In a recent sermon at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii, the Rev. Wayne Cordeiro told a stunning story about his time in China with persecuted Christians.
Chinese Christians from the Hunan Province traveled 13 hours for Corderio’s three-day leadership training event. The pastor opened up by asking, “If we get caught, what will happen to me?”
“Well, you will get deported in 24 hours, and we’ll go to prison for three years,” the Chinese Christians said.
These Christians would know, because they’ve been there. In fact, 18 of the 22 attendees had been imprisoned because of their faith, according to the Christian Post.
During their time behind bars, these persecuted individuals memorized large amounts of the Bible by smuggling around tiny pieces of paper with scripture on them. They did this because their oppressive government “can’t take what’s hidden in your heart,” according to one of the Christians.
Their memorization became evident in Corderio’s class, as he brought only 15 Bibles for the 22 Christians.
“I said, ‘Let’s turn to 2nd Peter, chapter 1, we are going to read it.’ Just then one lady handed hers to the person next to her, and I thought, ‘Hmm … interesting,'” the pastor said.
He then saw that she was able to read aloud with the class, but without the Bible.
“When it was done, I went over to her at a break and I said, ‘You recited the whole chapter,’” he said. She replied, “In prison. You have much time in prison.”
The next day, a Chinese man approached Cordeiro and asked, “Could you pray that one day we’ll be just like you?”
“I looked at him and said, ‘I will not do that,’” the pastor replied. “You guys rode a train 13 hours to get here. In my country, if you have to drive more than an hour, people don’t come.”
He then pointed out the stark contrast between China and America and what Christians, depending on their geographical location, are willing to tolerate.
“You sat on a wooden floor for three days. In my country, if people have to sit for more than 40 minutes, they leave. You sat here for not only three days on a hard wooden floor, in my country if it’s not padded pews and air conditioning, people don’t often come back,’ Cordiero said.
Even more eye-opening, he talked about the abundance of Bibles in America — something we take for granted as they’re available in stores, churches, libraries and online. Yet, we tend to not appreciate it as those in foreign countries would.
“In my country, we have an average of two Bibles per family,” he said. ‘We don’t read any of them. You hardly have any Bibles and you memorize them from pieces of paper.”
“I will not pray that you become like us, but I will pray that we become just like you,’ Cordiero said.
That’s powerful and humbling. There’s not much else to be said for this perspective on persecution and the freedom to worship.
Cordiero’s telling of the story has gone viral on social media. Watch the pastor’s sermon:
It had more than 40,000 Facebook shares.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.