Inside the Walls

Believers in China must do man

Welcome to Ron’s Adventures,” the podcast that highlights the lighter side of missions and international travel. With me in the studio are Ron and Charis Pearce.

Joy- Hi guys, welcome back. Now for our listeners, I just want to tell you, I have a little bit of an idea of what we are going to talk about today and you are going to want to stay tuned. It is kind of unbelievable. Ron?

Ron- We’re in China and we are going to visit, I’ll try and take you there with the picture in my mind and my words, we’re going to an underground Bible school where 30 young people, both male and female, were involved in this. One night, I was taken in a black van at about two o’clock in the morning and we were going to this commercial area, more factories than anything else, we went down these roads, back and forth and we pulled up in front of this place. They had been communicating via cell phone with the people inside this factory and we pulled up very, very close to the door, about six inches to a foot away from a sliding door and I squeezed out and into the door of this factory. We went in and it was cool. Three other brothers came with me on this adventure and we were sitting there looking around as to what was going on in this place. I was amazed at the setting, it was nothing quite like what I had seen before. It was an operational factory but it was bare at night of course, nobody was working there. And then they opened this little door, it was like an office and there was a brother sitting in there with all these students sitting at these little desks, one lightbulb in the place that was on, a very dim light. And so I sat down at the back and listened and they were an underground Bible school training all these young people, and the age of these young people was maybe 13 to about 21. There are many pastors in China who got their first training when they were 13 years old and went into ministry shall we say in Grade 8. So here we are, sitting here for a while and then they broke up the class and I got to meet the kids and we started to talk and then the brother who is the leader, he and his wife said, Well, this isn’t the real Bible School, we can just use it because the factory is shut down for a week so we don’t have to go into the other Bible School.” I said, What do you mean the other one?” Then they took me with a flashlight and we went to this area of the factory which had been disguised. It was concrete block walls around this area and this is kind of hard to imagine so I’m going to try to paint a picture, this was an area of the factory that was disguised with no doors or windows in it, complete concrete block around up against another outside wall and you would not know that this was not just a regular wok area because of the surroundings of it. There was a hole, chopped in with a sledgehammer in the concrete, in the side of the bottom of the room. I would say there was about four blocks taken out on the bottom row, three on the second row then two etcetera, so if you can imagine this little hole that’s there and they said, this is our real Bible School. And he goes and crawls in this hole and the other guy does too so I crawled in right afterwards and I took the flashlight in and what it was they had newspaper and they lined the floor with it probably about an inch thick. They would take this newspaper and they would sleep on this, all the kids who would go in there, about 30 of them, and when the newspapers were dirty, they would take that layer off and they would basically have a new bed to sleep on. They would take that newspaper and put it in the corner and they would have another clean floor. And this kept going on like this. They would sleep on that and they would sit on that because it was softer and they would study on that as their floor. There were no chairs in there at all. Then the teachers and students would come in and I asked, How long?” He said, Well, we come in for three months.” They would put enough food in there to last them for three months. They had tapped into a sewer line so they could have one toilet with a bit of a barrier around it and I wasn’t going to ask about toilet paper because I knew they were using newspaper. Then they had a pipe coming through that had a tap on it and that was their water source. There was no light in there except for two wires with one little bulb that hung down. And I said, So, they spend the total entire time of their three months in here.” He said, Yes, they would have a change of clothes but no washing machine or anything, they have water, they have a toilet and there is food over there that would be prepared very carefully.” Wow,” so I asked, what do you do with the wall here?” Well, when everybody comes in, our bricklayers come in and they will put all the bricks back in, tap them out, reseal it around, and parge it so that you’d never know that that is the doorway.”

Joy- So they are totally walled inside.

Ron- They are totally walled in. So I asked, How do you get out? How do you communicate?” And he said, It’s very simple. They take a sledge hammer in with them and when they are finished, they knock the bricks out at night and they crawl out.” That’s it. So then I asked, How do they keep their sound down?” So he told me that during the day when the factory workers are in and there are other non-Christian workers outside they don’t have to whisper but they don’t sing or make any noise that would let somebody know there is someone in there, and at night, when no one is around, there is a watchman at this factory who is a Christian who will basically protect them. They get to sing and worship and talk louder at night time but in the day they sleep a lot, they reverse their clocks and they will work when the factory isn’t running.

Joy- So they’re in there for three months and they don’t come out.

Charis- And the factory workers don’t know that they’re in there.

Ron- They don’t come out for three months and nobody knows really. And this thing was running and they didn’t go in there right then, I hit it just at the proper time, they had just cleaned it out they had put new newspapers in there, they had their food ready. In the next few days, I guess they were going to go back in with a whole new group for study.

Joy- When you crawled in, were you able to stand after that?

Ron- Oh yeah, the ceiling was really high, a 15 or 20 foot ceiling. But it was primitive and it was cold. I must admit, everybody had to wear coats and there was no fire that I could see.

Joy- Talk about dedication to what you’re doing. You’re being walled in by concrete. It’s unbelievable.

Ron- Exactly, if you had claustrophobia, although it was a bigger room, and when I say bigger, I’m going to say it was probably 30 feet across and a good 35 feet long and high. So there was a lot of room in it.

Joy- Still, I think some people’s claustrophobia is not being able to get out, knowing you can’t get out. That would be it for me.

Ron- Well you could, you’d just have to use a sledgehammer, and you’d knock it out. But it would have to be at nighttime or else the whole place would be revealed to the authorities.

Joy- Wow! Are they still using that now?

Ron- I don’t know. I have lost touch, well, I haven’t been up there to make touch with that group and now with the conditions in China today, I would never go even near that place.

Joy-Well, with the conditions today, they are probably using a place like that.

Ron-They could but I don’t know because they keep moving around. If they are discovered they go somewhere else. But that was an adventure I will always remember.

Joy- That is quite the adventure. I told you that this was going to be somewhat unbelievable.

This has been Ron’s Adventures,” the podcast that shows Bible School in China is, well, a little different than Bible School in North America. Thanks for listening, I’m Joy Kita.

y secretive things to remain hidden from government forces, but this secret Bible School Ron saw firsthand is like nothing you’ve ever heard before. 

we’re going to an underground Bible school where 30 young people, both male and female, were involved in this

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