“JOY TO THE WORLD,” A Play Based on Safely Home
Setting: Small House Church meeting at the home of Ling Ho and Aunt Mei in Pushan, China. It is 2:00 A.M.
Scene 1 A Home Gathering
John 14:1-3 Pastor Zhou Jin
“This World is Not My Home”
Minghua and the “Treasure”
Scene 2 House of Prayer
Yesu’s Donkey -Wang Shaaming
Police Chief and family - Lin Shan, Lin Chaoxing, Lin Bo
“Faith of our Fathers”
Seminarian - Li Yue
Scene 3 Home Invasion
PSB - Fu Hai
PSB - Fu Liko
Setting: Three months have passed; it is Christmas. The small House Church is meeting in Pushan, China at the home of Wu Li and Wu Ling in the early morning hours.
Scene 1 A Home Gathering
Pastor Zhou Jin
Isaiah 61:1-3 - Seminarian Li Yue
“O Come All Ye Faithful”
Scene 2 Prison Home
Scene 3 Home in Heaven
Pastor Zhou Jin
“Afraid—of that? Afraid? Of what?”
“Joy to the World, the Lord is Come”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Joy to the World”
*CD - ”The Faithful” by Steve Green
“Joy to the World”
Adapted from Safely Home a novel by Randy Alcorn
The cast is seated in place on stage/ using flashlights the people ascend the staircase and enter the darkened sanctuary to join the underground church.
Scene 1 A Home Gathering
Narrator: ”How long? How long, O Lord, will they persecute You? Is This the Day? Is this the day, September 25, that I die? Moving quietly through the dark wooded path, two bicycles carried three people to their House Church outside the small village of Pushan, China. At 2:00 in the morning, Li Quan with his wife, Minghua, had awakened their sleepy eight year old son Li Shen, bundled him up to protect him from the chilly September night air, and set him on the bicycle seat in front of him. Would the Public Security Bureau, the PSB, be waiting for them this day? For seven kilometers they rode over muddy roads and under a quarter moon. Hiding their bicycles behind the house, they enter the spartan, one-room home of Ling Ho and Aunt Mei.”
Cast moves to standing positions/ candle on table lit by cast member
Cast begins conversing.
One light bulb on
Spot lights on.
Ling Ho and Aunt Mei pour tea and pass cookies/ “Ni Hoa” with bows
Li Quan, Minghua and Shen ride/walk bicycles down aisle with Bible and enter stage/ accept tea from Ling Ho and Aunt Mei/ Minghua talks to cast member/ Li Quan to Lin Shun/ Shen to cast member and Lin Bo.
Pastor Zhou: ”We thank God for your safety here. Before we start, I must introduce you to a new family, Lin Shan and wife, Lin Chaoxing, and their daughter Lin Bo. We warmly welcome you to our service.
”Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ in Pushan, China. This is what Jesus says to you in the gospel of John, chapter 14.
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Our homes, filled, with sorrow, are temporary. We joyfully look “forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Please sing with me “This World is Not My Home.
Pushan Congregation: ”This World is Not My Home I’m just a passing through”
Pastor Zhou: ”Thank you, O King, for bringing us safely together. The perils are great. This world, filled with injustices, pain and suffering is not our real home. Our hearts are filled with joy when we think of our new home waiting for us in heaven. We don’t know how long it will be but until then, we want to be faithful. Help us, Lord, Help us Yesu. Now speak to us through your Word. Amen.”
Pastor Zhou: ”Thank you, Minghua, for bringing this ‘Treasure’ tonight.”
Minghua takes “Treasure” out of box.
We know how precious this is to you and your family. It was with great boldness, risking your life, to bring it so we can study the very Words of God. Would you mind telling our new friends the wonderful story behind this Bible?”
