|Pastor Zhang Rongliang |
Every year, Christians in more than 130 countries join together in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
This year, IDOP falls on Sunday, November 4, 2012.
To help you, your family, or your congregation join in this worldwide prayer movement, IDOP Canada prepares a kit with testimonies, videos, specific prayer points, and more.
The following story is included with this year’s kit. For more testimonies like this and other helpful resources, keep your eyes on IDOP Canada’s website. The site will be updated in the coming weeks and months in preparation of IDOP.
We look forward to joining with you in prayer this November.
CHINA: Pastor Zhang’s story
Pastor Zhang Rongliang has spent more than a fourth of his life in prison. He has been imprisoned five times, for a total of 19 years, over the span of his ministry as leader of one of China’s largest house church networks. Before his most recent arrest in 2004, Pastor Zhang led a network estimated at 10 million believers. Yet the pastor refuses to learn the lesson Chinese authorities are trying to teach him. He continues his work as a Christian leader, sharing the gospel wherever he goes.
Pastor Zhang was released from his latest imprisonment on August 31, 2011, after more than seven years in prison. He endured torture and hard labour, all while suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. He was not permitted to have a Bible, and he was so ill that he had to be carried from place to place by two men. He didn’t think he would leave prison alive.
His wife and two sons worried about him constantly, and many concerned Christians in Canada and around the world wrote letters to Pastor Zhang while in prison.
“I am happy that you and others tried to arrange for my release, but in one way, I am happy that you failed,” he said shortly after his release. “You almost made a big mistake. If you had been successful, there would be no church in that prison today.”
Even while ill, Pastor Zhang was planting a church. “God called me to preach to the prisoners,” he said. During his imprisonment, almost all of the 5,000 prisoners had an opportunity to hear the gospel. He was able to reach many men he would never have interacted with outside prison.
Pastor Zhang foresees China opening up to the gospel soon, and he hopes the Chinese Church will be prepared. “I want to remind the Western Church that there is great fruit in China that is a direct result of the labour that the West has laboured for us,” he said. “Your ministry to the Chinese Church has changed this nation!”