Editor’s Note: Since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) was founded, it has been wildly persecuting against religious beliefs and conducting severe attacks on and persecution of Catholicism, Christianity, and so on. In recent years, the CCP’s persecution of Christians has become more and more severe. Persecuted by the CCP, many Christians are forced to leave their hometown to hide themselves from place to place. They can’t return home and are far apart from their families. Yezi, the protagonist of this article, is a persecuted Christian. Her rough fugitive road catches hold of the heart of every reader. Thanks to God’s guidance and keeping, Yezi, a post-90s child, grows strong in such a difficult situation …
I encountered God’s love when I was in helplessness.
I’m a post-90s girl. Since I was a child, I’ve always been unwell and sick. When I was a teenager, I underwent partial lung removal surgery. Before long, my father grew sick and passed away. For my poor family, this sudden misfortune was like a bolt from the blue. My helpless mother, young brother and sister and I all felt extremely grieved.
Just when we were suffering and helpless, my uncle and aunt came to preach theto us and to fellowship about truths and mysteries such as the source of man’s illness, God’s being put on the cross and serving as a sin offering to redeem the human race, God’s management plan to save mankind, and so on. I read these words from God, “Come to Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). After we heard the words of God and what my uncle and aunt fellowshiped, our hearts were deeply moved by God’s true love for mankind and we felt that we had hope in life and something to rely on. Therefore, we joyfully accepted God’s salvation.
Later on, I moved to my uncle’s home, studying medicine with him while also believing in God. As I attended meetings and fellowshiped with brothers and sisters, I tasted the love among them. At the same time, because I read more of God’s words, I understood God’s eager desire to save mankind. Then I made up my mind to follow God steadily and preach the gospel to more people so that they could accept God’s salvation and live under God’s care and protection and not be full of pain and perplexed any longer. Therefore, I became wholeheartedly involved in the preaching of the gospel.
However, I never expected that I would be condemned, hunted and ordered to be arrested by the atheist CCP government just because I believed in God, spread the gospel and walked the right path of life. From that moment on, I had to go into hiding and was forced to step onto a long drawn-out and bumpy road …
As my information fell into the police’s hands, I was forced to flee my hometown.
In 2014, the CCP government wanted to ban God’s work; it frenziedly searched for, arrested and persecuted us believers. From September to November of 2014 alone, over 30 brothers and sisters of many churches in our county were arrested by the CCP police one after another. One night in October, a brother who had been arrested and then released told me, “The cops have wormed your information out of the people who were arrested and they showed your identity card and pictures to me and asked if I knew about you. Now you are their main target, so you can’t stay in this county. You’d better leave here tonight!”
Hearing this news, I was immediately at a loss about what to do. In a panic, I could only keep praying to God in my heart. At that moment, I thought of God’s words, “Do not fear, Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He has your back and He is your shield.” “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing that I do not have the final say in. What exists that is not in My hands?” God’s words immediately gave me faith and courage. All matters and things are controlled by God’s hands. If I was really arrested, it would be because God allowed it and I would be willing to obey God’s sovereignty and stand testimony and never betray God like Judas or sell out my brothers and sisters even if I might die. Then I rushed home to pack some daily necessities and hurriedly left the county I stayed in.
In the midst of depression and suffering, God’s words comforted me.
After I escaped to another county and the church there learned of my situation, they arranged for me to live in a sister’s home. During that period, I hid upstairs every day and didn’t dare to go downstairs. When her children who didn’tcame back, I would be nervous and worried that I would be in trouble if I was discovered. It was winter at that time. The room upstairs was quite gloomy and chilly. Sometimes I wanted to go out to bask in the sunshine, but I didn’t dare for fear of being recognized by someone. In addition, the apartment beside us was very close. When I spoke at normal times, I had to lower my voice to the minimum. When I coughed, I had to cover my mouth with my hands or cover myself with my quilt. I was afraid that I would bring trouble to the sister if my voice was so loud that I was discovered. Living under this kind of circumstance, I was completely depressed and full of pain and felt waves of sorrow. I couldn’t help but be somewhat weak, so I hurriedly prayed to God, “O God! Due to the hunting of the CCP, I live a life of hiding everywhere. I feel quite depressed and weak and don’t know how to walk my future path and how to go through these days. May You enlighten me, guide me and give me the confidence and power!”
Afterward, I read the following words of God, “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.’ In the past, you have all heard this saying, yet none understood the true meaning of the words. Today, you know well the real significance they hold. These words are what God will accomplish in the last days. And they will be accomplished upon those cruelly afflicted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, so in this land, those who believe in God are subjected to humiliation and persecution. That is why these words will become reality in you group of people.”
God’s words gave me great comfort and encouragement, allowing me to know that it is a meaningful thing that we believe in God in this atheistic country and suffer persecution and humiliation, and that God has the work He wants to accomplish in us. I thought: “God is wise. Through the persecution of the CCP government, I have developed discernment and clearly seen the positive and negative. Meanwhile, in this kind of environment, I pray and have a genuine closeness to God more frequently and see more of God’s wonderful works, which increase my true faith in and love for Him. Now, because of the CCP’s pursuit, I’m separated from my family, unable to return home and can only hide here, which makes me feel pain in my heart, but I have the support and supply of God’s words and can frequently gather with my brothers and sisters to fellowship. Moreover, the couple of the host family treat me as if I were their own granddaughter. This makes me feel God’s practical love for me.” When I realized all of this, I knew it was worthy and meaningful to endure bitterness and I had a will to continue going forward.