Minghua: Reverently spoken to pastor, Lin family and Pushan Congregation like talking about a great treasure. Safely Home Pgs. 10, 24,25,62,71-73,116, 128,147,185,206
“This Bible belonged to the family of my husband, Li Quan. He bows slightly. During the Boxer Rebellion no one was allowed to have a Bible. Whenever Li Quan’s mother could borrow a Bible, she would cover the windows, lock the doors, and spend hours by candlelight handwriting the Scriptures. It took her eight years, for sometimes months, even a year, went by when she had no Bible to copy. Often she would rest her head on her script. Sometimes she would giggle with delight. It was a labor of love.”
Pastor takes Bible and sets it on stand
“We keep it in this box that belonged to my mother. My own mother never owned a Bible. One time the House Church she was attending was given four Bibles. So, the church cast lots and mother did not get one. She asked to have this box because it is holy for it once contained the Words of God.
Just like Mother Li we must continue to hand-write the Scriptures. We heard the other day that there may be between 5,000-10,000 new believers each day in China. Many pastors do not have one. Hundreds of people share the same Bible. There are never enough. I heard of one church who separated the sixty-six books and gave parts to members so if the police came, the whole Bible would not be lost.
When we pray today, we must pray that God will send more Bibles and that people will boldly bring God’s Word into China.”
Pastor Zhou: Paging through it. ”Has this Bible been out in the rain, Minghua? It is smeared in places.”
Minghua: ”Oh no. It is always covered. It was not the rain that smeared the words. Those are tears for her sins and tears of joy for her salvation.”
Pushan Congregation: Responds
Pastor Zhou: Lifting red, callous wrists ”Lord, we give thanks for your abundant blessing. We thank you for the tears of Mother Li who wrote it down and we thank you for the tears of those who will be touched by it. It brings us joy, unspeakable joy, to actually have your written Word so we can know of the ‘wonder of His love.’”
Pushsan Congregation: Whispers of “thanks” and joyful sounds.
Scene 2 House of Prayer
Pastor Zhou: ”As we prepare for prayer, Li Quan, would you please read our Scripture from II Corinthians 4:16?”
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For these slight momentary afflictions is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Pastor Zhou: ”There are some among us that are experiencing ‘momentary afflictions’ and we would like to hear of them before we bow before the throne of God. Brother, Li Quan, would you be first?”
Li Quan: Safely Home Pgs. 7,11,12,24,25,72,77,78, 82,86-89,116-118,149,181,182, 194,195,212,324
“As some of you know, I come from a family who has given their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ. My great grandfather, Li Manchu, along with 32,000 Christians and 200 missionaries became martyrs during the Boxer Rebellion. Persecution continued and my Grandfather also gave his life for the sake of his Lord. My own father was imprisoned during the early days of the People’s Republic. When I last saw him, his face was like a pale twisted mask. But I could recognize his eyes. The PSB offered to let Father out of jail if he would only say, ‘Chairman Mao is greater than Jesus Christ.’ He would often sing his favorite song, ’This World Is Not My Home.’ The last thing he said to me was ‘Li Quan, real gold fears no fire.’ Then he said, ‘one day you will die.’ You must spend your life preparing for that day. Now we, my wife Minghua and my son Li Shen, are going through a time of testing but we know that the fire of our trials proves what we are made of. We know that purity is worth the highest cost and that God will be with us in the fire. This week as I was bringing Bibles to Wang Shaaming here, Nods to Wang I was told that the assistant police was hiding across the street. You all know how passionately he hates Christians. There is a Chinese proverb that says, ‘When you go up to the mountain too often, you eventually encounter the tiger.’ It is only a matter of time. I ask myself, ‘is this the week that the police will invade our house? Is this the week that I die?’ If it is true that I was spied upon, my family might be in serious trouble. Please pray for us—that no matter what happens we will be faithful.”
Pastor Zhou: ”We most certainly will be praying for you, dear brother. We will pray for boldness and courage and that you will be faithful if persecution comes to you this week. Congregation, please sing with me ‘Faith of our Fathers.’”
Pushan Congregation: ”Faith of our Fathers Living Still”
Pastor Zhou: ”Wang Shaaming, come tell us what to pray for as you leave for the mountains once again. Our new family will want to hear of your work.”
