By Fenyong, Shanxi Province
Despite being raised under the loving care of my parents since I was a child, in my heart, I often felt lonely and that I had no one to rely on. I always seemed to be gripped by some inexplicable affliction that I was unable to overcome. I often asked myself: Why are people alive? How should we live? But I could never find an answer. In 1999, I finally had the good fortune to accept’s work of the last days. The nourishment and provision of God’s word comforted my lonely heart, and I felt that I had finally come home. I felt especially safe and secure. Only then did I finally know what it was to be happy. Later, I read in God’s word that: “Without God in his heart, man’s inner world is dark, hopeless and empty. … The position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free; what mankind needs is the salvation of God and His provision of life to them” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in ). Here, I finally discovered that eating well, wearing fancy clothes, and enjoying oneself aren’t what people need to live. What people need are God’s salvation and God’s supply of life. Only with these things can the emptiness in people’s spirits be resolved. The questions that had troubled me for so long were finally answered: God cares for every living being in creation—people should live by relying on God and they should live for God, for only by living in this way are people’s lives meaningful. As I read more of God’s word, I gradually came to understand some of the truth, and later I took up duties in the church. I often went to meetings and fellowshiped with my brothers and sisters, and I passed my days feeling as though I was living a full, satisfying life. But, a sudden arrest shattered my quiet life and cast me into a lair of demons …
It was a rainy, summer day on July 17, 2009, when I and three of my sisters awoke from our afternoon naps to hear the dog in the courtyard suddenly begin to bark continually. I looked out to see what was going on, and I saw more than 20 plainclothes policemen climbing over the wall into the courtyard. Before I had time to react, they rushed into the house and dragged us into the living room. The sudden change in circumstances left me panicked as I wondered how I would answer the police’s interrogation. But then, a notion came to me: God had allowed these circumstances to occur, so I must submit. After that, the police ordered us to squat down and two of them twisted my arms behind my back, pressed an electric baton to my neck, and put a coat over my head. They kept pressing down on me and my legs went numb. The slightest movement brought forth a tide of profanity and berating. These evil police wildly rummaged through the house like bandits, and I continually prayed to God in my heart saying, “God! I know everything is in Your hands and it is through Your good intentions that I’ve been faced with this situation. Even though I don’t understand right now, I am willing to submit. God! I feel very panicked now, I am very afraid, and I don’t know what kind of circumstances I’ll have to face next. I know my stature is too small, and that I understand too little of the truth, so I beg for Your protection and guidance. Give me faith and strength, so that I can stand firm, and not become a Judas and betray You.” I prayed time and again, not daring to leave God for even a moment. In their search, the police found four laptop computers, several cell phones, several thumb drives and MP3 players, and more than 1,000 RMB in cash. After they finished searching the house, they seized everything they found, took pictures of each of us, and then forced us into their vehicle. On my way out, I saw more police cars and police than I could count.
The police took us to a hostel in a military subarea, where they separated us to interrogate us individually. There were two police guarding the door. Immediately after they shoved me into the room, three male officers and one female officer began questioning me. One of the male officers began by asking, “Where are you from? What is your name? What are you doing in this area? Where is the church’s money?” I continually prayed to God in my heart, and no matter what they asked me, I refused to utter a sound. Upon seeing this, they all lost their temper. They ordered me to stand up rigidly straight and wouldn’t let me lean on the wall. In this way, they continued to take turns interrogating me for three days and three nights and, during that time, they wouldn’t allow me to eat or sleep. My already thin, weak body couldn’t withstand such abuse. My head felt ready to explode, I felt as if my heart had been hollowed out, I was tired and hungry, and I couldn’t keep my balance. But every time I closed my eyes, they poked me and said, “You’re not sleeping before you answer our questions! No way! We have all the time in the world. Let’s see just how long you can last!” They often asked me questions about the church. I was very nervous throughout the ordeal, and terrified that I might let something slip in a moment of carelessness. I felt physically and spiritually tormented, but when I thought I had borne all I could bear and couldn’t endure, God enlightened me by making me recall this passage of His word, “When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith. No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess both the will to suffer hardship and true faith, and you must also have the will to forsake the flesh” (“Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Each line of God’s words gave me encouragement. That’s right, Satan was using my physical weakness to attack me. It hoped to use my desire to protect my flesh and live in comfort and ease to make me submit to it. I couldn’t allow it to deceive me and make me live as a cowardly, debased Judas. I was willing to live by God’s word, forsake the flesh, and practice love of God. I would rather curse my own flesh than complain against or betray God. God’s words were a source of bottomless strength, and gave me the determination to bear my suffering. At midnight on the third day, a middle-aged man came, apparently their superior, and upon seeing that they hadn’t been able to get a word from me, he came to stand directly in front of me and said, “You’re a young woman, and not bad-looking. You could do anything you want. Why do you insist on believing in God? Why not just tell us what you know? Delaying things won’t do you any good. The longer you delay, the more you’ll have to suffer.” At that moment, my flesh was extremely weak, and my determination began to shake. I thought, “Maybe I should just tell them something unimportant. If I keep putting things off like this, who knows what other means they would use to torture me?” But I immediately thought, “No! I can’t say anything! If I let anything slip they’ll ask more and more. There won’t be any stopping it once I do, and then I really will be a Judas.” When I realized this, I understood that I had nearly fallen for Satan’s trick. This was dangerous! What sinister, despicable devils! They were exploiting my weakness, using both hard and soft techniques to make me betray the church. I couldn’t allow myself to be tricked by Satan. I would die before I did anything to betray God.
