9. On the Way of Tribulation, God’s Word Encouraged Me
Chen Hui Jiangsu Province
I was born in an ordinary family. My father was a soldier. Influenced and nurtured by my father from childhood, I thought in my heart that soldiers should take serving their country and obeying orders as their bounden mission and dedicate themselves selflessly to the Party and the people, and I aimed to become a soldier in the future and walk along my father’s path. However, things that happened later changed my viewpoint of pursuit and way of life little by little. In 1983, I heard Jesus’ gospel. Because of the special leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I, who had been poisoned by atheism and Red Education since childhood, was deeply moved by the Lord Jesus’ love. From then on, I stepped onto the way of believing in God. I began to attend church services, pray, and sing hymns to praise God. Such a life made me feel very secure and peaceful in my heart. But gradually I found that a problem always puzzled me and made me feel troubled and perplexed. That is, although I knew that the Lord Jesus taught people not to commit sins, I always involuntarily lived in a condition of “committing sins in the day and confessing them at night” and couldn’t hold on to the Lord’s teachings anyway. In order to solve this problem, I went to other house churches to have meetings, hoping to find a way out. But in the end, I was disappointed. In 1999, one of my relatives preached Almighty God’s end-time gospel to me, but as I was concentrating on making money at that time, I simply had no mind to follow God and pursue the truth. Not until one year later did I formally begin to attend meetings. Through constantly reading God’s word and having meetings and fellowshipping with the brothers and sisters, I understood many truths and knew God’s eager intention to save man, and felt that the responsibility and mission God gave to every one of us were great, so I joined in preaching the gospel actively. When I saw that many people came before God and gained God’s blessings and salvation, my faith became greater.
However, the CCP government’s cruel persecution broke my quiet and happy life. In August, 2002, in order to preach God’s end-time gospel to some of my former co-workers who believed in Jesus, I went to northwestern China with my husband. One night, I was having a meeting with a brother and a sister who had just accepted God’s end-time work. Suddenly, the door was kicked open with a “bang,” and six or seven ferocious-looking evil cops with batons in their hands broke in. One of them pointed at me and said venomously, “Handcuff her!” Another two fiercely handcuffed my hands at once and ordered us to stand against the wall and not move. Then they, like bandits, began to ransack boxes and chests in the room. They had a thorough search in all the places where they thought something might be hidden. In a short time, the whole house was turned into a mess. In the end, one evil cop searched out some gospel materials and a book of God’s word from my handbag. Then he stared at me with angry eyes and hurled curses at me, “You’re fucking courting death! You dare to come here to preach the gospel. Where did you get these things?” I kept silent. He said in exasperation, “You don’t tell me, right? I’ll pry your mouth open sooner or later. Go! There’s the place for you to speak!” While saying that, he pushed and pulled me into a police car. At that time, I saw that there were far more than these six or seven evil cops coming. Many SWAT policemen with guns were standing on both sides of the road. Seeing such a situation, I was very scared in my heart and kept praying to God, asking him to keep and lead me. A moment later, a passage of God’s words clearly occurred to my mind, “Do not be afraid, because my hand is lifting you up and I will keep you from all the evil ones. You should guard your heart and be in me at any moment, because your life lives by my life. If you leave me, you will dry up at once.” (from “The Twenty-eighth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Right! God is my reliance. No matter what environment comes upon me, God who created all things and rules over all things is with me. As long as I quiet my heart before God at any moment, God will lead me to overcome any environment, because God is faithful and he rules over and manipulates everything. When I thought of these, my heart calmed down.
