pray together. 

 

A physics professor from Xiamen University: 

Physics is an experimental science.  I felt I had to meet God before I could believe in him.  One day, a sister told me, “Actually, you may try praying to God when you have problems.” So I did this a few times, and God did listen.

 

Narration:

Since the May 4th Movement of 1911, reason and science have had supreme status among Chinese intellectuals.  What kinds of questions do Christian scholars think about? 

 

Testimony

Gao Yan De:

Everybody knows one plus one equals two. It’s a self-evident truth.  No mathematician would try to prove it.  It’s the premise on which other mathematical theorems are based. When I first got to know God, like many others, I constantly tried to prove God’s existence.  Now I know what I did was meaningless. God’s existence is not something that can be proved by human reasoning.

 

Professor at Xiamen University:

As physicists, we try to synthesize asymmetrical molecules for medical and scientific purposes.  Our achievements are minute compared with God’s creation.  The more one works in scientific fields, the more awe one has of the Creator’s wisdom.

 

Narration:

Many Chinese intellectuals are presently studying Christian philosophy and belief.  However, the essence of faith is not theory, but a way of new life.  God is not found through reasoning, but in spirit and truth.

 

Testimony

Sister: 

Why do we live? Do we really disappear after we die? I felt very troubled when I thought about life and death.  So I went to worship Buddha to find an answer, but nothing ever happened.  One day, I felt compelled to visit the local church. It wasn’t Sunday.  It was Tuesday. The door was locked, but they allowed me to go inside and stay for a while. While sitting there, somehow I felt very moved.  Not knowing why, I started to cry. I sat there alone, and cried for about an hour.

Brother: 

A Christian couple visited us and took us to church. During the church meeting, my sister and I both cried uncontrollably.  Tears were streaming down our cheeks.  We didn’t know why we were so moved.  It was like suddenly we saw light.  It shone through our hearts.

 

Narration:

As a seedling craves water and sunshine in order to thrive, so does the soul long for the pure love of Christ in order to flourish.

 

 (Interviews outside a church at Christmas, people are waiting in line to enter the church)

 

Interviewer: 

Why are you here to celebrate Christmas?

 

Girl: 

Because I want to receive peace.  And Christmas blessings.

 

Girl: 

Because I’m waiting for Christ.  I have to see Him today.

 

Interviewer: 

Are you sure you’ll see Him when you go in?

 

Girl: 

Absolutely, as long as you believe in Him.

 

Young lady: 

I think Christianity is a religion of peace, a symbol of peace.  It’s beautiful.  Don’t we all long for peace?  I come here often to pray for world peace.

 

Young man: 

I wouldn’t be this good if I wasn’t Christian.  If everybody becomes Christian, our country will definitely be much better off.

 

Narration:

The churches in Beijing are overwhelmed with people not only on Christmas Eve, but each and every Sunday throughout the year. 

 

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China more than fifty years ago, the size of the Christian population in Beijing has grown from the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.  However, the number of chapels has diminished from sixty-six to six. 

 

Chinese people educated under the ideology of materialism may be confused by the spiritual thirst they are feeling.  Their souls are longing for a spiritual awakening. 

 

Testimony

Chen Xiu Fan: 

I felt something was missing at the bottom of my heart, even though I was working at a preschool. In people’s eyes, it was a very good place to work.  When I first worked there, Ms. Chen, one of my co-workers, told me that my previous job at the chicken farm was actually a better choice.  It was easier to deal with chickens than with people.  After a while, I realized I might have chosen the wrong place to work, because I really didn’t know how to play politics. I made good money, but I felt exhausted.  I told my husband that I wanted to find a place to cry out loud. He loves to tease me. He said to me jokingly, “You must be sorry you married me.”  I told him I didn’t know why I felt so upset.  I cried hard that night.  The next day, I went to Ms. Chen who told me about the Gospel. I started to cry as soon as I saw her.  At first she thought I had a fight with my husband.  I told her I just felt terribly depressed.  She said: “I think it’s time for you to go to church.”  So I went to church with her.  The first gospel song I learned was, “It’s Jesus who drove away the darkness in my heart.  It’s Jesus who drove away the cold and sadness in my heart.  From now on, I won’t ask myself bitterly why I am walking on such a rough path….” Wow, who wrote this song? How come it was speaking right to me?  I’m not a good singer, and I go off key all the time. But that night I sang loudly. Ms. Chen pulled the corner of my shirt and whispered to me, “ Not so loud, or everyone will sing off key.”

 

Liu Xiao Feng: 

The core message of Christianity is personal salvation.  The key point is that your attitude towards life will completely change.  You live in this world and you might have all kinds of limitations imposed on you, but your spirit and salvation exist beyond this world.

 

Narration:

Liu Xao Feng, a contemporary noted scholar, has persistently sought the truth of faith. 

 

Testimony:

Liu Xiaofeng: 

I lectured in Zhong Shan University last month.  A student stood up at the end of my lecture and said, “You are Christian.  That makes you not Chinese.  If you were Chinese, you wouldn’t believe in Christianity.  It’s part of the western culture.”  Well, accepting Christianity helps me solve questions of being human.  And as I’ve mentioned many times, the questions of being human are above those of being Chinese.

 

Zhang Rong Liang: 

Before the Liberation of China, it was believed that if one more Chinese became a Christian, there’d be one fewer “real” Chinese.  In other words, You were like a westerner. However, now people believe that if one more Chinese becomes Christian, then one more Chinese is saved.  In fact, there is one more “real” Chinese because he or she no longer smokes, gambles, uses drugs, commits crimes, or disturbs our society.

 

(Chapter 4:  Righteousness )

 

Zhu Yi: 

Before I became a Christian, nobody had ever talked to me about joining the Communist party.  But the third day after I became a Christian, the party secretary of our local branch came to ask me to consider joining the party.  I told him I was a Christian. He said, “Well, Christians aren’t bad at all.  There are several elderly Christians working for me.  They’re all very nice people.”  I thanked the Lord in my heart.

 

Brother from He-Bei: 

The manager of the company came to talk to me one day, “I hear you believe in God.  But remember you’re a Communist party member.”  I said to him, “The party has treated me well.  But I’ve been receiving blessings of peace and joy since I believed in Jesus.  The party is good, but the Lord is better. I have no choice but to follow him.”  When he saw nothing would change my mind, he asked me to resign from the party.  For me, this was great because now I don’t have to go to the party meetings or pay member fees.  I can use all my time after work to worship our Lord with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

 (Chorus)

Clap your hands

Play your instruments

Shout and sing

The bright songs resound to the skies

Each and every day

 

Testimony

Accountant: 

I’d been an accountant in my company for two years.  Then one day, my company decided to start two book keeping records  – one accurate for inner use and one altered to fool the public. I struggled with myself all night, and then I asked the Lord, “Let me keep this job to the end of this month.”  But the Lord told me, “ You should stop doing it the moment you know it’s wrong.”  When I went to work the next Monday, the first thing I did was to go straight to my manager. I told him I couldn’t do it.  My company then asked me to resign, but I didn’t because the Lord didn’t tell me to.  My company didn’t lay me off though. They transferred me to the maintenance department.

 

An Elderly woman:

I believe God is very powerful; otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to transform the lives of my son and his wife.  Their life used to be like… ah, it’s hard to describe, anyway, let’s just say it was a trashy low life.  It was a life I absolutely hated to see. Now they’ve completely changed.  They have become so wonderful! How can I not thank God?  I have been to church four. My son always asks me to go with him. He loves me. 

 

Brother:

In spring, they couldn’t find anyone who wanted to plant trees for the city.  They’d tried different government departments, but nobody wanted to do it.  Then there was a Christian who gathered hundreds of brothers and sisters in no time at all.  They grabbed their shovels and planted all the trees in a blink of an eye.  While the local government chief was making a speech to praise them, the brothers told him, “You should thank the Lord.”  So the chief thanked the Lord.

 

Shen Xien Feng: 

The managers of the Labor Camps were very happy when Christians were brought in.  They would say: Great! Now we’ve got some prisoners who can be put in charge. Because Christians were the most trust worthy, they were often assigned jobs such as keepers of personal belongings, supervisors of other prisoners, or group managers, or any jobs that required trust.  The prison managers were sometimes very sad to see the Christians leave, because they were such good people.

 

Lao Ging: 

Seven leaders in my Labor Camp came to see me the day I was released.  They held my hands and said, “ Lao Ging, we wish you could stay for three more years.  We don’t want to see you go.” Then they told me to continue my faith after my release.

 

Ding-Hei: 

Four of our Camp leaders became Christians. We lived together and talked a lot. Before I was released, they told me, “If this were a better place, we would keep you here.  We really don’t want to let you go.”

 

Brother:

The prison managers realized that the Christians were really good people. We were nicknamed “free prisoners” because we were put in charge of the vegetable garden and distributed the produce to the managers.

 

Brother Ji Tai: 

The police officers went so far as to tell us that if everyone became Christian, then they’d have nothing to do.  To spread the gospel not only saves a person’s soul, but also brings blessings to the entire society.  It changes society.

 

 (Chorus)

A voice urges me: be brave and move on

The Holy Spirit is guiding my way

You fill my heart with joy and content

 

Testimony:

Feng Kai: 

I found all of my new employees at church.  I have six hundred employees. They all attend Sunday services. So every Sunday, there are always more than six hundred members in our four chapels. We have prayer time every morning and evening.  We also have Bible study groups.

 

Feng Kai’s wife: 

Our Corporation, Hua-Xia-Ren Group of  Shen Yang City, is mainly in the restaurant business, but we also own some sea water fish farms, and schools. For each business we have a choir of twenty people. We sing gospel songs to our customers and bring blessings to their lives.  They like those songs.

 

(Canaan Hymnal #1 Bring with you your happiness )

Bring your honesty

Bring your heart

Enter the wonderful sanctuary

 

Feng Kai’s wife: 

Each business of ours has a prayer box for customers.  They write down their problems and put them in the box. Every week we open the box and pray for them. 

 

Feng Kai: 

We used to rely on our famous hospitality to be the main attraction of our business. Now we rely on Jesus Christ.  Some customers didn’t know who Jesus was. After they met the Lord here, they started to go to church.  What makes me happy is to see our customers at church.  Some other customers suggested we hire call girls and hook up Karaoke machines at our restaurants, but I told them “No way!”  I felt very proud one day when one of our customers called home from our restaurant, and all he had to say to his wife was, “I’m at Hua-Xia Ethnic Village, and I‘ll be home late.”  Just one simple sentence, but I was very touched. He probably used to give a lot of excuses to his wife. But when he called from my restaurant, no explanations needed and no questions asked.  I felt this was a symbol of trust.

 

Feng Kai’s wife:

A lot of us cried when we saw the news of flood on TV.  Although most of us come from the northeast and have no family ties in the south, we still felt the pain.  We got together and prayed.  Our employees donated one hundred thirty-five thousand  yuan that night. 

 

Chef: 

The Lord loves me and he commands us to love one another.  I feel the love and warmth among people here.  I no longer care how much money I make or how hard I work.  I truly enjoy working here.

 

(Chorus)

Lord, it’s good to know you

In each and every second

In your loving arms

 

Feng Kai: 

We have parent meetings every year, mainly to let them see what kind of life their children are living. After they see the changes in their children they also want to know God. After they go back home, they start going to their local church. We began as a small private business in 1993. It’s God’s miracle that we’ve grown to be so huge and successful.  Everyday our restaurant is overwhelmed. Many people have asked me, “How do you get this many people to come every day?”  I said, “I believe in God.”

 

 (Chorus)

Christ is our only light

Hurry and spread the gospel

 

Testimony:

Feng Kai: 

I don’t think of it like I’m running a business, it’s more like I’m in the business of loving God.  It is inevitable that we meet problems or disputes with our customers. But the first thing our employees do is pray. In tears, they pray before God.  I also kneel before God and pray every day, and so do my employees.

 

Prayer of an employee:

Lord, we’d like you to use our young lives in your service.  Amen.

 

Feng Kai: 

I used to ask the Lord for wealth.  And now I only ask for one thing:  please use me as your tool.  It will be the greatest blessing in my life.

 

 (Canaan Hymns #574  The stream of life)

The stream of life

The stream of joy

Flow tenderly into my heart

The stream of life

The stream of joy

Flow tenderly into my heart

 

I want to sing a song

A song from heaven

The dark clouds above

The sorrow in my heart

They all disappear

 

I want to sing a song

A song from heaven

The dark clouds above

The sorrow in my heart

They all disappear

 

(End)

 

 

 

 

 


Episode 2
The Seeds of Blood

 

Prelude

(Narration)

In China, the story of the “Cross” once seemed as strange and far away as the other side of the universe. But today its message is here, right in our midst.

