2. The Life Force That Can Never Be Extinguished
Dong Mei, Henan Province
I am an ordinary person. I lived in a run-of-the-mill life. Like many who yearn for the light, I tried lots of ways to search for the true meaning of human existence, attempting to give my life more significance. In the end, all my efforts were in vain. But after I was fortunate enough to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, miraculous changes occurred in my life. It brought more color to my life, and I came to understand that only God is the true Provider of people’s spirits and lives, and only God’s words are the true meaning of human life. I was glad that I had finally found the right way of life. However, whilst performing my duty I was once illegally arrested and brutally tortured by the CCP government. From this, my life’s journey gained an experience that I’ll never forget …
One day in December 2011 at around 7 a.m., another church leader and I were carrying out inventory on church assets when more than ten police officers suddenly burst through the door. One of these evil police rushed up to us and shouted: “Don’t move!” Seeing what was happening, my head reeled. In my mind I thought, This is bad—the church is going to lose a lot of assets. Next, the evil police searched us like bandits carrying out a robbery. They also ransacked each room, turning them upside down in short order. In the end, they found some church possessions, three bank cards, deposit receipts, computers, mobile phones, and so on. They confiscated all of them, then took the four of us to the police station.
In the afternoon, the evil police brought in another three sisters that they’d arrested. They shut the seven of us in a room and didn’t let us speak, nor did they let us sleep when night fell. Seeing the sisters shut in with me, and thinking of how much money the church lost, I was beside myself with anxiety. All I could do was urgently pray to God: O God! Faced with this environment, I don’t know what to do. Please protect my heart and make it calm. After praying, I thought of God’s words: “Do not be afraid, when things like this happen in the church, it is all permitted by Me. Stand and be My voice. Have faith that all things and matters are permitted by My throne and all have My intentions within them” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). “You should know that all things in the environment around you are there by My permission, I arrange it all. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). God’s words quelled the panic in my heart. I realized that, today, this environment had befallen me with God’s permission, and that the time had come when God asked me to bear testimony to Him. Having understood God’s will, I prayed to God and said: “O God! I wish to obey Your orchestrations and arrangements, and to stand firm in my testimony to You—but I am of small stature, and I ask that You give me faith and strength, and protect me in standing firm.”
The next morning, they split us up and interrogated us. “I know you’re a church leader. We’ve been monitoring you guys for five month,” said one of the evil police proudly. When I heard him describe in detail everything they’d done to monitor me, a shiver ran down my spine. In my mind I thought, The evil police really put a lot of groundwork into arresting us. Since they already know I’m a church leader, there’s no way they’re going to let me go. I immediately set my resolve before God: I’d rather die than betray God and be a Judas. Seeing that their questioning wasn’t yielding any results, they assigned someone to watch me and not let me sleep.