Wang Shamming: Safely Home Pgs 118,181,194,240,301
“Some people call me Wang Shaaming; others call me ‘Yesu’s donkey.’ For thirty years I carried precious cargo into the rugged mountains to over a 100 villages as far as Tibet. On my honeymoon, thirty years ago, my wife who is now in her heavenly home, walked to four villages. When we left twelve people had become followers of Jesus.
”Mao built roads and the missionaries traveled them; Mao made Mandarin the official language and suddenly one translation of God’s Word could reach all of China. Now 90% of the nation can read if we can just get the Bibles to them. Where I go, the mountains are too steep and rocky even for bicycles. I must walk.
This is Shengjling, God’s Word. Nothing is more precious. Hold’s it and smells it. There is nothing like the scent of God’s Word. Last week I delivered twelve of these to a church of one thousand. People are starving for Shengjling. Please ask God to bring more disciples into His kingdom as Yesu’s Donkey leaves in the morning for the villages to train them in Shengjling. Praise God, too, that not all cities are persecuted like we are and are free to have Bibles without the Registered Stamp on them.”
Pastor Zhou: ”Wang, The PBS can not stop us from praying. Our hearts will go with you.”
Pushan Congregation: Praises and thanksgiving
Pastor Zhou: ”Many of you know Lin Shan as the chief of police and he has joined us tonight to tell you about a miracle.”
Lin Shan and wife Lin Chaoxing Lin Bo move to center stage. Safely Home Pgs. 172,183,185,193
Lin Shan: ”Do not be afraid. We have come as friends. You see, my daughter Lin Bo has been sick in the hospital for the last two months and the doctors told us there was no hope for her. All we have is one child and she was dying. Without Chaoxing knowing it she was sterilized so she can not have more children. Lin Chaoxing and I were frantic. As a loyal Party member, I was the one who instructed my men to arrest all House Church Christians. Turning to Pastor The scars on Pastor Jin’s face and wrists are there because of me. For eight years I held him in prison. Please forgive me.”
Pastor Zhou: ”Brother Lin, in the name of Jesus, you are forgiven.”
Lin Shan: Turning to Li Quan. ”I gave the order for Li Quan to be beaten and tortured twice while incarcerated in three of my jails.” Goes over to LiQuan. ”That scar on his face and his deformed ear is because of my orders. Please, please forgive me. I did not know what I was doing.”
Li Quan: ”Brother Lin, you are forgiven.” Li Quan hugs him.
Lin Shan: ”Forgive me, Lord Jesus.”
“One time after a severe beating I went to the cell of Li Quan and he told me about a Christ who came from heaven, who died and rose from the dead. He said he defeated death and that this Christ healed the sick and that he had seen miracles. I did not believe him then. But now, in my desperation, I sent my nephew to bring Li Quan to our house and asked him to perform a miracle. He said, ‘I do not tell my God to do anything. He is the Master; I am but the servant. Li Quan is not a healer. But, my God, Yesu, has the power to heal. I do not know his desire. But, I will ask him to heal Lin Bo.’ He placed his hands on Lin Bo’s head and prayed, ‘You created Lin Bo; You love her. That they may know your power and grace I ask that you touch her, raise her up, heal her. Do this for your glory above all and for their salvation from sin. In the name of Yesu, Amen. Li Quan gave us this DVD about Jesus and a Bible and left.’”
Lin Chaoxing: Interrupts ”Oh, and I must tell you this. Before my husband came for you, Li Quan, I had a dream. I saw a man lay hands upon our daughter and pray for her. I had not seen you before. But, when you came into our daughter’s room, I told my husband, ‘That is the man in my dream.’ When I saw you, I believed my daughter would be healed. You are the messenger of a God I did not know.”
Lin Shan: ”Lin Bo, would you like to tell them what happened to you this week?”