 

1900during the Boxer Rebellion, 188 western missionaries, and 20,000 Chinese Christians were killed.

 

In the following fifty years, more western missionaries came to China. They established 13 universities, over 6,000 elementary schools and high schools, and more than 900 hospitals. The number of Chinese Christians grew to 700,000.

 

The Chinese Communist Party believed this success was the result of imperialist cultural invasion.  They expelled all western missionaries, forced Chinese missionaries to renounce their religion, and mandated a secular education for all Chinese.

 

Fifty more years have passed and today there are approximately 70 million Christians in China, an increase of 100 fold!

 

 (Title sequence: The Cross – Jesus In China)

 

 (Narration)

Three missionary leaders were born around the time the blood of Christian martyrs was shed in the Boxer Rebellion, Mingdao Wang, John Sung, and Watchman Nee.

 

 (Narration)

Mingdao Wang was born in Beijing in 1900. At age twenty he began his work as an evangelist. At twenty-seven, he established Spiritual Food Quarterly.   In 1955 he was imprisoned for refusing to renounce his faith. While in prison, weakened by intense interrogation and torture, he was forced to sign a statement renouncing his faith.  After his release, Mingdao Wang could not find inner peace.  He gave himself up to the authorities and went back to jail with his wife, this time for life. Twenty years later, in 1977, Mrs. Wang was released.  Mingdao Wang would rather die than accept his release. But two years later the government tricked him into leaving.

 

Mingdao Wang: “Although I live in darkness, The Lord is my light. I want to endure His wrath because I offended Him.”

 

(Narration) Mingdao Wang and his wife passed away in 1991 and 1992.

 

 (Narration)

John Sung was born in 1901. In 1926, he studied in America and received his Ph.D. in chemistry, and then went to the Union Theological Seminary of New York. The president of the seminary thought Song was crazy. He was locked up for 193 days. In the asylum, Song read the Bible forty times. Later, on his way back to China, Song threw a golden key into the Pacific Ocean; it was the symbol of his Ph.D. In the following seventeen years, John Sung, known as Crazy Song, spread the gospel like wildfire across China and Southeast Asia. In 1944, when he was 43 years old, Song passed away.

 

 (Narration)

Watchman Nee was born in 1902. From the time he was twenty-eight, he wrote a great deal in both Chinese and English. In Shanghai, he established a church known as the Local Small-Group church, and soon this form of church spread across the country. In 1952, he was convicted of counterrevolutionary activities and was imprisoned in Baimaoling Jail. He died suddenly in 1972, just before the end of his prison term.

 

 (Narration)

All these men, who were born around the Boxer Rebellion, later became the founders of Chinese Christian churches.

 

 (Narration)

During the late Twentieth century, no matter how fiercely the storms of persecution raged, Christianity could no longer be uprooted from China as it was in the Tang, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. Instead, the Faith flourished -- it had grown too strong to be suppressed.

 

 (Narration)

From Matteo Ricci, Robert Morrison, and Hudson Taylor, to the Boxer martyrs of 1900, the seeds planted by the life and blood of thousands of western missionaries finally had sent down deep roots into this harsh and ancient land. 

 

The Cross In China / Episode 2: Bloody Seeds

 

 (Narration)

The Chinese Communist Party Members who took control of Mainland China in 1949 were die-hard atheists. Although the constitution acknowledges freedom of religion, the Communist Party’s covert goal is to limit, transform and eventually eliminate religions.

 

 (Narration)

From 1949 to 1953, at least several thousand Christians were killed. Tens of thousands were imprisoned.

 

 (Narration)

While these horrors were happening, Premier Zhou Enlai invited Wu Yaozong to a number of meetings. They launched The Three-Self Patriotic Movement. It urged Christians to join the government-controlled Three-Self church, which advocated self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation. Its aim was to put Christians under the complete control of the Communist Party.

 

Allen Yuan: I was imprisoned because I refused to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

 

Yang Xinfei: I love my country very much. My students are the best pianists in China. Some even went abroad to perform and they were well received everywhere. I didn’t break any laws, but the government wanted to denounce me anyway. The real reason was that I spread the Gospel and refused to join the Three-Self church.

 

Moses Xie: I was a good friend of Wu Yaozong, the leader of the Three-Self movement, but I was surprised when he asked me to be part of the leadership. I refused, even though I knew my refusal would lead me to prison and labor camp. I considered all the consequences. Sure enough, on the evening of May 28, 1956, people from the police and public security came to take me away.

 

Samuel Lamb: On September 14, 1955, I was sent to prison for the first time. Sixteen months I spent there. In 1958, I was sentenced to twenty years. I wasn’t released until 1978.

 

Joseph Li: The first time I was sent to jail was in 1960. The main charge was my refusal to join the Three-Self movement.

 

 (Narration)

Why would these evangelists rather be imprisoned than join the government-controlled Three-Self church?

 

Allen Yuan: We believe that Jesus is the head of the church, not any person or organization. Politics and religion should be separate. When you try to integrate them, the church deteriorates, and can become a political tool.

 

 (Narration) They also had serious questions about the faith of Wu Yaozong and other leaders of the Three-Self churches.

 

Moses Xie: One day, during a dinner conversation, I asked Wu Yaozong what he thought about the miracles performed by Jesus. He said he had rejected those long ago.

 

Allen Yuan: Wu Yaozong and Ding Guangxun, they both belonged to a faction, which we called the “Nonbelievers’ group”. We refused to join them because we felt they did not have faith.

 

 (Narration)

Within ten years, almost all the evangelists who refused to join the Three-Self church were imprisoned or put into labor camps. Madame Yang Xinfei was one of them. She graduated from the Shanghai Music Academy in 1957, and was twenty-seven when arrested. She spent twenty years in jail. The night she was arrested, her father was very ill.

 

Yang Xinfei: My Dad was already in bed. I went to say goodbye to him. I also asked for my Mother.  We always pray before leaving home. There was one policeman standing guard beside her and another one beside me. My mother prayed to the Lord, begging him to take care of me: “Have mercy on my daughter, let her leave peacefully and bring her back safe and sound. May the Lord be with her” Then I left home and went to the labor camp.

 

 (Narration)

During this harsh winter of faith, the land was frozen and bleak—but the wheat did not die. Underneath the ice and snow, seeds were struggling to take root, waiting for spring to come.

 

Allen Yuan: I was in jail for twenty-one years and eight months in Heilongjiang Province near the former Soviet Union. It was extremely cold there and a lot of people died. But, you know, all those years I never got sick. Not only did I survive, I wasn’t sick a single day. So I know God still has work for me to do.

 

Yang Xinfei: The hardest part was that all the women criminals were locked up in one room and it was too noisy to sleep. I also need to pray every day, or I can’t sleep. So I waited until they all fell asleep and I crept out of bed and knelt and prayed to God. Every night was like this until I left the labor camp.

 

Allen Yuan: I had to pull the blankets over my head and pray. There was no Bible, but a hymn stayed with me. You know the one? “The Old Rugged Cross”

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

 I sang it over and over to keep my spirits up

 

 (Narration) The path of the cross was paved with humiliation and suffering. For those who chose to walk this path, every step was taken with blood and tears.

 

Moses Xie: I was in jail for twenty-three years. If they’d told me it would last twenty-three years, I don’t think I’d have made it. When they held a public meeting to criticize and denounce me, they asked: “Do you still believe in God? Do you still believe in Jesus?” They pulled my hair and my ears. They punched me, knocked me to the ground and kicked me. They jerked my handcuffs and asked: “Do you believe? Do you still believe?” The handcuffs had made deep gouges in my flesh, which had started to fester. They hauled me like this, back and forth, back and forth. But I prayed to the Lord: “I have followed you as far as I can. Surely you are not glorified when they denounce and torture me each day. I am your servant and your child. Are you glorified in Heaven when I am suffering like this?” In prayer I entrusted my whole family to the Lord, and then I was ready to kill myself. But how could I do it with handcuffs on? When the two guards went for lunch, I jumped onto the bed and unscrewed the light bulb. I planned to kill myself with an electric shock. But the electricity wasn’t strong enough. Later, people told me it was because I had handcuffs on. The handcuffs diverted the electricity and saved me. While I was in the middle of doing this, people from outside noticed and shouted, Moses Xie wants to kill himself!” The government officials called me out and lectured me: “You want to threaten the government! You want to make the government look bad by killing yourself?” At night, I confessed to God. I said, “Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of your glory. I have made it through twelve years of labor camp, and endured a lot of suffering. Why couldn’t I rely on you till the very end? I am not worthy of your glory. Please forgive me, oh Lord.” Then I heard the Lord speak to me: “Dear child, my grace is sufficient for you. Dear child, my grace is sufficient for you.” And a third time, he spoke so very gently, “My grace is sufficient for you.” The Lord comforted me and by his grace, I survived.

 

 (Narration)

While thousands of Christians suffered in prison for the sake of the cross, the storm outside the jails grew even stronger. After 1958, the government closed down many churches in the name of unifying them.  Of the sixty-six churches in Beijing, only four remained open. In Shanghai, 8 of 204 were left open. And in Guangzhou, only one of the original fifty-two was left. All of a sudden, it seemed that the Chinese church was withering.

 

 (Narration)

In 1966, when the Cultural Revolution started, the Chinese Christian church faced extermination: priests were denounced, churches were destroyed, believers’ homes were confiscated, and Bibles were burned. Even the Three-Self churches did not escape. Madame Jiang Qing, Chairmen Mao’s wife, claimed that Chinese Christianity was finished and belonged in the History Museum.

 

Xu Yongze: Everywhere you went, there were Red Guards; everywhere you went, there were armed radicals; everywhere they interrogated you. Many faithful believers shed tears in secret, while they waited and waited for light to come.

 

Zhang Yupei: I remember clearly, on June 16, 1966, the largest poster they put out read: “Down with the imperialist running dog, missionary Zhang Yupei.” I said, “I cannot change my belief in Jesus.” They replied: “You stubborn idiot. Go see your God!”  All the students came to the meeting to criticize and denounce me. From then on, they locked me in the cowshed.

 

A brother from Wenzhou: I remember watching a Christian standing on a platform. They denounced him and called him a ringleader of superstitious people.  There was an elderly sister in our area. And when she got on the platform, she called out: “Believe in Jesus. Do not fear death!”

 

Uncle Feng: I was convicted of counterrevolutionary activities because of my faith in Jesus. I was forced to parade through the streets. They often held public meetings to denounce me. My whole family suffered the same thing, just because they were related to me.

 

Zhang Rongliang: Many churches were shut down. Missionaries were arrested or forced to wear tall dunce hats, their hands were painted black, and they were forced to parade through the streets. Church life was destroyed completely.

 

 (Narration)

At the same time, an idol landed on God’s altar. When Mao Zedong stood overlooking Tiananmen Square and waved to the fanatic masses below, it seemed that he had captured the heart and soul of everyone in China.

 

Red Guard’s speech (Off screen): Dear Chairman Mao, we promise you we will be the successors of the working-class revolutionary mission. We will follow you and carry out revolution all our lives. We will smash the old world and build a new world for the working-class. The imperialists and revisionists hoped in vain to transform us and future generations peacefully, but that will never happen! We will take the great thoughts of Mao Zedong and carry them to the next generation and spread them all over China and the world.

 

 (Narration) But underneath the overpowering waves stirred up by this mighty hurricane, real Christians remained clear-minded and held on to their faith.

 

Yang Xinfei: Chairman Mao’s portrait was larger than life. We were forced to kneel and confess before it. I refused to kneel and stood there wobbling from one side to the other. People shouted and the dogs kept barking and biting us. Officials brought out scissors and cut off my hair. I lay on the ground, but did not kneel before them.

 

Epaphras: Whether we studied current affairs or the quotations of Chairman Mao, I kept silent. I refused to sing revolutionary songs—not a single line. I refused to salute “Long live Chairman Mao!” I refused to raise my fist to show my loyalty. I refused to write statements that promised obedience.

