We were about 40 people cramped in that small apartment, and for our surprise, we saw a few young men and women among us. They were not foreign to the God’s assembly. They worshiped and adored the Lord the way the whole church did. I assumed they were students at one of the universities in the city.
The Romanian communists were after the Christian students. First of all, they looked to discover any sign of a plot against the system. It was so much easier to keep under control the uneducated masses when these masses believed in life without sorrows waiting for them in Heaven. The government considered these people’s submissive existence presented little or no threat to the communist era. Young educated Christians were always under the agents’ scrutiny. Young people explored new ideas, learned foreign languages and could be in contact with Christians from other countries who came as tourists.
I couldn’t tell if the flat where we were was converted into a house church assembly for our visit only or not. There was no sign that somebody lived there. On the other hand, people had a few personal things only and it wouldn’t have been hard to put them away for the time of our gathering.
What I didn’t know then was the fact that many of the underground churches like this were formed because people experienced miracles of healing from sicknesses. A Christian would pray for somebody who was sick, and that person was healed. Then they would pray for others and God would heal them as well. The Chinese Christians experienced all kinds of miracles concerning every day life. Their relatives, neighbors and work colleagues could not deny the miracles, and these witnesses would turn their hearts to God. Maybe that was the reason that many of the house churches could flourish in plain sight without being bothered by the communist agents.
It is so sad today when in our Western Christian society, for so many times we dwell in debating about eternal life, Heaven and hell, and theoretic or abstract notions, while our sick neighbors need healing from the Lord and we don’t have the courage to go and pray for them to be healed.
This promise of our Lord Jesus in Luke stands out for me lately. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 NIV
Our Chinese brothers and sisters had the courage to abide by this principle, and they experienced wonders.
There was a deep humility in that room and it didn’t come from poverty. It was the strength of our sisters’ hearts.
The lady pastor gave an encouragement and then invited us to sing and give our testimony. While I was speaking, the door opened and a crippled elderly lady dragged herself inside. I wished I had the boldness to go and pray out loud for her to be healed, but I didn’t.
God is a gentleman. He would never force His will on us, but respect it, no matter what.
We gave out Bibles and small gifts from America. People came to speak to us and share about their life, but we had only one interpreter and he couldn’t cover all the translation needs in the room. Nobody else knew the English language. Our sisters surrounded us with great love. They prayed for us, and their tears of thankfulness for our visit melted our hearts.
-to be continued-
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