“This is exactly what I need right now,” Pastor Zhang told us during our Within Reach Global underground pastors and leaders training in China. We had dedicated a specific chunk of time to leadership training during our trip. But there has been a recent flux in persecution in our region, so we weren’t sure how many pastors would turn up. We thought there might be 30 or 40. But, as Pastor Samuel Lamb has famously said, “More persecution, more growth. That is the history of the Church!” And so a record breaking 97 pastors came!

After you or your family have been targets of persecution, simply for loving God and for sharing that love with others, worship takes on a whole new meaning. Even though we were hidden on the upper stories of an old factory, no one was thinking about how uncomfortable the chairs were. No one was wondering about what they were going to eat for dinner. We were there to meet with the King of kings, and He showed up. You could sense and see the palpable presence of God.


Hearts were encouraged, wisdom was shared, Christ-followers were reminded of our true purpose. Pray for us as we support those on the front lines. Pray for Pastor Zhang and the other Chinese leaders, who reside on the precarious cusp of the front lines of battle. For God is always on the move in China!


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David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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