On March 27th, Pastor Yang Jiale of the Yanjiao Abundance Church in Hebei, China, received a phone call from a government official asking him to unlock the door to the church building. Pastor Yang informed the caller that no one was in the building and no events were being held. Therefore, he didn't unlock the door.
Later that day, police forcibly pried the door open without notifying Pastor Yang, nor presenting a warrant. Officials from various government departments, together with the police, searched the building and confiscated audio speakers, guitars, communion supplies and other items. All they left behind were a few pieces of furniture. The church's landlord was also ordered to terminate the lease. When the landlord spoke up in favour of the church, he was detained for a day at the police station and interrogated until he complied.
The small church has refused to join China's officially sanctioned Three-Self church. Since Christmas of 2020, governing authorities in the town of Yanjiao have forcibly closed ten house churches, sometimes under the guise of pandemic restrictions. Further information on the persecution of Christians in China is available at our country report.
Prayerfully remember Pastor Yang and the members of his congregation as they determine God's direction for the future of their church. May these believers rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd will assuredly walk alongside them during this difficult time. Pray for the church property to be returned and that the congregation members will find new and creative ways to meet. Also intercede for the authorities responsible for the church raids and closures in China, asking God to convict their hearts and draw them to Christ so they can experience a meaningful relationship with the Risen Saviour.