Unable to Return Home, I Was Accompanied by God’s Love
- 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, the Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield.” “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing in which I do not have the final say. Is there anything 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 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.’ 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.”
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 and 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!
The CCP adopted more contemptible means; God led me to clearly see its substance.
Because the CCP government still continued pursuing me, I could only take a break from performing my duty outside and hide myself again. What was most incredible is that, in order to arrest me, the CCP government made painstaking efforts and used more despicable means: They engraved the charges imposed on me on my ID card and photos, and then put them with criminals’ photos to print into packs of playing-cards for people to play with. Not only that, but they also put my relevant information on the bulletin board in front of the Public Security Bureau’s gate, and even played them on the big screen outside the train station in the county I was staying. Through this it discredited and smeared my name, insulted my character, and restricted my personal freedom.
After hearing this, I couldn’t help but bitterly hate the CCP. I thought: “The CCP is too despicable, too evil, too sinister and ruthless. It actually uses these despicable means to besmirch me in order to have people report me and thus get me arrested. I believe in God, walk the right path in life, pursue the truth and live as a true human being, which is truly valuable and meaningful. How could they turn black into white and confuse me with the criminals who committed many evil deeds?” I really wanted to question them: What law have I broken? What illegal things have I done? Why do you do this to me?
I couldn’t help but think of God’s words, “In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people without batting an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they have long since disdained God, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, they go against all conscience, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. 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!”
God’s words fully expose the truth-hating and God-hating demonic substance of the CCP government. From its actions and deeds, I entirely saw through its ugly face. It is an absolute expert fibber, the ultimate cheater in the world, and a demon who hates God! It resists God and doesn’t allow people to believe in the true God or take the right path. As long as we believe in God, it will use “laws” to punish, arrest and persecute us believers. It publicly claims “freedom in religious belief” and “Citizens enjoy legal rights and interests; everyone is equal and free.” It uses these lies and deceptions to disguise itself as a crusader for justice, but instead deceives the people, because it fears most that after people believe in God, they will gain the truth, have an understanding of God’s love, beauty and goodness, distinguish its evil, pretension and malice, and no longer be deceived by it. Therefore, it does its utmost to obstruct people’s belief in God and firmly put people under its control in order to maintain its political regime and turn China into a godless land so that it can achieve its purpose of having eternal dictatorship. Seeing through the CCP’s essence of hating the truth and resisting God, I became even more determined to follow God to the end.
Another informant reward scheme made it impossible for me to have a family reunion.
In May of 2016, because the CCP government hadn’t caught me through using various means such as issuing a warrant on the Internet for my arrest, posting my belief and relevant information on the bulletin board, printing my photos onto poker cards, showing my information on the big screen, and so on, they changed their method and offered a reward of 10,000 RMB to anyone who reported my whereabouts. The notice said, “Our Bureau urges the above suspect to surrender within one month from the date this notice is published to gain the greatest leniency; if you miss the deadline, continue being on the run and refuse to give yourself up, we will severely punish you according to the law…. We demand that the vast masses of people actively cooperate with our Bureau on this work. If you find the suspect described by this notice, you must report to us at once. Between May 1, 2016 and May 31, 2016, those who provide important clues or immediately catch her will be rewarded with 10,000 RMB.”
After the notice was issued, news came in from my relatives in my hometown who believed in God, which said that, being deceived by the rumors crafted by the government, the people in and around my village, and even my relatives and friends all thought that I was wanted by the government for doing unlawful and shameful things, and that the government had spread slander against me everywhere. Upon hearing the news, my brother was worried and anxious, so he ran to my uncle’s home to cry. After I heard this, I couldn’t calm myself and stop my tears from flowing. At the time, I hoped very much to declare loudly and clarify the fact that I didn’t do anything bad and that I just believed in God and trod the right road. I hoped even more that I could immediately just fly to see my younger brother and tell him not to feel sorry for me or worry about me. But I knew that, no matter how much I was concerned for him or anxious to see him, it was just a thought. Once I went back to my home and appeared, there would be the risk of being arrested, imprisoned, tortured and sentenced by the CCP.
With Life Hanging by a Thread, God’s Love Accompanied Me
Because I was still wanted by the CCP government, I could only hide myself in the sister’s room for a long time. Sometimes, if I wanted to open the window and breathe in the fresh air, I had to be quite careful. I was worried that if I was seen and reported by the people next door or across, it would not only put me in danger, but also implicate the sister I was staying with and result in her being charged with “harboring a fugitive.”
