A Chinese pastor reportedly arrested and charged for preaching the Gospel without government authorization penned a touching letter to her son expressing her “gratitude” and trust in God, despite her dire circumstances.
Pastor Hao Zhiwei, 50, of Egangqiao Church, was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this month, yet her faith hasn’t wavered, as noted by the letter published by International Christian Concern.
Zhiwei wrote to her 18-year-old son, Paul, and told him “God is faithful” and the Lord has given her peace despite ongoing uncertainty.
“Do not worry too much about me. My cellmate received her sentence on the 10th: 12 years. Today is the 18th, and she has not been able to sleep,” she wrote. “Once I received my first indictment on the 11th, I only had trouble sleeping the first night. I was praying about it and was able to sleep well since then.”
She continued, “God’s peace amazingly descended on me.”
In other parts of the heartbreaking letter, Zhiwei expressed sadness at not seeing her kids — Paul and his brother Moses — grow up. She wrote missing their progression is “painful” and encouraged her son to grow in his faith.
“I hope that you would persist in diary-writing,” Zhiwei continued. “Once we reunite, you can share it with me. I especially like to read your stories regarding your growth.”
Read the full letter:
Peace to you.
This is the first time mom has received your letter. I am beyond happy.
Seeing you grow in good health; I am deeply grateful. God is faithful. He is watching over and pastoring you [and your brother].
Let’s pray together in one heart and mind for your brother [Moses]. We will certainly see a miracle.
Missing your growth is painful to me as well. I hope that you would persist in diary-writing. Once we reunite, you can share it with me. I especially like to read your stories regarding your growth.
For these two years and seven months, I have also grown a lot! I had never played Sudoku before, but during my time here, I have become a master. There is nearly not one that I can’t do! I hope you can practice early so we can have a competition once we reunite.
Do not worry too much about me. My cell mate received her sentence on the 10th: 12 years. Today is the 18th, and she has not been able to sleep. Once I received my first indictment on the 11th, I only had trouble sleeping the first night. I was praying about it and was able to sleep well since then. God’s peace amazingly descended on me.
Wishing you an early happy 19th birthday!
Mom, who loves you forever
Zhiwei has been imprisoned for more than two and a half years on “fraud” charges over her purported unauthorized preaching and the collecting of offerings, according to Christianity Daily.
The pastor’s life has not been easy since incarceration, as she almost died due to acute pancreatitis. Throughout her harrowing ordeal, her case has continued to grab international attention.
Zhiwei’s attorney, Si Weijiang, said this “might be the first case in China where a house church pastor was accused of fraud for preaching the Gospel,” China Aid reported.
The preacher had served in Ezhou’s Three-Self Church, but a difference in opinion over the government’s handling of churches reportedly led her to lose a pastoral license. The Three-Self Church is a Protestant denomination controlled by and registered with the Chinese Communist Party.
Zhiwei’s church later became a house church, and she served there for 18 years, before the local government sought to demolish the building — a quest they reportedly completed after her arrest.
In addition to Zhiwei’s detention, it has been reported her middle-school-aged son, Moses, is facing severe depression. Zhiwei’s husband died in 2018, and she was detained in 2019, leaving her two sons on their own. Pray for Zhiwei, Paul, and Moses during this difficult time.
As Faithwire previously reported, China continues its crackdown on Christianity. The Chinese Communist Party is reportedly in the middle of a 10-year project to rewrite the Bible through a communist lens. This quest has allegedly resulted in shocking distortions of Scripture and Gospel truth.
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