- Zhen-Li’s name means “truth.” Considering the many difficulties she faced throughout the story, in what ways would you say she lived up to her name?
- Zhou Chi, though a Christian before Zhen-Li, struggled with his faith. Describe the progression of his commitment and how his own trials affected that commitment.
- Julia and Laura had trials of their own, one of which was remaining faithful to the Lord during a time when many elderly people feel useless and unappreciated. Contrast Julia and Laura’s attitude with Margaret’s. Who do you know who might fit Julia and Laura’s profiles, and who might better fit Margaret’s? What do you think is the primary reason for the differences?
- Tai Tong was a hard man, seemingly evil to the core. Why do you think he was so driven to break Zhen-Li? Describe the occurrences that affected him throughout the book and eventually brought him to such a stunning and unexpected repentance.
- Mei’s fragile appearance mirrored her emotional state. How would you describe this young woman’s personality to someone who didn’t know her? How do you think she finally found the strength to stand up to her tormentor?
- The term human trafficking is something we hear more often in the news now, but most people still think of it as some terrible thing that happens only in faraway lands. What was your reaction when you realized what was going on with Maggie, and that such a thing was taking place in America?
- Few of us have ever been as hungry as Zhen-Li. Were you able to relate to her feelings of guilt and fear, even as she ravenously received the food offered to her by the very man who had beaten her nearly to death?
- The earthquake was a pivotal scene in the book. Imagine how tempting it must have been to Zhen-Li to leave the injured Tong and race away in an attempt to escape. And yet she chose to stay. Describe the emotional and spiritual wrestling she must have endured in those few crucial seconds before she made her decision.
- Consider the relationship that grew between Zhen-Li and Mei, and then describe the emotions Mei must have experienced as she betrayed Zhen-Li. What must that have done to her already strong sense of self-loathing? Have you ever been in Zhen-Li’s position of discovering that someone you loved and trusted had betrayed you? How does reading of Zhen-Li’s ultimate forgiveness affect the way you feel about your own similar situations?
- Tong’s ultimate gift was self-sacrifice for the one he had previously tried to destroy. Explain how that shows the depth of his repentance and conversion experience. How does that encourage you in praying for someone you might see as a “lost cause”?
Read these Bible verses and discuss how they apply to Red Ink.
- Hebrews 13:3
- Hebrews 11:36–38
- John 12:24
- Psalm 119:105
Based upon these verses and the novel, what is one real-world action that you can take
Spend some time praying together for the persecuted church.
Here are 4 prayer points related to Red Ink:
- Pray for those imprisoned for their faith, in China and around the world. Ask God to grant them courage and boldness to continue sharing the gospel, even with their tormentors.
- Ask God to grant their families strength and hope as well. Pray for Christians to provide for the material needs of parents, spouses, and children whose loved ones are in jail.
- Pray for the people and leaders of China. Praise God for the growth of the church in China. Ask for the continued spread of the gospel and for more openness from authorities. You may find http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1287798.stm helpful for general information.
- Pray for Li Ying, the real-life inspiration for this novel. See http://www.prisoneralert.com/pprofiles/vp_prisoner_111_profile.html?_nc=8d8aef04b423ad03ec10a4166fe42ab5 for more information on her.