Living Stone Church, China
Pastor Yang Hua of Living Stone Church and currently in prison.
Living Stone Church started in 2009 with just 20 members meeting in one small apartment in Guiyang city, Guizhou Province. Four years later the church had 400 members, and they bought a space in a shopping centre. This drew the attention of the authorities, and since then the church – which now has over 700 members – has increasingly been targeted.
At Christmas 2014 government officials shut off the church’s power and water supply during a Christmas service. The church’s baptism ceremonies were attended by unexpected guests: several hundred police and security agents, monitoring the whole thing. When Living Stone decided to buy a bigger meeting space, government officials posted a notice urging the public not to take part in the church’s ‘illegal religious activities’. Almost all the church members have been pressurised to leave the church – they’ve had phone calls from officials, or been called in for meetings, or even visited at home by officials trying to force them to leave the church.
Among those who are currently in jail are the leader of the church, Pastor Yang Hua, and former deacon Zhang Xiuhong – she’s also the church’s accountant.
15 February 2017 Zhang Xiuhong, the former deacon of Living Stone Church, is sentenced to five years in prison.
You can encourage Living Stone Church today, by sending them a card. Pastor Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu, said that she really appreciates the kindness shown by the people who have written to her.
Send your cards to:
#5-5-8 Dongshan Yi Jing Yuan
Da Xing Garden
Yun Yang District
People’s Republic of China
Poem by Zhang Xiuhong
Zhang Xiuhong, the former deacon of Living Stone Church, has been sentenced to five years in prison. During the year she spent in pre-trial detention she wrote the following moving poem:
I didn’t hear the sweet voice of my baby,
I didn’t embrace the wanderer come back from afar,
I didn’t see my loved one’s thin and weak figure,
I didn’t have heart-to-heart talks with my sister,
I didn’t taste the delicious food prepared by my mother-in-law,
I didn’t bask in the rays of the morning sunlight,
Or take a stroll as the sun sets.
Or ride on a high-speed train to go somewhere.
This year, the sound I often heard,
Was the slam of metal doors, sharp and piercing,
This year, the sight I often saw was hopeless eyes,
This year, the food I had every day was the unchanging “three dishes and a soup,”
This year, the farthest I went was less than 1,000 meters [approximately 3,281 feet] away,
This year, I received a staggering fine,
This year, I saw the judge of my case twice, not at the court, but where I’m being detained.
Was this a tough year for me? Painful? Lonely? Living each day like a year? Absolutely not!
This year, I was never in a dark place while waiting; the sun above the clouds shined upon me and nourished me;
This year, I was never homesick;
This year, I enjoyed the bounty of grace because my trust in the Lord who called me brought me unspeakable glory and joy;
This year, the world drifted farther away from me;
This year, my Lord drew ever closer to me;
This year, I received the fruits of the Lord’s Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control;
This year, I bathed in His love;
This year, my soul broke free from the metal bars of prison and soared in the Kingdom of God;
This year, I lived in hope and divine promises…
- For God to protect Zhang Xiuhong and Pastor Yang Hua in prison
- That they would be released soon and the charges against them dropped
- That God would give the congregation of Living Stone Church extraordinary protection and courage.
15 February 2017: Zhang Xiuhong, the former deacon of Living Stone Church, is sentenced to five years in prison.
6 January 2017: Pastor Yang Hua is sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
26 December 2016: Pastor Yang Hua is put on trial.
22 January 2016: Pastor Yang Hua (Li Guozi) is arrested on suspicion of ‘divulging state secrets’.
January 2016: The church submits a legal complaint to the Nanming District City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau with the assistance of their lawyer Li Boguang.
21 December 2015: Pastor Yang Hua is placed under criminal detention on the charge of illegally possessing state secrets.
16 December 2015: Pastor Su is briefly released, but told that he will soon be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of leaking state secrets.
15 December 2015: A female church member is detained for posting an article about the government’s treatment of the church.
14 December 2015: Pastor Su Tianfu is taken into custody for ‘disrupting public peace’.
13 December 2015: Yu Lei and Wang Yao are arrested on charges of intentionally divulging state secrets.
9 December 2015: 300 police and law enforcement personnel seal off all three Living Stone Church locations; Pastor Yang Hua is placed under administrative detention; two others are also detained.
Early December 2015: ‘Directorate for dealing with the Living Stone Church according to the law’ is leaked.
18 November 2015: ‘Rectification Order’ from the Nanming District City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau. The order informs the church that their use of the commercial building as a place of church assembly is illegal. Pastor Su’s home is visited by agents.
Early November 2015: A Hong Kong student is interrogated after visiting the church; Pastor Su is denied a Hong Kong-Macau entry-exit permit.
November 2015: The church issues an open letter to the Urban Enforcement Bureau, stating that they are being subjected to unlawful coercion and persecution.
July, August 2015: Zhang Xiuhong is detained for ‘illegal business operations’; accountancy books confiscated and account frozen.
May 2015: Bureau of Civil Affairs declares the church an ‘illegal organisation’.
8 November 2014: Authorities mobilise hundreds of government personnel to surround the building.
November 2014: Notice by Religious Affairs officials states that Living Stone Church is an unregistered, non-religious organisation.
2013: The church purchases new space in Guiyang Huaguoyuan International Center.
2009: Living Stone Church is founded.