Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Worshipping God in a Chinese labor camp cesspool

Posted by radiofreechina on February 19, 2007

It became his own ‘private garden’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

CHINA (ANS) — I have met some unusual people in my travels around the world, but one of the most remarkable was Pastor Wu*, who spent nearly six of his 18 years in prison and in a Chinese labor camp working in a cesspool.

I talked with Pastor Wu during a visit to China some time back. It was then that I discovered that each day, over a period of years, Pastor Wu would be lowered into a stinking putrid cesspool and, as he went down into the terrible place, a huge smile would envelope his face. As he shoveled out the vile waste-matter there to be used as fertilizer in the fields, he would begin to sing the old hymn, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still in on the roses…”

He told me, “As I sang, I would feel our Lord holding me tight in his everlasting arms. At that very moment, that cesspool became my own private garden. You see, this was a wonderful blessing for me because it was the only time I was alone from the prying eyes of the guards. I could now commune with God, praise His Name at the top of my voice, and I would also recite scriptures that I had memorized. I have experienced how important it is for us Christians to memorize scriptures.

“People wonder how I could keep my faith during those 18 years in prison and labor camp, but I can say that God was with me during that whole time and I bear no ill feelings to those that put me there, even though there were many times I was ill-treated.”

He said that the guards in the labor camp decided the best way they could punish him for his Christian faith was to have him work in the cesspool.

“Little did they realize this was to be a greatest blessing to me,” said the pastor. “At that time, almost all of the prisoners were afraid to even approach the cesspool because all of the human waste from the entire camp of about 60,000 prisoners was deposited there. They were scared of picking up a fatal virus from it. I worked there for nearly six years.

“They thought they would re-educate me there, but they did not know that, during those years, I enjoyed so much to work in the cesspool. It was very deep and I would have to wade into it to scoop up the mess. The smell would be so strong that the guards and prisoners would get far way from me because of the stink. But I enjoyed the solitude of being alone… with God!”

He went on to say, “It is easy for us to praise the Lord in freedom, but are we able to praise our Lord in these kind of circumstances? Because He was with me, I was able to praise Him in such earthly misery because He never leaves or forsakes us. For 18 years, not only did I survive physically, but also I was able to forgive those that put me there. Today I continue to serve the Church in China.”

Pastor Wu has since planted scores, if not hundreds of churches in China.

I wonder how we would react to having to spend each day in a cesspool. Come to think of it, many of us still do as we work in the world! But the question is, could we react the way this Chinese pastor did and praise God for the privilege of serving Him in such a wicked world! I wonder?

* Not his real name. It has been changed to protect his identity.


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