 

Moses Xie: They interrogated me: “Moses Xie, answer this question! Can Chairman Mao go to heaven?” This was a tough question. If I said Chairman Mao couldn’t go to heaven, they would beat me to death on the spot. It was a life-or-death moment. During that time, I’d been praying day and night. I spent all my time in prayer and got very little sleep. So I stood up, handcuffed, and said: “The door to heaven is wide open, everyone can enter as long as he acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, was crucified on the cross, that his blood can cleanse all our sins, and admits he is a sinner and is willing to receive Jesus as

Savior. Then he can enter the gates of heaven. The gate of grace is wide open. Now is the time for salvation. I am only too anxious to see you all repent and receive Jesus and his grace.” The government commissar stepped down from the platform, and hit me angrily: “Moses Xie, you’re preaching again!” I said, “You all asked me to speak. Could I have refused to answer your question?”

 

 (Narration) This elderly man Mr. Cai was put in jail during the Cultural Revolution. He was accused of opposing Chairman Mao.

 

Mr. Cai:  I didn’t put up Chairman Mao posters because at that time, Chinese people worshipped Mao as their god, and I believe Jesus is the only true God. The government held a public meeting. About ten thousand people were gathered to denounce me. When they asked me to confess, the first words out of my mouth were, “For God so loved the world….”

 

 (Narration)

With the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, the nation-wide movement to deify him, which had been disastrous for the Chinese nation, finally came to an end.

 

 (Narration)

In 1977, house-church services, conducted in the homes of the faithful, started to spring up in cities and throughout the countryside.

            Chorus:

                        People are no longer asleep

                        They’ve opened their spiritual eyes

                        The mute are no longer silent

                        They want to talk

                        The paralyzed stand up

                        They begin to walk

                        God is with us

                        …….

Every day, people used to gather in this empty square in Shanghai People’s Park to pray together. Soon, a number of Three–Self churches also opened up

 (Narration)

People quickly discovered that Christianity had not died in China. In fact, even during those traumatic times, faith in Christ had been spreading in miraculous ways.

 

 (Narration)

Liu Yuanbo was a village teacher from Henan province and as a young man traveled to Beijing to attend Chairman Mao’s review of Red Guards.

 

Liu Yuanbo: Those of us who went to Beijing were excellent students. After returning home from Beijing, I was appointed Red Guard Commander. During that time we were so ignorant, all we wanted was to live and die for Chairman Mao. Until the day I die, I will never forget what happened when an old missionary was denounced. In fact, I was directly involved in organizing the public meeting, and scheming how to accuse and punish him. But when the Red Guards beat her up, she responded kindly: “Oh God, forgive these children, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

 

In 1978, I repented and my wife and I started a house-church in our home. At first only a few old ladies attended, now we have over 3,000 believers. The first training school began at my house. Today there are between forty and fifty training schools like this.

 

Wang Xincai (off screen): We are the children of God, but they say we are the descendents of Dragon.

 

 (Narration) Wang Xingcai, who is now a house church leader, was once a Red Guard commander. In order to show his loyalty to Chairman Mao, he persecuted his own mother because of her belief in Jesus.

 

Wang Xincai: Because I was an activist in the Cultural Revolution, I put up a big poster to criticize my mother publicly. I didn’t want to have anything to do with her, especially politically. It didn’t matter that she was my mother. In spite of what I did, she prayed for me, and fasted for twenty days. This made me think: if something were definitely bad for them, a mother would not want her children to have anything to do with it. Why did she pray and fast for twenty days for my salvation? I had to think about that. She would risk her own life so that her child might come to believe in Jesus, while this same Jesus was denounced, convicted, and labeled as evil by our country. I was wondering, but couldn’t figure out why. One day my second sister came home and asked me if I’d like to read a book. Yes, I said. In those days I welcomed any books. Later, she gave me a book that had no cover and no back. It was worn out all the way to the seventh chapter of Matthew. The moment I started reading it, I was moved. In chapter seven it said: “Do not judge or you will be judged. Whatever measure you use to give to others, the same measure will be given to you.” This is so true, I thought. When I asked my sister who wrote it, and told her it was so well written, she thought I had already accepted Jesus. She said they were Jesus’ words. I was furious! I threw the book out into the yard. That hurt my sister so much -- worse than a wound. She rushed outside and picked up the Bible. Then she told me that a sister in Christ had died during the Cultural Revolution in order to save this Bible.

 

 (Narration) Wang Xincai’s sister brought a Christian to see him. Later, this brother died in jail.

 

Wang Xincai: I invited him into my room. When he saw all the books on my desk he asked me if I had read them all.  I said that I had. Then he said, “You must be a seeker of truth.” I said yes.  He told me that I wouldn’t be able to find truth on earth; real truth comes from above.  He gave me an example: There was an apricot tree laden with ripe, yellow fruit that fell to the ground. A pig came by, and ate the apricot. Afterwards the pig dug at the earth with his snout to try to find more. It didn’t know to look up and see that the apricot had come from above. I thought the story was very philosophical. He didn’t mention Jesus at all or anything about the Bible.

 

Later on, I felt an explosive force within me and said: “I believe!” After I said that, I felt my face turn red; the blush was hotter than being caught stealing.

 

(Narration) After becoming a believer, Wang Xincai was eager to find the Bible he had thrown away, and he did manage to track down the Bible’s owner.

 

Wang Xincai: I said I’d like to trade my bicycle for your old Bible. I offered my new Pigeon Brand bicycle, but he said no.

 

 (Narration) In those years, a brand new bicycle cost as much as a car does today. However, a Bible was an invaluable treasure for a Christian.

 

Miao Zhitong: The church was shut down, and from 1958 on, there were no gatherings. But an elderly sister fasted, prayed and cried out to the Lord every day. She cried for the future of the Chinese church. During the Cultural Revolution, they found a Bible in her house and took her away. They beat her and broke one of her feet.

 

Brother Xin: There was only one torn apart Bible that survived the Cultural Revolution within fifty miles of our home. It had the New Testament, but only from Romans chapter 12 to Revelation chapter 11. We wanted to study it, but the owners wouldn’t lend it out. It was their treasure. So we had to go over there to copy it. Every week we had to make two or three trips.

 

Zhang Rongliang: The first Bible I received was from a sister. Someone from Hong Kong had given it to her. During our meeting, we passed it around so that everyone could touch and feel it for a while. Everybody held it to their cheeks and kissed it. After being kissed by thirty people, the Bible was soaked with tears and the red color became faded.

 

 (Narration)

During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Christians risked their lives to preserve a few Bibles, but towards the end, a lot of hand-copied Bibles became available and overseas believers began to smuggle Bibles to house churches across the country. It was not until 1985, sponsored by a western foundation, that Bibles were printed in China in large quantities. But even today, public distribution is not permitted. People who want to own a Bible must buy one at a Three-Self church.

 

 (Narration)

Mountains cannot stop Rivers that flow to the ocean. Today, the Bible has entered millions of Chinese families. It is a stream in the desert, moistening every thirsty soul.

 

 (Narration) By the end of 1970’s, Christians began to be released from jail.

 

Allen Yuan: I was so anxious to go home. I wasted no time and took the express train. It was after eleven o’clock at night when the train arrived in Beijing.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): Our eldest daughter and her husband, our third son and I, the four of us quickly ate some porridge, then hurried to the train station. The light was red and dim. You could hardly see anything. Our eyes got very tired. The four of us were spread out along the platform. We couldn’t see each other. We kept looking around the train station until no one was left. We didn’t find him.

 

Allen Yuan: I’d been gone over twenty years, and I was wearing a black, cotton-padded jacket and pants and a big fur hat and a pair of boots. They couldn’t see me.

 

(Narration) Allen Yuan took the bus to Baitasi, to the home he had left, but he couldn’t find his home.

 

Allen Yuan: I looked here and there. Where should I go? I started to call my wife’s name “Lily Liang!” I didn’t know where she had moved. In 1958, we were at Fuyintang. Their new address I had no idea. My third daughter-in-law answered my call: “Lily Liang went to the train station to pick someone up.” I replied that it was me. Remember, I had never met any of these daughters-in-law. My oldest son was only seventeen when I left.

 

 (Narration): Mrs. Yuan, along with her children, came back from the train station very disappointed.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): I saw a light in my room. Was it possible? I hurried up the steps and opened the door: there he was washing his feet. His head was shaven, and he was quite happy. I was speechless. He told me they gave him sixty yuan for traveling. I still couldn’t say a word. He was so thin; I didn’t know what to say, yet I was full of joy and gratitude.

 

Allen Yuan: Usually, if it was a life sentence, you could never go home. People who don’t believe in Jesus said a strong fate must have helped me return home. It wasn’t my fate. I am God’s child.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): The first thing we did was to thank God. It was beyond every hope I ever had that he might come home. It turned out that prison was a safe place to be during the Cultural Revolution, otherwise, he would have been beaten to death. I was so full of gratitude when I thought of this. After he washed his feet, he didn’t eat. He went right to sleep. I cleaned up and got ready to go to work the next day.

 

 (Narration) Twenty years of imprisonment were over, but Allen Yuan knew that his wife had had a harder life outside prison during those long years.

 

Allen Yuan: All those twenty years, when I was gone, my wife suffered a lot while she raised our children.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): After he left, we had eight people in the family, my mother-in-law and six children. I had no job. Later when I got a job, I made eighty fens a day, which is twenty-four Yuan a month. After the three Yuan tithe, I had twenty-one Yuan left. How could the eight of us live on so little money? All I could do was pray: “Lord, yes, this is from you, so I won’t say anything about it. I just want to ask you to protect my children and me from dishonoring you.” None of my six children complained. I often told them that their father went to jail not because of any crime. But my children did suffer a lot. One of my sons was nicknamed “corn bread head” because that was the lunch he brought to school everyday. He said: “Mother, could you buy me a wheat roll just once to shut them up?” I said I couldn’t. If I just bought one roll, it was not fair for the other kids and I couldn’t afford to buy six.

 

(Narration) One day, this family of eight hit rock bottom: there was absolutely nothing left to eat.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): It was late, about eleven o’clock. And I prayed: “Oh Lord, we have nothing for tomorrow, no rice, no flour, no money. Lord, if you don’t provide, all we have is water.” But early next morning, someone knocked on the door. I had just finished my prayers, so I opened the door right away. It was an elderly woman in her 60’s. I didn’t know her so I asked her name. She said: “Please don’t ask my name. The Holy Spirit brought me here,” she said. “Here is something for you.” It was a package. I opened it after she left. It was fifty Yuan, which was a lot of money then. So I was able to buy flour, coal and food.”

 

(Narration) One day a girl came to the Yuan family with three packages.

 

Mrs. Yuan (Lily Liang): She said, “The big bag you can send to Uncle Yuan. The middle-sized bag is for you to give to others in need. And the little bag is to be used for your expenses.”  “My child, what is your name?” I asked. She said: “Please don’t ask. Mother didn’t want me to tell you.”

 

(Narration) During those difficult twenty years, it was this great love that came from above and from those around her, that sustained this gentle woman and her family in body and heart.

 

Mrs.Yuan, Lily Liang: It was amazing. Each time the money came in the mail with the code name 1078 or 1056. I would write back: I have received the money and hope to meet you soon. I don’t know you, but thank you for your gift of love. Two days later, my letter was returned, the post office noting that there was no such person. Money was sent every month for over twenty years. Some people, like my neighbors, said: “How come you are still joyful after going through so much suffering?”  They don’t understand, but I do. My Lord strengthened me.

 

(SONG: “O Lord, I praise you!”)

 

O Lord, I praise you

Because you have chosen me

In the midst of the crowd

It was you who found me

 

O Lord, I praise you

Because you love me

Your love fills the whole universe

And overwhelms mountains and rivers

 

Your love has saved many people.

Your love has inspired us to live on.

Who would not bow before you

Who would not sing praises to you

 

Our God Almighty

Our God Almighty

It was you who raises us from the dust

You raise us from the dust

 

It’s never enough to speak of your love

It’s never enough to sing of your righteousness

On this vast land

Who would not thank and praise you

 

(Narration)

In 1978, pastor Samuel Lamb was released from prison.

 

Samuel Lamb: When I got out of the jail, I found out that my wife had died two years earlier. My father died seven years earlier.

 

Moses Xie: When I returned from labor camp, I had nothing left. They didn’t return any of my assets or my house. They came to our home three times to confiscate things. Finally, they kicked us out. We had to live in a little dark room, about 7 square meters.  There was no daylight, no fresh air.

 

 (Narration)

Perhaps they didn’t anticipate that the pressures that they had to face after leaving jail hadn’t changed: they still had to register to join the Three-Self church. But the government also had an unanticipated situation to deal with. The answers from all these Christians remain the same as before.

