National Human Rights Day + You

by Lesley on December 11, 2008 · 3 comments

in china,christianity

Today I wanted to write about how four years ago this day I got to fly all the way to New York City for the surprise of my life. My husband got done on one knee, on a cold night in Rockefeller Center, and asked me to marry him.

It was a moment I never want to forget, and quite honestly, would love to spend time writing and thinking about. I love reliving that weekend.

But there is something else that’s more important. It’s Human Rights Day. You might know from other blog posts that I feel very passionate about the atrocities being committed around the world against innocent people. Everyday there are children, women and men being exploited. For money. For their bodies. For their labor.

In China, people do not have the right to freedom of religion. Millions of Christians hide their faith from the government for fear of being jailed or even killed. We have seen their plight firsthand.

Tonight, I ask you to read the quote below. It’s from a young man, likely in his late teens or early twenties. He was a bible student living in a rural village in Central China. One night, we traveled dark country roads for several hours to find his home. There, we gathered to pray and encourage people in his village. This is what he said, taken straight from his mouth and then translated for us on video:

“You have come a long way, just to stay for a short while, but you can’t imagine how important your visit is because working in rural areas like this you face persecution. Sometimes you can feel very lonely. We are human beings too, but when we know other Christians are praying for us…we are very encouraged and blessed.”

Every time I hear “We are human beings too” I tear up. Tonight, I want you to think about all the people in our world who don’t feel human…those who have been treated like animals and told they don’t matter. We may not be able to rescue every one of them but we should know that they can feel our prayers. Prayer is the easiest thing we can do and the most powerful act we can offer.

If you want to support our friends in China, please donate to

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Katie Miller
Katie Miller

Thinking about your time in China and what you have shared on your blog, immediately a passage from the Bible came to my mind. Philippians 1:12-30. Paul was in chains for the sake of Christ. In his letter he was writing to thank the church the Macedonian city. "Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly." Paul did not have freedom, but he did have freedom in Christ. I know that it is going to be harder and harder to worship our Lord, even here in America. When I think of you and Jonathan walking the streets in China, praying for the people of the house churches, I see the church being strengthened. On Paul's missionary journey's he did not stay in one place but went from place to place planting and encouraging churches to continue to worship the Lord despite what was going on around them. That is what we need to be doing today, encouraging those that face harsh opposition in their faith so that we may press on together toward Christ.

Lesley Miller
Lesley Miller

Thanks for posting Kevin-- even though I don't fully agree with you, I really appreciate the dialogue.Where I do agree with you is that people in our country, no matter their sexual orientation, are human beings too. To make an argument that because I, or anyone else, voted YES on a proposition we would think that a person isn't human is making a huge assumption. While I can understand your argument, and don't know that this is the space to go into all the reasons why I disagree with you, I have to point out that in our country we are not jailing or killing people that have opposite beliefs than us. You may argue differently, but I have seen true persecution and I simply cannot and will not even attempt to put these two issues on the same level. On a side note, one thing I've been thinking about recently is this: does God believe that we (Americans) or any country in the world for that matter, deserve freedom of religion? Is that something God promised us? (This is not a rhetorical question so anyone can pop in with an answer.)And so I do wrestle with this issue... and I know people in Christians in China do too. Ironically, most Christians there will not fight for their "rights"... instead they ask for prayer and encouragement and leave the rest up to God. (I also don't know if I agree with that-- i'ts just an interesting observation.)I guess I'm asking- when do we fight for rights, and when do we just pray and encourage? And what rights does God say we deserve here on earth?

Kevin Thomas
Kevin Thomas

Good post. Good thoughts, Lesley.Something to think about though, I have many friends and family members who are saying the exact same thing, "We are humans beings too." While I fully understand the difference in situation, and the severity of the situation in China, it seems ironic that we should vote against one set of humans having the same rights as another set of humans. Regardless of religious belief, or personal belief, they are still humans beings too.