30. Awakening in the Tribulation of Persecution
Chaotuo Henan Province
Since I was very young, my parents had often been publicly criticized on the stage, paraded through the streets, and so on because of believing in Jesus. I passed my childhood in the cold eyes and mockeries of the people in the village. In my childhood memories, the brothers and sisters who came to my home were all very kindhearted and genial. I never understood why such good people should be publicly criticized and paraded. In 2001, when I was twenty years old, my whole family accepted the end-time work of Almighty God. Later, I also personally experienced a nightmarish arrest and cruel tortures because of believing in God. Then I finally found the answer and solved the puzzle I had in my mind for years….
It was on the evening of June 15, 2003. The CCP government carried out a frenzied hunting for the brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God in our area. I could never forget that night. Around 8 p.m., after a hard day’s work, our whole family had just lain down to sleep, when seven people, including the cops, the village cadres, etc., climbed over the wall, entered the yard, and broke into my house directly, with guns in their hands. They roared fiercely, “Don’t move!” Before we could get dressed, the evil cops pulled and dragged all of us into a room and kept us under control. Then several cops rummaged through drawers and cabinets like bandits, turning the house and the yard into a complete mess, where there was simply no room for feet. They even didn’t miss the grain bin. They scrabbled about in the wheat so that it was scattered all over the ground. They searched out some books of God’s word and many things of the church. They also took the opportunity to snatch a pair of silver bracelets and four silver coins from a chest, which were left by my forefathers. In the end, they pried open the drawer and took away 4,000 yuan in cash in it. My father went forward and grabbed the evil cop who took the money, telling him that the 3,000 yuan was a loan we took out to purchase a three-wheeler, and asked him to leave it. The evil cop forcefully pushed my father away, and since he was caught off guard, he backpedaled several steps and slumped down on his rear. After that, my father got up and earnestly begged him once again. The evil cop grinned hideously, saying, “This is illegal money!” In the end, on the grounds that “it is illegal money used for carrying on counter-revolutionary activities,” they forcibly took it away and never returned it. Half an hour later, I was taken to the Municipal Public Security Bureau with the arrested brothers and sisters in my village.
When I faced the sudden arrest and the evil cops’ imperious and despotic acts, my heart throbbed violently. I kept calling to God, “O Almighty God! You know I’m small in stature. Now I’m very scared. Please keep my heart and give me faith and courage. I don’t want to betray you and be a Judas. May you give me wisdom, so that I can see through satan’s scheme and stand testimony for you.” After the prayer, God’s words inspired me, “Faith is a single-plank bridge. Whoever fears death can hardly cross it. Whoever gives up his life can cross it securely. When man has the thought of timidity and fear, it is just the fooling of satan. It fears that we might pass the bridge of faith into God.” (from “The Sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words made me understand that when I had the thought of timidity and fear, it was that satan was fooling me and it was the manifestation of my lacking in faith. When David was twelve years old, he could rely on God and fight against the Philistine giant, without any timidity or fear. Today it’s also in God’s hand that I encounter such an environment. I can surely overcome satan as well by relying on God. I believe that God will care for and keep and help me. Thinking of that, I had strength in my heart immediately and had faith to face the interrogation that followed.
At the Public Security Bureau, I saw that about thirty brothers and sisters were arrested there and that half the room was stacked with the church things taken away by the evil cops. At that scene, a grief rose in my heart: What a great loss the church suffers! An evil cop swaggered in. He pointed at the things occupying half the room and bragged, “I’m sent by my superiors. I’ve hunted cultists for ten years. Do people like you want to oppose us? No way!” After the words, he bellowed out a laugh with arms akimbo. Looking at his aggressive manner, I was very indignant: It’s a right and proper thing for us to believe in God and worship God. Why arrest us? What bad things have we done? Clearly, you impose charges, bully and oppress the people, plunder things of the church at will, seize others’ money and things, and arrest God’s chosen people frenziedly. But you blame us instead and convict and sentence us. You’re really confounding black and white and are arbitrary and unreasonable! I spontaneously thought of God’s words, “This gang of accomplices! They come down to the human world to make merry and stir up troubles, disturbing so much that the world becomes cold and compassionless and people live in anxiety. They fool people so much that they become ox-headed and horse-faced, extremely ugly, and do not have any trace of the original holy men. They even want to rule and dominate in the world, and they hinder God’s work so much that it can hardly move a single step and seal people up so much that they are like walls of brass and iron. Having done so many iniquities and caused so many disasters, can’t they just wait to be chastised? The evil spirits and demons run amuck for a time in the world, and seal up God’s will and God’s painstaking effort to a watertight extent. They are really guilty of the most heinous sins. …” (from “Work and Entering In (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words have already exposed the devilish substance of the CCP government and its lackeys and disclosed their base acts. Today, while personally experiencing the persecution from the devils, I have a practical knowledge of these words of God. Otherwise, I can never hate the devil. Only then did I understand that there was God’s good purpose in all that I encountered today, so from my heart I was willing to experience this tribulation of persecution by relying on God.