A little past 10 p.m., I was taken to the Criminal Police Team. After the evil cops took photos of me, they took me to an interrogation room. Unexpectedly, there were already seven or eight sturdy guys with ferocious eyes standing in the room. Seeing me come in, they surrounded me like a group of ferocious wolves, as if they would devour me alive. I was very nervous and desperately prayed to God in my heart. In my praying, the words in a hymn of life experience came to my mind, “Head can be cut off and blood can be shed, but the backbone of God’s people cannot be bent; God’s charge is on my mind. I resolve to shame the old satan.” (from “I Wish to See the Day God Gains Glory” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) Immediately, strength welled up in my heart. I was ready to give up my life, and I made a firm resolution, “No matter how the evil cops torture me, I’ll never betray God and be a Judas.” At first, that gang of evil cops didn’t beat me but just put the handcuffs with sawteeth on me and ordered me to keep standing for three or four hours. My legs and feet became numb and painful and I felt very tired all over. Around 1 or 2 a.m., the captain of the Criminal Police Team came to interrogate me. I couldn’t help feeling nervous and trembled somewhat. The evil captain stared at me and questioned, “Tell me! Where are you from? What area are you in charge of? Where do you have meetings? How many people are there under you?” Seeing me say nothing, he exasperatedly seized my hair and beat and kicked me. After I was beaten lying prone on the floor, he kicked my head hard. Immediately, my ears buzzed, and I couldn’t hear anything. I felt waves of heart-piercing pain in my head as if it would burst. I couldn’t help but yell out. After a struggle, I lay on the floor, unable to move. The evil captain again gripped me by the hair and dragged me up, shouting loudly, “Buddies, come on!” The seven or eight sturdy guys who had been waiting for a long time in the room surrounded me and punched and kicked me. I was beaten so much that I writhed on the floor with my hands holding my head. Those devils used such savage strength that it seemed they wished to kill me with each blow and each kick. As they beat me, they roared, “Speak or not? How dare you not speak! Speak quickly. If you don’t speak, we’ll beat you to death!” Seeing me still say nothing, the evil captain kicked my ankle hard. Each kick, like a nail being stuck into my bone, made me feel extremely painful. Then, they again kicked and stomped me wildly. I felt that all my bones would be smashed and the vibration of my internal organs was so strong that I could hardly breathe from the pain. I lay face down on the floor with a faint breath of life and shed bitter tears. I called to God in my heart, “O God! I’m dying. Please keep me. I’m afraid that I can’t hold out through tonight. O God! Please give me strength….” I didn’t know how long I was tortured, and I just felt extremely dizzy and felt my whole body unbearably painful, as if it fell apart. Strands of hair were pulled off and fell to the floor with the scalp. (Even now, there is no hair in a large part on the top of my head.) Blood dripped down my ears to the floor drop by drop, and the fierce pain made my nerves numb. In agony, God’s words inspired and guided me within, “You should suffer for the truth, devote yourself for the truth, endure humiliations for the truth, and endure more and more afflictions so as to gain more and more truths. This is what you should do.” (from “Peter’s Experience—His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words gave me a mighty strength. I repeated these words in my heart again and again. Yes! Today God is incarnated and comes to China, an atheistic country, to work and speak at the risk of his life. He brings us the truth, the way, and the life, so that we have light in our living and direction for our life. God spends so much painstaking effort and price just for the purpose of saving us from satan’s corruption and making us gain the truth as our life and become one saved by God’s word. But today, satan the devil tortures me like this and its sinister purpose is to make me forsake the true way and betray God and thus make God’s plan of saving man fall through. I’ll never yield to satan and disappoint God. I’ll suffer for the truth and endure more afflictions so as to gain the truth. Thus, even if I die, it is worthy, and I’m worthy of being called a man. Those devils interrogated me until dawn, but with the encouragement of God’s words, I pulled it through.
