Li Shanshan recently went to Yaodu District Prison in Linfen, Shanxi province where her husband, Pastor Li Jie, is being held and prayed outside the prison for him as she is not permitted to visit.
Li Shanshan explained in a video why she had come to the prison: “My husband, Li Jie, is a pastor. He is currently detained in Yaodu District Detention Centre behind me. I came here today to pray for him. I cannot visit with him, but I can pray for him. We share the same faith and the same belief. He was arrested on 19 August 2022, under the charge of ‘fraud’, simply because he is a pastor and believes in Jesus. This is a completely fabricated charge, as he has never defrauded anyone of their money. Moreover, as a couple, we never consider material possessions important, and we have no need to defraud anyone of such unimportant things. We have never lacked anything because God sustains us just like he sustains sparrows. I am here today to pray for him. We also believe that God is our judge. He is a righteous judge and the ultimate judge.
“My husband Li Jie has been detained for one year and four months. Linfen People’s Court does not hold any trial, and they do not release him. We understand that this is God’s will because any authority is given by God. Whether there is a trial or a release is all in God’s plan. I am certain of God’s calling on our entire family. I also believe that God has His beautiful purpose in keeping Li Jie inside. I am willing to continually pray for Li Jie, and I ask everyone to pray for us because prayer is very powerful.
Li Shanshan also sang a praise song outside the prison based on Isaiah 30 v 20, 21: “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.”
Li Shanshan was arrested with her husband Pastor Li Jie and Preacher Han Xiaodong when over one hundred police officers raided an outdoor family camp attended by seventy members of Linfen Covenant Church in August 2022. She was released on bail two weeks later but Li Jie and Han Xiaodong were charged with “fraud” and have been detained ever since.
The Chinese government increasingly uses “fraud” as a charge against church leaders, whom it accuses of “defrauding” the congregation by taking illegal collections and tithes, when all they are doing is taking up free-will offerings like other churches all around the world.
Soon after the Linfen church arrests in 2022, China Aid reported that “church leaders and ordinary believers are facing tremendous pressure from the department handling this case… Some brothers and sisters were placed under severe pressure from their workplace, their family members, and relatives and were forced to write down reports stating that they were ‘victims’ and accusing church preachers of defrauding their money. They also had to sign a pledge never to attend Linfen Covenant House Church again.”
The church was officially closed down in November 2022.
Photo: China Aid