Zhang Qiang and Xiao Yue were no different than the thousands of other couples preparing for a wedding last Saturday, 21 May, in China, except for one thing: They are members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu.
As a result, last weekend did not end with them being pronounced husband and wife but rather with them being detained and then released from the Chengdu police station, with orders not to proceed with the ceremony
According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr Hyun Sook Foley, the couple were not the only ones pressured by the authorities over the wedding.
“Even the hotel where the wedding was scheduled to be held had to cancel due to the pressure,” says Representative Foley. “Elder Li Yingqiang, Pastor Wu Wuqing, Pastor Dai Zhichao, and others associated with the church were told by the police that they could not go out to attend the wedding. Sister Hu Xinrong, who was preparing to arrange the wedding, was stopped by the Dayi police at the high-speed railway station and had to return home. Even Brother Shen Bing, who went to the police station to comfort the couple while they were being detained, was followed by nearly ten security officers and was himself detained by the police even after the couple was released.”
The forced cancellation of the wedding by Chengdu authorities is the latest in a series of disruptions, arrests, and investigations of Early Rain Church since the arrest of its Senior Pastor Wang Yi and more than 100 of its members on 9 December 2018. Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced on 30 December 2019 to nine years in prison by the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court for inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations.
According to Representative Foley, church members are committed to continuing on together, no matter the difficulties they face. “One church member wrote, ‘Although the wedding may seem impossible, Christ has already won, and He will soon come to marry His bride. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for the church. May we remain faithful and holy to our King, who loves us so much!’”
Source: Voice of the Martyrs Korea
Praise God for the faithfulness of the Early Rain Covenant Church members. Ask the Lord to use their witness to bring courage, unity, and strength to Christians all across China. Pray too, that those who do not know the Lord will be moved by their example.
Ask the Lord to comfort and encourage the bride and groom and their loved ones. Join them as they commit their future plans to Him.
Uphold Pastor Wang Yi, ask God to renew his strength daily and give him the courage to endure this difficult trial.