 

Samuel Lamb: I refused to register. That’s what I said, Go ahead and arrest me again. First, I was 75 in 1999. I am an old man. I’m used to jail. The first time I was imprisoned for sixteen months; the second time, twenty years. I’m used to it.

 

Allen Yuan: When I returned home in October 1979, people came to my house every day. Some came to read the Bible; some came to pray. Later we started the house church service. And we continue to this day. My faith is more important than everything else. If the laws of the government are against my faith, I will never submit to man. I submit to God.

 

Samuel Lamb: I was not against the government. The government misunderstood me. According to the Bible, we submit to the authorities. But in terms of faith, I submit to God, not man. That’s all.

 

 (Narration) They continue holding on to their faith and continue to carry their own cross.

 

Moses Xie: Between October 10, 1985 to January 10, 1986, they locked me up for three months. And again, between April 24 and July 23, 1992, they put me behind bars for three months, accusing me of spreading the Gospel outside the preassigned area.

 

Allen Yuan: The plainclothes policeman came on Sunday and declared there was no service on that day. They claimed Yuan was sick.

 

Samuel Lamb: In the middle of the gathering, seven public security personnel entered in uniform. Three of them went upstairs and four stood at the stairway. One of them interrupted our preaching and asked who reported to the police that there had been a suicide. One of the brothers said no one had reported any suicides; we didn’t have any suicides here. Then we started to sing, “The cross, the cross ….” We were singing as they left.

 

            Chorus:

            In the cross, in the cross

            Be my glory ever

 

 (Narration) These elderly men who had been deprived of their youth, who were even considered strange in the modern world, showed neither bitterness nor regret.

 

Moses Xie: The first time they asked me if I was going to appeal, I said “No”. I thought to myself: why appeal to man?  All I need is pray to God.

 

Samuel Lamb: We shouldn’t resent anybody, because nothing happened that came from man. God allowed us to suffer this way. Jesus suffered as well, but was not resentful. He prayed for his persecutors.

 

Yang Xinfei: After I was released, I didn’t appeal. The policeman said: “We’re not going to redress your case, because you’ll keep doing the same thing”. Of course I’ll keep doing the same thing! I have been put on this earth to witness for the Lord, what else is important?

 

Epaphras: Didn’t the Lord tell me from the beginning to give up everything and carry the cross to follow him? This is the Lord’s way. I am following him on the same path. Why should I be upset? Why should I complain? This is my biggest blessing.

 

(Narration) This elderly man, Epaphras, was originally sentenced to life imprisonment, but they released him in 1987. It was very important to him not to leave the Yinchuan jail, so he stayed in a little house nearby.

 

Epaphras: The court cheated me and changed my situation from “non-repentant” to “repentant” in order to release me. I protested in two ways: first, I refused to leave the jail; then, after I was released, I chose to live as a life-sentence prisoner in a place just outside the gates.

 

 (Narration): Not only did he live next to the jail, Epaphras insisted on fasting five days a week.

 

Epaphras: If I keep on fasting like this, they will know I’ve not repented, that I don’t accept their accusations in the first place.  If I continue to fast like this until I die, it will mean that I refuse repentance, even until death.

 

(Narration)

After fifteen years of fasting, Epaphras came to the end of his seventy-eight years on this earth, and rested in the Lord. Some churches in Yinchuan wanted to have some of his ashes, but they were quietly spread on the Yellow river. In his last letter to his relatives, Epaphras wrote: “I died as an unrepentant criminal, just like my Lord Jesus.”

 

Epaphras: For many years, I have believed in Jesus and followed him. The Lord Jesus has always listened to my prayers; he has been with me wherever I go. I will never deny him.

 

(Narration)

The way of the cross surpasses all human understanding. The way of the cross is the way of humiliation and glory; the way of suffering and joy; the way of sacrifice and victory.

 

(Narration):

In Xiamen, Madam Yang Xinfei leads a house-church that consists mainly of college students. She also preaches in the nearby cities and villages.

 

In Shanghai and Beijing, Pastor Moses Xie devotes his advanced years to reaching out to the increasing number of younger people who have thirsty souls.

 

In Guangzhou, Pastor Samuel Lamb and his Da-ma-zhan house church stand firm and with grace in all their trials and hardships.

 

Samuel Lamb: Before I went to jail, we had 400 people. After I came back, we had 900. They confiscated the house in 1990. After that, we grew to 2,000. The third floor was not big enough, so we had to use closed circuit TV on the second floor. Finally we had to use the basement as well. The more they persecuted, the more blessed we became.

 

(Narration)

Today, the church has moved to Rong-gui-li, where every day is like a holiday and groups of Christians gather together in joy.

 

In Beijing, pastor Allen Yuan’s house church is like a lighthouse, beaming out the hope of Chinese Christians into the dark night.

 

Allen Yuan: I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to join him in his death. Amen.

 

(Narration)

Every summer, Allen Yuan, who is now 90, baptizes hundreds of people.

 

Allen Yuan:  God called me to spread the Gospel and serve the Lord. In my heart, I accept the vision from above. Even though we are limited in many ways, the devil will never conquer the church. Battles like this raged in the past.  Today the Lord’s work marches forward in China just like the time of Acts.

 

(End)

 

 


 

Episode 3 - The Bitter Cup

 

Prelude

 

(Narration)

In China, the story of the “Cross” once seemed as strange and far away as the other side of the universe. But today its message is here, right in our midst.

 

1900during the Boxer Rebellion, 188 western missionaries, and 20,000 Chinese Christians were killed.

 

In the following fifty years, more western missionaries came to China. They established 13 universities, over 6,000 elementary schools and high schools, and more than 900 hospitals. The number of Chinese Christians grew to 700,000.

 

The Chinese Communist Party believed this success was the result of imperialist cultural invasion.  They expelled all western missionaries, forced Chinese missionaries to renounce their religion, and mandated a secular education for all Chinese.

 

Fifty more years have passed and today there are approximately 70 million Christians in China, an increase of 100 fold!

 

 (Title sequence: The Cross – Jesus In China)

 

Narration:

During the Cultural Revolution in China, the flame of hatred and bitterness burned hot.  At the same time, a quiet stream of love and forgiveness struggled to quench the thirst of the faithful.

 

Miao Zhi Tong:

In 1960, a few families stared gatherings, which had very few participants.  By 1967 these house-church gatherings became very widespread.

 

Brother From Wenzhou: An old lady next door was a devout Christian, and I was strongly against Christianity.  One day she came over for a chat. She taught me to kneel and pray. Later, I became a Christian.  At our first gathering there were three or four people.  Soon we had six, then eight, and at times as many as 30 people.  All the meetings were held in secret. Every time we met, we prayed together fervently.  Of course, we had to leave right after the service to escape arrest by the Red Guard and the Militia.

 

 (Episode 3: The Bitter Cup)

 

Yang Xin Fei’s Brother:

For 30 to 40 years, we kept our house-church alive. In the beginning, there were only my mother, my brother and I. Later, our gatherings grew to seven, then eight, then ten, and gradually, more and more.

 

Joseph Li:

In 1972, I received a letter from my brother-in-law who lived in my hometown of Henan.  He said: Hurry up! Come home soon!  He told me there were some young people who wanted to devote their lives to spreading the gospel.  When I checked it out, I found it was true.  So how did they preach the gospel?  Well, during the day, they would hide in caves, and in orchards, or in barns. After 10 o’clock at night, they would come out to find other believers to pray with.

 

Xing Jin Fu:

Sometimes we met in the cornfield.  Sometimes we met in the graveyard.  Those were the best places for gathering and prayer.  I remember there was a time we lived in an empty field for more than six months. 

 

Zhang Rong Liang:

No matter what time it was, evening, midnight, or dawn, all I had to do was walk by someone’s window and call his name.  All of them got up right away and contacted the others.  In no time at all, three rooms would be filled with people.

 

Narration:

With the end of the Cultural Revolution, secret House-Church activities gradually came out into the open.

 

 (Chorus)

Praise him with the harp and lyre

Praise him with tambourine and dance

Praise him

Praise him with the strings and flute

 

Narration:

After the death of Mao Ze Dong, the Chinese people, cheated by a false god, began to search for the true god.  For the first time in their lives, people from the lowest levels of society came face to face with God’s unconditional love, with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and with the knowledge that in God’s temple they had value and dignity. How could they not rejoice, like everyone who has received the most precious gift in the world?

 

(Chorus: “God Is With Us”)

Here is God’s presence

Here is God’s Words

Here is the anointing from the Holy Spirit

Here is a different world

When brothers live together in unity

How good and lovely it is

 

It is as if the dew of Harmon

Were falling on Mount Zion

Love is here

Peace is here

Light is here

Life is here

The blessings from God are all here

If you want to find Him

Come to Jesus Christ

 

Sister: The first time I went to church, I felt the atmosphere there was really good.  I found true meaning in life.  I found a peace I’d never felt before: peace in the Lord.  So I can say without reservation: I will follow God for the rest of my life. 

 

Brother: After the service, my soul felt especially sweet and joyful: Lord, how wonderful it will be if we can meet like this everyday.

 

Sister I lay awake for three nights overwhelmed with joy.  I thought: “Lord, what have I received?  Why am I so filled with joy? I have no money. I have no family.  I have nothing.” And you know, I was absolutely sure that this joy came from heaven.    

 

Shen Xian Feng: I didn’t completely recover my health when I found Jesus, but there was a kind of indescribable joy within me.  I didn’t know where it came from.

 

Ming Ming’s Mom: I thought it over and over; and I decided it was best to follow Jesus.  My greatest joy was that finally I found the meaning of my life.  When I look back, I’m very happy I didn’t choose the path of sin.

 

Narration:

The Chinese have experienced a great deal of sin in this mortal existence, but never have they experienced the peace that comes from forgiveness and baptism by the Holy Spirit.

 

Brother: The whole time the minister was preaching, I couldn’t help crying.  I really didn’t understand why.  I was afraid that other people might see my tears, so I tried to wipe them away without anybody seeing me.  I kept my head bowed, and I listened to the sermon. I remember it was about repentance through Christ’s atonement for us.

 

Sister:  I always felt like I was the prodigal son.  But the Lord’s eternal love has not abandoned me.  I’m so thankful that, so far, I’ve been able to serve God. 

 

Brother: One thing I’ll never forget: it was only through God’s grace that the wound inside me healed.  When God came to me, he touched my heart and the power of his message woke me up.  I knew that he wanted to use me to help save other people. 

 

Sister: How amazing God’s grace is!  He loves each and every one of us.  I decided to devote my life to his service.

 

Sister: It is only through the love of God that I can live a better life.  It gives me a purpose and a reason to live.

 

Narration:

Just as the sun cannot stop shining, and seeds in spring cannot stop sprouting, these people answered a call from deep in their souls. They were reborn through Jesus: they could not help but dedicate themselves to God and become missionaries of the gospel.

 

  (Chorus)

Found you

God has found you

God has found you

 

Zhang Qing Yun: How fast time flies. I have been on this path for sixteen years.

 

Narration:

Zhang Qing Yun was born and raised in an intellectual family. When she decided to dedicate her life to missionary work, she had a long talk with her father.

 

Zhang Qing Yun: He said to me, “You have three choices: If you’d like to continue your education, I will support you financially.  If you’d like to keep on working as a teacher, I’ll make all the arrangements. If you’d like a different job, with my authority and connections, I can find you a good one.  Think about it.”  I said, “I don’t want any of that.” “Why not?” he asked. “What else do you want?”   I told him I wanted to continue my work as a missionary.  He gave a long sigh. “Qing Yun, if you ever get tired and feel you can no longer carry on, please come back home. Our door is always open to you.  If you’re happy living with your brothers and sisters and choose to do that for the rest of your life, please don’t forget to write home, no matter how far away you are.”  My eyes were full of tears, and I was afraid to look up at my father.

 

Then, he asked me one last time if I was sure I wanted to leave.  I said, yes, I wanted to go.  So, he took out thirty dollars and said, “I don’t have much money left. Take this with you for the road.” 

 

My mother used to beg me to come home too.  She’d say. “What use is all this traveling?”  So I’d tell her it was all for God’s love.  If I don’t spread the Gospel, many other people would answer his call. But God has planted the seeds in my heart, he called me and gave me this mission and responsibility, and I can’t refuse to follow his will.” 

 

            (Chorus)

 

Move forward

Keep moving forward

Don’t look back

Move forward

Keep moving forward

Move forward and don’t look back

One who puts his hand to the plow and looks back

Is not fit for service in the kingdom of God

 

Narration:

This courageous girl grew up in a small town, but spent most of her youth in caves and in jail. There was a lot of pain…and also a lot of joy.

