We've received an update from Revival Chinese Ministries International announcing that missionary Dennis Balcombe is safe in China.
In a statement posted on the ministry's web site and released to the media today, Balcombe thanks "everyone for their prayers..." and says he spent a day in his hotel room "speaking with authorities."
Balcombe has served as a missionary to China since first arriving in Hong Kong in 1969. He admitted the house church meeting he attended in Nanyang April 20--raided by religious police-- was illegal.
"...We had broken the regulations on religion by conducting a Christian meeting of over 30 people not first registering with the RAB."
Balcombe says authorities raided the meeting because someone informed them that foreigners were attending a "religious cult" gathering.
Pastor Balcombe says the next day, he went to another hotel on his own and while he had been arrested nearly 20 years ago in Fangcheng Count, he says "given the greater degreee of religious freedoms in other parts of China, I was surprised this would happen to us."
Authorities returned Balcombe's passport and invited him to preach in the future in official government Three Self Churches, or even some house churches, but first he must inform them of his intentions when he comes to Henan Province.
Balcombe says the experience was not enjoyable, but he considers it an honor and blessing to be in the same place where so many missionaries and Chinese preachers worked and gave their lives fore the Gospel.
He says the experience reminded him of the Book of Acts 5:41: And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.