Lin Bo: ”I had been semi-conscious all that day. I was so afraid and thought this was the day I would die. Then I heard this quiet voice asking someone to touch me and heal me, someone by the name of Jesus. Slowly my head became clear and I woke up. Even though I had not walked in months, my legs felt strong again. I tried to stand up and I could. Then I took a step and then another. I walked downstairs to get something to eat because I was hungry for the first time in weeks. Who is this Jesus? We all watched the DVD Li Quan had left with us to learn about this One who has the power to do miracles.”
Pushan Congregation: Amens all around
Lin Shan: ”We drove straight to the home of Li Quan. He told us that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We confessed our sins and became followers of Yesu. We laughed and cried for a half hour. We sang songs of joy and praise to our new Lord. Li Quan warned us the path we choose that night was not an easy one. He was right. When I returned to work the very next day, I was told that I no longer had a job and would be transferred far away. My home was confiscated. I am here to tell you that at long last the deepest longings of our hearts have been satisfied because of Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. We ask you to pray for us. We are afraid. Our faith is not yet strong.”
Li Quan hugs Shan/ Minghua hugs Choaxing
Pastor Zhou: ”Welcome to the family of God. Blessings upon you. The Lord will go with you. Your faith will grow as you study His Word. The joy of the Lord will be your strength.”
Pushan Congregation: Spontaneous response in song of “Let there be honor and glory and praises ……”
Pastor Zhou: ”Li Yue, tell us what is happening in the seminary.”
Li Yue Safely Home Pgs. 132,152,275,281,287-298
Directs talk to Pushan congregation.
“Praise God! The Holy Spirit is at work in our underground seminary. Some of you may not know that I dropped out of the government sanctioned, Nanjing Seminary, five weeks ago. Faculty members who believe the Scriptures are being fired. The Political Party would like the world to think there is religious freedom in China but churches are only allowed to teach what the leader of the Religious Affairs Bureau, who is an atheist, approves. My father used to say, ‘Church leader who does not believe in God is like barefoot shoe salesman.’ Lin Wen is a barefoot shoe salesman.”
Pushan Congregation: Smiles and giggles
“This is what is happening. The Gospel of Yesu is like this glass. Pretends to throw down glass and crush it with footIf I would crush it with my foot, it would break into many pieces. In attempting to break the church, the government is spreading it everywhere. The church is multiplying. They lock men in prison and they take the gospel there. They send women to correction farms and they take the gospel there. Things are tightening up with the 2008 Olympics coming to our country. But, this glass will not be controlled. The persecution in the church is an instrument in God’s hands to make the church grow. As Tertulliam said in the 2nd century, ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’ Some of you know that I am helping set up a seminary. People will be coming from everywhere. The last time we met, a man walked 80 miles for five days to study the Words of God with us. Before the teaching began, we prayed for three hours until the Holy Spirit filled us with so much joy that we could not stop smiling. Our motto is ‘Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power.’ Our House Cave is wonderful. It does not smell so good but we can sing and pray as loud and long as we want and only God hears. Pray for us! Praise Yesu! Yes, never cease to pray for God’s seminary in a cave.”
Pastor Zhou: ”Time is passing quickly. We must pray.”
Pastor moves pulpit. Li Quan and Wang bring chair forward
“For the Lin family, Li Shen, would you like to tell them the reason for this chair?” Safely Home Pgs. 59, 79, 278,346
Li Shen: “Let me think. It was my grandfather who built this chair to honor his father. It took him a whole year to carve it by hand. His father said it looked like a throne so he would not let anyone sit in it. He said it reminded him that Yesu is the only King. It is a remembrance of the Li family line of believers - my great, great grandfather, my great grandfather, my grandfather and now my father. Someday it will be mine. We are sharing it with our House Church family. Sometimes, when people are so mean and want to hurt us, we remember Yesu is watching over us. When we pray we gather around it and we are not so afraid. Kneels before chair When I put my head on the chair, I am thinking I am putting it on the lap of Yesu.” Rests head on chair.