During the third day’s interrogation, the head of the evil police turned on a computer and made me read materials vilifying God. Seeing that I was unmoved, he next questioned me closely about church finances. I turned my head to one side and ignored him. This made him so angry he started swearing. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t say anything—we can detain you indefinitely, and torture you whenever we want,” he threatened fiercely. In the middle of that night, the police began their torture. They pulled one of my arms behind my shoulder and the other up from my back. Pressing against my back with their feet, they forcefully handcuffed both wrists together. It hurt so much I screamed in pain—the bones and flesh in my shoulders felt like they were going to be ripped apart. I could only kneel motionless with my head on the floor. I thought my screams would make them ease up on me, but instead they put a teacup between the cuffs and my back, which redoubled the pain. The bones in my upper body felt like they’d been snapped in half. It hurt so much I didn’t dare breathe out and cold sweat poured down my face. Just as I felt I could bear the pain no longer, one of the evil police took this chance to say to me: “Just give us a name and we’ll let you go straight away.” At that moment, I called out to God to protect my heart. I immediately thought of the words of a hymn of life experience: “God incarnate suffers pain. How much more should I, this corrupt person, suffer? If I yield to the influence of darkness, how can I meet God? … I’d rather endure all hardship, and make up for God’s heartache” (“Waiting for the Good News From God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). The hymn gave me strength. Yes—God incarnate has suffered all that pain for the sake of our salvation, and I, this person profoundly corrupted by Satan, must suffer even more. If I yielded to Satan because I couldn’t bear the pain, how could I face God ever again? Thinking this gave me strength, and I grew unyielding once more. The evil police tormented me for about an hour. When they undid the handcuffs, my whole body collapsed limply to the ground. “If you don’t talk we’ll do it again!” they shouted at me. I looked at them and said nothing. My heart was filled with hate for these evil police. One of the evil police stepped up to put the handcuffs on again. Thinking of the excruciating pain I had just suffered, I kept on praying to God in my heart. To my surprise, when he tried to pull my arms behind my back he couldn’t move them. It didn’t hurt too much, either. He was trying so hard his whole head was covered with sweat—but he still couldn’t get the cuffs on. “You’re pretty strong!” he huffed angrily. I knew that this was God caring for me, that God was giving me strength. Thanks be to God!
Making it to daybreak was hard. I was still traumatized when I thought back to how the evil police had tortured me. They also threatened me, telling me that if I said nothing, they’d have to take me deep into the mountains and execute me. Afterward, when they arrested other believers, they’d say I sold out the church—they’d blacken my name, and make the other brothers and sisters of the church hate and renounce me. Imagining that, my heart was swamped with waves of desolation and helplessness. I found myself feeling timid and weak. In my mind I thought: I’m better off dying. That way I won’t be a Judas and betray God, nor will I be renounced by my brothers and sisters. I’ll also avoid the pain of torture of the flesh. So I waited until the evil police guarding me weren’t paying attention and smashed my head hard against the wall—but all that happened was that my head swam; I didn’t die. At that moment, God’s words enlightened me from within: “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should go on to the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God, and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “When others misinterpret you, you are able to pray to God and say: ‘O God! I do not ask that others tolerate me, nor that they forgive me. I only ask that I am able to love You in my heart, that I am certain in my heart, and that my conscience is clear. I do not ask that others commend me, or hold me in high regard; I only pursue to satisfy You from my heart’” (“Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words drove out the gloom from my heart. Yes—God wants people with resolve, people who can bear testimony to God before Satan, people who can endure to the very end and follow all of God’s orchestrations no matter how great the hardship they suffer. What’s more, God sees people’s innermost hearts. If the police frame me, even if the other brothers and sisters really misunderstand and renounce me because they don’t know what actually happened, I trust that God’s intentions are good; God is testing my faith and love of Him, and I should pursue making God satisfied. Having seen through the devil’s cunning schemes, I suddenly felt embarrassed and ashamed. I saw that my faith in God was too small. I had been unable to stand firm after suffering a little pain, and had thought to escape and avoid God’s orchestrations through death. When people leave God, they will live in the darkness. The evil police’s aim in speaking words of threat was to make me turn my back on God. And if not for God’s protection, I would have fallen for their cunning scheme. As I pondered God’s words, my heart was filled with light. I no longer wanted to die, but to live a good life, and to use what I actually lived out to bear testimony to God and bring shame upon Satan.
The two evil policemen tasked with guarding me asked why I had hit my head against the wall. I said because the other policemen had beaten me. “We primarily work through education. Don’t worry—I won’t let them hit you again,” one of them said with a smile. Hearing his words of comfort, I thought: These two aren’t bad; since I was arrested they’ve been quite nice to me. With that, I relaxed my guard. But at that moment, God’s words flashed in my heart: “At all times, My people must be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, protecting the gate of My house for Me, … which will stop you falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it will be too late for regrets” (“The Third Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words provided a timely reminder to me, showing me that the devil’s cunning schemes are many, and I should be on guard against these demons at all times. Little did I expect that they would soon reveal their true colors. One of the evil police began to slander God, while the other sat beside me patting my leg, leering at me and asking about church finances. In the evening, seeing I was dozing off, he started groping my chest. Seeing they had revealed their true faces, I was filled with indignation. Only now did I see the supposed people’s police were nothing more than hooligans and bullies. These were the despicable, nasty things they were capable of. As a result, I could only urgently pray to God to protect me from their harm.
