Since I was little, I had been particularly idolizing the people’s police. Especially when I saw them catching criminals on TV, I felt they were very cool and righteous, thus dreaming to be one of them when I grew up. Nevertheless, not long after believing in God, I personally saw the people’s police persecute us Christians frantically. At that moment, the lofty image of the people’s police was overturned in my heart.
One summer morning in 1999, I went to church with my mother, my elder sister and my younger sister (seventy or eighty brothers and sisters were attending the meeting at that time). Around 10am, we were singing a hymn as usual, when suddenly the church gate banged open and two policemen in uniform came in. At this point, we stopped singing and looked at them. Seeing the “people’s police” on TV were so close to me actually (I was sitting in the corner near the gate), I wanted to go over to say hello to them. But at that moment, their actions frightened me out of my wits: The two policemen roared loudly, “Stop! Stop singing! Shut up!” With this, they pulled the hymnbooks away from my brothers and sisters. Then another six policemen ran in, with batons in their hands, and one of them kicked a bench to the ground with a clanking crash, swung a baton and aggressively said, “Who allows you to attend the meeting here? Quickly! Hand over your books! …” Before he finished his words, the other policemen suddenly rushed to rob my brothers and sisters of their books. As a result, we were horrified by this abrupt situation, and even some didn’t react until their books were taken away. Just then another five undercover policemen came in (there were another two policemen who watched the gate, with submachine guns in their hands). On entering, they commanded us, “Hand over your books! Our patience is limited.” With these words, they began to break benches, and my brothers and sisters hurried to stand up with fear. Then all the police crazily grabbed our books and broke benches, causing more than ten little brothers and sisters to cry loudly who were only between the ages of 4 and 15. Although I didn’t cry, I stood motionless with horror in the corner.
At this point, my mother quickly put her hymnbook in her bosom, and then hugged my elder sister for fear that the police noticed her hymnbook. However, because my elder sister cried loudly with fear and unceasingly moved (she had been blind since birth), and my four-year-old sister also cried and shoved my mother, so my mother’s hymnbook was revealed and noticed by a policeman. Immediately, he pointed at my mother with his finger and said loudly, “Hand over your book!” My mother answered, “I have no book.” He asked loudly, “No books? What’s in your clothes? Be smart! Hurriedly hand it over.” My mother still answered, “I have no book.” That policeman yelled loudly, “You still deny it? I have already seen it!” With this, he went to grab the hymnbook but my mother wasn’t willing to give it to him, then they pulled from one another. This sudden conflict scared my elder sister again, making her weep “boohoo,” sobbing loud. At that moment, that policeman forcibly pulled my elder sister aside and gave her a push, abusing her, “Damn it! Bored with life? You dare to interfere with my work.” Then he grabbed my mother’s book and turned the pages and said triumphantly, “No books? Is this not a book? Level with me, do you have other books?” My mother answered, “No. I cannot read. You have grabbed the only book I have.” Hearing this, that policeman laughed loudly, and continued to grab others’ books.
Then, I saw a policeman grabbing the book of a 78-year-old sister: He pushed her to the floor and grabbed her book. However, the elderly sister couldn’t get up for long. At this point, I heard the preacher of our church saying, “You can’t do this. We just gather to sing hymns and read the Bible and don’t do any terrible thing. You can’t treat us like this.” A tall policeman in uniform laughed loudly, and sarcastically said, “We have done this. What will you do? Today I tell you: As long as you don’t go to the Three-Self Church opened by the government to have meetings, we will say you attend illegal meetings. You are not willing to go to the Three-Self Church, are you? Then I make you unable to gather here!” And having said these words, he gave a command, “Smash! Break all things into pieces, including the things in the kitchen.” Then, he pulled the preacher by the hair and went toward the gate, and took church offerings of several hundred yuan from the desk, too. The preacher tried to free her hair from the policeman’s hand, but she failed because he pulled it so firmly. Other policemen began to crazily smash all things again, such as benches, desks, buckets, pots, etc. They smashed all this up. If something couldn’t be broken, then they cut it with a kitchen knife or a chopper and they even destroyed part of the cooking stove. At the moment, cry, shouts, and the noise of breaking mixed together. Seeing this scene, I was afraid and felt great sorrow, beginning to cry loudly, too. I didn’t understand: Why do the “people’s police” treat us like this? We are only believing in and praising the Lord. Is it not right for us to learn to be good? Why do the “people’s police” do this? Do they not catch criminals specially? When I looked at them at that time, my favorable impression of the “people’s police” had already disappeared completely, and all I had was the resentment against them.
