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Kevin Garratt, a Canadian missionary held in a Chinese jail for two years on suspicion of spying, arrived back in Canada on Thursday following a court ruling granting his release.

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Garratt was arrested, along with his wife Julia (pictured above reuniting again), in August 2014 in Dandong, a city that borders North Korea. The Garratts had operated a Christian coffee shop in the city since 2008 and have been serving in China since 1984.

Julia was released in February 2015 but Kevin was later charged with stealing secrets and espionage for Canadian intelligence agencies and was kept in China.

Garratt’s release comes on the heels of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first official visit to China, during which a join press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed that Kevin would be treated humanely and in accordance to the law.

Kevin arrived at the Vancouver International Airport on Thursday and was greeted by his family (pictured above with his son).

Kevin was a missionary focused on sharing the Gospel with North Koreans – many of which made their way across the border to China. In 2014, their arrest was part of a general crackdown on missionaries in the area. Several missionaries that Back to Jerusalem worked with were kicked out and others, like Kevin and his wife, were detained and charged with spying.

Kevin and his family denied accusations of ever being involved in espionage.

At the end of last year, China released a new method of catching missionaries working with North Korea – they set up a hotline for citizens to call. Instead of announcing the new hotline to catch missionaries, they called the missionaries “spies.”

The new hotline was unveiled in the north east province of Jilin, where most missionaries who focus on North Korea work. During the Jilin International Security Conference that was held on November 1, 2015, the Chinese government announced that the new hotline would help stop spies and would be a follow up to the new anti-espionage law.

The new hotline targets missionaries by mobilizing the citizen forces to report anyone “who does not have a clear line of work, but seems to be well-funded, overseas correspondents, missionaries (including NGO workers), and people who participate in various seminars and business meetings that exaggerate the accomplishments of foreigners.”

If anyone is seen that matches this description, they can call the new hotline at 12339.

At BTJ we praise the Lord that Kevin has been released and we continue to pray for him and his family as they reconnect in Canada.

Noah’s Fund Raiser

Final plans are being nailed down for the Feb. 2016 trip to China. If you’d like to be on our team as we share Gospel booklets in unreached Muslim villages in northwestern China, contact me. There is still room available for additional team members.

The Team is Heading Back to China!

Please remember our family in prayer over the next few weeks. Hosanna, Charity and I are heading back to northwestern China to complete a project we’ve been working on for some time.

Our objective is to deliver Gospel booklets to every home in a large Muslim region. All of our work is done during the nighttime hours so each day you sit down for lunch, send up a prayer for us. We will be on the street.

Hosanna and I are at the airport in D.C. now awaiting our flight. Charity will be a day behind us. Ruthy is used to me taking the older children into the field with me but having a house full of children to care for without me and two of her best helpers can be challenging. So, as you pray the girls and I as we travel through remote mountain villages. please remember to pray for Ruthy and the children.

We will return in mid September.

Thanks for your prayer support and the help many of you have sent our way to help us stay on the street spreading the glorious Gospel of our great Redeemer!

For China and the Savior Who spilled His blood for her,

Denny

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Here is the basic abbreviated story on Gabe and Will in China.

They had a hotel room in a town but were working Muslim villages several mile away. When they first arrived in town, the police visited their hotel room and “advised” them not to go out after dark. Around midnight, they went out to work in the nearby villages, Having completed the work, they were walking back to town when they were approached by a very angry man. He grabbed Gabe and tried to pull him toward his house or something. The guys were able to shake him loose and ran about a mile back to their hotel. It was approx. 2.45am. They gathered their crumbs and were walking out through the hotel lobby when the police walked in. Gabe dropped his backpack of crumbs in a corner hoping that the police wouldn’t see them. The police saw the bag and after getting it open and finding the tracts, they took them back up to their room. The police spent several hours with them and took their passports. Over the next day or so, they were questioned together and separately. Their visas are being cancelled so they will not be able to return to China for a long time. They should be released in the next day or so. They are being reissued a new visa that will enable them to remain in China until their flight. More info will be posted after they return home, but due to the sensitivity of the information, I can’t post it now. Continue to pray for the work in China.

The arrested team members were heard from about 8 hours ago via text. Nothing definite is known at this time. They are still being held and questioned. Continue to pray for their release.