The next morning, the evil captain came to interrogate me again. Seeing me still say nothing, he carried out a scheme to seduce me. He incited one evil cop to come up to me with a sinister smile and help me up from the floor and let me sit on the sofa. He adjusted my clothes and patted me on the shoulder, saying with a false care, “Why do you go through all this? Just say it. If you tell us, we’ll let you go home. Why suffer here? Your children are waiting for you at home. Do you know how my heart aches when I see you suffer?” Hearing his devilish words and looking at his contemptible and shameless face, I gnashed my teeth with hatred. I thought, “You devil. Don’t say these nice words to deceive me. Never expect to make me betray God or get anything about the church from me!” Seeing that I wasn’t affected, the evil cop looked at me lewdly and touched me with his hand. I unconsciously drew back. But this hoodlum took me in his arm with one hand, making me unable to move, and gripped my breasts hard with the other. It was so painful that I couldn’t help screaming. The other evil cops sat aside watching the fun from beginning to end. They laughed in obscenity constantly and also spoke some low and dirty words. I was filled with hatred and shivered with anger. My tears flowed down like beads off a broken string, and my glaring eyes looked straight at the evil cop who gripped me. At that moment, I really wanted to die with those beasts together! Seeing my eyes, he was so frightened that he hurriedly loosened his grip. I knew that God sympathized with my weakness and made the devil flinch. Through my personal experience, I truly tasted that the CCP government is evil, ferocious, and reactionary and saw that the “people’s police” under its system were a gang of hoodlums and beasts. After that, the evil cops continued to interrogate me by cruel tortures, which made me feel worse than death. As I didn’t drink a drop of water for one day and one night, my body was in a state of serious collapse, and I really didn’t know whether I could hold on. I couldn’t help feeling miserable and despaired. At that moment, God inspired me to remember a hymn of life experience, “With strong will I face the roars of devils, and in the hard journey my heart becomes even stronger. The true light is shining, and death is not to be feared. … Serving God is right and proper. Satan being so base, my rage flames high. Tricks of the king of devils exactly reveal its satanic image. I cannot bow down to satan and become the betrayer Judas for an ignoble existence. I will undergo all the hardships and pass through the dark night. I will never yield before death and win glory for God to welcome God’s appearing. I have seen that the righteousness has appeared. On the night before the dawn, the devils are struggling desperately to serve for God’s perfecting the people to bear testimony for God. I will care for God’s heart more, and go all out to repay God in God’s family. With my love for God, I will give out light and heat. I will be faithful to God to the end and testify and glorify God. My heart will have been satisfied.” (from “Rise Up in the Dark Oppression” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) These sonorous words encouraged me, “Today the devil tortures the believers in God like this, and the one it hates is God. Its sinister purpose is to prevent us from believing in God and serving God and thus disturb God’s work and ruin our opportunity to be saved. At the crucial moment of the spiritual war, I can’t fall and become satan’s laughingstock. The more satan afflicts me, the more I’ll rebel against it and stand on God’s side. I believe that God will overcome and satan is doomed to be defeated and destroyed. I shouldn’t lose heart. I’m willing to rely on God and bear a strong and resounding testimony for God.” At night, the evil captain came to interrogate me again after being satiated with food and drink. I still said nothing. Then he came forward to pinch my chin and said fiercely, “It seems I still need to give you some color. I don’t believe you won’t tell!” As he said that, he brought something like a hammer with electricity and hit my forehead hard. Each hit, like removing my bone marrow, made me numb, weak, and limp all over, and my body kept trembling. Seeing my miserable state, the evil cops laughed smugly and said that they would send me to the Pure Land…. At that moment, God’s words again resounded in my ears, “When man gives up his life completely, nothing is difficult. No one can daunt him. Is there anything more important than ‘life’? In that case, satan cannot possibly do anything on man and has no way to do with man.” (from “The Interpretation of the Thirty-sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words gave me endless strength and I had the will to pledge my life to satisfy God: O God! Death is not to be regretted! Satisfying you is first! I clenched my teeth tightly and said nothing. The evil cops exhausted all their tricks and said with resignation, “You are just a housewife, and you aren’t capable of anything. How come your God has given you such great strength?” I knew that this evil cop didn’t submit to me but submitted under God’s authority. In the face of the facts, I personally experienced that God’s word is the truth and the life and can be man’s powerful life force, and that as long as one acts according to God’s word, he can transcend the bondage of death and overcome satan. I had more faith in God.
Failing to get any valuable information from me, the evil cops gave up interrogating me in the end. At dusk of the next day, they sent me to the detention house. At that time, I was already disfigured from the tortures. My face was badly swollen, my eyes couldn’t open, and my mouth was full of blisters. The cops of the detention house saw that I was beaten within an inch of my life and were afraid to take the blame, so they refused to receive me. Through negotiation, around 7 p.m. they finally received me and carried me into the cell.
