Wayne Cordeiro, pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii, shared about a recent trip to China with 22 Christian leaders in the communist country, 18 of whom had been imprisoned. He said they told him they smuggled Bible passages on small pieces of paper for others to memorize. Their meeting was underground.
"If we get caught what will happen to me?" the pastor asked the Chinese Christians who took a 13-hour train ride to attend the leadership meeting, held in a 700-square-foot hotel room with no air conditioning.
"Well, you will get deported in 24 hours, and we will go to prison for three years," they responded.
The 22 Chinese Christian leaders from the Hunan Province, the mountainous area in southern China, oversaw 22 million people in total in the country with 1.3 billion people.
In the beginning, short on Bibles, the Hawaii megachurch pastor asked them to turn to 2 Peter and he realized one of the women handed her Bible to another leader but she managed to recite the entire book.
During a break he asked her about it. She said they have a lot of time in prison.
"Don't they confiscate the Bible?" Cordeiro asked.
They smuggle in pieces of paper with portions of Scripture on them.
“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,” she shared with him.
At the conclusion of the three-day study, Cordeiro asked them how he could pray for them.
One man responded that he wanted to be free to worship: “Could you pray that one day we could just be like you?”
But the Hawaii pastor said he would not do that.
“I will not pray that you become like us, but I will pray that we become just like you,” he responded.
Caine was invited to a gathering with 500 leaders of the Chinese underground church who asked her to teach them how to lead young people, worried they were losing them to Western values.
"'We don't understand anything about leadership, we don't understand about Western leadership methods. Could you help us? All we know how to do to is pray, all we know how to do is believe God. That's how we had revival in China when we're not allowed to carry the Word of God. The only leadership training we give our people is, we teach them how to witness to their executioner on their way to their execution.'"
She froze and then asked them to lay hands on her and pray for her.
"I thought, 'what am I doing here?" she said. "I literally said, 'I'm not sure if I'm a Christian.' You're asking me? No, you can all lay hands on me. You can all lay hands on me and give me the kind of faith that says, 'I'm going to witness to my executioner on the way to my execution...I want the kind of faith that causes Jesus to marvel."