 

Zhang Qing Yun: God’s love has led me onto this path. I was weak. I was lost.  But I have never regretted my choice.

 

Narration: 

Today, Zhang Qing Yun and her husband are in charge of training missionaries for House-Church activities.  More and more people, including their families, have begun to understand and support them.

 

Zhang Qing Yun (While praying):  With the company of your love, we will keep following your footsteps till the end of our lives.

 

Narration:

Since the 1980’s in Mainland China, tens of thousands of devout Christians like Zhang Qing Yun have dedicated their lives to the Lord.

 

Ding Hei: From 1981 on, I completely devoted myself to this path.  I left my hometown with several other girls and went by bicycle and on foot to more than ten counties nearby. In every village, we talked to people we met on the street.  Many of them were really interested.  They’d never seen a group of girls spreading the Gospel. A lot of sick people were healed by the power of our prayers.  Every time we traveled, tens of thousands of people became followers of Jesus. This is how we established the House-Churches.

 

Shen Xien Feng:  In the beginning, there were miracles in every village we visited.  Many missionaries were gifted with the power of healing.  We were able to heal the sick with the touch of our hands.

 

Xing Jin Fu:  We would visit a new village. We’d sing in the yards of farmhouses.  Many neighbors would drop by, just out of curiosity.  We’d teach them about Jesus.  Then if the villagers said they would accept the gospel, we would kneel and pray together.

 

Brother:  Every time there was a celebration, a wedding, or a funeral, we would beat our drums and strike our gongs to spread the gospel. We used to put on plays, skits, dances, or tell bible stories in order to spread the gospel.

 

(Ryme)

If your family believes in God

Happiness will surround you

There will be peace in this life

And eternal life you will get

And eternal life you will get

 

Brother:  We spread the gospel on buses, trains, and in the streets.  We knocked on every villager’s door. We went into their homes and told them all about the good news.

 

Sister: What is the gospel?  Sit down, please.  Everybody sit down…

 

Brother: We visited every corner of our local area and spread the Word.  After it was established locally we traveled to other cities and provinces.  We’ve been to Shan Xi, Hu Bei, and Ning Xia.

 

Miao:  Back in 1980 and 1981, that was the golden era for Wen Zhou House-Church.

 

Miao (while preaching):  From the remote region of Xin Jiang, from the desolate land in the northeast…

 

Miao:  We had massive gatherings. The Holy Spirit came down upon us with abundance. Then, in 1981, the government reestablished the Three-Self Church.  The good times were over.

 

Narration:

As soon as the government reestablished the Three-Self Church, House-Churches became illegal and it was forbidden to spread the gospel.  In 1983, the government gave orders to arrest a group of Christians who they labeled as the “Gang of Agitators”. 

 

Wang Xin Cai:  I was arrested because they said I belonged to the “Gang of Agitators”.  What on earth did I agitate for? Did I incite people to overthrow the communist regime? Did I announce that I was against the one-child policy?  I would not complain if I had.   But, all I did was shout, “Christ is Lord.”  And for that I was convicted of anti-revolutionary activities and thrown in jail for fifteen years.

 

Narration:

This former Red Guard leader found understanding and comfort in Christ.

 

Wang Xin Cai:  Jesus didn’t do anything wrong but he was crucified on the cross. I didn’t do anything wrong either. During the Cultural Revolution, I was a fighter and a destroyer of lives, but I was treated as a hero.  Now I am a righteous man, but I’m considered a criminal.

 

Zhang Rong Liang (asking the crowd): Everyone who has been jailed for speaking the truth, please stand and come forward.

 

Narration: 

Being thrown in jail is such a common occurrence that these faithful brothers and sisters are quite comfortable talking about their experiences.

 

Brother: The persecution never stops.  There are always some of us locked up.  Some have been in and out of jail more than ten times.  Right now, we have fourteen members in jail, and twenty-one key members are on the government’s wanted list.

 

Brother: We have all suffered in jail to different degrees. There are about forty of us. Three members were arrested recently, and they are still in jail.

 

Sister: Since the government stared to crack down on the church in He Bei, all the active members have become wanted criminals. When they came to my home to arrest me, I wasn’t there. So they took my father instead.

 

Narration:

They openly shared what went through their minds when they were caught:

 

Brother:  To tell you the truth, I was a little scared. But God gave me strength to overcome my fear, so I guess you could say I was well prepared. 

Uncle Zheng:  Suddenly, the cops burst in to arrest me. A chill went up and down my spine.  But, thank God, after I was handcuffed I calmed down, and I thought to myself: you’re going to have to spend a few more years in jail.   So, just let it be.  I felt very relieved, Thank God.

 

Sister:  After we were arrested we were filled with joy. There were more than ten of us and we sang hymns in the police car.  The policeman shouted, “Why are you singing? You’ve just been arrested!”  We replied, “Because we got a free ride.”

 

Narration: 

Xiao Gai tried to escape arrest, but injured herself and is now handicapped.

 

Xiao Gai:  I climbed up to the roof to escape, but to my dismay there was a policeman on guard.  While we were struggling, he forced me right to the edge of the roof.  Then he pushed me off. When I landed, I didn’t feel any pain, but I couldn’t stand up.  I cried out to a sister.  “Help me! Help me!” She came back and tried to pull me up, but just I couldn’t. My leg was broken.  After this, I lost all my inner peace. Christians are good people, why don’t the police arrest the real criminals and leave us Christians alone!  Later, I repented and prayed for that policeman, “Lord, he didn’t know what he was doing.”

 

Narration: 

Just as gold can endure refining in the hottest fire, true believers in God can shine through the deepest darkness.  Chun Xia, the friend of Xiao Gai, was arrested three days before her wedding day.

 

           Chun Xia:  I was arrested on the tenth of August, and then sentenced to three years in a labor camp.  My brothers and sisters in Christ, including my fiancé, came to visit me the next day.  Everyone cried except me. But after they left, I did go through a lot of struggling in my heart. I said to the guard: “The truth is that I didn’t commit a crime”. She agreed and I said: “I’m innocent, why did they give me a 3 year sentence?” She said they were afraid that I would follow the wrong path. “Come on!” I said. “Because of their fear I must pay with three years of my freedom?” Then she stared talking about how the laws were not perfect yet, etc, etc. All that time, I struggled hard in my soul.  I paced back and forth from one window to another, and kept asking: “Lord, do you really mean I have to suffer like this for 3 years?” Later, it was the Lord who comforted me. Before my arrest, every day we had read, talked and sung about nothing other than the Cross and the Bible. But when I was really walking on the same path, how come I still had to struggle so hard? I said: “Lord, I know you will help me.  You will see that I don’t spend these three years in vain.”

 

Narration:

While she was serving her sentence, Chun Xia couldn’t stop worrying about her fiancé, Hai Sheng.

 

Chun Xia:  I kept sending notes to Hai Sheng, telling him not to wait for me. We were not that young any more. I didn’t want him to waste time waiting for me…Three long years.

 

Hai Sheng:  Soon after Chun Xia was arrested, Uncle Zhang asked me what I was going to do if Chun Xia had to spend three years in jail.  Would my family accept this? Maybe I should consider someone else. I told him, “I will wait for her, whether it takes three years or even twenty years!”

 

Narration:

Every month, on visitors’ day, Hai Sheng would travel hundreds of miles by train to visit Chun Xia.

 

Chun Xia:  Each visit was limited to 20 or 30 minutes.  Hai Sheng never missed a visit, and he always brought a letter with him.

 

Hai Sheng:  I wanted her to stop worrying about me. I wanted her to stop telling me not to wait for her. It hurt me.  I told her I would still love her, and marry her even when she became an old lady with gray hair. 

 

Chun Xia:  I’ve never shown anyone these letters. They gave me great comfort.  I didn’t feel too bad during the time in jail. I was happy. I told my brothers and sisters in Christ: “God answered my prayers.  I went through all the hard times with joy. Praise the Lord.” Three months before the end of my sentence, I was released. Hai Sheng and Uncle Zhang came to pick me up.

 

Hai Sheng: I thought we both would burst into tears, but we didn’t. When we got home, a lot of brothers and sisters were waiting for us.  We were very emotional.  My family was overjoyed. 

 

Chun Xia:  I didn’t expect it to happen so fast.  I was released on the 29th of April. On the third of May, we were married.  The brothers and sisters of our hometown had arranged the wedding ceremony for us.

 

(Hai Shen singing on the wedding, “Entering a new day”)

           

The first words coming from within

Thank you, Lord

Given your anointing

Bathed in your love

 

Hai Sheng: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, God told me his plan in this verse.  Sometimes I wanted to blame God for what we had to go through, but at the same time, a voice within my heart would tell me, “Don’t complain. God doesn’t neglect anyone, anywhere, at anytime.”

 

Chun Xia: During the wedding, everybody kept wiping away their tears. I couldn’t stop smiling, though I was crying too -- tears of thankfulness and joy.  I knew that God was with me all the time I was in jail.

 

Narration:

Being forced to delay their wedding only deepened the love between this young couple. Three years in jail strengthened their faith, and despite the three years of torture, their happiness and their gratitude increased.

 

  (Tsu Xia singing on the wedding, “Lord, We Believe Faithfully”)

 

Lord, we truly believe

At every moment

Your love is with us

And never grows less

Lord, we truly believe

At every moment

You are our only companion

Our hearts long for you

Our hearts follow you faithfully

For you are the only One

You are beyond comparison

You are beyond comparison

 

Narration:

Generation after generation, Chinese missionaries have struggled along a path that leads to the Cross.  The Chinese government refuses to acknowledge them, and China’s huge population doesn’t understand them. Around every corner these missionaries encounter suffering and imprisonment. Yet, with no remorse and no regrets, they keep on their difficult path.

 

           Old Jing:  My father passed away when I was born.  My mother died when I was only three years old.  Before I was eleven, I never had a pair of shoes or anyone to take care of me. It was a very painful life.  I couldn’t understand why I was born with such a bad fate.  Why was I born without parents who cared for me? How come other people had good lives and I didn’t? If there was a god, why didn’t he help this poor, suffering soul?  Finally, one day I was desperate and ready to commit suicide. But I heard a group of people singing. It was a cold, bleak night and I wondered who on earth would find anything to sing about. So I walked towards the house. Someone saw me and called out, “Isn’t that the homeless child that has no family?”  They took me inside. “My child, believe in Jesus, he is the only one who can save you,” they said.   Then some elderly ladies taught me how to kneel and pray.  They put their hands on my head and prayed for me with tears in their eyes.  That night I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart.  When the police in Tang He county found out that there was a fourteen- year-old boy who had become a Christian, they stared searching for me.  After hiding in a pit for seven days, I became really hungry and exhausted.  So I climbed out of the pit to get a breath of fresh air.  Just my luck that a policeman happened to be passing by! He arrested me there and then. “You are so young, but already you are anti-revolutionary”, he said. They denounced me, they tortured me, and they starved me. But I thought to myself: Jesus must be the way of truth, otherwise why is the “great” communist party is so serious about it? Even a homeless teenager like me is seen as a threat.

 

Narration:

Jing, the orphan adopted by a Christian, became a missionary when he was nineteen.

 

Old Jing:  At first, I worked as a local missionary.  After I got married, I carried my child on my back and stared to travel to different provinces to spread the gospel.  I built a lot of House-Churches in the provinces of Hoo Bei, Shan Xi, and An Hwei.  I was filled with joy.  I knew what I was doing was important.  I paid no attention to the humiliation, the suppression, the poverty, and all the arrests.

 

Missionary (while praying): Lord, take pity on us, Amen. We thank you for choosing us, Amen.  We thank you for your love, Amen.  We thank you for showing us the path, which leads away from this imperfect world, Amen.  We thank you for allowing us to share your burden, Amen. 

 

Missionary (while praying): Lord, we thank you for watching over your church in China, and for taking pity on your church in China.  Although the Chinese church has suffered endless suppression, we see your presence in China, Amen.  God is in charge here, Amen.

 

Brother:  I became a Christian in 1983, and I’ve been working as a missionary ever since.  During that time, I was thrown in jail four times, three of which were in my hometown, and the other was in Xin Yang County.

 

Brother:  I was badly beaten up.  Sometimes the guards beat me, and sometimes it was the other prisoners.  I remember vomiting blood, lots of blood.

