Chinese Jailed Pastor Publishes Poetry Encouraging Believers
By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Chinese Pastor John Cao, who serves a seven-year jail term in China, has written a poetry book urging believers to realize that Jesus Christ will never forsake them. Christ, he adds, gives treasures nobody can take away.
At least one of the poems, smuggled out of prison and obtained by Worthy News, refers to recent experiences.
It comes amid concerns about the plight of Cao, a permanent U.S. resident who was jailed on charges related to his Christian work in Burma, also known as Myanmar, since 1989.
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities detained Pastor Cao for “organizing illegal crossings of national borders” in 2017. Christians linked the charges to his support for impoverished communities in Burma’s autonomous Wa area.
The detention happened while he and several other Christians crossed the border between Burma and China, Christians said. “Of the group, only Cao and another Christian, Jing Ruxia, were arrested,” ChinaAid explained.
“This caused the United Nation’s Working Group for Arbitrary Detention to believe that they were targeted for their faith instead of for a crime.” Cao received a seven-year jail term. Jing was also sentenced but has since been released, according to Christians familiar with the situation.
In his poem ‘From Over the Mighty Waters’, distributed by advocacy group ChinaAid, the pastor seems to encourage those worried about him, including his wife and two sons in North Carolina and elderly mother and sister.
The 59-year-old Pastor Cao, who was reported in poor health due to prison conditions, wrote about Chinese authorities:
“You can take away my freedom,
but you can’t take my prayers.
My prayers have wings
and leap over
the towering iron mesh wall.
Many brothers and sisters
have heard them.
They fly freely every day
and reach Heaven
above the blue sky.
You can impose
heavy punishments on me,
but you cannot hold
My spirit and my soul.
Like cheerful yellow birds,
Raise gentle praises
Over the iron gate.
My Savior hears my voice.
You can deprive me of the sun
and of warmth.
I eat cold leftovers every day,
But you can never
Extinguish the brightness
that the Lord placed in my heart.
from all over the world
Warm my heart.
My passion flutters.
Do you think that I am lonely?
In your 70 years of persecution,
Have you ever seen
any Christian walking alone?
Turning onto the history of the millennium,
which page does not reveal
Christians suffering with joy for the Lord?
Which page does not show
His blood sprinkled
on the narrow path of thorns?
You think that the walls around me
block my vision
and make me uncertain
of the direction.
I never focus on my environment,
but with my eyes.
I look up.
You, like one blind riding on a horse,
thinking that everyone crosses the river
by feeling the stones.
The rod of my Shepherd
Comforts my heart,
and my Lord helps
and leads me to move forward.
The National Party jailed your ancestors.
How can I not endure your hard labor?
I really love you
and long for you to repent.
Like Paul, I wish that
I myself were cursed
and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my brothers,
for those of my own race.
You see me
as an irreconcilable enemy
and thrust me
into the meat grinder.
I regard you as my blood brother,
Not because I fear you,
because Jesus loves you.
I love you. “
The poem was released long after his mother and sister could visit him for the first time on July 25, 2019, supporters said. “Pastor Cao comforted them” when they saw him, added ChinaAid, which supports the family.
He was later moved to a prison in Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province to make it somewhat “easier” for his 82-year-old mother to visit him. However she still lives 500 kilometers (800 miles) away, friends said.
On August 29 this year, Pastor Cao’s mother reportedly traveled to Kunming where she remained for one and a half months trying to see him. Due to the government’s coronavirus pandemic regulations, however, Pastor Cao’s mother wasn’t allowed to visit him, ChinaAid said.
However in writing “From Over the Mighty Waters” and other poetry he hopes to encourage her and others to keep their hope in Christ, suggested those involved in the project.” Pastor Cao’s forthcoming book sharing his poetry, reflects the Lord’s majesty as expressed in Psalm 29:3, “ said ChinaAid.
The Bible verse proclaims: “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.”
Pastor Cao is among many Christians detained in China amid a growing government crackdown on Christianity, according to rights groups. China has confirmed it wants churches and the Bible to conform to the nation’s Communist ideology.
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