Pastor Zhou: ”We are reminded of this command in Hebrews 13:3. ‘Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.’”
”As we gather around the Chair today. . . “
Pushan Congregation: Stand and begin moving toward the chair
Scene 3 Home Invasion
Just as the congregation stands and Pastor Zhou says, “chair” there is very loud knocking/commotion at door/ Fu Chi and Fu Liko, in uniforms, storm down both aisles with guns out but not aimed.
Fu Chi: ”Do not move! This is an illegal gathering. You are not officially registered with the Religious Affairs Bureau. You meet in the night like the criminals you are. You have been distributing illegal propaganda compact discs about Jesus.” Safely Home Pgs. 12-14,23-27,35-37,241
Pushan congregation: reacts loudly in fear huddling in groups.
Li Quan and Minghua: kneel by Shen
Fu Liko: ”Criminals all of you.”
Fu Chi: ”Illegal churches are enemies of the state. You do not deserve to live! What is more, it is illegal to teach religion to children under eighteen. How dare you defy the law?”
Fu Liko: ”You make me sick.”
Fu Chi: ”There are two sides to this room. Those loyal to the Party and its people must prove it by moving to the left side and out the door. In doing so, you will declare you do not believe in this Jesus. You are free to go and will not be punished. Those who choose Jesus will step to the right side. NOW! You have three minutes. We will shoot every man and woman and child who declare themselves to be followers of your devil, Yesu.”
Couple whisper and slowly exit
Fu Liko: Picks up CD from table ”Look here! Proof you are distributing illegal propaganda. You deserve to be arrested, every one of you.”
As he walks away from table Hannah grabs leg of Fu Liko and pleads/ Fu Liko knocks her over/ cast member pulls her back.
Wang talks with a cast member while four cast members move to right
Fu Chi: ”You have just two minutes. Choose NOW!”
Li Shen has head on chair
Li Quan: ”Son, this has to be your own decision. Will you come with us and follow the Lord? This may be the day that we die. You understand that? Li Shen, we love you with all our hearts.”
Li Shen: ”I will go with you.”
The three walk to right side with Shen in front
The Lin family, Ling Ho and Aunt Mei, and 2 cast members move to the right/ Pastor Zhou kneels by chair
Pushan Congregation: Murmurs, weeping, trembling, quoting Scripture
Fu Chi: ”SILENCE! If you stay in this room, you choose to die.”
Wang pleads quietly with Judy/ Judy walks to the door hesitating several times then flees down aisle/ Wang on knees praying and reaching for her
Fu Chi: ”Stand up!” Wang stands slowly and walks to Pastor kneeling at chair motioning him to move to right
Li Quan: ”Surely, this is the day that I die.”
Fu Chi: After checking aisles hands guns over ”Forgive us, brothers. I am Fu Chi. This is Fu Liko, my brother. We have come from the village of An Ning, across the mountain. We are, like you, followers of Yesu. God is doing mighty things among us. We have much to tell you. But we dared not put you at risk. Two of our own House Churches have been betrayed by spies. We had to drive away the infiltrators and informers from your midst.”
Kneeling before Li Shen: “Forgive us, brave one. We knew no other way.”
Pushan Congregation: Spontaneous prayers of thanksgiving and embracing of Fu Chi and Fu Liko
Pastor Zhou: ”We forgive you, brother. Now tell us what God has done over the mountains. We have prayed many years for your people.”
Fu Chi: ”Something you will not believe. Sit down brothers; sit down sisters. Prepare yourselves for something so wonderful that when you hear it your hearts will leap for joy. Please sit while I tell you.”
Pushan congregation return to original seats.
Fu Chi: ”Two years ago I was walking in darkness. A Bible was given to me and Jesus found me. I am now the pastor of the church in An Ning a village of 2000. All have come to the “light”. All have confessed loyalty to Jesus. Now we are breaking up our village and spreading out to make more converts. There is a man who memorized the gospel of John and walks miles to teach Shengjling. He sleeps under the stars. Winter is coming and when it gets too cold to sleep, he spends the entire night worshipping God. He prays for those persecuting us. It is more comfortable than sleeping in prison, he says.”