Because when I was a teenager, I underwent partial lung removal surgery and the part of my lung that wasn’t removed was also diseased, so I should breathe more circulating fresh air and exercise appropriately to increase my breath capacity. But under the wild persecution of the CCP, I was stripped of my chances of freely enjoying the sunshine and breathing air bestowed by God, and I couldn’t even exercise on the balcony. Because I lived my life under these kinds of circumstances for a long time, my diseased lung began to ache. The brothers and sisters advised me to be hospitalized for treatment but I didn’t dare to do so, because the hospital would ask for my identification card to register me and because I was wanted by the CCP. Because of this, I wanted to go home to take good care of myself, but I couldn’t do that either …
Due to the delay of time, my illness became more and more advanced. One morning when I was in my worst condition, I leaned against the bed, inhaling and exhaling with difficulty. I felt I was on the verge of suffocating and that I was really at the point of death this time. At this moment, Job’s words kept recurring to me: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” I thought of how I had accepted God’s last days’ gospel and gained the truth that generations of saints never heard. I had already been shown great favor. Even if I lost my life because of the persecution of the CCP, I would certainly not complain to God, disgracing His name. Thereupon, I strenuously asked the sister to bring me paper and pen. Then I leaned on the sister and used up my final strength to write on the notebook with shaking hands, “God is righteous forever! He is worthy of being extolled and truly deserves praise!” The moment that I finished writing and released my grip, my eyes began to close.
Nevertheless, just when my life was at stake and I thought I wouldn’t have a thread of hope, God’s love accompanied me closely! Having tears in their eyes, the sisters around me held my hands and encouraged me firmly, “Yezi, you must believe these words of God, “So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die.” Another sister said, “Right! We must believe in God’s authority and His words, and have confidence in Him.” The sisters’ words of encouragement immediately warmed my heart and I was so moved that tears rolled down my cheeks.
At that moment, God’s words once again gave me clear guidance within, “People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye…. it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this. … No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God.” The enlightenment and guidance of God’s words gave me the utmost encouragement and comfort. I thought: The origin of my life is from God. Today, my life and death is even more controlled by God’s hand. If God doesn’t permit me to die, neither Satan’s evil forces nor illness can deprive me of my life. As long as there is a breath left in me, I shouldn’t give up, nor feel disheartened or disappointed with God. Then, I prayed to God in my heart, “O God! Though my life is still hanging by a thread, I’ve deeply felt that you’ve been watching by my side all along. Now I completely entrust myself to You. No matter if I live or die, I’m willing to obey Your arrangements. I believe that whatever You do, You’re righteous. Today, with Your company, I’ll have no complaints or regrets even if I die. If I can continue to live on, I’m willing to pursue the truth wholeheartedly in the future and loyally perform my duty to repay Your great love.”
After the prayer, my breath was gradually revived and my breathing wasn’t that rapid, and my heart was also greatly settled. It made me truly taste God’s wonder and power. I couldn’t help but think of God’s words, “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 cannot be overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists and shines its brilliant radiance regardless of time or place.”
Seeing that I got my breath back, the sisters breathed a sigh of relief. However, I was seriously exhausted. A sister advised me to be hospitalized for treatment to totally cure my disease. A sister who was about my age risked her life to lend me her identity card. Several sisters accompanied me to the hospital and cared about and looked after me as if they were my relatives. As I saw everything the sisters had done for me, there was an unspeakable feeling that moved my heart. I thought of how, if it had not been for God’s love and care, how could those sisters treat me, who wasn’t their blood relative, better than my own relatives? How could they be willing to risk arrest to help me? Being moved to tears, I could only keep offering a grateful prayer to God in my heart and entrusted all these environments to Him. Thank God! Under God’s care and protection, the CCP didn’t know I was there and the hospital didn’t recognize me. Moreover, my condition gradually became better and better. After a week, I was discharged from the hospital.
After getting through the valley of the shadow of death, I do my utmost to repay God’s love
These few years, I have been continuously wanted and hunted by the CCP government, living a homeless and vagrant life and hiding everywhere. But God’s love has accompanied me all along and He was with me during difficult times. When I was timid and fearful because of being wanted and hunted by the CCP, it was God who used His words to enlighten and lead me and gave me the confidence, so that I had the power to go forward. When I was unable to return home, it was God who provided the refuge for me through the sisters and brothers, so that I could escape arrest. When I was defamed and worried that my relatives and friends misunderstood and ridiculed me and I lived in a passive and weak state, it was God who supported and sustained me, so that I understood the meaning of suffering pain, had discernment of the CCP devils’ essence and had the determination to stand testimony for God. When I hid myself for a long period of time and met with sickness and my life was in the balance, it was God who accompanied me and arranged for the sisters to give me faith and encouragement, enlightened and guided me with His words just in time, wiped my tears and comforted my helpless and despairing heart. It was God who led me through the valley of the shadow of death with His extraordinary life force and supported me to tenaciously go on living.
Though now I’m still living a vagrant life and hiding everywhere, I feel peaceful, certain, and have reliance, because I know that, no matter what environment I’m in, I have God by my side. No matter how hard the CCP government persecutes us, I only wish to use my utmost to pursue the truth and be loyal in doing my duty and fully give my whole heart and love to God to satisfy His heart.