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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.
He's recently back from Myanmar, where he went for (mostly) fun.
I had been a devout Jehovah’s Witness from the time I was a child, and I became a full-time missionary the day I graduated from high school. Pursuing any kind of career was frowned upon as materialistic and a distraction from what really mattered: preaching.
Four days a week, I would put on my modest skirt and practical shoes, fill my briefcase with magazines and other Watchtower publications, and walk to the Kingdom Hall near my home in Kitsilano. We’d then head out to our assigned territory—the affluent neighborhoods of Vancouver’s west side.
Back in December, though, we had terrible air and we stayed inside the apartment for four days and just blasted the air filters. Saddest: maybe a man who lit himself on fire to protest the destruction of his home by the government to build a park. Got to spend five days tracking elephants by helicopter in a part of South Sudan, which was essentially Africa before colonization.
There were at least 50 similar immolations in recent years.