Then, they dragged me into an interrogation room. An evil cop yelled at me with an angry glare, “Where did the things searched out from your home come from? Who is your leader?” I didn’t answer them. I prayed to God silently, asking God to give me wisdom and strength, so that I wouldn’t yield to satan or betray God. Seeing me keep silent, the evil cop rushed forward and gave me a fierce kick. I moved back several steps and nearly fell to the ground. Before I could keep my feet, another evil cop gave me a kick too. As he kicked me, he roared, “Say or not? If you don’t say, I’ll kick you to death!” While saying that, he kicked me several more times. He kicked me down to the ground and kicked my body hard like mad. As I wore less in summer, I couldn’t help screaming from his kicking. When the devil got tired, he tried another means. He dragged me up and abruptly kicked my calf hard. I fell to the ground heavily on my knees. After that, he shouted ferociously, “Still dishonest! Kneel down! Straighten your back!” He ordered me to kneel on the ground and not make any move. After a long time, my legs became numb and sore, and my knees hurt as if being prickled by needles. When I made a little move to relieve pain, the evil cop immediately kicked my ankles violently so that I fell to the floor, and then he ordered me to kneel motionless with my body straight. Just like that, I was tortured by them for three hours on end. During that time, I didn’t know how many times I was kicked and how many times I fell to the ground. In the end, my legs were so numb from kneeling as if they were not mine, and my ankles were badly swollen. I kept trembling all over with pain, cold sweat flowing down my cheeks unceasingly. Seeing me like this, the evil cops still didn’t give up. One held my arms, and another seized the hair on the top of my head tightly and plucked out my sideburns strand by strand. Each time he plucked, he said, “How dare you be tight-lipped! How dare you not tell!” Each time he plucked, I felt as if my scalp were peeled off little by little, feeling a heart-piercing pain. I couldn’t help yelling and my tears kept streaming down. The devil also forced me to say words of blaspheming God. I refused. Then he plucked my hair hard until all my sideburns were plucked out, and my temples were stained with blood immediately. I felt so painful as if my heart were pulled out. (My sideburns didn’t grow until several months later. Moreover, the exceeding pain stimulated my brain so that my memory declined and I haven’t fully recovered until now.) The evil cops still forced me to say words of blaspheming God. I kept my eyes closed and ignored them. They ridiculed me, “You pray to your God. What does he say to you?” I fought the pain and said sternly and forcefully, “No word of blaspheming God can be said. If anyone says it, his spirit, soul, and body will be punished forever. He won’t be forgiven either in this age or in the age to come!” Flying into a rage, they turned around and took a thumb-thick iron rod, about sixty centimeters long, and beat my knees and ankles fiercely. Immediately, my bones ached unbearably as if they were broken. I couldn’t help trying to curl up and dodge, yet my legs were already out of my control. I collapsed on the ground. They beat my knees and ankles fiercely with the iron rod. I didn’t know how long they beat me, and finally I screamed and fainted…. When I woke up, I found I was wet through. They poured one more basin of cold water on me and then dragged me, who was at the last gasp, into the cell. At that time, I was weak and limp all over and even didn’t have the strength to stand up. I was very weak in my heart, feeling as if I were dying. I could only keep calling to God in my heart. At that time, God’s words guided and inspired me, “As long as you have one breath left, God will not let you die. …” (from “The Sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words encouraged me and gave me great strength. I realized that my life was in God’s hand but not in those devils’ hand, and that without God’s permission, I wouldn’t die no matter how the devils afflicted me. Thinking of that, I was full of faith in God again and felt that it was nothing for me to suffer this. And I was no longer afraid in my heart.