 

Brother:  The three or four of us sat in a circle and passed the bread around.  That night we cried for a long time. We missed our families. We missed the Lord.

 

Brother:  I was jailed eight times for spreading the gospel. One time, a sister and I were handcuffed together around a pillar outside the police station.  Our feet weren’t allowed to touch the ground at the same time.  When my feet touched the ground, hers couldn’t. When hers did, mine couldn’t.  We hung like that for four hours until our hands turned black and blue.

 

Brother:  They tortured me after I was arrested.  They beat my face and it was severely swollen. My skin was burned by electric prods.

 

Sister:  The guard hit my head and my body with electric prods.  I passed out and couldn’t remember what happened later.

 

Brother:  I was struck by three or four cattle prods at the same time.  The guards hit me everywhere and tied me up.  It has been three years since that happened and still I have the rope marks on my body. 

 

Narration:

More than once, while enduring endless torture and extreme hardship, many missionaries raised questions to God. He answered their prayers in various ways, and, without exception, all the missionaries found inner peace.

 

Xing:  I prayed to God to give me the answer, and He said to me;  “I can tell you nothing”.  That’s my strongest memory, because it was during the darkest hours of my life, and God wouldn’t answer me. Later I said to God, “Even though you won’t give me the answer, I still accept all this with gratitude.” After I did that, my dark spiritual life was completely illuminated and revived.

 

Uncle Zheng:  I told the Lord that I was afraid of going back to prison.  If I were jailed again, it would be the eleventh time.  I told God that I’d had enough of jail. I was terrified my body couldn’t take it anymore.

 

Brother: I heard a heart-breaking cry. It was from Christ himself.  He cried out, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” I heard his words so clearly: they flew from the Cross directly into my head. And all at once I understood why Jesus wept .  There and then, I felt strong again. I realized that the Lord had not abandoned me.  He wanted me to experience the cross.

 

Brother:  Jesus told us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mat 16:24)  

.

Brother:  I don’t have any hard feelings for what I went through. This is the same path our Lord Jesus walked on.  Since the very first day I became a missionary, I knew this path was a path of “Cross”.  I was more than willing to take it. No matter what I’ve suffered, I have never blamed God.

 

Uncle Feng:  I made the decision to follow God.  God found me and loved me. What I went through was all from God, and I am filled with joy.  The government’s persecution is no big deal.  It’s just a way of showing me God’s blessing. That’s all.

 

Narration:

Religion and politics must be separate. Because they believe in this principle, many Chinese Christians refuse to attend the government-controlled Three-Self church.  Their House-Churches and missionary work are considered illegal by the government.  Local government officials can arrest and fine them under national laws that regulate religion.  Therefore, meeting and preaching in secret have become the only way Chinese Christians can survive.

 

However, the degree of suppression varies in China. Churches in Wenzhou were the first to revive after the Cultural Revolution, but most of the church buildings are destroyed now. Churches in He Nan were revived later, but there are more martyrs and jailed Christians there than anywhere else.

 

Although Chinese Christians do not oppose the government, they are considered illegal because they would not renounce their faith: they live righteously and faithfully under tyrannical rule.The Chinese authorities are completely mystified by the increasing number of House-Churches.

 

Brother:  They don’t understand, they’ve no idea what we’ve been doing, so they call us anti-revolutionary.  In fact, I think they know in their hearts that we aren’t revolutionary.

 

Brother:  We think that the reason the government tries so hard to suppress us is because they don’t understand what Christianity is about.  It’s a misunderstanding.  We don’t hate the government. The only wish we have is for everyone on Earth to feel God’s love, to receive God’s love.

 

Brother:  Through all our hardships, God is training, preparing, and building his church in China.  It is a blessing for the Chinese Church. We are praying for our leaders in China, and also for those who suppress us.  We wish them well.

 

Brother:  We’ve been telling our brothers and sisters that we should show respect to every member and branch of the government.  It’s God’s commandment to respect authorities.  In China, however, Christians are not understood in this way.

 

Brother:  The wars in Chinese history, such as the Tai-Ping Rebellion and the Opium War, damaged people’s trust. The government suppressed us because they’re afraid and they don’t understand our true belief.  Therefore, as Christians in this country, I think we should pray for our country’s leaders and for everyone in authority.

 

Sister (prayer):  Lord, we are willing to risk our lives in order to save our beloved country of China, Amen.

 

Brothe (prayer):  r: Lord, we ask You to bless our beloved country.

 

Brother (prayer):  :  Please bless this country with your hands, Amen.  Please bless this nation with your hands, Amen.

 

Brother (prayer):   :  You have shed Your blood for the Chinese people.  We thank You for bringing us your gospel and salvation in these last times. We thank You for opening the door to Your gospel in China.

 

Sister (prayer):  :  Your love has come to us. It has come to the land of China.  You have loved our country and people since the beginning of time.  Many people in China deny You; they don’t recognize You.  They worship all kinds of idols. Lord, today we repent for our country.  Lord, please withhold Your anger.

 

Narration:

A person whose heart loves God also loves his country and his fellow human beings. A person who is willing to carry the Cross is full of mercy. Such people may be badly mistreated but they still feel sweet with love. They may be imprisoned but their hearts are free, they may be despised, but are full of gratitude.

 

Old Jing:  God’s spirit and his mighty power have been with me over the years.  To tell you the truth, I did go through a little suffering for Him. I was homeless at one time. Since I stared following him, I’ve gained so much.  Despite all the hardships, God’s path is still very sweet to me.

 

Zhang Rong Liang:  I don’t feel pain when I’m in pain; I don’t feel hungry when I’m hungry; I don’t feel alone when I’m pursued and put in prison. I don’t feel depressed after I cry, I feel sweet. My whole life has been saved by God’s love.

 

Brother:  Without God’s love, nobody can give up worldly possessions and be his servants.  Jesus sacrificed himself on the Cross for us all. We are bound by His love and have no choice but to follow in his footsteps.

 

Sister:  I can picture the expression of pain on Jesus’ face when he was crucified on the cross.  I’ll never forget what it says in the Bible, “And the curtain of the temple was torn in two”(Luke 23:45). He did not do it for himself.

 

(Chorus: “The Tears of Gratitude”)

 

Can’t stop the tears of gratitude

Can’t stop the words from deep within

Hands marked with imprint of the nails

Open the doors long shut

A voice of tenderness

Takes our hearts away

 

We know this is a path to the cross

A painful path with violent storms

But the loving hands of the Lord

Holding our hands all the time

There is no reason not to follow Jesus

There is no reason not to follow Jesus

 

Narration:

Why has the cross, an instrument of torture and a symbol of humiliation, become a symbol of peace and good future? The path leading to the cross is paved with suffering and sacrifice. But why are people who walk along it filled with peace and joy? Why does suffering turn into happiness because of the cross? The answers all lie in Jesus. He was nailed to the cross because of His love for man and he was resurrected three days later. Today, He is living in heaven, in this world, and in the hearts of everyone who believe in Him.

 

Just as Jesus announced his victory through the cross, the faithful in China are building the church through suffering many hardships.  Jail has become the faith-building training center for missionaries in China; suppression has revived the spirit of the Chinese Christians, and never-ending arrests have helped to build teams of people spreading the gospel nationwide.

 

Zhang Rong Liang:  The government keeps on tracking us down and arresting us.  We have no choice but to leave home.  But everywhere we hide, we spread the gospel. In the beginning, we didn’t want to leave our homes, but it turned out to be just what God wanted. If it weren’t for the persecution and the arrests, we probably wouldn’t have built such a strong team.

 

Shen Xien Feng:  We became homeless.  As we wandered from town to town, we worked at spreading the gospel.  A lot of brothers and sisters in the same situation have gotten together.

 

Brother:  When I escaped from being arrested by the police, I became a full time missionary.  I was forced to leave my hometown, but I continued to spread the gospel wherever I went. I have been to a lot of places over the years.

 

Shen Xien Feng:  Once we stared to settle in one place, the police would come.  Then we’d have to move on to another town.  So, bit by bit, our work has spread to many places throughout the country.

 

Narration:

Every one of these unexceptional farmers leads tens of thousands of house-churches and millions of Chinese Christians.  In fact, there is an ever-growing number of House-Churches secretly scattered in the villages, small alleys and streets of China.

 

(Chorus: 3 song clips)

 

God’s great love is there to see

For everybody in the world

 

A never- ending story

A never- ending story

 

 (Ding Hei in prayer): Bless us with your abundant anointing, Amen.          We ask you to pour out your Spirit on this land, Amen.

 

Narration:

After visiting hundreds of House-Churches, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Sister:  I don’t know exactly how many House-Churches there are in China. Too many to count!   All I can tell you is that there are ninety-seven in my district.

 

Sister:  Two years ago our two families moved here from He Nan to La Sa, Tibet.

 

Sister:  God led us to the Zhuang tribe in Guang Xi two years ago.  We have built seven House-Churches there.

 

Brother:  we established four House-Churches within four months of our arrival.

 

Sister:  We have been doing God’s work here in Si Chuan for about ten years.  The missionaries left their footprints in every corner of this land and many tears were shed.

 

Narration:

Having interviewed hundreds of missionaries, it’s still hard to imagine how successful they’ve been: without much education or experience, nevertheless they found ways to spread the Gospel.

 

(Chorus: “Lord, I Praise You.”)

 

It was you who raises us from the dust

You raise us from the dust

It’s never enough to speak of your love

It’s never enough to sing of your righteousness

On this vast land

Who would not thank and praise you

 

Narration:

When spring comes, gentle breezes blow and sweet showers moisten the dry land with abundance. Like springtime when radiant glory is everywhere, the gospel has been spread all over China by the work of these ordinary farmers. There is no doubt that it is due to the mighty power of the gospel itself.

 

Joyful hymns of praise are raised in every corner of this land, from the coast of the southeast to the boarder in the northwest, from the banks of Song Hua River to the Lan Cang River.

 

 (Chorus)

I listen to the creeks and wander the forests

But still can’t find the home of my heart

How lost I used to be

 

Narration:

From small villages to major cities, the seeds of faith have grown in the hearts of millions of farmers, students, civilians, and government officials.  

 

Narration:

Da Qing Oil Fields, a model district in the northeast set up personally by Chairman Mao, has been home for nearly one hundred thousand faithful Christians since the 1980s.

 

Brother:  Crowds of people came to my home for Sunday service, no matter how much others made fun of me.  “How can an illiterate farmer like him teach anything?” they sneered.  Nevertheless, my congregation became too big to meet at one time, so we had to split into two, then three, then four, and then many, many more.

 

Brother:  There are twenty-one districts within the Da Qing area, and each district has an average of one hundred and fifty House-Churches with an average of thirty members each.  In other words, we have about one hundred thousand members within this area, and there are about twenty-three districts in the surrounding areas.

 

Narration:  At almost every major university, such as Beijing, Qing Hua, Xia Men and Fu Dan, Christian students and teachers alike meet regularly.

 

Narration:  The gospel has also spread to the tribal groups in China. It has brought faith and dignity to the lives of people in the farthest reaches of China.

 

Brother:  Ninety percent of our village became Christian between 1985 and 1989.

 

Brother:  Eighty percent of our village has become Christian.

 

Brother:  There are very few people in our tribe who aren’t Christian.

 

Brother:  I can preach in the languages of the Li Su Tribe, Gan Yu Tribe, and Hei Yi Tribe.  I can also communicate and sing in these languages.

 

(Chorus) 

The flame in my heart

The flame of love

Nothing can stop it from burning

The Holy Spirit will reign here

On this very day

At this very moment

 

Narration:  Today in China, there are countless devotees, hundreds of nongovernmental seminaries, and thousands of Bible training centers. These faithful souls know they no longer belong to a corrupt and evil world.  They live to shed blood and tears, even risk their lives for the sole purpose of spreading the love of their Father in Heaven.

 

Sister (prayer):  Lord, I am willing to devote my life to sharing with everyone who lives in pain and darkness that Jesus loves you.  The true love of Christ cannot be found any place else.

 

Brother:  This is the promise I have made to the Lord, “Lord, I will carry your cross and follow you, for it is the duty of your disciples.  The hardships I’ve had are not sufferings but true blessings from you.    I know this is a long journey full of pain and tears, but I’m determined to follow your path faithfully.”