On the fourth day, when these evil police saw that I still hadn’t told them anything, they tried another tactic. They brought me into another room and closed the door. Then, I remembered I had once heard someone describe how the police brought a sister into a jail cell full of men and allowed the male prisoners to humiliate her. I felt deeply afraid, as if I was a lamb in a tiger’s maw with no hope of escape, and I thought, “How are they going to torture me now? Am I going to die in this room? … God, please protect me and give me strength!” Time and again I prayed and called out to God, not daring to leave Him for a moment. The evil police sat down on the bed. They told me to stand in front of them and asked me the same questions, and when they saw I still wasn’t speaking, one of them became furious. He grabbed my arms, twisted them behind my back, handcuffed me, and ordered me to stand in a horse stance. My legs were already limp by this point. They were too weak to even stand, let alone support me in the horse stance. I couldn’t maintain the position for even a minute. When my posture didn’t meet their requirements, one of them kicked me ferociously in the shin, knocking me to the floor. Another large male police officer stepped forward and hoisted me up by my handcuffs, then lifted my arms behind me high into the air, chiding me as he did, “Will you talk now? Don’t test my patience!” The higher he lifted me, the tighter the handcuff became, and I screamed in pain. The more I screamed, the higher he lifted me and the more viciously he berated me, but I could sense nothing except that my arms and wrists were ready to snap. In my misery, a passage of God’s word appeared in my mind. “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until 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). In that moment, I sincerely felt God’s comfort and encouragement. I felt that God was by my side, that He was with me, encouraging me to stand firm no matter how great the suffering, and to be loyal to Him to the end, because only this is strong, resonant testimony. I silently prayed to God, “God, now You require me to stand firm and testify for You. No matter how much I suffer, I will testify for You in the face of Satan, and even if I die I will not betray You! I will not submit to Satan!” After another round of torment, the policeman saw that I still wasn’t speaking, so he flung me viciously to the floor. Afterward, I saw that the handcuffs had cut two deep gashes into my wrists, and the pain seemed to rip through me. Even today, I can’t lift heavy things with my right wrist.
The police tortured me intermittently over ten days to get information about the church. When they saw that their aggressive tactics weren’t working, they tried a different strategy. One day, they sent a female officer to get close to me. She brought me some daily use products, and then tried to ingratiate herself with me, saying, “Look at yourself—a young woman, good-looking, with what must be a good diploma. If you didn’t believe in God, we could be friends. If you don’t have anywhere to go, you could stay at my house. I can help you get a good job here, and introduce a good boyfriend. You could have your own home, your own husband, a child, and enjoy your days with your family. Wouldn’t that be nice? As things are now, you’re unable to go home. Don’t you miss your home and your parents?” The male officer next to them joined in, saying, “That’s right. Why do you spend your days in hiding, moving from place to place? Why put yourself through that? As long as you cooperate with us, I promise there’s a way out of all this for you.” I heard them tempting me, and my heart couldn’t help but become weak, “They’re right. I’ve spent the last years in hiding, afraid of being arrested by the police. I’ve had no fixed address, and I’ve been constantly afraid. When will these days of persecution come to an end? Living like this really is miserable!” But that thought instantly brought darkness into my heart, so I cried out to God, “God! I know my state is incorrect. I’m making demands of You and complaining about You. This is my rebelliousness and resistance. God! I beg You to enlighten me so that I can turn away from this incorrect state, stop Satan’s scheme from succeeding, and prevent myself from falling into Satan’s snare.” After I prayed, I remembered a passage of God’s word, “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The enlightenment in God’s words brightened my heart. I came to understand the significance of experiencing persecution and tribulation. God uses the persecution of these demons to give us the determination to bear suffering and perfect our sincerity and faith in following Him, so that our experience and testimony can become powerful proof of God overcoming Satan, and so that all people can see such testimony that Almighty God’s work of the last days is not the work of man, but is the work of God Himself. Without God’s work and the guidance and provision of God’s words, no person could bear long-term humanity-crushing cruelty and torment of these demons. Being able to believe in God and follow God even at the cost of one’s own life