This week we complete our conversation with Richard and Jeanette, an American couple who had served 10 years in China when police came knocking on their apartment door and they knew their gospel service in China was over.
When we left off last week, Richard was being interrogated at a Chinese police station while Jeanette, his wife, prayed and was ministered to by their local church pastor and other Christian friends. Richard’s interrogation continued the next day before police let him return home but warned him not to tell anyone—even his wife—about the questioning. He knew the interrogation wasn’t over. In the ensuing weeks he was repeatedly called back to the police station.
When he arrived home, Jeanette watched her husband closely, looking for signs of beatings or torture. The stress of each day—and not knowing when authorities would demand another trip to the police station—left Richard, at times, barely able to function. Some days he couldn’t even get out of bed. He couldn’t tell his wife what happened with the police, fearing anything he said would put her in danger of also being arrested or interrogated.
Chinese police mockingly asked why he would follow Christ. They thought Jesus selfish to ask His followers give up family, jobs, money and success just to end up being locked in a police station. Yet even as they questioned him, Richard felt guidance from the Holy Spirit in how to answer their questions and even tried to plant seeds of the gospel in their conversations.
Finally, Richard and Jeanette learned that they would be allowed to leave China but would likely never be allowed to return to the land and people they love deeply. Listen to hear how they were finally set free, and when they finally had the chance to talk to each other about all they’d gone through at the hands of communist Chinese police.
You’ll also hear how they are both thankful for the persecution they endured—and the fruit they’ve seen in their own lives and their family that grew directly out of their time of trial. They’ll also help listeners pray for Christians in China as they endure persecution and suffering for their faith—without the opportunity to leave the country or the protection of a foreign passport.
We left off last week as Richard and Jeanette’s apartment was raided by 25 Chinese policemen. The couple knew that their time in China was over after 10 years of ministry, but they didn’t know how long it might be before they were allowed to leave. Listen now as Jeanette recalls exactly what happened when she returned to their apartment to find police searching through their bookshelves and closets and questioning her husband.
Despite the chaos of the raid, Jeanette continued relying on the sovereignty and goodness of God, reminding herself often that He is trustworthy no matter our circumstances. She prayed fervently for Richard as he was taken away by the police.
Richard experienced God’s sovereignty and the Holy Spirit at work as he sat in the police station interrogation room, living in the truth of Luke 12:11-12. In spite of police threats, Richard relied on scripture God brought to his mind and four things he knew he had to stand firm in as he tried to answer the police accusations.
Listen also for how Chinese Christians supported Richard and Jeanette during their ordeal, including a local church pastor who knocked on their door and offered a bold prayer for Richard. Their local Christian community brought Jeanette great comfort, providing practical proof that the Lord was with them.
Pray persecuted Chinese Christians will stand firm in faith and be encouraged by the Body of Christ.
One group of Chinese Christians, the Mayflower Church, made the decision as a congregation to flee their homeland. Pastor Pan, leader of the group, was our guest on VOM Radio last month. Listen this week for a praise update on this group of believers and their immigration case.
Richard and Jeanette had served in China for several years when—around 2018—they began hearing stories of foreign Christians forced to leave the country. “Everyone knows it happens, but no one thinks it’s going to happen to them,” Richard says.
The couple decided to stay in China as long as God kept the door open—even when Covid put the entire country under lockdown. They were prepared to be kicked out; they’d even begun to think about when it would happen instead of if it would happen. The threat gave them a sense of urgency in their ministry as they continued shepherding and teaching God’s Word to Chinese people.
Richard and Jeannette felt the Lord work in their hearts during their college years, and both knew that overseas gospel work was God’s call for them. They met after Jeanette returned from two years working in China, married, and then received an invitation to serve in China. Listen as Richard and Jeanette share how they thought about risk and danger of serving in a Communist country, and the joys and challenges of their first years of missions service, including learning Chinese.
You’ll also hear about the day Richard opened the door of their apartment to find 25 uniformed Chinese national police and knew their time of serving the Lord in China was coming to an end. Richard and Jeanette will return to VOM Radio next week to continue their story.