Yang Zheng Heilongjiang Province
I was born into an impoverished rural family that was backward in their thinking. I was vain from a young age and my desire for status was particularly strong. Over time, through the social influence and a traditional education, I took all sorts of Satan’s rules for survival into my heart. All kinds of fallacies nurtured my desire for reputation and status, such as building a beautiful homeland with your own two hands, fame will make you immortal, people need face like a tree needs its bark, getting ahead and being on top, family prestige, etc. These gradually became my life and made me firmly believe that as long as we are living in this world, we have to work to be seen highly by others. No matter what crowd we are with we must have status, we should be the most outstanding one. Only through living this way can we have integrity and dignity. Only living a life this way has value. In order to achieve my dream, I studied very diligently in elementary school; through storms and sickness, I never missed class. Day by day, I finally made it to middle school that way. When I saw that I was getting closer and closer to my dream I didn’t dare slack off. I frequently told myself that I had to persevere, that I had to present myself well to my teachers and classmates. However, just then, something unexpected happened. There was a scandal about our head teacher and the principal of the school that caused an uproar. All the teachers and students knew about it. One day in class, that teacher asked us if we had heard about it and all the other students said “No.” I was the only one who honestly replied “I heard.” From that time on, that teacher saw me as a thorn in her side and would frequently find excuses to make things difficult for me, to crack down on me. My classmates started to keep their distance from me and exclude me. They made fun of me and humiliated me. Finally, I was no longer able to tolerate that kind of torment and I dropped out of school. That was how my dream of getting ahead and being on top was crushed. Thinking of my future days with my face to the earth and back to the sky, I felt an inexpressible sadness and melancholy. I thought: Can it be that my life will be passed so unremarkably? No status, no prestige, no future. What’s the point of living like this? I really wasn’t willing to accept that fact at that time but I was helpless to change my circumstances. Just as I was living in pain and hopelessness that I wasn’t able to extricate myself from, saved me and reignited the hope in my heart that had been extinguished. From then I began a whole new life.
It was March 1999, and from a fortuitous opportunity I heard the gospel of the last days of Almighty God. I learned that God incarnate had come to earth and He Himself was speaking to and leading mankind to save us from the domain of Satan, to allow us to cast off our lives of being in pain, of being fallen, to live in a new heaven and earth. And from the patient and painstaking fellowship from my brothers and sisters, I heard many truths that I had never heard of before, such as: God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the mystery of God becoming flesh, that corrupt people need the of God incarnate, what kind of sense creations should possess, how to worship the Lord of all creation, how to live out your proper humanity, what truly is a human life…. I was profoundly drawn in by these truths and they made me firmly believe that this was the work of the true God. That day my brothers and sisters also sang a song of experience, “Thinking of the Bitter Past and the Sweetness of the Present, I love God Even More”: “Oh practical God! I beg You to hear my story. I cry when I think of the past; my heart was dark and without light; my life was without hope, I could not speak of the suffering in my life, I could only helplessly pass the days. How could it not cause my heart misery? Oh practical God! Listen to me, thinking of the past, my heart is in pain. It was Satan the devil harming me, making me corrupt and fallen. Your words illuminated me and led me out of the darkness. Oh true God! Oh true God! I love You from within my heart.” This lit up my soul which had long been in darkness like a ray of light, and I could not help but burst into tears. Many years of repression, injustices, and sadness seemed to suddenly be released. My heart felt much lighter. Aside from this excitement, I was even more grateful to God for selecting me from among millions of people, allowing my tired, sad soul to find a warm haven. From then my life changed radically. I was no longer disconsolate and dispirited, but I put my whole mind to reading the word of God, going to meetings, and fellowship on the truth. Every day was full and happy. Later I was lifted up by God and began to perform the duty of preaching the gospel. Because I was quite enthusiastic and positive as well as the fact that I was of a certain caliber, after a period of time my work was really bearing fruit. I gained the praise of my evangelical team leader, and the brothers and sisters in the church also looked up to me. They would always come ask me about things they didn’t understand about preaching the gospel. Without realizing it I started to become a little self-satisfied, and I thought: I have so quickly gained in the church the reputation and status I hoped for in the world for so many years. My “hero” side has finally found its place! Seeing my accomplishments I felt very fulfilled and I worked even harder to fulfill my duty. No matter how great of a difficulty I faced, I would do my utmost to overcome it. No matter what the church arranged for me to do, I willingly obeyed and did my best to complete it. At times the church leader dealt with me and pruned aspects of me because I hadn’t performed my duty well. No matter how upset I was, on the surface I wouldn’t make excuses for myself. Although I suffered quite a bit during this period of time, as long as I had status among my brothers and sisters and was looked up to by them, I felt that it was very much worth paying this price. But God can see into every part of people. In order to transform my erroneous views on human life and values, in order to cleanse the impurities in my belief in God and performing my duty, God carried out judgment and chastisement as well as trials and refinement on me.