Zhumadian City, Henan Province
In 1986, I turned to the Lord Jesus and became a believer in the “Praise Church.” But later, because of my adoration for my leader and blind belief in her rumors, I rejected Almighty God’s salvation of the last days and nearly became Satan’s sacrificial object. I’m less than an ant, but God uplifted me and brought me to His throne. Whenever I think of this, I shed tears uncontrollably, feeling that I owe God too much…
One night in 1997, my leader told me, “Now a group of people are preaching the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ They say the Lord has done a new work, a purifying work. It’s absolutely impossible! Because the Lord has cleansed our sins with His precious blood. They specially preach to believers in Jesus. If they convert one believer, they will be paid 500 yuan. If you don’t accept their way after listening to their message, they will disable you even if they do not kill you. Brother Ma, Sister Zhang, and several others in the eastern village didn’t accept their way after listening to their message. So on their way back, they caught them, and broke their legs, cut off their ears, and gouged their eyes…” After hearing this, I felt very frightened and prayed in my heart, “Lord, these people are too cruel. They dare to do anything for the sake of money. May You keep me from meeting them.” From then on, the leader repeated those words in every meeting. And she told us again and again not to receive any strangers…
One morning in April 1999, I was weeding in the field when I suddenly heard someone calling, “Sister!” I looked up and saw two strangers. They came over to me with smiles and said, “We hear that you love the Lord. Shall we have a talk about the matter of believing in the Lord?” “They are from the ‘Eastern Lightning!’” I remembered the leader’s words at once and realized the danger I was in. So before they could speak again, I drove them away.
The next morning after breakfast I went to the field to work. When I got to the edge of the fields, I saw two people weeding in my field. I felt very surprised. “Now people in the church are all passive and weak. Who still have love to help others?” When I went closer, I was stunned. They were the two sisters who came yesterday. “He who has come certainly comes with ill intent. I won’t be fooled by them.” So I roared at them, “Go away! I needn’t your help!” But they didn’t leave. I was angry and fearful and went home with the hoe. At about 12 o’clock, my neighbor, an unbeliever, came to my home and said to me disapprovingly, “They’ve helped you weed for so long, yet you didn’t ask them to have lunch and take a rest. Do you want to tire them out?” “I didn’t ask them for help. They deserve it!” “You’re so ungrateful!” Saying that, she curled her lips and left. I felt much wronged and prayed to the Lord, “Lord, it’s not that I have no love, but that they are deceivers. If I’m deceived by them, I will be disabled even if not killed… Lord, may You curse the preachers of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ and hinder their steps!” That afternoon, I went to the field again and saw that they were still working there. So I turned and went back home. In the evening, the villagers who came back from the field said to me, “Your relatives are so good! They worked away until dark without food.” “Mm,” I said. I didn’t feel indebted to them at all but thought that it was more difficult to deal with them.
Soon it came to the winter of 2001. After a heavy snow, everywhere was silvered. One day, it blew a cutting wind. I sat in the bed reading the Bible, wrapping myself in the quilt. Suddenly, I heard someone knock at the gate. “Who could come around in such cold weather?” I went reluctantly to open the gate. Seeing that it was the two sisters, I slammed the gate shut. “Sister, please let us in and have a talk with you!” “I won’t let you in. Go away!” “If you don’t let us in, we will stand here and not leave!” I turned angrily and went back into the room. After two hours, I tiptoed to the gate and heard them stamping their feet. “Humph, you are still here. Well, I will see how long you can hold on!” But then I fell into thought. “How come they have such a great zeal? I prayed to the Lord every day to curse them and stop their steps, but they become more zealous instead. What power supports them? Do they just want to get 500 yuan by converting me? It seems not! They could earn ten thousand a year by doing any job, and they don’t have to suffer hunger and wrong for 500 yuan by converting me! If I were them, I wouldn’t do that even if I was paid 5,000 yuan, let alone 500 yuan. Or do they want to kill me? It’s even more impossible! How can the two girls without any weapons kill me in such broad daylight? And they two together can’t rival me in strength. But the leader said they would gouge others’ eyes, cut off their ears, or break their arms or legs. What’s all this