God Is Our Only Reliance

In the year 1995, my two children were sick at the same time. We went everywhere to seek medical treatments but to no avail. Just as my children were almost gone, the Lord Jesus’ salvation descended upon my family. Through praying to the Lord, my children were recovering gradually. It was the Lord’s great power that saved my children from death. My whole family saw the love of the Lord and experienced His mercy and compassion, thus all of us believed in the Lord. In order to repay His great love, I worked for the Lord enthusiastically. I was in charge of over twenty gatherings for children at that time.

However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) always opposed our belief in the Lord. I was once arrested by the police as well. It was on a day in August 1998. We had over 80 brothers and sisters in a host family for gathering. Almost at the end of the gathering, we heard cars parking outside of the house. Not long after, 5 police pried open the door and came in. They aggressively dragged 10 brothers and sisters (5 brothers, 5 sisters), including me to two police cars separately. Then, they loaded the rice, flour and vegetables from the host family into their car. They even locked the host family’s front gate with a big lock, leaving the rest of over seventy brothers and sisters in the house and two police guarding the gate. Afterward, they drove us to the local police station.

Arriving at the police station, the police dragged us out of the car and made us stand in line in the big yard. Later, two police started interrogating us (one interrogated and the other took down notes). They asked about our names, addresses and why we believe in God…. We answered them one by one. Afterward, they grilled us about whom our leader was and who organized the gathering. However, none of us answered. Then they called in two more police as they did not get the information they wanted. They started beating us, some kicked us and some slapped hard on our faces. Especially, a few brothers were lying on the ground motionlessly after beating. These scenes were appalling. At that moment I was timid and afraid. I did not know how they were going to treat us next. As I was in fear, I recalled the Lord Jesus’ words: “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues; And you shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what you shall speak” (Mat 10:17-19). “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28). These words made me strong and courageous. I thought that the CCP could destroy our bodies but never our souls. We must stand firm to bear testimony to the Lord. Today, although I was arrested by the police, I was able to see clearly that the CCP hates God, so they arrested us believers. No matter how they persecuted, we would never be Judas to betray our church and brothers and sisters. God wanted us to bear testimonies for Him in front of the CCP. He would surely bestow us the words we should say. Thinking of this, I had more faith and felt more assured in my heart, no longer afraid.

Thereafter, a young police officer gave me a few tight slaps in my face ferociously and used his fists to hit hard on my back. After a while, he used his leather shoes to kick my legs furiously. They didn’t stop until I couldn’t endure anymore. Due to their beatings, I suffered great pain and had a hard time breathing. Then, they started kicking and boxing the old sister of the host family. They were really inhuman…. They stopped as they were tired. Finally, they locked 10 of us into a 15 m2 (about 161 sqft) dark room. The window was as small as a book, so only a trace of light could shine through. I could only see where I was standing and the rest after a long while. Because of beatings, all of us were giddy and dizzy, and we were all in pain as if our bodies were falling apart. We slipped down the wall and sat on the dark concrete floor in a circle. The room was so small that we couldn’t even stretch out our legs, much less lying down. On the first day in the dark room, all of us needed to use the bathroom, but no matter how we shouted, no one came to open the door for us. We did it in our pants as we were really desperate. At that time, humiliation, anger and pain all welled up in my heart, and I felt the CCP’s means of treating us believers were really inhuman; they even restricted our basic necessities and treated us like animals, making us so exhausted and embarrassed; they really lost all conscience, and had not a trace of kindness. At that moment, I could only pray to the Lord silently in my heart. Recalling those western missionaries who came to China to spread gospels, they were also imprisoned, arrested and afflicted by the CCP; and thinking how the Lord Jesus suffered crucifixion to save us, my heart calmed down and I was encouraged by these examples.