Having smashed our church, they would take the preacher away. At the moment, my brothers and sisters all reasoned with them, “Our church has been smashed by you. What else do you want to do? You still want to take away the sister? Don’t overdo it. Don’t forget ‘The day has eyes, the night has ears.’” The policeman, who dragged the preacher, said, “I must take her away. Blame herself for being your leader?” With this, he forced the preacher into the police car. When my brothers and sisters tried to stop him, the two policemen raised their submachine guns. Upon seeing this, we helplessly watched the sister being taken away.
After the police left, my brothers and sisters cleaned the church of total devastation with tears. Looking at the church which had been smashed by the police, we were absent-minded. Later, we said a longto the Lord together, and I was sitting in the last row and only heard the crying of my brothers and sisters. After the prayer, by discussion we decided to go to the police station of the town to ask the police for the preacher, and I went with my mother, too. We several dozen people arrived at the gate of the police station together and asked them to free the preacher. Nonetheless, not only did they not free the sister, but they didn’t see us. In this way, we kept waiting from 2pm to 5pm. Afterward, those policemen had to ask one of us to negotiate with them, and Sister He, a co-worker, went to do that. Until 8pm, we saw the preacher and Sister He walked out of the gate of the police station slowly. With her hair untidy, the preacher looked marred and had bruises at the corner of her mouth, and this showed she must be hit by the police.
After that, I asked my mother, “Why did the police treat us like that? I was very afraid.” My mother said, “Don’t be frightened. We are afraid of nothing because we have God. The Bible says, ‘If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you’ (John 15:18-19). Those policemen’s treating us in that way isn’t because they hate us, but because they hate God and oppose God. But we needn’t be afraid of them, because the Lord said, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear you not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows’ (Matthew 10:29-31). Therefore, we should believe in the Lord properly and He will keep us safe.” From the Lord’s words, I knew the police hated God, and thus they also hated us believers in God. That was why they treated my brothers and sisters fiercely like that.
After the latest smash, I thought the police wouldn’t come to disturb us again, but instead they plagued us unceasingly. In order to prevent us from attending meetings, every Sunday they used the various excuses to hinder us, such as “Your gathering disturbs others,” and “You’re attending an illegal gathering.” Furthermore, the police let the villagers around monitor us. Once we attended gatherings, the villagers would call the police; after the police came, they would say, “You’ve been reported for attending the illegal meeting!” and then drove us away. Hereafter, because we were disturbed by the police all the time, we had to attend meetings in the orchard, the mountain or the houses of my brothers and sisters. In spite of this, the police still could find us. One time, we were attending a meeting at Sister Zhen’s home when suddenly she rushed home from the outside to tell us, “Something terrible! The police is coming again. Quickly hide yourselves!” Then, We dozen or so people all hid in the storehouse, and my elder sister and I stayed under a bench. More than half an hour later, after the police left, our legs had gone so numb that our knees gave way, and thus we could only sit on the floor regardless of how dirty it was. When we adjusted ourselves, the preaching sister read us the following scriptures, “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. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12). Then the sister said, “It’s a good thing for us to suffer persecution because of believing in the Lord, and this is our blessings. We can’t lose our faith in the Lord nor do we hurt Him. Although we are so persecuted by the police that we have no place to attend meetings, the Lord is always with us. We must insist on going to the end to greet the Lord’s return.”
Like this, under layers of persecution of the CCP government, we have never stopped attending meetings. Even if sometimes we feel negative and weak, as long as we remember the words with which the Lord inspired us, and the fact that the Lord personally experienced the pain of the world and even was crucified to redeem us, our confidence will grow exponentially and we will be filled with power in our heart. The path the Lord has walked is the one we must walk. Persecutions and contributions are not daunting, and as long as we have faith in the Lord, with the Lord’s presence and guidance, we will get through all difficulties.