Some of the stories you get to hear about China can be… well, let’s just say… interesting. There are stories about having to speak in code. Stories about being blind folded and put in the back of a trunk. Stories about being followed. Stories about going to secret underground seminaries to teach pastors. All in all, China has become the mission field to go to if you can’t make it as a real spy.
All of those stories and scenarios are exciting. The spy life has a certain allure to it – carrying multiple “burner” phones as not to be traced, renting a new place to live as soon as some trouble with someone barely connected to you is deported, taking a month off and leaving because there was a rumor that something was about to happen. But as exciting as that all seems, it really isn’t necessary and for a couple of reasons:
We aren’t that important
I know we would like to think that we are on China’s most wanted list, but the reality is that we aren’t. I will not reiterate all that I have said in the past but it also comes down to the fact that the Chinese government is not out to arrest every Christian. Many times people think that North Korea is the same as China but it isn’t. There aren’t spies looking for all the foreign missionaries. They aren’t monitoring all your phone calls and internet traffic. We are small fish.
We aren’t that clever
Watching documentaries, movies and TV shows about spies does not make one a spy. No matter how much one may try to follow what they do. If the Chinese government were after all foreign missionaries, it would not take long to find them. A simple internet search for a missionary’s name reveals what they are. Even the code most missionaries use in writing and correspondence is easily breakable. It’s not like the Navajo code that the US used in World War 2 which the Japanese could not figure out.
All in all, there is no need for spy games in China. Even with the deportation of our friends, we have heard that one way to help stay in the country is to make sure you aren’t being secretive.