is the effect achieved by Almighty God’s work upon people. It is the testimony of the glory gained by God, and God’s almighty power. In this last stage of His work, God wants to gain a group of overcomers who can withstand Satan’s persecution and cruel harm and dauntlessly turn toward righteousness. These are the overcomers God ultimately wishes to gain! God’s word says, “I have bestowed all My glory unto you, I have bestowed unto you the life that the chosen people, the Israelites, never received. By rights, you ought to bear witness to Me and devote to Me your youth and lay down your life. Whomsoever I bestow My glory unto shall bear Me witness and give their life for Me. This has long been predestined by Me. It is your good fortune that I bestow My glory upon you, and your duty is to testify to My glory” (“What Do You Know of Faith?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In His six-thousand-year management plan, God has done three stages of work and has incarnated twice. In His final incarnation, He has come to work in China, an atheist land which persecutes God most heavily, and He accomplishes a portion of the glory He gains in the last days upon those of us deeply and brutally harmed by Satan, thereby defeating Satan, and at the same time working the truth and life within us. We truly gain much from God, and so should testify for God. This is God’s commission, as well as His grace and exaltation, and it is our honor. So, the suffering we bear today is meaningful and valuable, and represents God’s favor for us. Through the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, I understood God’s will, saw through Satan’s tricks, and found the determination to bear any suffering to stand firm and testify for God. After that, the police continued to question me for another two weeks, but I never told them any information about the church.
Afterward, I was transferred to the local detention house. As soon as I arrived, a female police officer ordered me to strip naked to be searched, and she seized the money I carried as well. When I entered the cell, the stench was awful. More than twenty people were squeezed onto a single sleeping platform. We all ate, drank, urinated, and defecated in the same room. In the month that followed, I was ordered by these evil police to work overtime and take extra duties every day. They had taken my glasses, so everything was a blur to me, and I had to draw things very close to my eyes as I worked to see clearly. On top of that, the detention house’s lights were small and dim. While others slept, I had to continue working late into the night because it took me so long to complete my tasks. My eyes were extremely exhausted, and I feared the work would make me go blind. I couldn’t sleep well at night, and each night I had to do an hour of shift duty in the cell. Beyond the heavy workload every day, I was also interrogated twice a week, and each time, these evil police would put me in handcuffs and shackles, as well as the “imperial yellow” prisoner’s uniform. I remember, on one such day, it was raining. I walked beside a male police officer, who held an umbrella over himself. I walked with extreme difficulty, handcuffed and shackled in my thin prison uniform, shivering as the cold rain fell on me. The shackles were very heavy, and scraped my ankles and clanked loudly with every step. In the past I had only seen such things on TV, but now I was experiencing it personally. I couldn’t help but despise my situation, and I cried out within my heart, “This is how murders and rapists are interrogated! What did I do to deserve this?” It was then that God enlightened me and I remembered God’s words, “Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts and paid every price for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and who 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). When I compared God’s words to the reality I faced, I finally saw that although the CCP government declares in every way to the outside world that all people deserve religious freedom, the moment anyone really believes in God, it responds with all variety of persecution, arrest, violence, insult, condemnation, and imprisonment. It doesn’t treat people in a humane fashion. The values of “freedom of religious belief” and “democracy and human rights” are tricks intended purely to deceive, blind, and toy with others! This evil party beautifies itself with all manner of eloquence, but in truth is as cruel and brutal as a demonic beast, truly as sinister and vicious as they come! The CCP government willfully ignores and turns a blind eye to the villains and evildoers in the world who cheat, defraud, murder, and rob, and at times even protects them, yet it ruthlessly persecutes and kills people who believe in God and walk the right path. It truly is a demon that makes itself an enemy of God! As I thought of these things, I couldn’t help but despise this vile demon. I swore to rebel against it even if it cost me my life, and I gave myself over to God! After a month, despite lacking any evidence, the police sentenced me to a year of reeducation through labor for the charge of “disturbing public order.”