After I was dragged into the cell, I collapsed to the floor. My body ached from head to feet so much that I dared not feel or touch it. I heard an evil cop instigate the prisoners, saying, “This little bastard is a cultist. He’s not honest. Fix him hard!” Right after he finished the words, I was covered by a dirty and smelly sheet. A group of prisoners rushed on me and began to strike and kick me. I was already black and blue all over; beaten by them violently, I felt so painful that I let out heartrending screams. But they shouted excitedly, “Beat him! Beat him! Beat him hard!” I huddled up with my hands holding my head, and cried with groans, “Stop it! Stop it!” But no matter how I cried, it was in vain. In despair, I could only call to God, “God! Please save me. I’ll be beaten to death!” I thought to myself: I don’t know these people before and bear them no grudge. Why do they lay such murderous hands on me? On hearing that I’m a believer in God, they treat me as their enemy. God! Why is it so difficult to believe in you in this country? When I was a child, I was discriminated and cold-shouldered because my parents believed in God. Today I’m beaten black and blue because I believe in God. Now I see the CCP government’s base means of murdering with a borrowed knife and see clearly its devilish substance of being hostile to God. O God, thank you for making me have discernment. Although I’m in the devil’s den, I’ll never yield to the forces of darkness. As my whole being is from you, I’m willing to live for you once. Even if I have to lay down my life for you, I’m willing to do so! When I made a firm resolution to submit to God’s manipulation, God made a way out for me. I heard one prisoner say, “Stop beating him. If we beat him to death, we’ll all be involved!” I lay on the ground motionless, feeling as if I were going to die. A prisoner kicked my head and roared at me, “Fuck off to the commode!” Enduring the pain, I moved over bit by bit with my hands clinging to the floor with difficulty….
At night, the other prisoners all slept soundly. Although I had suffered the tortures for a whole day, I wasn’t a bit sleepy. I huddled beside the commode, with a thousand thoughts in my mind. I ached all over so badly that I didn’t want to move at all. Recalling the beating and insult I suffered in the day, I felt as if it were a nightmare. Thinking that I might still have to suffer some kind of cruel tortures the next day, I couldn’t but shudder in my heart. I felt that it was really worse than death to live in such an environment! Fear and distress were around me. I knew that my heart had stayed away from God. So, I hurriedly prayed to God, asking him to give me strength so that I could stand firm. After praying, I thought of a passage of God’s words, “The God in heaven comes to the filthiest licentious land, and he never expresses his grievances or complains against men but silently endures men’s tortures and oppression. Yet he never opposes men’s unreasonable demands, never makes excessive requirements of men, and never has unreasonable requirements for men, but only wholeheartedly and uncomplainingly does for men all the works they need: teaching, inspiring, rebuking, refining with words, warning, exhorting, comforting, judging, and disclosing. Which step is not for men’s life? Although God takes away men’s future and destiny, which step of his work is not for men’s destiny?” (from “Work and Entering In (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) As I pondered God’s words and thought of the sufferings Christ underwent on earth, my eyes moistened. To save people, God comes to the filthiest place and silently endures people’s slander, blaspheming, condemnation, and persecution. However, I, an extremely corrupt person, want to draw back after being beaten up by satan. I’m really too conscienceless. At that time, I seemed to hear the words the Lord Jesus said to Peter: The bitter cup I drank you must drink and the sufferings I underwent you must undergo. God’s love encouraged my heart. Actually, God has been accompanying me all the time, leading and guiding me with his word and being my reliance. Thinking of that, I felt greatly indebted to God and even more hated myself. So, I prayed to God silently in my heart, “God, to save us corrupt mankind, you have endured so great humiliations and sufferings. However, I’m too disobedient and don’t understand your will, and I always want to escape these sufferings. God, you have undergone all the sufferings for us. It’s your uplifting that I can have a part in your sufferings. It’s meaningful and valuable for me to suffer these. God, I’m willing to obey you and undergo the last suffering to satisfy you. Whether I die or live, I’ll commit myself into your hand and submit to your manipulation!” After the prayer, I was full of strength in my heart and had the courage and determination to fight against satan. And the wounds on my body didn’t ache so much!
