|Esther (Yang Xue)|
Brothers and sisters, can you imagine how I felt when I heard this? I know my mother better than anyone else. She is just a housewife, dedicated to her faith and diligently serving the Lord. My father is prudent in studying and teaching the Bible; he practices what the Bible teaches. How could he do anything that violates the law? I still remember how he encouraged his children to carry out our New Year’s resolution in 2003. He earnestly instructed us about things we should not do in our lives: never take God’s name in vain, never outrage your conscience, and never disobey the law. How can a father of virtue violate the law? As for the so called evidence the prosecutors provided at the court, you would know it was false, especially light of the lawyers’ defense of my father. (See the Defense statement for Yang Xuan below Esther’s Appeal.)
I feel compelled to share my family’s story in the hope that you will see and know their true characters, and the extent of this injustice.
In 1994, my father moved the whole family to Linfen to begin ministering. At that time, the churches in Linfen had recently separated from the Three-Self churches. Many brothers and sisters did not have a place to worship, and so assembled in the backyards of some church members’ houses. For six years, we endured harsh weather, be it coldness or heat, dusty wind or storm. Nevertheless, the congregation grew from 50 to 700 members. It would get so crowded that the late-comers would have to move into additional houses, just to listen to the sermons. All these sites were scattered at different places, so my father had to run around to preach in several different homes.
Driven by faith, he thoroughly enjoyed his work and never tired of it. Every night when I came home, I could always find my father talking cheerfully to my mother about how the brothers and sisters were nurtured on that day, and how many more were saved.
My father Yang Xuan, my uncle Wang Xiaoguang and his wife Yang Rongli, along with coworkers and church members led Sunday worship, member trainings, discipleship and the worship band for Jindengtai “Golden Lampstand” Church in Linfen City. My father was in charge of the band, which was active in fruitful ministry. In addition to leading the band and preaching, my father loves writing, and many of his dramas helped brothers and sisters learn about God as the head of the family. Over the years of preaching, my father learned from his experience and mistakes and eventually wrote a book “On Preaching.”
My father is not perfect, but he is man of principle, and he stands firm on what he believes. His parenting style was a little rough on his two children: My father would ask me to read the Bible daily, pray and do morning exercises, and read all kinds of spiritual books. He did not allow us to watch TV, go shopping, and he even put a curfew on us. All these restrictions made me antagonistic toward my father and his faith. I felt my father was “out-dated.” I did not realize I had benefited from his teaching in belief and daily life until later in life.
This was my family, busy and full of joy. The events of September 13th struck me. I did not know something had happened until I tried, but was unable, to contact my parents by phone. On September 19th, I kept calling home but nobody answered. At first I thought I had dialed the wrong number; later I realized that the telephone line at my house was being transferred to somewhere else. I was very worried about my parents, so I kept on calling; but still, nobody answered. I still have not been able to talk to my parents.
I learned about the incident from my relatives and friends, and in early October, I learned from the internet news that my parents had been arrested and transferred to prison. On October 15th, a relative of my mother was asked to sign the Notice of Administrative Detention for my mother; as for my father, no one has seen his notice of detention. Currently, there has been unusually heavy snow in Shanxi, with predictions of the weather worsening. I am so concerned for my parents’ health.
|Yang Family photo|
Please do not reserve your sympathy for the Chinese Christians. As the New Year begins, please remember them in your prayers and appeal for them! I call upon everyone to fight for religious freedom in China, and to financially support organizations that advocate for religious freedom and human rights.
Here I would like to express my appreciation to China Aid Association. Ever since I lost contact with my parents, I have been able to receive the latest news from ChinaAid. They helped me contact the human rights lawyers to appeal for my parents, when all lawyers in China were warned not to deal with the Linfen Case. They made great endeavors to help my parents and the house churches leaders in Linfen.
As you consider ways you can help, I ask that you continue to pray for the deliverance of my parents and justice for all the imprisoned leaders. May the Lord bless the efforts of ChinaAid and other concerned human rights organizations, as they fight for religious freedom in China. May God bless their ministries and provide abundantly for what they need.
--Esther (Yang Xue)