 

 (Chorus)

With tears and laughter, songs and silence

We’ve gone through ups and downs

We’ve walked through the darkest valleys

And climbed upon the highest mountains

 

Year after year, we’ve had losses

Despite the hardships, we’ve had gains

Time passes like the tides

The tears of sorrow and joy

Have been shed many times

 

Look!  Finally a river of life from heaven

Run to the land of China

Heal the land of China

Save the land of China

 

(End)

 


 

The Canaan Hymns

 

 (Prayers)

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #268:             When light dawns on China)

When light dawns on China

The sound of prayer rises

Prayer brings revival and peace

Prayer brings unity and triumph

 

Narration: 

When dawn arrives in China you can hear people praying. They are rejoicing in the Great Love that unites all the peoples of the world. 

These prayers soar over the highest mountains and melt the ice off the coldest hearts.  There is no more bondage. There are no more wars.  Hearts receive blessings from above, and destinies are changed.  It is going to be an excellent year for the harvest.

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #268:             When light dawns on China)

Prayer soars over the highest mountains

Prayer melts the ice off the coldest hearts

 

Narration: 

Chinese people use poetry and songs to express what is in their minds and hearts.  The Canaan Hymns show an open-mindedness, which is rarely encountered in China.  The human voice is able to convey the unique beauty of the universe. 

 

Title Sequence: The Canaan Hymns

  Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #26   Walk into a new day)

Walk into a new day

My heart is full of joy

The first words coming from within

Thank you, Lord

Given your anointing

Bathed in your love

I hear you calling my name

Bringing me into your kingdom

 

Narration: 

Anyone who wants to understand the Chinese Home-church assemblies will want to reflect on the hymns sung by its members.  These hymns express the faith, testimonies, and experiences of the faithful and show the world the pure innocence of all those who tread a rocky path.

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #26   Walk into a new day)

Step by step we keep on

Step by step we carry on to the end

A new day is coming

A new age is here

Lord, I praise your glorious name

Narration: 

In remote villages and prosperous cities, wherever there are Christians you will hear joyful voices of the faithful expressing their devotion through their hymns. 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #284             Light up the fire of revival)

May you receive the beautiful fruit ripened by the Sun

And the precious gift nurtured by the Moon

May your whole life witness the prosperity of Jerusalem

The Holy Spirit has awakened our wish to rise

Our wish to rise

Light up the fire of revival Bless China

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #82             Thanksgiving)

His greatness makes kingdoms tremble

           His grace is known throughout the whole world 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #39             This is the day the LORD has made)

How wonderful it is that God lives among us

Narration: 

Without instruments or the ability to read words or musical scores, these peasants who are Christians are able to sing dozens of hymns without ever taking a rest.

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #129              God Is With Us)

Light is here

Life is here

The blessings from God are all here

Narration: 

These songs have been assembled in what is called The Canaan Hymns.  Most of the songs in this film are taken from these 930 hymns. They are sung not only in the Home-church assemblies, but are also sung in the Chinese Three-self Churches.  Some are sung in Chinese congregations all around the world. 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #550             We are well-prepared)

We are ready to welcome the great revival

Look! Wheels are rolling

Thunder is rumbling

  Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #42             Our God is great)

Our God is great

He is the master of the universe

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #574   A river of life)

The stream of life

The stream of joy

Flow tenderly into my heart

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #268              When light dawns on China)

When light dawns on China

The sound of prayer rises

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #34              My closest friend)

At each step I take in my life

At every place I stop on my way

(Testimonies)

Brother from Henan: 

I think these hymns are God’s grace to the Chinese church.

Zhang Rongliang: 

The Canaan Hymns are God’s guidance to the Chinese church.  They are a great inspiration to us all.

Brother:

I have sung the Canaan Hymns since I was a child.

Brother: 

The hymns we sing at our house-church are mostly from the Canaan Hymns.

Sister: 

I think the Canaan Hymns are God’s gifts to the Chinese people.  When I sing hymns translated from other languages,  I feel that I’m walking into the kingdom of God. Now it’s like God walks into our hearts and takes care of all our needs through the Canaan Hymns.  He encourages us when we are weak; He strengthens us when we lose hope; He gives us power when we need it; He guides us with these hymns.  So I think the Canaan Hymns are absolutely right for the Chinese church.  They touch me very deeply.

 Chorus:  (Canaan Hymns #520              With tears and laughter, songs and silence)

With tears and laughter, songs and silence

We’ve gone through ups and downs

We’ve walked through the darkest valleys

And climbed the highest mountains

 Sister: 

One day, when I was feeling weak and tired, a hymn flew into my heart.  It was amazing: I suddenly had strength again and continued to walk through the hills. I was able to continue preaching the gospel.

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #520              With tears and laughter, songs and silence)

Time passes like the tides

Brother from Henan: 

When I heard the hymns for the first time, I was surprised.  I felt that they could be created only through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #520              With tears and laughter, songs and silence)

Look!  Finally a river of life from heaven

Run to the land of China

Heal the land of China

Save the land of China

 Su Wenxing: 

I think it would be difficult even for a doctorate student from Beijing University to write such lyrics.  I know no student from my school, the Central Music Academy, who can write music like this.

Narration: 

It’s hard to believe that all the melodies and lyrics of the Canaan Hymns were written by a peasant girl named Xiao Min.  A girl who can’t even read music. 

Narration: 

Xiao Min grew up in a little village in Henan. 

Xiao Min: 

I was born into a family of farmers; my parents are simple farming folks.  My mother never went to school and my Dad studied for only a year or two. He barely reads.  They were very poor.

Xiao Min’s mother: 

We were going to give Xiao Min away when she was about ten days old, but a big flood came the day she was due to be taken away.  It was God’s blessing to our family.

 

Xiao Min:

While I was in Junior High, I suffered sinus infection. Every day, about noon, I felt dizzy and nauseous.  I couldn’t finish the day.  Soon, I just quit school all together. 

 

Su Wenxing:

Last year, I participated in the recording of the Canaan Hymns.  I was working with the choir and musicians of the Chinese Ballet Orchestra.  When they finished recording, everybody was clapping and guessing which master wrote these hymns.  They couldn’t believe when I told them that all these hymns were written by someone who didn’t even finish junior high school. They thought I must be lying or joking.

 Xiao Min’s Aunt: 

I said to Xiao Min, “God is the creator of everything on earth.”  I said, “You must put your trust in God. You will be healed.  Come to church with me this evening.”

Xiao Min: 

When she shared the gospel, I felt sure there was a Creator of Heaven and Earth.  Often I sat down and looked at the sky, the birds, the flowers, the trees, the grass, and the fields. In my heart, I knew all these were the work of a Creator, but I didn’t know who he was and what his name was.  So when my aunt told me the good news of the gospel, I knew very clearly: Oh, it’s Him!

 Xiao Min’s aunt: 

She came to my house so early that I hadn’t even finished my dinner. “Auntie,” she said. “Hurry up! Let’s go to church!”  So I said, “All right!”  That evening, she became a Christian.

Xiao Min: 

After the first couple of meetings, I felt a difference in my body.  I said, “Oh, Lord, I’ve longed for a true God.  I do believe you will heal me. You will change my life.” 

Chorus:  (Canaan Hymns #34             My closest friend)

I have vowed to follow the Lord

I will never change

I have vowed to follow the Lord

I will never change

Xiao Min’s mother: 

When she first became a Christian, we didn’t understand what was going on.  We were worried and we didn’t want her to go out.   

Xiao Min: 

At first, I went to church without telling my family where I was going, because they were against it, especially my brother.  He was strongly against it and gave me a hard time.  So I had to sneak out every time. The brothers and sisters in Church were so precious, and they deeply loved each other. They were so sincere and honest.  So I decided to follow Him. The Holy Spirit touched me the moment I consecrated myself to God.  That’s when I sang my first hymn.  It was at the end of 1990.

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #1             Bring your happiness)

Bring your happiness

Bring your songs

Bring your honesty

Bring your heart

Enter the wonderful sanctuary

To seek a true life

Christ is our only light

Hurry up and spread the gospel

Hurry up and listen to the gospel

You are welcome to join

Our big family

 

Xiao Min: 

At first I taught my hymns to a young sister in my village. Then she taught someone else. When people asked her where she’d learned the hymns she sang, she answered,  “from Xiao Min.” At first they wondered, “How can Xiao Min write these beautiful hymns?  She never goes anywhere and she doesn’t talk much.  She always hides in the corner during church meetings. ”  They thought it was a strange thing. But then, when they started singing:

Chorus: (Xiao Min singing Canaan Hymns #5             O Lord, I praise You)

O Lord, I praise you

Because you have chosen me

In the midst of the crowd

It was you who found me

Xiao Min: 

They were deeply moved.  They said to the Lord, “ Lord, how great you are! You didn’t abandon us.  We are dust.  We are no better than worms and moth, but you took pity on us. You cared for us, and chose us.”  They were so deeply touched, that they started looking for the hymn writer. That’s how they discovered that it was me.

Xiao Min’s mother:

One day, past midnight, I heard somebody singing.  I sat up and listened, but I didn’t know who it was.  She never told me. I heard about it from others.

Xiao Min’s sister: 

 One day when I went to church, someone asked me, “Do you know who wrote these hymns? Your sister, Xiao Min.”  I didn’t believe it.  Later on, many people told me the same thing, but I still didn’t believe them.  One year she came back to visit from Beijing and went to our church with me.  She told me, “Believe in God faithfully!  These hymns are God’s inspiration to me.”  Then I knew what they told me was true.  See, if it weren’t for this true God, how could she have come up with those inspirational hymns?

Xiao Min’s father: 

It had to be that God inspired her.  I don’t care how talented she is; maybe she could have come up with nine or ten hymns on her own. Never so many!  It is our wonderful God. It’s the guidance of God.

Xiao Min:

So often, during prayer time, quiet time or time of meditating on God’s Word, the Holy Spirit would come and bring me a verse or two. Usually within five or ten minutes, I’ll be singing the hymn with melody and lyrics.

 

 (Xiao Min teaching Canaan Hymns #851   Sing the grace of God)

My peace is from God

You cannot find it in the world

Xiao Min: 

When I teach a new song to the congregation, some brothers and sisters quickly write down the music.

 (Xiao Min teaching Canaan Hymns #851            Sing the grace of God)

I will sing His praises everyday

What a wonderful life He has given me

Narration: 

Later, Xiao Min was given a little recorder.  She records what comes into her mind, whether it ‘s day or night.  Later, she writes down the words, and someone else writes down the scores. 

During walks in the field or during prayer meetings, Xiao Min finds inspiration from the world around her.  Her heart is always open to be touched by the Lord. 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #5                   Lord, I praise You.)

Our God Almighty

Our God Almighty

It is you who raises us from the dust

You raise us from the dust

 

It’s never enough to speak of your love

It’s never enough to sing of your righteousness

On this vast land

Who would not thank and praise you

Narration: 

The Canaan Hymns came down to this golden land from the deep blue sky.  They are an eternal gift from the timeless beauty of the heavens, a gift of love to those who inhabit our precious earth.  These hymns, written by a peasant girl, have spread over the immense land of China in the blink of an eye.  

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #304)

He is the source of love and life

His work and miracles have prevailed

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #676)

Climb thousands of mountains

Cross thousands of rivers

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #82)

We praise God who created the universe

Who built the world with His wisdom

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #345)

Beyond the mountain is the plain

Beyond the plain is the mountain

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #76)

From everywhere are people of God

They stay close in His love

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #5)

O Lord, I praise you

Because you love me

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #129)

Love is here

Peace is here

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #27)

Nothing can stop it from burning

It is glowing

It is glowing

 

Sister: 

We once were on a mission to the tribal villages in the province of Yunnan.  There we needed inspiration from the hymns more than ever. When we were feeling hopeless and weak, it was Xiao Min’s hymns that gave us strength.

Sister: 

When I first became part of this team, bothers and sisters were singing the hymn:  “You are the only one who treats me like a human being….” Where did this hymn come from? It was amazing! It came from God.  Every time I sing it, tears fill my eyes.

 

Sister: 

One evening, I was singing by myself:  “Lord, You have chosen me….” Tears were pouring from my eyes.

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #303             Tears of gratitude)

Can’t stop the tears of gratitude

Can’t stop the words from deep within

Xiao Min: 

One morning, there were many of us praying together.  Some brothers and sisters hadn’t seen each other for a long time.  So they missed each other very much. They were all crying.  I didn’t know why I was crying, too. 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #303            Tears of gratitude)

Hands marked with imprint of the nails

Open the doors long shut 

Xiao Min: 

I started praying to God.  I said, “Lord, if it weren’t for you and your love at Calvary, without your precious blood, we never would have come together as brothers and sisters.” I felt an intense gratitude toward God. I said, “ Oh Lord, thank you so very much.”  The word “Thank you,” brought about this hymn.