That night, I ate the first meal since I was arrested: a black and hard steamed bun, which was gritty and hard to swallow down when chewing, and a bowl of rotten vegetable soup, with bugs floating on it and a layer of dirt at the bottom of the bowl. With such a meal, I still gobbled it down. Since I am a believer in God, in the days that followed, the officers often instigated the prisoners to torture me. Once, the head of the cell gave an order, and those prisoners under her seized my hair and forcefully banged my head against the wall. I felt senseless from the banging. Moreover, they didn’t allow me to sleep on the bed, and I could only sleep on the cold concrete floor beside the commode. Sometimes, the head deliberately clogged the commode with steamed buns and then asked me to fish them out with my hand. While fishing, I shed tears. The prisoners couldn’t bear to look at it and gave me a plastic bag to wrap my hand, but the head didn’t allow me to use it. Furthermore, once I couldn’t remember the prison regulations or recited them wrongly, they would lash me with a leather belt. Suffering such inhuman tortures and humiliations all day long, I became weak. I felt that I might as well die as live that way like a pig or a dog. So many times when I wanted to slam into the wall and die, God’s words guided me within, “When water swamps men’s whole body, I save them from the stagnant water, giving them an opportunity to receive life again; when men lose confidence to live, I pull them up from the edge of death, giving them the courage to live, letting them have me as the foundation for their existence….” (from “The Fourteenth Piece of Word” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s motherly words warmed my heart. Thinking about God’s words, I was in tears. I thought, “When I was beaten cruelly by the evil cops, it was God’s love that cared for me all the time. He used his words to guide me and give me faith and strength so that I survived tenaciously in those cruel tortures. Now, when I’m maltreated and bullied willfully by the head of the cell and tortured by the prisoners to almost break down and want to end my life, God’s words again save me from death and give me the courage to live so that I can stand up again. If not for God caring for me by my side all along, I would have long been tortured to death by these evil demons. Facing God’s great love and mercy, I can no longer be passive and resistant and grieve God’s heart. I’ll stand on God’s side resolutely and repay God with love by my faithfulness.” When my state of mind changed, I saw God’s wonderful deed. The head tormented me, not allowing me to sleep on the bed, but God raised up a prisoner to defend me. She fought with the head, and in the end, the head gave in. Thank God! If not for God’s mercy, after sleeping on the damp and cold cement floor for a long time, I, being so frail, would have become half disabled even if I didn’t die. Just like that, I passed through two months of suffering in the detention house. During that period, the evil cops interrogated me twice more and adopted tough and soft means. Under God’s keeping, I saw through satan’s schemes and didn’t let their schemes succeed. In the end, they really exhausted their tricks. After many futile interrogations, they sentenced me to three years and sent me to No. 2 Women’s Prison to serve my sentence.
From the first day after I was taken to the prison, I began to be overloaded with the manual labor. Every day we worked for over ten hours. In one day, we had to knit one sweater, or make thirty or forty dresses, or pack twenty thousand pairs of chopsticks. If we couldn’t finish the task, our term of imprisonment would be lengthened. The intensive hard labor in the day already made us feel a serious physical exhaustion, yet at night, we still had the political tasks. We were forced to learn the prison regulations and laws, and learn Mao Zedong Thought, Marxism-Leninism, and Lei Feng’s spirit, receiving their spiritual afflictions. Each time I heard those atheistic fallacies the prison guards spoke, I felt disgusted and felt like vomiting. I hated their baseness and shamelessness from my heart. There, I never had a sound sleep and was often woken up by the whistles of the prison guards at midnight. They asked us to stand in the corridor without any reason. Or there was labor for us to do at midnight, like carrying potatoes, corns, or feed, each bag of them weighing over 50kg. At night, the cold winter wind was biting. We stumbled along and moved our feet with difficulty. Sometimes, we would be directly pushed down on the ground by the bag. I often dragged my tired body back to the cell in tears at two or three o’clock in the morning. I was so tired, cold, and angry that I couldn’t fall asleep. When I thought that I had to pass through the three long years of imprisonment there, I was more despaired and felt weak and limp all over. God deeply knew my suffering and always encouraged me through his words when I was most helpless, “Don’t be disheartened. Don’t be weak. I will reveal to you. It is not so smooth on the way to the kingdom. There is not so easy a thing to gain blessings in a breeze, is there? Today, everyone will have painful trials. Otherwise, your hearts of loving me will not be strengthened, and you will not have a true love for me. …” (from “The Forty-first Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “As a man, a man who pursues God, you should think about and treat your life seriously: how you should consecrate yourself to God, how you should believe in God more meaningfully, and since you love God, how you should love God more purely, more beautifully, and more perfectly.” (from “Peter’s Experience—His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words greatly comforted my painful and grieved heart and also made me understand God’s will: Today such an environment comes upon me and it is a practical test to me, to test whether I can keep my faithfulness to God and whether I have a true love for God in this environment. I can’t be a coward, and I should have the will and courage to pursue the truth and stand up for justice, and pursue to be a man who has the truth and humanity.
