Unsolicited game of I-spy

January 29, 2020 at 6:00 AM

china.jpgSurveillance in China is normal these days, and Christians are under fire in the country.   (Photo by Dan Breen)

Unsolicited game of I-spy

By Dan Breen   dan blog header long.png

Everyone loves a rousing game of I-spy — the children’s game where players take turns guessing which item around the room the spy has eyed. But the game becomes a little more unnerving when you’re the one being spied.

A few months ago Luke Society Executive Director Dr. Wrede Vogel and I traveled to the other side of the globe for a visit to our ministry partner in China. The long journey ended with a warm embrace in a hotel lobby.

While exchanging pleasantries and catching up, a stranger wandered in and sat down on a bench positioned back to back with ours. It was noticeable, but I wouldn’t say peculiar. As he sat down, the director deftly veered our conversation in a different direction. A short time later, as I got up to take some candid photos of the conversation, the gentleman saw my camera and quickly left.

Several minutes after the stranger had departed, this director informed us of his suspicion that man was eavesdropping on our conversation, and was likely a government spy. Today’s Chinese culture is riddled with suspicion, bordering on paranoia, so you can imagine how two ruggedly handsome and intimidating white Americans must have been flagged the moment we arrived in the city.

I don’t know what this spy was trying to glean from our conversation, but I do know there are significant consequences for Christians in China. It’s one of the few places I’ve been where it hasn’t been safe to pray as a group in public. It felt awkward not bowing our heads before a meal, or praying with our director anywhere but behind the locked doors of his apartment.

The Luke Society partners with several ministry directors whose faith puts them in compromising positions of safety. It’s a significant hindrance to evangelism, let alone a threat to the directors’ own lives. Remember to pray regularly for the Luke Society directors in these situations.

Our hope and prayer is that just as the early church grew through persecution, the modern church will as well. May the Holy Spirit blind the eyes and cover the ears of the Devil’s spies so that those who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ may have their hearts touched and saved.

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