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #303            Tears of gratitude)

We know this is a path to the cross

A painful path with violent storms

But the loving hands of the Lord

Hold our hands all the time

There is no reason

Not to follow our Lord Jesus

 

Sister: 

Before we met Xiao Min, we thought she must be a very unusual girl.  We all wanted to meet her.  After we met, we found out that she’s as ordinary as the rest of us.

Xiao Min: 

I know that God is working through me.  Think about it. I’m a girl who didn’t even finish junior high school.  I often come before the Lord and say, “Lord, if you didn’t use me and inspired me, I wouldn’t be able to write a single word.

Xiao Min: 

One stormy autumn evening, I was on my way to a meeting when a thought came into my mind: “Oh, Lord, please hold our hands to ride into the storm.”  “Ah,” I said:  “Lord, what a wonderful picture! ”  Then I started singing:

Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns # 8            Lord! Hold our hands!)

O Lord! Hold our hands

To ride the storms

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #8    Lord! Hold our hands)

O Lord! Hold our hands

To ride the storms

O Lord! Lead our spirits

To fly around the world

Here your followers will set off

Here your people will rise

Your Word will be spread to the whole world

To the ends of the earth

March on! We follow you

Hurry up!  We follow you

One day China will rise

One day China will rise

Knock down the gate that’s tightly shut

Conquer the invincible fortress

The flag of the Gospel will fly over China

Churches will be united in Jesus

 

 (Title sequence the second time: The Canaan Hymns)

Narration: 

People who are deeply moved by the songs in the Canaan Hymns may be curious about the peasant songwriter.  There is a deep spiritual connection between her and God. 

 Since she became a Christian, Xiao Min’s life was no longer hers alone. She is the messenger that God chose for China.

  Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns #28            Lord, you give me a heart)

Lord, you give me a heart

To live only for you

To give up everything in the world

Without any hesitation

Lord, you give me strength not to fall

To go on the rest of my journey

Wherever I go

Lord, you are with me

 Narration: 

Xiao Min has been a quiet person who spends much time quietly before the Lord.  For her, Jesus is not only the Savior but also the love in her heart.  The song, “The Loved One and I”, expresses the endless love between her and Jesus. 

  Solo: (Canaan Hymns #85             The Loved One and I)

My Lord leads me into His gates

Our loving words flow endlessly

Our love is as strong as death

Many waters cannot quench it

My Lord is radiant

Outstanding among all others

I am His and He is mine

We will never part

He takes me to the fields

He takes me to the vineyards

He feeds His flock among the lilies

I am with Him forever

Sister: 

Most of Xiao Min’s hymns were written from her personal experiences.  That’s why they’re so moving.

Sister: 

When I feel spiritually weak and distant from the Lord, I sing “God leads me into His gates.”  I feel that God lovingly takes me by the hand and leads me into his gates.  He guides me away from weakness and darkness until I see Him again.

 Narration: 

Xiao Min is the daughter of a Home-church assembly that has had more than its share of trials and tribulations. Her hymns were born with blood and tears through the storms of the times.  They are the true echoes of China’s House-church assemblies.

 

Xiao Min: 

On September 7th, 1992, during a house-church meeting, someone shouted, “Oh! No! Here come the police!”  We were taken to the county jail where female drug addicts, gamblers, and murderers were locked up. They were all surprised to see us. They said, “How come they got so many of you?  Did you steal or kill?”  I said, ”We didn’t do anything.  We believe in God, we are followers of Christ.  We were arrested during a meeting.”  They said, “It’s a good thing to believe.  Why did they arrest you?”  

 That’s when I felt like singing: “In tough times, I grew strong. In tough times, I learned about life”

  Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns #51            In tough times)

In tough times

I grew strong

In tough times

I learned about life

The pine trees on high mountains

Face the wind from all sides

Through every season and every day

They stand straight and reach to the sky

Never bending and never yielding

Their lives are forever green

 Xiao Min: 

Someone came to see me and said, ”Your father is loosing weight over you, with so much work on the farm. Just tell them that you are not a believer anymore and get out of here.” I told him:” I’d rather stay in jail for the rest of my life. I will never give up my faith. Tell my parents that no matter how angry they are at me, I believe that the Lord will have mercy on me and will comfort them.”

 Xiao Min’s sister-in-law: 

Xiao Min’s brother said to her, “Just say that you don’t believe in God and they’ll let you go.  Why are you so stubborn?”

 

 Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns #25)

When did I learn the colors

When did I grow tall

 

Narration:  

Xiao Min sang the song that was in her heart to the other prisoners.  She sang:  “Dreaming in the wind, looking in the rain, I haven’t found the answer for a long, long time.”  People said, “Go look for the true God.  He will tell you.  Because he created Heaven and Earth.  He has all the wisdom and knowledge.”  Ah! How joyful! I have found the true and magnificent God.  He has answered all my questions and told me the value and meaning of life.  My life has become bountiful and beautiful.  My friends, do you also have questions in your heads?  Please come to know God.  He is not far away.  He is right next to you.  He lives in your faithful heart. 

  Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns #25  My song)

He is right next to you

He lives in your faithful heart

 Xiao Min:

This is the longest one in the Canaan Hymns.  When I sang it to them, I totally forgot I was in jail.  I felt like I was somewhere else sharing the gospel.  Everyone was saying, ”Ah! God is wonderful! God really exists.”  Then I heard someone’s voice.  It was the warden.  He poked his head in and said, “Let me tell you something.  When you’re locked up, you should be thinking about how to get out of here.  But you are preaching! Unbelievable!”

 

When I was evangelizing in the prison, I never thought that the prisoners might think I was crazy. Right away, all they said was, “How great your God is!  How beautiful your hymns are!  Why did they arrest you?”  Later I said, “It’s God’s marvelous idea.”  With joy, I praised the Lord when I saw that they were raising their hands up high and saying that they would follow God.  I had no more sorrow.  I said to God, “Oh, Lord, please bring these people to you, even if we had to spend the rest of our lives in jail for it.  I have no greater joy than to see these people repent and come to know you.” 

 

I was very grateful for the strength that God gave me in prison.  Every evening, we’d take turns fasting and praying for the other prisoners.  None of them said that Christians were bad people.  The day we left, they took us by the hand and asked us to come back and visit them. 

 

Once we were allowed to rest, I heard screaming coming from the men’s jail.  The long-term prisoners were beating up the new ones.  I couldn’t sleep any more.  Then as I sat up these words came to me: “Yearning for freedom, yearning for peace, yearning for the love of God on Earth, wherever there is darkness it needs light. Wherever there’s war it needs peace. I would like to be the messenger of love.”  The Lord has chosen me to be His messenger for a needy generation.

 

Xiao Min’s Uncle:

When she was back home from jail, I saw a bruise on her nose. I asked her what had happened. She said she got beaten up. I was hot-tempered back then, and I wanted to straighten this out with the warden.  But Xiao Min said: let it go, Uncle, don’t worry about it anymore.

 

Xiao Min:

Actually, I didn’t suffer as much as the other brothers and sisters. Their experience in jail, their testimonies and their service to God have given me so much strength. They are truly the servants of Christ. They would give up their lives for Him.

 

Chorus:

(Canaan Hymns #270            One is not enough to fulfill the mission from God)

Grass never complains about the barren land

It takes deep root wherever it can

Rivers never complain about the high mountains

They rush and wind around to water the land

 

Xiao Min:

Many people don’t understand us. They say: “why do you leave home and run around like this?” Especially now we have children, and have to leave them behind sometimes. People misunderstand us, saying: “You are disobeying the teaching of the Bible.” Then I would pray silently: “Oh, Lord, if everyone stays home, how would those in need hear the Gospel?”

 

 Chorus:

(Canaan Hymns #270            One is not enough to fulfill the mission from God)

            Never miss a touching moment in your life

            That is the most beautiful message

And the bumper harvest of love    

The joys of our childhood have gone far away

Today we are all middle-aged

 

            Xiao Min:

There was a time I was quite lonely, and nobody seemed to understand me. One time, I was walking on a narrow lane, it was very quiet and no one was around. That’s when I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me: You are not alone. Jesus is with you. No matter how much you’ve been wronged and suffered, no matter where you go Jesus will always be with you. He will always walk beside you. So I started singing:

 

 Xiao Min singing: (Canaan Hymns #34             My closest friend)

            Lord, you are my closest friend

            Lord, you are my dearest companion

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #34             My closest friend)

            Lord, you are my closest friend

            Lord, you are my dearest companion

 

            Xiao Min:

To be honest, there have been moments we were discouraged, but we would never say I would stop believing. Maybe I’d say, “Lord I’d like to take a break from sharing the gospel. Let me just stay home and still believe in you.”  Truthfully, we’ve all had similar thoughts. There are too many souls at stake. I know God has put a love for my country in my heart. Psalm 33 says: Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. When I read this, I thought of my own country. For so many years and generations, it has been caught up in the fire and smoke of wars. “Lord, please watch over China. I believe when our nation turns to You, You will bless us.” The Holy Spirit moved me to lift my hands in prayers to the Lord for China.

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #551    China belongs to God)

If I had only one drop of blood left

I would shed it to China

If I had only one breath left

I would give it to China

 

            Xiao Min:

The whole assembly was overtaken by this song. They raised their hands and prayed out loud: “Lord, China belongs to you! From the highest to the lowest, let them all turn to you!”

 

 Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #551 China belongs to God)

Listen to the call coming across the ocean

Chinese are the children of God

China, China, come and find peace

God has found you

You will never have to wander in the wilderness

China belongs to God

 

Narration:

God has come to China. In this vast, barren land of nine hundred sixty thousand square kilometers, the Gospel is moistening every inch like the gentle rain of spring.

 

 (Clips of 2003 CCTV Spring Festival party)

A Christian Family Singing:

            I love my family

            My son, my daughter, and my beloved

            Love is patient

            May love stay with my family forever

 

Narration:

In the Spring Festival party hosted by CCTV broadcast live to the whole country, a song “I love my home” performed by a Christian family was very well received.

 

 (Clips of Messiah)

 

Narration:

Handel’s Messiah had an impressive debut performance in Beijing.

 

 (Clips of Messiah)

 

Narration:

Jesus is walking on the land of China. He walks with grace and supreme power but in simple clothes. He walks into poor and desolate villages, through main streets and narrow lanes.

 

He is followed by groups of Chinese people. Among them is the singer Xiao Min.

 

(Clips of Missionary Training)

 

Chorus:

            In the cross, in the cross

            Be my glory ever

            Till my raptured soul shall find

            Rest beyond river

            Amen

 

Narration:

Many years ago, Xiao Min became a mother, but her life still belongs to God and His Church. She is a beloved daughter of China. Her songs continue to flow from her heart.

 

Chorus: (Canaan Hymns #547             A River of Life)

I want to sing a song

A song from heaven

The dark clouds above

The sorrow in my heart

They all disappear

 

The stream of life

The stream of joy

Flow tenderly into my heart

 

The stream of life

The stream of joy

Flow tenderly into my heart

 

Narration:

Canaan Hymns are becoming the holy songs of the Chinese nation. They are the pulse of seventy million Chinese Christians. They reflect the path where so many missionaries walked in the past century. They prophesy the inescapable destiny of the Chinese nation.

 

Chorus:  (Canaan Hymns #546 The Dove Returned)

In the evening

The dove returned

There in her beak was a fresh olive leaf

It symbolizes hope

It symbolizes peace

It symbolizes a new era

 

We have walked in blood

We have walked in tears

The wild geese fly around

It is a love to sing with no end

Today’s China

Is no longer desolate

You see lives flourishing everywhere

Today’s China

Is no longer desolate

You see lives flourishing everywhere

 

Subtitle:

Xiao Min is currently living in a village in northern Chinas. She continues her life as a missionary, and continues to create Canaan hymns.

 

 Xiao Min singing:  (Canaan Hymns #607    Lord, I am no one)

Lord, I am no one

But you’ve chosen me

Allow me to stand before you

To sing a song for you

 

Lord, I am nothing

But you care for me

Allow me to be born in China

To reap the bumper harvest

 

Buffeted by stormy waves

Endure the persecutions

Your love has sheltered me

Your love has led me on

 

I am not lost like a kite with a broken string

I am not lost like a flower withering in the wind

I become a seed of life

To live within you

 

I cry out loud to you

You promise me a tomorrow

When every corner in China

Echoes with songs to worship you

 

(End)