At the end of the year, the sister’s children who worked at another place would return home, so it was not convenient for me to live in her home. Then the church arranged for me to go to another place to perform my duty and meanwhile escape being arrested by the CCP. I thought: “It has been months now. As the CCP hasn’t arrested me, it will let the matter drop.” However, I was too naive to see through the essence of the CCP. It not only didn’t give up arresting me, but became crazier and crazier.
Though feeling weak within when I was sought after, I finally understood the meaning of suffering pain and hardship.
In the first half of 2015, having not found me, the CCP government posted my identity card and photos on the Internet and sent them to the mobile phone users in my home city and several neighboring counties. They named me an escaped criminal who was wanted online on suspicion of being involved in sabotaging the enforcement of laws by organizing and utilizing cult organizations. When the brothers and sisters saw the warrant, they immediately told me, “You can’t perform duty outside anymore because you’re wanted by the CCP government on the Internet. For the sake of your safety, you must hide.”
Then, news from my relatives in my hometown came in: The CCP police had found my hometown and they, holding my identity card and photos, asked my grandfather who was eighty-something years old, “Is this your granddaughter? Where’s she now? Why does she believe in God? Now we’re looking everywhere for her.” It made my grandfather fearful and worried, being afraid that I would be captured and imprisoned. The police also questioned him on who preached the gospel to me. My grandfather was forced into a corner and he had no choice but to tell them that it was my uncle who preached the gospel to me. When the CCP police learned of this, they immediately went to my uncle’s home to demand to know the whereabouts of my mother, younger sister and I. My uncle replied that he didn’t know. Then a police captain angrily said, “You don’t cooperate with us well; once we find them, you’re going to get yours.” From that moment on, my uncle’s mobile phone was monitored and his minimum living allowance was canceled. When my mother and my younger sister who were out performing their duty heard the news, they dared not return home for fear that they would be arrested. Then my grandfather and younger brother came to heavily depend on each other.
Hearing the whole series of news, I was very indignant. I never thought that, just because I believed in God, without doing any bad things, the CCP government would make it hard for me to return home, and it never gave up. It issued a warrant for my arrest on the Internet and even harassed and frightened my family. I couldn’t help but shout within, “It is the law of heaven and earth that we believe in God. What on earth is wrong with this? Why do we suffer such treatment? Why is there not any fairness and freedom of human rights at all?” I had intended to go back home to see my family after a period of time, but now I became a wanted criminal. Not only was I unable to return home, but this would also make my family worry about me and be alarmed and afraid. Thinking of these things, I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing. Then I thought about what my relatives and friends would think if they saw the warrant. They would probably think I had done some bad things. Then how should I face them in the future? I was quite miserable in my heart, couldn’t help but become weak, and was unable to eat well.
In pain, I prayed to God, “O God! Facing these things that have happened to me, I’m quite miserable in my heart. Though I know that, since ancient times, the true way has always been suppressed, and that it is meaningful that I can suffer pain for my belief in You, yet when the real environment comes upon me, I’m still too weak to know how to experience it. O God! Only You are my reliance. Please give me faith and strength and lead me to understand Your will in such an environment.”
After the, I turned on my MP5 player and listened to a hymn of God’s words: “You are a created being—you should of course worship God and pursue a life of meaning. Since you are a human being, you should expend yourself for God and endure all suffering! You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job, like Peter. You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Is that not the most meaningful life?”
As I listened, I felt so moved that I cried. “Yes! Believing in and worshiping God is right, proper and a positive thing and a matter that is praised by God!” I then recalled that, for the sake of satisfying God, Job was abandoned by his wife and misunderstood by his friends, but he was not beaten by these sufferings. On the contrary, he kept his faith in God, stood firm in his testimony and made Satan fail in humiliation. In the end, he won God’s praise. And Peter experienced trials and refinements hundreds of times during his lifetime and suffered great agony without complaint only to seek to understand God, love God and satisfy God. Finally, he achieved obedience unto death and the supreme love of God. And when he was nailed upside down to a cross he acted as a good witness for God and became the one most deserving of God’s approval throughout the ages. I thought to myself: “As a created being, if I can receive the Creator’s approval because of the anguish that I suffer, this will be so meaningful. Today as I’m wanted by the CCP government because of my belief in God, even if my relatives and friends misunderstand and abandon me, this isn’t a shameful thing, because I’m following the right path of life and doing the most righteous undertaking.” At the thought of this, I no longer felt any pain in my heart; instead, I felt both pride and glory for enduring this kind of suffering. I set my determination that I would pursue a meaningful life like Job and Peter. In the face of sufferings and trials, I wouldn’t shrink back, nor be defeated, but I would stand witness for God!