In 1981, I believed in the Lord through grace. One year later, I was promoted to be a church co-worker, and from then on, I always rushed about other places away from home, expending for the Lord. In 1984, the gospel work was extremely prosperous, and in less than six months, we had converted more than 100 people to belief in the Lord, which shocked the whole village there. Because I preached the gospel wherever I went, I was classified by the government as a target for being cracked down on. In July of the same year, we suffered a great calamity.
In order to ban religious faith, the Chinese government started arresting Christians day and night, and also slandered and framed the people who believed in the Lord. The village political committee secretary convened the police and all the village public security officers to have a meeting, during which the secretary said: “Today’s emergency meeting is for defending the solidarity and stability of our township and protecting the property of people from suffering damage. Now many common people have believed in the Lord. If this goes on happening, in the future China won’t be the realm of the Chinese Communist Party but instead will be the Lord’s domain. So we must focus on striking believers in the Lord, and not be soft on them. During the next 15 days, we will make surprise visits and launch an arrest operation to capture all believers in the Lord in one net. The chief of police will lead our men in raids. To achieve our goals, every one of us must try our best.” Then the chief of police arranged the work and divided responsibilities: One policeman and two village public-security officers form a team, and start an operation at night. Afterward, that night, they went to every village to arrest Christians. Over 30 Christians, regardless of age, were arrested, and then were locked up by the police in a primary school. There they were interrogated one by one, and some were even cruelly tortured and forced into confession. The next night, more than 20 believers were also arrested, and I was one of them. Fortunately, my wife avoided this arrest because she was out working for the Lord that day.
That night, the secretary of the village political committee interrogated me: “When did you start believing in the Lord? Who preached to you? How many people have you preached to?” I replied: “I have nothing to say.” Then the policeman fiercely said: “You’d better honestly answer every question we ask you. If not, do not expect to go back home.” For the sake of not selling my brothers and sisters, I said: “I did not preach to others. There is nothing for me to clarify!” Hearing my words, the policeman got really angry, and ferociously kicked my leg, which made me frown with pain. I prayed to the Lord in my heart and asked Him to keep me from being a Judas, who betrayed the Lord. At this time, one policeman pointed to me and said with a scowl: “You are so young; how can you believe in the Lord Jesus? In China you can only believe in the CCP. Your underground churches are the target of focus for the government’s crackdown. This time you will be put into the labor camp, and be fined. Do not believe in the Lord any more!” I replied: “I believe in the Lord Jesus in order to be a good person and do good things; I never do bad things. What’s more, are there not freedom of religious belief in China?” He cast a glance at me, and snorted with a sneer: “There is no freedom! Religious freedom was put in the constitution for foreigners to see. If it weren’t for the sake of joining the World Trade Organization, there would not even be the Three-Self Church.” Only then did I know the so-called religious freedom was actually a lie. Without hearing the words coming from their mouths today, I would still be deceived by the CCP. They were too loathsome! Later, no matter how they interrogated me, I just kept silent as a reply. In the end, they failed to get anything from us believers in the Lord, so we received unfair treatment such as being reeducated through labor, being fined, and having our homes ransacked, and so on. At the time, the house of the police station was being built, so we believers in the Lord were forced to do hard work for them for half a month. Furthermore, when we were released, they fined each of us at least 200 RMB, and even searched our homes and confiscated our property. One brother’s over 2,000 RMB, his hard-earned money, was taken by the government. But there was nowhere he could redress the grievance, and there was also no one he could pour out his misery to. He was so angry as to fall seriously ill, and died in misery after several years. In addition, an old sister, who was in her 70s and not feeling well, was arrested by the cops from the local police station for doing hard labor. But she was too old to do any labor or go for a morning run as they required, so the prison officer beat and kicked her. Seeing these scenes, I was extremely angry. One afternoon, the public-security officers took several of us to a vegetable plot to weed. Then I took the opportunity of going to the toilet to escape secretly.
From then on, I began to lead a fugitive life. But the police and the village cadres never gave up. Several times they went to my house and asked my parents where I was. Failing to arrest me, the chief of police arranged for the village cadres to watch my house day and night. So I couldn’t return home, and had no choice but to hide myself in the mountains, living in constant fear every day. I had to change my locality every few days in order to be safe. In this painful and helpless life, I could only constantly pray to the Lord: Oh, Lord! Why is it so difficult to believe in You in China? Now because of the arrest and persecution of the CCP, I cannot return to my home and am on tenterhooks all day. Oh, Lord! Please keep me from being seen by evil people, so that I won’t fall into the hands of them and be viciously persecuted by them. After praying, the words of the Lord Jesus occurred to me: “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” (Matthew 10:28). The Lord’s words gave me faith and my fear lessened a lot. When it was rainy, I could only put the plastic sheet over my head to keep out wind and rain. But when the wind blew up, the plastic sheet was useless. The rain blew against my face, and my clothes were wet immediately. Moreover, no matter whether it was a sunny day or a rainy day, I could only sleep on the ground, with a plastic sheet under my body. Because of this, later I had rheumatism and arthritis. Once the weather changed I would suffer from them, and the pain was unbearable. I hid out in the mountains for two whole months, and the days truly did feel like years. Afterward, the Lord opened up a way out for me. In October of the same year, I received a notice about a meeting, and then our church arranged for me to work for the Lord in the neighboring county. Up until then, my miserable days of hiding in the wild had come to an end.
In February, 1996, the darkness swallowed me up again. At 9:00 one morning, on my way to a gathering I met up with the local village chief. He grabbed my bag from me and found a Bible in it, and then he said: “Turns out you are the person who believes in the Lord, and you came here to preach the gospel. You believers in the Lord are the people the government’s cracking down on. So for the sake of the safety of the people, you’d better be honest and come with me!” Soon he called a farm vehicle, and then, pointing a gun at me, he forcibly took me onto it and took me to the local police station. When we got there, it was over 10 o’clock. Several policemen eyed me with hostility, and one of them snarled at me: “What’s your name? Who do you preach the gospel to?” I just kept silent. Then the evil cops rushed on me, searched me and took away from me 120 RMB, stripped me of my clothes expect my underwear, and ordered me to stand against the wall. I was shivering with cold. Then they slapped me viciously across the face, which made me see stars; they also violently kicked me in the thigh with their boots, and I was so painful as to almost faint to the ground. I was very miserable inside, not knowing how they would treat me next. All I could do was to pray to the Lord in my heart, asking Him to protect me so that I would not fear them. After praying, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Right! Today I suffer persecution because of believing in the Lord, this is a blessing. The words of the Lord gave me infinite power, and my timidness lessened a lot. At that time, one policeman shouted at me loudly: “Wear your clothes and come with me to office.” After I went in, he handcuffed me and made me sit on a bench. It was still the same three policemen who interrogated me. A policeman who was a little fatter began to question: “What’s your name? Where do you live? How long have you preached in this area? How many people have you preached to?” However, no matter how they questioned me, I always said nothing. At noon they didn’t give me any food. Then, at 1:00 in the afternoon, they took me to the local Public Security Bureau. After the interrogation they knew that I was a stranger to that place, so they called the Public Security Bureau in my hometown and informed them to take me away. That night, they locked me into a wood-shed where there was only a torn blanket and two cartons. I had no choice but to spread the two cartons on the ground, put the torn blanket on them, and then sleep onto the blanket. When I was about to sleep, the evil crop put one end of the handcuff around my left wrist and the other end around my left leg. I was so tortured that I did not fall asleep all night.
To Be Continued …