Over the next several days, the evil police not only questioned me closely about the church, but also took turns keeping watch over me so that I couldn’t sleep. Afterward, seeing how I’d given them nothing, the two evil policemen interrogating me grew furious. One of them laid into me, slapping me across the face, whacking me who knows how many times. My face smarted, began to swell up, and in the end grew so numb I couldn’t feel anything. Because their questions had yielded nothing from me, one evening the head of the evil police screamed at me and said, “You need to start opening your mouth. You’re testing my fucking patience—I don’t believe there’s nothing we can do with you. I’ve met many people much tougher than you. If we’re not harsh on you, there’s no way you’ll fucking submit!” He gave the order and several of the evil police started torturing me. In the evening, the interrogation room was gloomy and terrifying—I felt like I was in hell. They made me squat on the ground and shackled my hands between my knees and my feet. Next, they inserted a wooden baton between the crooks of my arms and behind my knees, forcing my whole body to curl up. They then lifted up the baton and rested it between two tables, leaving my whole body hanging in the air with my head upside down. The moment they hoisted me up, my head went dizzy and I found it hard to breathe. It felt like I was suffocating. Because I was suspended in the air upside down, all my weight was hanging off my wrists. At the beginning, to stop the handcuffs cutting into my flesh, I clutched my hands tightly together, curled up my body, and tried my hardest to stay in that position. But my strength slowly ebbed away. My hands slid from my ankles to my knees, and the handcuffs cut deep into my flesh, leaving me in excruciating pain. After hanging like this for about half an hour, it felt like all the blood in my body had pooled in my head. The painful distension in my head and eyes made it feel like they were going to explode. Deep cuts had been gouged into my wrists, and my hands were so swollen they looked like two loaves of bread. I felt I was on the verge of death. “I can’t take any more, take me down!” I shouted desperately. “No one can save you but you yourself. Just tell us a name and we’ll let you down,” said one of the evil police officers viciously. In the end, they saw I really was in trouble and took me down. They fed me some glucose and started questioning me again. I lay limp as mud on the ground, my eyes squeezed tightly shut, paying them no attention. Unexpectedly, the evil police hoisted me into the air once again. Without the strength to hold on with my hands, I had no choice but to let the handcuffs embed themselves in my wrists, the serrated edges sawing into my flesh. At that moment, it hurt so much I let out a heartrending scream. I didn’t have the strength to keep fighting and my breathing had grown extremely shallow. It seemed like time had stopped. I felt like I was teetering on the verge of death. Thinking that this time I really was going to die, I wanted to tell God the words in my heart before my life ended: “O God! At this moment, when I really am on the verge of death, I feel afraid—but even if I do die tonight, I shall still praise Your righteousness. O God! In my brief life’s journey, I thank You for selecting me to return home from this world of sin, stopping me from wandering, lost, and allowing me to ever live in Your warm embrace. O God, I have enjoyed so much of Your love—and yet only now, when my life is about to end, do I realize that I haven’t cherished Your love. Many times have I made You sad and disappointed; I am like a naive child who knows only to enjoy its mother’s love, yet has never thought to pay it back. Only now that I am about to lose my life do I understand that I must cherish Your love, and only now do I regret having missed so many good times. Now, what I regret most is that I have been unable to do anything for You and owe You so much, and if I can still live, I will certainly do my best to perform my duty, making up for what I owe You. At this moment, I ask only that You give me strength, allowing me to never again fear death, and be strong in what I face….” Drop after drop of tears fell from my forehead. The night was frighteningly quiet. The only sound was the clock ticking, as if counting down the seconds that remained of my life. It was then that something miraculous happened: It felt as if warm sunlight was shining upon me, and I slowly stopped feeling the pain in my body. God’s words reverberated through my mind: “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to perform your duty. You assume your role in the plan of God and in the ordination of God. You begin the journey of life. Whatever your background and whatever the journey ahead of you, none can escape the orchestration and arrangement that Heaven has in store, and none are in control of their destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Yes—God is the source of my life, God rules over my destiny, and I must leave myself in God’s hands and put myself at His disposal. Pondering God’s words gave me a pleasant, tranquil feeling in my heart, as if I were reclining in God’s warm embrace. I found myself falling asleep. Fearing I’d die, the evil police took me down and hurriedly gave me some glucose and water. In my brush with death, I had beheld God’s miraculous deeds.
