We continue to wonder about our friend Esther who occupies a prison cell somewhere in China. It has been months since we have had any contact with her husband Brother Du. While they suffer, we motor on with our familiar routine: school, a restful summer break, meals together, nightly walks for all. Although Du and Esther have never been far from our minds or thoughts, earlier sorrow and worry had dissipated. Until yesterday.
Fresh news came via email from retired co-workers of our former city. Our senses heightened as we caught the title, "Update from ...(city)..." offering the latest news about Du and Esther. The situation is grim. The preschool has been shut down. Brother Du and his two boys are getting on their way, moving thousands of miles away to live with family while waiting out Esther's prison time. Much uncertainty lingers, for Esther could be anywhere within the country serving out her sentence.
As if this weren't bad enough, a second preschool in a city some hours away was raided as well. The police came in the middle of the night and apprehended two workers. In one case, the worker's husband was out of country on business, so she did not answer her door. The police hacked their way through the iron apartment door, seized the worker and hauled her away, leaving two children aged eight and four at home alone. I'm not making this stuff up. What twisted mind could fabricate a horror story of this magnitude?
Our co-workers sent us a link to an advocacy organization that highlights the plight of persecuted believers in China. This organization, China Aid is following Esther along with the two from the other preschool, all of whom have been arrested and imprisoned. China Aid has obviously done its homework, providing a very detailed account of all that has transpired since February.
Some of you might be interested to read this account from a credible source. The story can be found at: http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/08/authorities-shut-down-2-church-run.html
You'll know that you've reached the right story when you see the photo of the family dressed in sunny yellow. Many related stories are accessible within the article.
There are no new photos to share this time, just a fresh wave of sadness. Once more we must surrender our sense of helplessness to the One who is able to pull us through hardship.
Funny thing, I had it on my mind to write a post this week, but I came against a mental block. What about our stable, routine, almost mundane lives was worthy of writing about? What did cross my mind amounted to nothing more than a "poor me" essay. "Oh, life is difficult. I have a physical ailment that limits me. We are lonely. I have an aged mother in-law who needs assisted care and we are too far away to help." The middle-aged lament...blah, blah, blah.
Do I need to be reminded that I chose this life across the Pacific? How pathetic. God forgive me for such self pity.
You know, yesterday's email got me thinking. I've really got it good here. My dear friends in China, on the other hand, are suffering far more than I ever have in my 51 years. So stop the whining, Lissa, and pour your energy into something that matters. Like praying for those who are in truly desperate need, not imaginary.
Please continue with your prayers for Esther, her two imprisoned Christian sisters, and all of the affected families. These include immediate family, extended family, and families of enrolled preschoolers whose schools were ransacked and ultimately shut down.