Fu Liko: ”And, listen to this—we now have an assistant Police Chief who has become a believer. He alerts us when the PSB are planning a swoop. When Christians are arrested in our village, the guard stores all their belongings. They collect the Bibles in a cabinet to be destroyed. Last week he brought us many Bibles. We celebrated for a long time.”
Fu Chi: ”The Government thought if they arrest men, the church will die. Very wrong. When men are in prison, the women must step forward. I have so much more to tell you but I know it is 4:00 in the morning and you must all leave before daylight.”
Pastor Zhou: ”Thank you, thank you. Praise God. Please come with me to my house. I want to hear more. Aunt Mei, will you close our meeting with prayer.”
Congregation surrounds chair and holds hands
Aunt Mei: ”Find Us Faithful”
As Aunt Mei sings spot lights turned off/ light bulb off/ Ling Ho extinguishes candle.
Fu Chi, Fu Liko, Lin family and Li Quan exit stage.
Wan Hai enters with orange bag.
Congregation changes décor to new meeting place.
Table moved with CD and teapot.
Chair and pulpit repositioned.
Wall hangings switched.
Minghua takes Bible and box for Shen.
Congregation moves to new seating arrangement.
Wu Le prepares to re-light candle.
Scene 1 A Home Gathering
Narrator: ”It is Christmas” … “So much has happened in the past three months. Li Quan was imprisoned, severely persecuted and beaten to death in Pushan Facility Six. This past Wednesday was the day that he died. The house of his wife and son, Minghua and Li Shen, has been taken away leaving them without a home. Tonight, the tiny House Church in Pushan, China is gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to celebrate the life of their beloved brother, Li Quan. They are meeting at the home of Wu Le because she has been diagnosed with Tuberculoses and the Public Security Bureau or any unwanted infiltrators prefer not to enter.”
Cast member lights candle/light bulb on.
Pushan Congregation: Comforting Minghua and Shen and each other.
Spot lights on.
Pastor Zhou: ”In our deep, deep sorrow today at the loss of our faithful, beloved brother, Li Quan, we find our comfort in Words from our Savior. Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us why Jesus came from heaven into this world. Li Shen, would you please bring us the Bible and Li Yue, will you read it for us?”
LiShen: Brings “Treasure” forward and hands it to Pastor.
Li Yue: ”The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted.
The Lord is come to bind up our broken hearts today.
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners.
The Lord is come to release Li Quan from prison. He is free.
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion.
The Lord is come to provide comfort to Minghua,
Li Shen and this House Church in Pushan, China.
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
The Lord is come to bring us joy in the midst of our despair.
Let us put on the garment of praise and sing, ‘O Come all ye Faithful.’”
Pushan Congregation: O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come and behold him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore him, O come let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
Scene 2 Prison Home
Pastor: Zhou: ”Joining us today is, Wan Hai, who was unexpectedly released from prison just a few days ago. He was incarcerated in Pushan Facility Six and spent these last several months in a cell down the corridor from our dear friend, Li Quan. He is here to tell us how Li Quan lived these last few months and how he died.”