In the interrogation the next day, an aggressive evil cop who looked like an official rushed in. He pounded the table, roaring angrily, “Where did you get these things? Who is your leader?” I asked in return, “What have I done wrong? What law have I broken?” He flared up at once. He turned around to get an electric baton, came toward me with fierce eyes, and struck my head and face wildly. And he said, “I’m the law! What can you do to me? Today I’ll fix you to death!” Several other evil cops also gathered round me with electric batons. The electric batons, giving off blue light with a sputtering sound, fell on me. The electric current instantly spread through my body, making all my muscles cramp unceasingly. I curled up and gasped for breath, sweat running down incessantly. But those devils didn’t have any intention to stop. As they beat me, they abused, “You said you didn’t break the law! Today I say you’ve broken the law and so you have! The Communist Party says you’re wrong and so you are! This is called, ‘those who submit to the Communist Party will be fine; those who don’t will suffer disasters!’” After hearing their devilish words, I was filled with indignation and reasoned with them immediately, “It’s right and proper for us to believe in God. We don’t steal, rob, deceive, or cheat others. You turn a blind eye to those who prostitute and whore, who embezzle and take bribes, and who swindle and bluff, yet you don’t let off us believers in God!” After hearing that, they were hopping mad and struck me hard so that I fell down under the table. Then, seizing my hair, they dragged me out and pressed me to the floor. The leading cop stomped on my face hard with his feet in leather shoes. At that time my face was already swollen like bread. As he ground it hard back and forth, I felt my head swim and blood flowed down the corners of my mouth at once. I felt a sharp pain in my cheek bone, and my teeth almost fell off. Seeing that the blood flowed down on the floor and stained it, the evil cops forced me to wipe it off with my clothes. After that, they forced me to kneel on the floor for two whole hours. It was not until I couldn’t hold on and collapsed that they dragged me back to the cell.
I lay on the cement floor in the cell and ached terribly all over, as if I were a dead person. The scenes of my being beaten reappeared before my eyes like a movie. I was very grieved and indignant within: The CCP government is simply a big deceiver. Outwardly it advocates “the freedom of belief” and “the freedom of human rights,” but in secret it lays malicious hands on believers in God and uses all kinds of base means. So I couldn’t help thinking of God’s words, “The freedom of religious belief, the legal rights and interests of citizens, and whatever are all the tricks to cover up its crimes! … Why hinder God’s work to a watertight extent? Why use various kinds of tricks to cheat God’s people? Where are the true freedom and the legal rights and interests? Where is justice? Where is comfort? Where is warmth? Why use schemes to cheat God’s people? Why forcibly suppress God’s coming? Why not allow God to travel at will on the earth he himself created? Why hunt God so much that he has no place to lay his head? Where is the warmth of the world? Where is the welcome of the world? Why cause God to expect anxiously? Why cause God to call out again and again? Why drive God to be anxious about the beloved Son?” (from “Work and Entering In (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Through the revelation of God’s words, I understood what darkness and evil are, what lies and deception are, what confounding black and white, deceiving the public to win reputation, and putting a good facade are, and what the real hell on earth is. The beating made me see again that the CCP devil only allows people to walk the evil way and forbids them to walk the right way. I also understood God’s will. In future, I should see things from the side of God’s word, because God’s word is the truth and God knows man thoroughly. Only God is love and salvation. Only if people believe in God can they have the bright way of human life. Only those who worship God can live out the most valuable and meaningful life. Thus my faith was even more strengthened: I’d rather be imprisoned for life and give up my life than not stand testimony for God! In the interrogations that followed, the evil cops couldn’t get any results, so they sent me to the detention house.
