A pastor in Hawaii recently shared a story about his visit to China, where he was taken aback by the authenticity and fervor of Christians in the nation, as compared to what he observes in the United States.
Wayne Cordeiro, the pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii, outlined that he went to Hunan Province to train church leaders — 22 in all — many of whom rode by train 13 hours to get to the event, which was held secretly in a hotel room. They all sat on a hardwood floor as he taught all day long, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In a video posted to social media, which has been viewed over 1 million times as of press time, Cordeiro recalled asking the Christians what might happen if they get caught.
“Oh, you’ll get deported in 24 hours and we’ll go to prison for three years,” the people.
The pastor then asked the leaders how many of those present have been in prison for their faith. 18 out of the 22 in attendance raised their hands.
Cordeiro subsequently asked how many people the 22 church leaders oversee.
“A little over 20 million,” they calculated.
Cordeiro proceeded to hand out Bibles, but did not have enough to go around. He noticed that one woman in attendance handed her Bible to the person sitting next to her.
Cordeiro then observed something interesting: While everyone with a Bible turned to the passage for study, she recited it by heart. The pastor approached the woman during a break as he was amazed by what he had witnessed.
“You recited the whole chapter,'” Cordeiro noted.
“Oh yes. I’ve memorized many chapters,” the woman responded.
“Where did you memorize so many chapters?” Cordeiro asked.
“In prison. You have much time in prison,” the woman said.
Cordeiro asked her if Bibles are confiscated by authorities in prison.
“Oh yes. People bring in Scriptures written on pieces of paper,” the woman replied.
“But if they find that piece of paper on you, won’t they confiscate that?” Cordeiro inquired.
“Oh yes. That’s why you memorize it as fast as you can,” the woman explained. “Because even if they take the paper away, they can’t take what’s hidden in your heart.”
The pastor was taken aback by the woman’s story and all that he witnessed while ministering to the people for three days. He asked those in attendance how he could pray for them.
“Wayne, you guys can gather like this in America whenever you want to. Could you pray that one day we’ll be just like you?”
Cordeiro told them that he would not do so, which took the Christians by surprise. He then explained why.
“You guys rode a train for 13 hours to get here. In my country, if you’ve got to drive more than an hour, people don’t come. You sat on a wooden floor for three days. In my country, if people have to sit more than 40 minutes, they leave,” Cordeiro outlined.
“You sat not only here for three days on a hard wooden floor, but you did it without air conditioning. In my country, if it’s not padded pews and air conditioning, people don’t often come back,” he continued. “In my country, we have an average of two Bibles per family. We don’t read any of them. You hardly have any Bibles, and you memorize them from pieces of paper.”
Cordeiro looked at the people and said, “I will not pray that you become like us. But I will pray that we become just like you.”