(Minghui.org) Thirteen years ago when the brutal persecution of Falun Gong in China was launched, Falun Gong practitioners in Houston started an extraordinary protest in front of the Chinese Consulate on Montrose Boulevard. With unyielding spirit, they have continued to spread the facts of Falun Gong and expose the persecution, rain or shine. Their peacefulness and rationality have touched the hearts of countless people over the past 13 years.

Falun Gong practitioners gather in front of the Chinese Consulate in Houston on July 20, 2009, to call for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China

Candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in Houston on April 25, 2010

The practitioners in front of the Chinese Consulate come from all walks of life. They do the Falun Gong exercises in a group and distribute truth-clarification materials to call for an end to the persecution. Residents in the community have gotten introductory materials from them, learned about the persecution, and showed great support for their efforts to end the persecution. Chinese people who came to the consulate for their passport or visa applications learned the true story about Falun Gong through the practitioners' activities. Reporters have also come to interview them.

It's hot in Houston over half the year. The temperature often reaches over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Falun Gong practitioners have gathered in front of the Chinese Consulate for their activities since 2001, even under the burning sun and sitting on the scorching ground.

Practitioner Mr. Zhen described the heat: “One day I saw smoke coming out of my socks while I was doing the meditation.” Another practitioner poured a cup of water on the group: it evaporated in a second. Local residents witnessed Falun Gong practitioners' endurance and persistence. They came to sign petitions, express their support, and take pictures. Drivers honked in support.

Ms. Guo recounted, “One day, we found a bunch of yellow roses in front of us after the meditation. Someone from this neighborhood had quietly put them in front of us and quietly left. We were surprised and encouraged. Such things have happened several times.” Sometimes a cup of cold water appeared in front of them after the meditation.

On May 26, 2001, Falun Gong practitioners from San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chinese Consulate. It suddenly started pouring rain and then it began hailing. Thunder and lightning seemed to gather right above the consulate. All the practitioners remained unmoved although they were completely soaked. Something very touching happened when the storm ended. People in the neighborhood brought coats and blankets and put them on the practitioners. A coffee shop nearby sent them hot coffee. A lady hurried over with hot tea and cups. She said, “It's green tea. I made it for you. Drink some. It will warm you up.” The practitioners were very touched by the care and support shown by the people in this neighborhood.

Ever since the persecution was launched on July 20, 1999, Falun Gong practitioners have held a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate around July 20 every year to mourn their fellow practitioners who have died as a result of the persecution. One evening on July 20, practitioners were sitting quietly at the candlelight vigil when a young man came over to ask why they were there. When he found out the vigil was to remember the victims of the persecution in China, he sit down next to practitioners and said with a heavy heart, “I will sit with you.”

Falun Gong practitioners face the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) persecution with no fear. They have stood fast on truth and justice and persevere in spreading the true story of Falun Gong, following the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.

Mrs. Zeng is a mother of two. She volunteers to come to the Chinese Consulate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, rain or shine. Her mother and sister in China also practice Falun Gong, and all three of them have benefited from the practice. Her mother's nephritis and heart disease were cured by practicing Falun Gong. However, Ms. Zeng's mother and sister have been imprisoned several times since the persecution began. She said, “Thousands and thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China like my mother and sister are being persecuted. Some have been killed for their organs. More than 3,000 have died. I have an obligation to expose the persecution and call for it to end.”

Motivated by this common goal, practitioners clarify facts of Falun Gong to the Chinese people who came to the consulate for passport and visa applications every day, because the CCP's propaganda has deceived the Chinese people and incited hatred towards Falun Gong. Falun Gong practitioners treat those who have been deceived, including the consulate employees, with patience, rationality and kindness. What they are doing has touched people's hearts. A man who goes to the Chinese Consulate every year for his paperwork said with all sincerity, “Falun Gong is truly great!”