about? …” “Mum!” My train of thought was interrupted by my son, who returned from school for lunch. He asked me, “Mum, who are the two at the gate? They are weeping with cold. Their trousers and shoes were wet. Let them in and warm up by the fire, shall we?” “You child know what? Mind your own business! They asked for it!” Just at that time, my husband (an unbeliever) came back. He saw the two sisters standing at the gate and asked, “You two are…” “Brother, you are back. We want to talk with the sister about the matter of believing in the Lord.” “Why didn’t you enter the room?” He asked. “I didn’t let them in!” I snapped. Glaring at me, he said, “Eh? Are you a believer in the Lord? Where is your love? Do you want to freeze them to death?” Then he turned to them and said, “Come into the room first!” “Don’t let them in! They came to preach the heresy!” I said gruffly. “Are there heresies in belief in the Lord? Let me hear it. Don’t talk!” As he said so, he let them into the room. Then I found that their lips had turned purple from the cold, the lower parts of their trousers were wet and even frozen, and their shoes were all wet. They were shivering all over. My husband told me to find shoes for them. I threw two pairs of thin shoes before them reluctantly. When they stooped down to change their shoes, two plastic bags fell from them to the floor with thuds. “What’s that?” My husband asked. Picking them up cautiously, one sister said, “It’s the book of God’s word.” As she said it, she removed the sheets of plastic wrapper of one bag to reveal a brand-new book. And my husband asked the other sister to open the other plastic bag. It was two steamed buns. He asked, “You only eat this?” The sisters said, “We had our meal already before we left home. If we miss lunch, we will eat them.” “Why do you come out to suffer this?” “We just want to preach God’s salvation of the last days to every believer in God. Because the Lord has come back and done a purifying work, and He wants to save those true believers who are waiting for His appearing! …” Hearing their sincere words and looking at the steamed buns in their hands, their shivering bodies, and the earnest look of expectation in their eyes, I felt that the strong defense against them in my heart began to collapse. To tell the truth, I was already subdued by their deeds of sacrificing themselves for saving others. I had believed in the Lord for many years and never seen anyone who had such love as theirs. But at the thought of the leader’s words “Brother Ma, Sister Zhang … were beaten…,” I felt a shudder. “No! I can’t listen to them. I can’t show mercy to them!” So I said impatiently, “Enough! You go!” “Sister, please take the book of God’s word! After you read it, you will be clear.” I was just about to refuse them, but my husband said, “Okay! Leave it here. I will read it too. After reading it, I will know whether it’s good or not.” After they left, my husband said to me, “Didn’t they help us with field work before? They helped us and even came to preach to you with steamed buns in such cold weather. Just for this reason, we should have asked them to stay for a meal. But you shut them outside in the cold and even said that they were heretics and not good people; you are so ungrateful. If they are not good people, there aren’t any good ones in the world. I’ve taken the book, and you may read it carefully. You should have your own idea and not listen to whatever your leader said! …” What he said sounded reasonable, but as the leader’s words had been deeply rooted in my mind, I still didn’t dare to read the book.
A few days later, on my way to a relative’s home, I came across Sister Zhang of the eastern village. At the sight of her, I was stunned and asked her hastily, “Isn’t it said that the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ beat you several brothers and sisters, and they broke your arms and legs and even cut off your ears?” “Who started this rumor?” she asked in surprise, “He’s so wicked! None of us have lost an arm or leg or ear! Ah, perhaps you mean that thing. In fact, it had nothing to do with the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ at all. That evening, we came back from the meeting late. Brother Ma ahead of us was stopped by a robber. When we caught up with him, the robber ran away…” “And then?” I asked hurriedly. “You see, I’m all right. Safe and sound! …” Sister Zhang said easily. Hearing this, I was both glad and angry. I was glad because I needn’t worry about being harmed by the people of the “Eastern Lightning anymore, for there wasn’t such a thing at all. The load on my mind was taken away. I was angry because the leader, as a servant of the Lord and an exemplar for the brothers and sisters, actually concocted stories and gave a false testimony, which made me fearful and restless every day. At that time, I could no longer remain calm. “Well! I must seek and investigate the way and get it straight!”