The next day, the evil police spent the whole evening hoisting me up over and over again. They questioned me about the whereabouts of the funds for the receipts they’d confiscated. Throughout, I said nothing—yet they still didn’t give up. To get hold of the church’s money, they used every despicable means to torture me. At that moment, God’s words echoed in my heart: “Thousands of years of hate are concentrated in the heart, millennia of sinfulness are inscribed upon the heart—how could this not inspire loathing? Avenge God, completely snuff out His enemy, do not allow it to run rampant any longer, and do not permit it to kick up as much trouble as it wishes anymore! Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts, paid every price, for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me great strength and faith. I would fight to the death with Satan, and even if I did die, I would stand firm in my testimony to God. Inspired by God’s words, I unwittingly forgot the pain. In this way, each time they hoisted me up, God’s words inspired and motivated me, and so the more times they hoisted me up, the more I could see through to their substance—which was of evil demons—and the greater my resolve to stand firm in my testimony and satisfy God. In the end, they each wore themselves out on me. “Most people can’t stand being hung up like this for half an hour, but she’s lasted all this time—she’s really tough!” I heard them comment. Hearing these words, I was overcome with excitement. In my mind, I thought: With God at my back, you cannot beat me down. In addition to physical torture, during my nine days and nights in the police station the evil police also deprived me of sleep. Every time I closed my eyes and began nodding off, they would smack their batons against the table, or else make me stand up and run about, or else just scream at me, trying to bring me down and break my mind. After nine days, seeing they hadn’t reached their objective, the police still didn’t give up. They took me to a hotel, where they cuffed my hands in front of my legs, then inserted a wooden baton between the bends of my arms and legs, forcing me to sit with my body curled up on the floor. They made me stay in this position sitting on the floor for the next several days, which caused the handcuffs to cut into my flesh. My hands and wrists swelled up and turned purple, and my bottom hurt so much I dared not rub or touch it; it felt like I was sitting on needles. One day, one of the leaders of the evil police, seeing that my interrogation had been fruitless, walked up to me fuming with rage and slapped me hard in the face—hard enough to loosen two of my teeth.
In the end, two section chiefs from the Provincial Public Security Department came. As soon as they arrived, they took the handcuffs off, helped me to a sofa, and poured me a cup of water. “You’ve had a hard time over the last few days—but don’t take it to heart, they were just following orders,” they said hypocritically. Their hypocrisy made me hate them so much I gnashed my teeth. They also tried to use the Bible to win me round, and turned on a computer and showed me false evidence. They said many words that condemned and blasphemed against God. In my heart, I felt enraged. I wanted to argue with them, but I knew that doing so would only make them blaspheme against God even more frantically. At this moment, I truly felt how great the hardship suffered by God incarnate had been, and how much humiliation God had endured for the sake of saving man. What’s more, I saw the contemptibleness and despicableness of these evil demons. In my heart, I secretly swore that I would make a complete break with Satan and forever be loyal to God. Afterward, no matter how they tried to deceive me, I kept my mouth shut and said nothing. Seeing their words were having no effect, the two section chiefs could only leave in a huff.