In the prison ruled by the CCP, its darkness and evil could be seen everywhere. The prison guards asked a sister to heat the boiler. The boiler leaked and burnt the sister’s skin. The sister asked them to have the boiler repaired, but they said venomously, “You deserve it if you’re burnt to death,” and refused to have it repaired. Those “people’s police” are inhuman and are more malicious than devils. But God who loves us always manifested his great power and authority to keep and care for us. After that prison guard cursed the sister, her mouth became lopsided and her eyes became skew. Later, only after an operation did she recover. From then on, she dared not curse the sister again. We truly felt God’s almightiness and loveliness. So many times when we were in dangerous situations, it was God who personally made a way out for us and made us safe. Another time, a prison guard asked me to carry the chopsticks to the fifth floor. As all the stairs iced up, I carried a big and heavy bag of chopsticks and walked very slowly. The prison guard aside hustled me. I was afraid that I would be beaten up again if I couldn’t finish the task, so I was in a hurry. As a result, I tumbled down the stairs and cracked my heel. I lay on the ground and my leg couldn’t move. The heart-piercing pain made me break out in a cold sweat. However, the prison guard didn’t care about me in the slightest but ordered me to stand up and continue working. Yet I couldn’t stand up at all. Seeing that, a sister who served her sentence together with me hurriedly carried me on her back to the clinic. The prison doctor bound up my foot simply and just gave me several cheap tablets. Afraid to delay the work, the prison guards refused to give me treatment. So I could only work with injury. Wherever I went to work, the sister carried me there on her back. Because of God’s love, our hearts were linked together closely. Once having the opportunity, the sister would fellowship about God’s words with me to encourage me. So, I got a great comfort in my most difficult times. During that period, many times I felt so painful and weak that I could hardly stand up, and I even had no strength to breathe, and many nights I prayed to God in tears under the quilt. It was two hymns God inspired me to think of that had been encouraging me, “It was predestined by God before the ages that today you can receive the chastisement and refining of God’s word, and even more receive God’s commission. So when you undergo chastisement, do not be too distressed. No one can take away the work done on you and the blessing bestowed upon you. No one can take away anything that is given to you. … You should understand that the most crucial commission is to be gained by God and become his glorious testimony. This is God’s will.” (from “Don’t Fail God’s will” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) “On the path to the kingdom there are so many frustrations one after another; half dead and doubly tortured, I shed so many tears. Without God’s mercy and keeping, who could have walked until today? Ruled and arranged by God to be born in the end time, I’m fortunate to follow the practical God. God has endured so many sufferings; God has suffered so many humiliations. God has suffered too greatly. If I still care for myself, how can I comfort God’s heart? … We will never get passive, and we will never draw back. Since we have stepped onto the path of loving God, however many are the sorrows, we will follow God to the end without a change of heart!” (from “A Song of Loving God Without Regret” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) It was God’s revelation and love that saved me from despair and gave me the courage to live time and again so that I experienced the care and warmth of God’s love in that cold and dark hell on earth. I resolved that I would try my best to live and repay God’s love, that no matter how great the sufferings, I would continue to walk, and that as long as I had one breath left, I would be faithful to God. In the three years of prison life, what moved me the most was that the sister gave me several hand-written copies of God’s words. In the impenetrable and watertight prison of demons, I could still read God’s word, which was God’s great love and mercy for me. It was just these words of God that encouraged and led me through those difficult days.
In September 2005, I was released after serving my sentence, and that dark prison life finally ended. Walking out of the gate of the prison, I took a deep breath. I truly thanked God from my heart for loving me and keeping me so that I could walk out of the prison alive. Through personally experiencing the CCP government’s arrest and persecution that time, I’ve truly known what justice is and what evil is, what beauty and good is and what ugliness is, and what positive things are and what negative things are. I’ve also known what I should pursue by giving up everything and what I should hate bitterly, curse, and reject. In such an environment, I’ve truly known that God’s word is the life of God Godself, which is with transcendent power and indeed can be the motivating power for man’s living, and that as long as one lives by God’s word, he can transcend everything and overcome any difficult environment. As Almighty God says, “My word is the never-changing truth, and I am man’s life supply and the only guide for mankind….” (from “You Should Think About Your Conduct and Actions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) From now on, no matter what great difficulties and dangers I’ll encounter, I’m willing to exert every effort to pursue the truth in God’s word and pursue to be a man truly living by God’s word.