After I came back home, I immediately found the book my husband had kept, The Word Appears in the Flesh. I opened to the first page and read these words in Preface: “Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they are far from the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of ‘faith in God.’ What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True ‘faith in God’ means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. … Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?” As I read God’s word with a seeking heart, I received God’s enlightenment and realized this: “I have believed in God for many years, but I actually don’t know how I should believe in God to be after God’s heart and even don’t know what it means to believe in God. I listened to whatever the leader said without discerning it, and was deceived by her lies and did things that go against humanity and sense. Even my husband, an unbeliever, is better than me. How could I satisfy God? If I continue to be muddle-headed like this, won’t I believe in vain? This is God’s voice. Only God can speak such words! But hasn’t the Lord already cleansed us with His precious blood? Why does God still do a purifying work this time?” With this question in mind, I continued to look for the answer in God’s words. And I read these words: “Though man has been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it is only considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with man’s transgressions. However, when man lives in the flesh and he has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing the corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sin and forgiveness. The majority of men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. As such, even if the sin offering is forever effective for man, it would not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has corrupt disposition. …” “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as sinners because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: you have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.” “Right! The Lord Jesus’ precious blood only redeemed us from sin, but because our sinful nature hasn’t yet been removed, we still live in a state of committing sins and confessing them. However, I thought that I had been cleansed and didn’t need God to do a purifying work again. I was really foolish to the extreme! If we want to be purified, we need God to do His work personally, to expose our corrupt substance with His word and show us the ways of practice. Otherwise, none of us can be purified.” At that time, I fell into a bitter regret. Holding the book of God’s word in my hands, I shed floods of tears. “I never expected that the ‘Eastern Lightning’ I had resisted and rejected is God Himself. I refused the true way many times and cursed the two sisters. I was completely devoid of conscience and sense and really should deserve to be cursed!” Moved by the Holy Spirit, I fell to the floor and prayed, “Almighty God, thank You! Your words have opened my spiritual eyes and made me see that I’m utterly blind, and I’m a wretch worse than a beast who should perish and be destroyed, a scum unworthy to live before You! I’m so disobedient and resistant that I should be struck down and cast into the eighteenth hell, never to come out of it! But You didn’t treat me according to my evil deeds and gave me many opportunities to repent. How can I not be thankful to You? Almighty God, Your salvation is so great! I owe You too much… O God! I’ll seize the opportunity You have given to me and commit my everything to You and repay Your love for the rest of my life! Whether You punish or curse me in the future, I will follow You all my life and be faithful to You unto death, with no regret and complaint!”
After a few days, the two sisters whom I had driven away came to my home again. At the sight of them, I felt very guilty. My nose twitched, and tears rolled down my cheeks. I went up to them and wrung their hands and sobbed, “My good sisters! Beat me, this ungrateful thing! I’ve wronged you so much and really have no face to see you.” The sisters were very excited, tears welling up in their eyes, and said, “Sister, this is all God’s great love. That’s our duty. As long as you can accept the true way, even if we need to stand in the snow and suffer cold for another day, it’s worth it. To save us, God has suffered the bitterness of the life and persecutions and tribulations in the world. Our suffering is nothing. As long as God’s heart can be comforted and more people can come before God early, we are willing to suffer more.” My husband said happily, “I’ve read this book too. Every word touches the heart, and no great man can refute it. I believe this is absolutely God’s work. No one can speak such words, except God. They are really so high! Besides, good master, good pupil! I have never been subdued by anyone, but your deeds have subdued me!” So my husband also returned to the throne of Almighty God.
Several months had passed. During that time, I saw with my own eyes that believers in Almighty God all dressed simply and they went out for duty with food on foot or by bicycle. If they were really paid 500 yuan for converting one person, as the leader said, why did they still dress so simply and ride shabby and old bicycles and bring food with them, since they could convert people every day? I had gone to preach the gospel with them. I had never seen that they had wasted a cent. Facts speak louder than words! Paper can’t wrap fire. Lies will certainly expose themselves before the facts! Facing the iron facts, I hated myself more bitterly. I was so blind and ignorant that I listened to the leader and became one who resisted God while believing in God. That is an irreparable transgression. I hope with all my heart that the brothers and sisters who haven’t yet come before Almighty God will clear your spiritual eyes at once and no longer be deceived by those rumors. We should respect the facts and investigate the true way. Otherwise, we ourselves, not others, will suffer loss in the end!