Wan Hai: Safely Home Pgs. 220.127.116.11.250.252.259.268.273.274.277.282-285.295.305.308.311.317-319.323.333.335.339.355.359.362
“When Li Quan first came to jail, he was sent to a factory to work. Every day he assembled Christmas lights to be sent to America. His quota was 4000 a day working from sunrise to 11:00 at night without pay. If his quota was not met, he was beaten. Pushan Facility Six became LiQuan’s mission field. When he heard the dull thud of a stick being beaten across flesh followed by the moans of a fellow prisoner, Li Quan would cry out again and again, ‘Believe in Yesu, believe in God and you will be saved.’ Then, he would sing to the beaten one until he was comforted. Li Quan was stripped and beaten again and again and again. He was then put in the lower cell blocks, in solitary confinement. There are no lights and the smell nauseating. I could hear him weeping and thanking God for His mercies, for his prison mates, and for Minghua and Shen that they might not be bitter. He prayed for his enemies, for the assistant police chief, for the guards. ‘Help me to prosper here, Jesus.’ I could hear him sing. He sang and he sang ‘This World Is Not My Home.’ Pretty soon a half-dozen voices sang along with him. There were two buckets in his cell. One for wastes and the other one he turned over as a throne and spoke to his King, Yesu, who was sitting on the empty pail. ‘Lord, how can I minister without people? Make a way for me; use me as a vessel of your grace.’ The next time the guard came by, Li Quan asked if he could clean the wastes out of the cells for him. He asked for water and a brush and soap. He came to my cell and cleaned it and he washed my feet and he told me about Yesu and what had happened to him since coming to Facility Six. He took the soap and wrote Bible verses on the wall and taught me about just passing through this world. He would gently hold those who were beaten and I could faintly hear him singing, ‘This World is Not My Home.’ Many believed in the Savior. One day he was beaten because the guard said he was smiling. When LiQuan said he was not smiling, the guard said, ‘Yes you were, your eyes are smiling.’ There were times when he was in despair and was filled with fear and sorrow. I could hear him weep and shout, ‘Get away from me, Satan. I belong to Jesus.’ He would cling to the empty bucket and cry, ‘You have no power over me. Your battle is with my King. Him you cannot defeat.’ He would recite his favorite poem. You all know it. Say it with me.
Pushan Congregation: Recites Afraid of that? Afraid? Of what?
Wan Hai: Recites verse.
Afraid? Of what? To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid? Of what Afraid to see the Savior’s face
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid? Of what? A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O Heaven’s art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid? Of what? To do by death what life could not—
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
’ Til souls shall blossom from the spot?
”And then, last week, I saw a warden walk down the hall with a pencil and paper in hand. I could hear him in the cell of Li Quan. First he struck him and then demanded that Quan write a confession that he was guilty of crimes against the Party, of holding illegal meetings, passing out illegal propaganda and proselytizing children. He was to withdraw his faith in Yesu. The last time he cleaned my cell he was hunched over and his body full of bruises. When he grinned, I could see his front teeth were missing. He told me this is the confession he wrote:
Yesu created all men and women. They chose their own way and became sinners, falling away from their Creator. But He loves them so much He became one of them, and died on the cross for their sins. He invites each man or woman to confess their sins and accept His gift of salvation. All who do not do this go to eternal hell, sins unforgiven. All who accept God’s gift in Yesu become part of His church. They will live with Him forever in heaven. Bow your knees before Him today, before it is too late.
Then he said to me, ‘If you are ever released, please tell this to my wife and my son.’”
Minghua and Shen stand.
That I love them with my whole heart
Never forget Jesus is King
Never forget your home is in another world.
Never forget that your father will be waiting to see you again.
And one more thing. He asked that if I was freed, I would buy Li Shen a Christmas present.”
Li Shen: Takes the brown sack from Wan Hai and removes an orange. “Look Mother! Our Christmas present. Turning to Wan Hai. My father always buys us an orange for Christmas. We always split it in half. We always wanted my father to have some but he said it made him happier to watch us eat it. Thank you, thank you!” Shen hugs Wan Hai.
Wan Hai: “Last Thursday, the Chief of Police came to Quan’s cell. He demanded that he give him names of those attending the House Church and to deny the Christ. I heard him say, I can not deny my Lord. My loyalty is to Yesu, Lord of China. I heard a crunch and then another and all was silent. That was the day that Li Quan died. I brought this word of encouragement to you. Listen.”
Goes to CD and pretends to turn it on.
