Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 318- A Suffering First

After supper tonight, Joel and I made a small fire in the back yard.  Joel loves making a fire.  What he may lack in expertise he more than makes up for in enthusiasm.  After we got a fire going, Laura and Hannah Grace brought some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers outside.  Laura made and ate smores.  Hannah Grace mostly ate the chocolate out of the bag.  Joel mostly ate marshmallows (untoasted). They both ate a toasted marshmallow or two, but Joel likes them better plain and Hannah Grace likes the chocolate better.  I ate a couple of toasted marshmallows.

While we were having fun in the back yard, I mentioned to the family that while we were having a great time, there were some Christians suffering in other countries because they were in prison for their faith.  An organization called "Voices of the Martyrs" has a website where you can write letters to Christians who are in prison in other countries.  I helped Hannah Grace and Joel write letters to a prisoner in another country for my "first" while I petitioned a government official for their release.

I invited Hannah Grace and Joel to pick who they wanted to write.  Joel picked a guy in China named Alimujiang Yimiti. He was accused  of using this business as a cover up for “preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity.” He was arrested in January 2008 and accused of “subversion of the national government and endangering national security,” a crime punishable by death.

Alimujiang, a former Muslim, became a Christian more than 10 years ago and has been an active Christian in the growing Uyghur church.  He has been sentenced to 15 years. He has a wife and two children. He has been in prison for 2460 days.

Hannah Grace picked a lady from China to write. Her name is Yang Rongli. She was arrested on Nov. 25, 2009, and sentenced to two to seven years, according to China Aid Association. She had participated in organizing a prayer rally.  In 2013, halfway through her sentence, Yang Rongli was suffering with severe medical problems. She was suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, and hepatitis – she feels dizzy and disoriented all the time. The prison will not provide the medical care she desperately needs. Please pray for her health and that the prison officials will have mercy on her and allow her to receive treatment.  She has been in prison for 1816 days.

Working on letters to mail

I can not imagine what it would be like to go to prison for living for Jesus.  As we were out being warm by the fire and then coming inside to a warm house, I hated to think of the conditions that these two plus countless others are living in tonight. I've read stories about Christians that are in prison in China and many other countries and it is not a comfortable thought.  I admire their faith and mourn their circumstances.  It's a small thing to write them a letter, but I thought we could do at least that.  We will also pray for them tonight.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:3, "Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."  I'm so grateful to live in a country where we are free to worship. Thank you to all the veterans!!  Yet, I don't want to forget those who are in prison tonight for their faith in Jesus; many who have spouses and children suffering at home without them. 

If you would like to write a prisoner or learn more, you can visit

Maybe too comfortable in the abundant life,

3 things I thank God for tonight
1. Our country does not imprison Christians for practicing their faith
2. Christians in other countries who are strong in their faith even leading others to Christ while being persecuted
3. Family camp fires

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