When I arrived at the labor camp, I realized that this was an even darker place. Here, there was no freedom at all. Detainees could only eat, drink, or go to the toilet at the order of their unit guards, and we had to obey the guards in everything or we were punished. When we entered and left the room, we had to number off, and if anyone reported the wrong number, the entire unit was punished by spending two hours under brutal sun or being soaked in the rain. When we went to the cafeteria to eat, if anyone reported the wrong number, the entire unit was punished by being forced to wait outside and not being allowed to eat. We could only look on helplessly as the other detainees ate their meals. We also had to sing a military song before every meal, with all our strength, and if anyone sang out of tune or not loud enough, we had to start the song over, once, twice…. We were only allowed to eat once our unit guards were satisfied. This so-called “management system” exists purely to satisfy the desires of those evil guards to lord over others, to order others around, and to enjoy status. They every day put others on edge. Here, beyond cleaning up for the guards and folding their quilts, the detainees had to fetch water for their footbaths and massage their backs. The guards acted like emperors and queens, smiling at you if you served them well, but scolding viciously or beating if you served them badly. No matter what we were doing, even if we were in the bathroom, the moment we heard the guards shouting, we had to loudly answer “present” and hurry over to hear their instructions. These are how labor camps under the CCP regime are run. They are dark, oppressive, cruel, and humiliating. Faced with all this, I felt nothing but resentment and helplessness. And beyond that, these evil police treated the labor camp detainees as draft animals and slaves, as merely tools for making money. They overloaded us with work every day, to the point that aside from eating and sleeping, we spent the rest of our time working to create wealth for them. Every day, beyond the various regulations we had to follow, we also had to deal with a heavy workload, and there was no saying when we would be punished and scolded, I really couldn’t stand living like that, and I don’t know how many times I thought to myself, “Will I die in this labor camp? Every day they drive us to exhaustion. How will I make it through such an arduous year? When will this finally be over? I can’t stand another minute, another second, in this hellish place….” On top of that, there was no one who I could openly share my feelings with. Every day, I had to bear everything in silence and work ceaselessly, and I felt miserable. At night, when everyone was asleep, as I looked out through the barred window at the stars, I was overcome with sorrow. I felt isolated and alone, and I couldn’t help but sob into my pillow. But at the moment I felt weakest, I suddenly remembered God’s word, “Many are the sleepless nights that God has endured for the sake of the work of mankind. From up high to the lowest depths, He has descended to the living hell in which man lives to pass His days with man, He has never complained of the shabbiness among man, and He has never reproached man for his disobedience, but endures the greatest humiliation as He personally carries out His work. How could God belong to hell? How could He spend His life in hell? But for the sake of all mankind, so that the whole of mankind can find rest sooner, He has endured humiliation and suffered injustice to come to earth, and personally entered into ‘hell’ and ‘Hades,’ into the tiger’s den, to save man” (“Work and Entry (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Every line of God’s word comforted my tormented heart. Yes! I felt so alone and isolated in this demonic prison because I had no one to confide in, but God descended to earth from heaven and endured horrendous insult and torment to save us, mankind, who rebelled against and resisted Him, and not a single person could understand Him or be considerate of His will. Instead, He was faced with people’s misunderstanding, complaints, neglect, attacks, deceit, and betrayal. Did God not feel the same isolation and loneliness? Was God not also tormented and hurt? But despite this, I wasn’t considerate of God’s will at all, and became negative and weak after only a little suffering. I wanted only to withdraw and escape. I truly was rebellious! God allowed the persecution of these devils to fall upon me not because He deliberately wanted to make me suffer, but because He wanted me to clearly see the CCP government’s evil face through experiencing its cruel persecution, become able to truly forsake it, and finally turn entirely to God. All this was done with God’s good intentions and salvation. And at any rate, Christ was suffering with me now, so I was no longer alone. It was only then that I felt that in all God does to man, there is only salvation and love. Although I suffered torment in the flesh, it was incredibly beneficial to my life entry! Once I understood these things, I slowly began to emerge from my negative, weak state, and I found the determination to be content with suffering to bear witness for God.
At the end of June 2010, I was released one month early. Through experiencing this persecution and difficulty, I truly felt that God’s salvation for people is sincere and practical, and that God’s love for people is deep and genuine! If I hadn’t experienced persecution and arrest by these devils, my faith, courage, and determination to suffer could not have been perfected, and I would never be able to clearly see the demon’s real, ugly face. I would never sincerely despise it, and I would never be able to turn my heart over to God and give myself entirely to God. Without real experience of the bitterness of persecution and difficulty, I would never be able to understand or appreciate the misery God feels or the price He pays in coming incarnate to this filthy place to save us. This allowed me to feel God’s love more deeply and brought my heart closer to Him. I am thankful to God’s words for the guidance they provided me time and again, and for accompanying me through a year of living in darkness in prison. Today, I have returned to the church, I read God’s word and fellowship on the truth with my brothers and sisters, I have again taken up my duties, and my heart is filled with endless joy and happiness. I am grateful to God from the bottom of my heart, and I have sworn an oath to myself: No matter what circumstances or trials befall me in the future, I wish only to pursue the truth with all my strength and follow God to the end!