Each day during about three months in the detention house, I was so hungry that my stomach rumbled and my head was dizzy. For each meal, we had thin flour soup, which could even mirror the figure, and a black steamed corn bun as small as a fist, without any vegetables. Every three days we had a meal of noodles which were few and half cooked. There were rotten leaves with worms floating on the surface and there was dirt on the bottom of the bowl. At the beginning, whenever I saw the noodles, I felt like throwing up. Later, I was really hungry and had to swallow them down with my eyes closed. After eating them, I had diarrhea. Even so, one couldn’t eat his fill. If one wanted to have a full meal, he had to buy their food three times higher than the outside price. They really exploited and squeezed people in everything. The “bed” for sleeping at night was the damp cement floor, without any straw. The head of the cell could sleep on the shabby board. The bedclothes were sent by his family. Twenty-five people crowded the floor over ten square meters. When sleeping, we lay there with our heads next to others’ feet and our feet next to others’ heads, and we pressed together tightly. The commode was right next to our heads. We ate, drank, defecated, or urinated all within that space, and the smell was rather awful. Everyone was covered with heat rash and fleas jumped around. Our task for each day was to recite the prison regulations. Anyone who couldn’t remember them would be punished. He had to run with shackles weighing fifteen kilograms. After a short time, his ankles would become swollen and be badly mutilated from rubbing, and the blood would flow down the ankles. If he couldn’t run, he would be beaten.
In the end, they forcibly sentenced me to two and a half years of hard labor. It was not until my family handed over 14,000 yuan to have me serve my sentence outside of prison that I was released. After I got out of the prison, the evil cops had people from the village committee watch me. Every now and then, they came to threaten me, “Don’t believe anymore. If you continue to believe, you’ll be sentenced to ten years!” To escape the CCP government’s surveillance, I led an unsettled life all the time, unable to go back home. I bitterly hated this old devil: It runs counter to right principles; it not only arrests and persecutes believers in God, but deceives and hoodwinks people with lies, with the attempt to make people deny and betray God. It is exactly the root of sin and the source of all evil! The cruel tortures caused great harm to my body and mind: My eyesight and hearing have decreased, half of my teeth have fallen out, and the rest of them are incomplete. At such a young age, I have to wear false teeth and can’t eat hard food even now. However, God’s love has always been accompanying me. Wherever I go, there are many brothers and sisters caring for me and hosting me, which warms me a lot.
Later, I read God’s words, “I remember that God said, ‘When God comes into the flesh this time, it is as if he falls into the tiger’s den.’ That is to say, when God works this time, he comes into the flesh and is born in the place inhabited by the great red dragon, so God comes to earth this time at a greater risk, confronted with swords and spears and bludgeons, with temptations, and with murderous-looking people, in danger of being killed at any time.” (from “Work and Entering In (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “…all that God does is for your sake and is for the purpose that you will be qualified to receive his inheritance. It is more for saving you and for perfecting this group of people who have been most deeply afflicted in the filthy place than for God’s own glory. You should understand God’s will.” (from “Is God’s Work So Simple as People Imagine?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Pondering God’s words and thinking about what I experienced, I saw more clearly the CCP government’s evil substance of resisting and persecuting God. Because it resists God and is God’s enemy, people who believe in God and follow God in China are bound to be persecuted and afflicted by the CCP government. In retrospect, my parents were publicly criticized and paraded through streets because of believing in God, and I suffered from the evil cops’ inhuman afflictions and tortures because of believing in God. In the face of the facts, I saw more clearly that the CCP, this evil Party, is the embodiment of satan. They arrest, publicly criticize, and persecute the believers in God, just attempting to make people all deny God and betray God and thus abolish God’s work on earth completely and achieve its purpose of controlling mankind. Moreover, I understood God’s will. It was completely God’s perfecting of me that I encountered all those sufferings and tribulations. Through that, God let me gain the truth of discernment and see clearly who is afflicting and devouring mankind and who is saving mankind. God’s wisdom is forever based on satan’s schemes. In the tribulation of persecution, I truly knew that only Almighty God is love and salvation for man. I’m willing to offer up my whole life to Almighty God who loves and saves me!