Jon Mohr, 1998 Recorded by Steve Green
Children, precious children
I know you’re shaken
A loved one taken
Oh, but hear Me
Come, draw near Me
Their pain is past now
They rest at last now
They are strong and free
They are safe with Me
This life is merely shadow
Today there’s sorrow
But joy tomorrow
One day you will join them
This time forever
Scene 3 Home in Heaven
Pastor Zhou: ”I can only imagine Li Quan safely in his new heavenly home. At Christmas we sing, ‘Joy to the World.’ Our unbelieving friends ask? How can we possibly sing ‘Joy to the World’ when we are grieving the loss of our beloved brother and when we are suffering so from persecution. What is joy? Joy is when we experience with every fiber of our beings that this Jesus and this Place called heaven is all we ever longed for. Repeat definition.
“Joy to the world the Lord has come for Li Quan. For us, we have but a taste; for Li Quan, I see him lost in joy singing and dancing before his Lord amongst the multitudes for every longing of his heart is satisfied.”
Pushan Congregation: Responses.
Pastor Zhou: ”‘Joy to the world the Lord is come; let earth receive her King.’ I imagine Li Quan falling at the feet of His King. And then, with the crown of life in his hand the Savior greets him with ‘Welcome My good and faithful servant, Li Quan.’”
Pushan Congregation: Responses
Pastor Zhou: “‘The Lord is come; let every heart prepare Him room.’ Long ago, his father said, ‘Li Quan, One day you will die. Spend the rest of your life preparing for it. Li Quan was prepared to meet his Lord.’”
Pushan Congregation: Responses
Pastor Zhou: ”‘Joy to the world! No more let sin and sorrow grow nor thorns infest the ground far as the curse is found.’ Just think about his new home. No more foul smelling air, dirty water in a gray, dark cell. He is breathing in fresh air, drinking pure water and exploring his new world resonating with light and color. No more filthy bloody rags but dressed in a clean white robe.”
Pushan Congregation: Responses
Pastor Zhou: ”‘Joy to the world! He rules the world with truth and grace and with the wonders of His love, and wonders, wonders of His love.’ With His own scarred hand, The Divine Healer will lovingly touch the many scars on Li Quan’s body and with a gentle touch replace his missing teeth.”
Pushan Congregation: Responses
Pastor Zhou: ”Beloved Brothers and Sisters, in our deep deep sorrow, we can rejoice today. We can sing from our hearts, ‘Joy to the World for Jesus is come.’”
Pushan Congregation: Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.
Pastor Zhou: ”Brothers and Sisters, there is nothing that can separate us from the ‘wonder of His love.’”
”Can anything separate us from Christ’s love?”
Pushan Congregation: ”No” After each phrase increase in intensity
Can the threat of death?
Pastor Zhou: ”Li Quan has joined the souls of his great grandfather, his grandfather and his father and mother along with all the martyrs throughout the ages crying, ‘How long, O Lord, will they persecute you?’ ‘How long, O Lord, will your enemies mock you?”
“Jesus’ answer is, ‘Surely I am coming soon’ to take you home. Amen.”
And the voices of all the saints in heaven and on earth join together, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’”
Pushan Congregation: ”Come, Lord Jesus.”
Pastor Zhou: ”May the joy of the Lord be with you as you travel home tonight.”
Spot lights off
Pushan Congregation and moves down aisles singing:
He rules the world with truth and grace,
Light bulb off
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
Cast member snuffs out candle
And wonders of His love, and wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.
Organ begins as soon as lights are out and cast leaves sanctuary
Top light on
* Ask the congregation to stand and sing first verse of “Joy to the World”
* Prayer for persecuted church/ for our boldness to stand without shame for Jesus/ for our faithfulness/ how long, Lord/ Come, Lord Jesus/ come quickly
* Sing verses 3 and 4 of ”Joy to the World”/ words in program
* You are dismissed to go out with joy to the world for the Lord is coming again—very soon
CD of “Safely Home” as the congregation leaves the sanctuary
Oranges, marked for halving, distributed by cast as the congregation leaves sanctuary
For more information about this book, see Safely Home.