Monday, March 31, 2008
China Aid President Awarded John Leland Religious Liberty Award
Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA – On February 7, Pastor Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, was awarded the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award at the Library of Congress.
When accepting the award, Pastor Fu called on Christians to stand for believers in China who face harassment, detentions and sometimes death because of their faith. Pastor Fu said, “From my own experience of being arbitrarily detained in a Chinese jail, and from the hundreds of documented cases of harassment, arbitrary detentions, seizing of property, torture and even the death of some of my Christian friends and former coworkers in China, I cannot stay silent for those who share our same faith, but not all our basic freedoms.”
The award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cause of religious freedom, was presented by Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor Fu was recognized “for courageously defending the right of all people to exercise freely their religious faith.”
In his acceptance speech, Pastor Fu recalled growing up in poverty in Shandong province, northeast China and begging a local doctor to provide medicine to his dying mother because they could not afford it. He recalled, “I begged a local doctor, even offering myself as his bond servant for life, if he could just help provide medicine for my mother to get well. As he shut the door on me and I walked away with a broken heart, I remember falling on the ground behind a barn in my home yard and in the only way I knew how, praying to a higher power to help me and to help my mother. I prayed that one day my poor mom and I could get some equal status with my other fellow villagers, no matter how poor or rich.”
This heart wrenching experience led Pastor Fu to become a student leader for the People’s University of Beijing student democracy movement, which tragically ended in the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989. After Tiananmen, Pastor Fu struggled to understand why “brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers” had died in the massacre. During this time, an American English teacher shared Christ with him. Pastor Fu added, “I couldn’t help but surrender myself to my creator, Later I knelt down on the floor with my American teacher at his dorm and accepted Christ into my life, I realized the very freedom of conscience that the Creator endowed in my heart is far more precious and fundamental than any other rights.”
Following his conversion, Pastor Fu served as a house church leader, was briefly imprisoned for his faith and finally immigrated with his family to the United States. He later founded China Aid Association, through which he serves as a spokesperson for house church Christians in China. The Voice of the Martyrs partners with China Aid in supporting persecuted believers and their families. VOM has provided assistance with medical costs, Christmas Care packs for Sunday school children and literature to strengthen believers spiritually. Even though there has been an increase in persecution cases leading up to the Olympics later this coming summer, believers in China remain faithful. Ask God to protect and encourage them.