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History will prove that it is when the church has endured great persecution that that is when the church has seen tremendous growth. It was true in the first century and it is true today. Listen to this story of a faithful disciple in China.

Pastor Li De Xian (Shee-an) was arrested 13 times in six months for "illegal preaching" to his congregation of 100. During his first arrest he was drug outside, brutally beaten, repeatedly kicked in the stomach and groin before his congregation. Upon arrival at the police station, he was beaten with a heavy club by the superintendent, then dragged into an isolation cell where he was thrown onto a concrete floor and kicked until he vomited blood. His head was then smashed against his knees as his oppressors took turns beating him on the front and back of his neck and he was finally beaten in the face with his Bible and left bleeding on the floor.

After recuperating for only a few weeks, he went back to his congregation to continue his preaching ministry, only to be arrested again and again. This happened in 1995. In 1998 it was reported that his church had grown to 500.

The last I have read about Pastor Li was from 2005 in which it was reported he was still preaching and still being arrested. During one prison term in 2000, he was forced to assemble 4000 Christmas lights per day and if he didn’t make quota by the end of his 17-hour work day, he would be whipped. After two weeks he was released with grave warnings not to preach again. With his family under constant surveillance by the authorities, he says, "I will preach [the gospel] until I die." "Christ was the first to suffer." "We just follow Him. There are many thorns, but we are just injured a little on our feet. This suffering is very little."

Persecution in China for “Illegal Preaching”

Pastor Li embraced the call to witness. The disciples who heard Jesus’ final words to them embraced His call to witness.

From a sermon by Rick George, Expand, Embrace, Encounter and Expect, 10/29/2009

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