A pastor of a Hawaiian megachurch travelled to China, and what he learned about Chinese Christians changed his perspective on faith.
Wayne Cordeiro is the pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, a megachurch in Honolulu, Hawaii. Since taking part in a missions trip to China, however, he has learned a few things about true faith, CBN News reports.
He travelled to China to train 22 Christian leaders from the Hunan Province. It took the leaders 13 hours of travel by train to take part in the training.
Upon their arrival and during the course of their training, Cordeiro entered into conversation with the leaders. He learned that, if caught, he would be deported within 24 hours and spend the next three years in prison.
After polling the leaders, Cordeiro discovered that 18 of the 22 had been imprisoned for their faith by China's communist government. The group ministered to around 22 million people in China's southern mountainous region.
Later in the study, the pastor asked the group to turn in their Bibles to the first chapter of 2 Peter. As Cordeiro only had 15 Bibles, there was not enough for everyone to have their own. Then one lady gave hers up to another leader, something Cordeiro noticed and found interesting. But it quickly became apparent that she did not need her Bible; she had memorized the entire book.
Cordeiro shared that after asking the woman about it, she had revealed that despite the guards work to confiscate biblical texts and Bibles themselves, smuggled pieces of paper with Bible verses written on them were very present within Chinese prisons.
"That’s why we memorize it as fast as we can because even though they can take the paper away, they can’t take what’s hidden in your heart," the woman said.
At the conclusion of their three-day training, Cordeiro asked the Chinese believers how he could pray for them. A leader spoke up and asked that Cordeiro pray that Chinese believers would become like believers in the west, with the ability to freely worship God.
But to that Cordeiro refused, reminding the leaders of their 13-hour journey to attend the three-day intensive workshop and their pure dedication to the Word of God.
"You hardly have any bibles and you memorize them from pieces of paper," the pastor remembers telling them.
“I will not pray that you become like [us], but I will pray that we become just like you."
China is currently ranked 27th on Open Doors USA's 2019 World Watch List, which lists the countries worst for persecution against Christians worldwide.