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A Canadian couple who spent two years separated in prison in China were in Winnipeg sharing their story over the weekend.

Kevin and Julia Garratt were stationed near the North Korean border as global workers. In 2014 they were arrested by the Chinese government and charged with espionage and spying.

This Christian couple had been working in China for 30 years. They shared the good news while teaching English, running a kindergarten, as well as a few businesses including a coffee shop. The coffee shop was near the North Korean border allowing the couple to do some aid work across the border.

On August 4, 2014, the Garratts were brought to the Ministry of State Security where they were both interrogated at length.

Unbeknownst to them, their imprisonment was a political move as a legitimate Chinese spy was arrested in Canada and the Chinese government wanted to make a trade.

Kevin was kept in prison after a period of isolation, labelled as an international case. In this experience, Kevin was somehow able to befriend people who were in a similar position as well as some of the prison guards. Through these friendships, Kevin was able to disciple the people around him in the most unlikely of places.

Julia was in isolation for six months which included six hours of interrogation daily. During one of the interrogations, she was asked: “How do you get people to become Christians?”

Julia replied with “that's God's will.” She says that she explained she let God live in her, and make her someone to ask questions about. As questions were asked about the source of her joy, peace, and motivation to go and do the things that she did, the answer would include an introduction to Jesus Christ.

Julia was not imprisoned after this period but put on residential surveillance (house arrest) with limited mobility, no money, and no connection back to her work or friends.

two tearsJulia and Kevin wrote about their experience in the book 'Two Tears On The Window.'Julia describes this as a very isolating time, she remained in that isolation until her trial almost a year and a half later. After her trial she was told to return to Canada and start working to pay for her husband's prison, this never ended up happening as he was released three weeks later.

Kevin described coming home like a dream. “The two years almost didn't seem real,” said Kevin as he described his joy in being able to see his wife and kids again.

The couple has not been turned away from international work and ministry by this experience. Instead, they have written a book about their experience. They’ve also started and helped many new and existing projects all over the world. They have also been instrumental in working on cases with other Canadians detained in China.

Their book Two Tears On A Window talks about the importance of engaging the government and the power of prayer. The book aims to educate and help people who may find themselves in a similar situation as well as the people working to free political prisoners.

The couple expressed their thankfulness to the many Winnipeggers who heard their story and prayed for them while they were detained.

Kevin and Julia were moved by stories of kids reminding parents to pray and people who were moved to pray for the couple daily. 

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