Intimidating a witness sentence
It would result in the swift kick out of the life I had lived for thirty years, and into an intimidating, complicated world I had known only from the periphery.
I began learning Mandarin Chinese in 2003 through a night class offered at my congregation in Vancouver.
Though my progress was slow, I suddenly had more Bible students than I could keep up with.
Eventually, I bought a 1982 Volvo station wagon for cheap, and drove all over the city to conduct hour-long Bible-study sessions with Chinese immigrants.
We would knock on doors—street by street, house by house. We were shored up for constant rejection at the three meetings a week we attended—one of which was for the sole purpose of teaching us how to overcome objections and be better preachers. Socializing with “worldly people” (non-Witnesses) was forbidden.
Some people would be polite, but most were just annoyed. So we were all in the same boat, and the seventy-plus hours a month we’d spend out preaching made for good stories.
The elders asked me to meet them at the Starbucks on Nanjing Road in central Shanghai. Please don’t feel nervous.” The sun was bright in my face, sort of like an interrogation lamp. But that I’d felt it was the right thing to do, to explain certain things to her. “Now please tell us exactly what was said.” Sipping our coffee drinks, we looked like the other expats one sees around Shanghai. We knew lots of stories of Witnesses who had been followed, watched, bugged, deported by Chinese officials.
The sun was bright that day; the usual haze had lifted for a change. “Do you know the conversations we are referring to? All three of us were criminals in the eyes of the Chinese government.
I wanted to preach to people who would listen, instead of to these rich, self-satisfied Vancouver types. I signed up for the free Mandarin class offered by the church. The muscles in my mouth hurt after the first lesson.
After a year of Chinese classes, I decided to quit my part-time job and move to China.