In November of last year, there began a worldwide signature collecting activity to appeal to the Chinese government to stop the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China. German practitioners realized the importance of this activity and became enthusiastically dedicated to the task. They collected 27,000 signatures in three short weeks. All of these signatures were sent to the German Foreign Affairs Minister, who would soon be visiting China. On his visit, the Minister raised the issues of human rights and Falun Gong with the Chinese government, and presented them with the 27,000 signatures.
After this activity, practitioners were willing to continue collecting signatures because they saw how beneficial it was as a means of promoting Dafa. The process involves going to populated places, making contact with various people and explaining the true facts to them, distributing materials and asking for signatures. A practitioner may talk with dozens or even hundreds of people every day. The marvelous results of this activity may be seen for weeks and months afterward.
In addition, through the activity of collecting signatures, some of our own attachments and various misgivings have become apparent to us. So it also served as a good opportunity for personal cultivation.
For example, some practitioners who did not speak German well were still courageous enough to collect signatures. A senior Chinese couple, who did not understand any German at all, went to the parks with signature forms every day. Sometimes they would collect over one hundred signatures in two to three hours.
Some German practitioners were self consciously afraid of running into friends and relatives. In this situation, would you be courageous enough to collect their signatures, or would you be too shy to do so? If someone were to shout, "Cult, Cult..." at you, would you get angry? When dozens of people in succession refuse to sign, would you feel embarrassed? When it is freezing and windy, would you still go outside to do it? Although various problems came up, we would not become intimidated, but simply continued to collect signatures. Forgetting ourselves, forgetting fatigue, forgetting that it was raining or forgetting that our final exams were getting closer, our only thought was, "We must not lose this opportunity. We have to use this time to allow more people to learn about Dafa."
One practitioner went to a university. From noon to eight in the evening, groups of students took signature forms from her hand and she collected four hundred signatures. She completely forgot the time and even about eating. Her only thought was, "With each signature, one more person may be saved."
Another practitioner wanted to collect signatures at a business convention that was related to his work. In order for him to collect signatures, however, he had to first apply for police permission and he was not sure whether they would give him the approval. So he asked himself, "If someone accidentally fell into a lake and there was a sign beside the lake saying, `Unsafe for Swimming,' would you try to save the person by jumping in after him, or would you obey the sign? He chose the first option. So he took his signature form right up to a group of policemen, asking them to sign. They each signed it one after another. He was then able to confidently collect signatures from the conventioneers.
While collecting signatures on the street, many practitioners thought we should also go into churches and promote Dafa to the clergy, asking for their help. We went to many different churches, talking to ministers and priests, many of who signed the appeal letter. Some cities had so many churches, that we either called them or dropped off the signature forms at the churches.
One practitioner went to a Christian church with a Dafa poster and some materials, and spoke with the minister. After looking over the poster, the minister pinned it up on a big bulletin board and put a chair beside it, which held a stack of Dafa newspapers. He also signed the form himself. This practitioner then talked to the bishop in this area to personally promote Dafa to him. The priest in the biggest church of one city allowed us to set up a table for signatures during the church services. He appealed to people to sign it during his sermon. In a short while, a pile of signature forms were all filled with signatures. There were many such examples. At times, we could not accommodate everyone because of so many people waiting to sign the forms.
Not only did we go to the churches, we also went to government offices. Practitioners talked with the appropriate officials of the Foreign Affairs, Civil, and Culture Departments, asking for their signatures and support. They not only signed it themselves but also gave us some suggestions on how to collect more signatures. For instance, they supplied us with phone numbers and addresses of some social organizations, so we could ask them to put our signature forms in their public meeting places. The results of this were very good. Some practitioners met with their mayor personally. The mayor signed his name with pleasure. He had previously given specific permission for practitioners to collect signatures in front of the City Hall on International Human Rights Day, last year.
Practitioners were often moved by the behavior of people who signed the signature forms. One young couple not only signed themselves but also signed for their two-year old son. They came back on the following day to learn the exercises. A blind person had asked the practitioners to read the contents of the signature form and then wrote down his name on the form. An 89-year old lady signed her name with her hands shaking, saying, "This world has become so bad!" Some pedestrians that we spoke to on the street, shed tears after they heard about the suffering of Falun Dafa practitioners in China.
More and more, practitioners understand the importance of promoting Dafa. Yes, we need to allow more kind-hearted people the opportunity to learn about Dafa.
By Practitioners in Germany