The next day around midday, the police told us we were only allowed to use the bathroom for 10 minutes once a day, at 12 noon. The rest of the time we would be staying in the dark room. We couldn’t use the bathroom no matter how desperate we were. Sometimes we couldn’t control and did it in our pants. Because there were so many people in a small room and it was airtight, the smell stunk up the room, making us nauseous and sick. The Chinese police simply did not treat us believers as human. But thinking of the pain and humiliation the Lord Jesus had endured when He was crucified for us, we wept, as the same time we encouraged each other to strengthen our faith in the Lord. We together recited the Lord’s words: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat 16:24-25). “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Mat 5:10-11). With the Lord’s words leading and guiding us all the time, we knew it was His exhortation for us. So we all showed our resolves to God: We must bear beautiful and resounding testimonies for the Lord! No matter their persecution, we would never be Judas to betray the Lord and brother and sisters …

Since then, they called us out one by one for interrogation everyday. Once they got nothing from us, they would punch and kick us. After interrogation, there were always a few brothers and sisters beaten bloody. Especially those young brothers and two young sisters were beaten the most severely. Every time they were sent back, they could do nothing but lie on the ground motionlessly. Once they moved slightly, they would suffer great pain. However, I could only weep silently and prayed to the Lord for faith and strength to be with all of us, and allow us to bear testimony for Him. Our brothers and sisters had to go through beatings and interrogations almost everyday. I was interrogated five times and beaten twice as well. The police punched me in my face, kicked my leg, insulted me with nasty words and also said words to condemn the Lord, which reminded me of what the Lord said: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (Mat 10:25). Our Lord is great, holy and without sin. Yet, He was reviled, condemned, scourged and in the end nailed to the cross by people. In order to save us, He endured all kinds of pain and humiliations. Why can’t I, as a sinner? Since the Lord has bestowed great grace upon me and selected me, I must firmly keep the His words in my mind, obey all His teachings, bear testimonies for Him till death and follow Him to the end …

Over there, we had no water to drink, much less food. We could not sleep at night and could only sit or stand all day. On the fourth day, the son of the host family brought two bowls of food for his parents. As all of us didn’t eat for a few days, the old brother shared his food among the brothers and the old sister shared hers among the sisters. During that ten days of imprisonment, the police never gave us any food. They only allowed the son of the host family to bring food for his parents. Even though they abused us and brought pain to our bodies, with the presence of the Lord, we prayed to Him everyday, and sang hymns of praise together. Our hearts were happy and we didn’t feel much hungry and thirsty. Indeed, we experienced what the Lord Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4). “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst” (Jhn 6:35). Indeed, with the Lord’s words as our life and power, we didn’t feel hungry, but lived happily and peacefully. Thank the Lord!

On the tenth day, they realized that nothing could get from us, so they released us after intimidating and warning us for a while. When we came out, we all were like cripples. Our feet were not under control, so we held onto each other and sang on our way back: “Faith is strength, faith is hope. Faith can give us strength, faith can win wars …” Upon our arrival, we saw two police guarding the front gate of the host family; the door was still locked. After they opened the door, we saw that over seventy brothers and sisters were still inside. We asked how they survived without food these 10 days. They scrambled to say: “The Lord Jesus told us before ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’ (Mat 4:4). We all have the Lord’s words as our life, so we did not feel hungry. We only boiled water to drink everyday. There was still some brown flour under the bed that police did not find when taking away all our things. So we drank water with brown flour. We also found some apples, so in the last few days, we cooked apple water to drink. In this way, we are able to get through under the Lord’s guidance….” Afterward, they asked us how we survived under imprisonment. We shared our experiences with them too. All of them cried after listening but our hearts were soothing. Because of those persecutions and tortures, we grew in life and we got closer to the Lord. We experienced that the Lord is our only reliance and our mainstay in our hearts. Under His guidance we could win all types of persecutions from the CCP. During the persecution, all of us did not lose our faith in the Lord, but rather gained more faith to follow Him. Later, we still had gatherings and spread the gospel as per usual.

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