During the ten days and nights in the hotel, they kept the handcuffs on me, making me squat on the ground holding my legs. Looking back on since I’d been arrested, I’d spent nineteen days and nights in the police station and hotel. The protection of God’s love had allowed me to nap a little, but the evil police hadn’t let me sleep throughout; I had only to shut my eyes for a moment and they’d do anything it took to keep me awake—whacking the table, fiercely kicking me, screaming at me, ordering me to run about, and so on. Each time I’d be startled, my heart would hammer in my chest, and I’d feel terrified. That, added to the evil police’s frequent torture, and my strength ended up severely depleted, my whole body was swollen and uncomfortable, and I saw everything in double vision. I’d know there were people in front of me talking, but the sound of their voices would seem as if it were coming from the far-off horizon. What’s more, my reactions were becoming very slow. For me to have somehow made it through this was all thanks to God’s great power! As God said: “He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence…. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In my heart, I gave sincere thanks and praise to God: O God! You rule all things, Your deeds are inestimable, only You are almighty, You are the inextinguishable life force, You are the wellspring of the living water for my life. In this special environment, I have beheld Your unique power and authority. In the end, the evil police got no answers to their questions from me, and they sent me to the detention center.
On the way to the detention center, two policemen said to me: “You’ve done really well. You guys might be in the detention center, but you’re good people. There are all sorts there: drug dealers, murderers, prostitutes—you’ll see when you arrive.” “Since you know we’re good people, why do you arrest us? Doesn’t the government talk of freedom of religion?” I asked. “That’s the Communist Party lying to you. The Party gives us our livelihood, so we have to do what it says. We don’t have hate for you or have anything against you. We just arrested you because you believe in God,” one of the policemen said. Hearing this, I thought back over everything I’d experienced. I couldn’t help but recall the words of God: “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words cut right to the heart of the matter, allowing me to truly see the true face of the CCP government and how it tries to gain kudos it does not deserve; on the surface, it flies the flag of religious freedom, but in secret it arrests, oppresses, and savages those who believe in God up and down the country and plunders the church’s money—all of which lays bare its heinously sinful, demonic substance.
Whilst in the detention center, there were times when I was weak and in pain. But God’s words kept inspiring me, giving me strength and faith, allowing me to understand that although Satan had stripped me of the freedom of the flesh, suffering had built me up, teaching me to rely on God during the torture of these evil demons, allowing me to understand the true meaning of many truths, to see the preciousness of the truth, and increasing my resolve and motivation to pursue the truth. I was willing to keep obeying God, and to experience all that God had arranged for me. As a result, when working in the detention center, I sang hymns and quietly thought of God’s love. I felt that my heart had come closer to God, and no longer found the days so painful and distressing.
During this time, the evil police interrogated me many more times. I thanked God for guiding me in overcoming their torture time and time again. Afterward the evil police withdrew all the money from my three bank cards. Helplessly watching the church’s money being taken by the evil police broke my heart. My heart was filled with hate for this greedy, evil group of demons, and I yearned for the kingdom of Christ to arrive soon. In the end, despite not having any proof, they sentenced me to a year and three months of reeducation through labor for “disrupting the public order.”
After being brutally persecuted by the CCP government, I had truly tasted God’s love and salvation toward me, and had come to appreciate God’s almightiness and sovereignty and His miraculous deeds, I had beheld the authority and power of God’s words. Moreover I had truly despised Satan. During that time of persecution, God’s words had accompanied me through the distressing days and nights, God’s words had allowed me to see through Satan’s cunning schemes and provided timely protection. God’s words had made me strong and courageous, allowing me to overcome their savage torture time and time again. God’s words had given me strength and faith, they had given me the courage to fight with Satan to the very end…. Thanks be to God! Almighty God is the truth, the way, and the life! I shall forever follow Almighty God to the very end!