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28/03/2021

For Lent we join with Church in Chains in prayer for six Christian prisoners in six countries.

This week: Pastor John Cao (China)

Pastor John Cao (60) is serving a seven-year prison sentence in China’s Yunnan province for  “organising  illegal  border  crossings”  between  China  and  Myanmar.  A  resident  of North  Carolina,  he  made  many  trips  to  his  native  China  to  establish  schools  and  work among  the  poor  before  expanding  his  humanitarian  work  into  Myanmar. He  was detained in March 2017 while returning to China from Myanmar and was sentenced a year later.

John became a Christian in his 20s through an American family he met in China. He studied in America and  then  ministered  to  thousands  of  Chinese  students  in  American  universities  before  becoming  a pastor in North Carolina. Pastor John then felt called to minister to the poor in China and spent over two decades helping to establish schools in central and southern China.

In 2014 he became involved in aid work in neighbouring Myanmar, where he set up 16 schools for over 2,000  children  and  organised  food  and  clothing  programmes  for  the  Wa  and  Kachin  ethnic  minorities. He  made  regular  trips  into  Myanmar  without  restriction,  but  in  March  2017  he  was  returning  from Myanmar when Chinese security agents seized him. In March 2018 he was sentenced to seven years in prison. He appealed, but his sentence was upheld in July 2019. 

When first imprisoned, Pastor John was refused a Bible but searched the prison library for Bible passages and  hymns  lyrics,  which  he  copied  onto  unfolded  toothpaste  boxes.  He  eventually  got  a  Bible  in September 2018 to his great joy. In August 2019 Pastor John was moved to a prison in Kunming, which is easier for his mother to visit. However, he has been denied a Bible in this prison. 

Family

Pastor  John  married  US  citizen  Jamie  Powell  in  1988  and  they  have  two  sons,  Ben  and  Amos.  Pastor John’s sister and 84-year-old mother Sun Jinhuai (who lives in China) were permitted to visit him for the first time in July 2019 but the coronavirus pandemic has limited his mother’s visits since. 

Latest News

Pastor John’s defence lawyer Yang Hui and his mother had recent requests to the prison authorities to deliver  a  Bible  to  him  refused.  Lawyer  Yang  met  Pastor  John  through  the  prison’s  video  conferencing system  on  25  February  and  reported  that  he  appeared  in  good  health  except  for  some  dental  issues. Yang Hui read verses from the book of James to Pastor John, who told the lawyer that his mother writes several Bible verses in each letter she sends and he memorises them.

Prayer Diary

Sunday:    Ask God to bless Pastor John and keep his faith strong.

Monday:    Pray for healing from his various health problems.

Tuesday:    Pray that Pastor John would be released early.

Wednesday:    Pray for comfort and hope for Jamie, Ben and Amos. 

Thursday:    Ask God to bless and strengthen Sun Jinhuai.

Friday:    Pray for Pastor John’s witness to prisoners and guards. 

Saturday:    Pray that others would continue his ministry to the poor.

Editorial content: Church in Chains, registered charity in Ireland (CHY 15443) www.churchinchains.ie

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