By Zhang Xin
“What are you doing here? Are you holding a gathering? And who are you? What are you doing here?” howled a cop, seizing the arm of my fifteen-year-old nephew, who was thoroughly frightened and at a loss. My wife hastened to explain, “These are all my relatives, and the boy is my nephew. They came to see me because I am sick.” Hearing this, the cop loosened his grip, and then threatened us for a while before leaving.
Ever since my whole family believed in God, the CCP government has never relaxed its persecution on us for over twenty years. The police have frequently come to our house, searching, interrogating us, or carrying out the arrest; my family members were once arrested, tortured, and imprisoned, and some of them were forced to take flight outside our hometown, which made my once-happy family shattered.
Suffering the CCP’s Persecution and Pursuit, I Was Forced to Flee My Hometown
In 1995, the CCP government carried out a large-scale arrest of Christians of the Stream of Recovery. At that time, my eldest son and daughter and some relatives had just begun their faith in the Lord. Unfortunately, all of them eight were arrested by the CCP police and suffered cruel torture to different extents in the detention house. According to my eldest son, in the detention house the police jabbed him with the electric baton. Seeing that he refrained from crying out as if he hardly felt pain, the police commanded him to open his mouth, and then poked the electric baton into his mouth. Immediately his mouth bled, and my son cried out due to the unbearable pain. How malicious these evil cops were! Later, they eight were all detained, some for one month, some for two months, and weren’t released until the police extorted over 18,000 yuan from them.
Fortunately, my younger son, who at that time was a church leader as well as a prime target of the police, was not caught then. To arrest my son and me, the police often broke into our house at midnight. Under such circumstances, my younger son had no choice but to hide himself in a deserted hut on the riverside for the night, and I stayed in my neighbor’s house. One night in May, 1995, I slept at my neighbor’s while my daughter and wife were looking after the kid at home. In the middle of the night, my daughter heard the sound of cars and barks, and then immediately took her kid to her sister-in-law’s house. There was only my wife left in the house. Not for a while, a wicked guy in our village led the police to our house. Kicking the door down, the police rushed into our home, but failed to find us. Seeing the quilt was still warm, a cop said, “They can’t have run far. Go after them!” After the police left, I came back home. Listening to my wife’s description, I knew I couldn’t stay at home any longer. So, before the dawn, I set off for a relative’s outside of our village.
The Lord’s Words Led Me in Time When I Fell Into Pain Due to the Persecution
During the two years when I wasn’t at home, the police focused lots of efforts on me and my younger son. A cop said, “In order to catch the two Christians, we have put in a lot of manpower and material resources in the past two years, and just the gas has cost us much, but we got nothing.” To arrest us, the CCP police often lurked around my house at midnight, observing and waiting for us. Sometimes they just broke into my house, forcing my wife to tell them where my younger son and I were. As the police would come at any time, every night my wife slept in the clothes she wore in the day, no matter in severe winter or hot summer.
As I was on the run and couldn’t reunite with my family or share the burden of farm work with my wife, I was so sad that I often shed tears on the quiet. Thinking of how my whole family had been persecuted and separated from each other, and lived such a bitter life because of our faith in the Lord, I became quite upset and fell into darkness and pain. Then the Lord’s words came into my mind, “He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). “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). In pondering the Lord’s words, I was bright inside. “Right, if I want to gain life, I should not fear the sufferings, but rather risk my life to satisfy the Lord. Though I am enduring the persecution and chase from the CCP government, suffering some pain in the flesh, the Lord will approve of this. Haven’t there been a lot of martyred saints who have devoted their lives to following the Lord, and preaching and bearing witness for Him? I should follow the example of them and bear strong and resounding witness for the Lord.” After understanding this, I felt much better in my heart. Thank the Lord! But for His words leading me in time, I couldn’t have stood those hardships. Such experiences made me understand that toin China where the atheistic CCP exercises its dictatorial rule, we have to tie our head to the waistband, despite the risk of being arrested or put into prison. As I had such experience and knowledge, my faith in the Lord wasn’t destroyed when my younger son was captured and sentenced to three years of reform through labor in 1997.
The Police Searched My House and Threatened Me When My Family Members Were Spreading the
All my family members successively received God’s work of the last days from 2004 to 2012. One morning in the winter of 2012, my daughter-in-law led six brothers and sisters to spread the gospel in our village and the nearby villages, which was reported to the police by the vice secretary of our village. And soon the police broke into my house; they searched each room and interrogated me.
At that time, I was so worried, thinking, “If my younger son and daughter-in-law come back now, they will certainly be caught.” I could do nothing but pray to God in my heart, “Oh God, I entrust this incident to you. I shall obey whatever you will do. The CCP cops are in your hands however rampant they are. May you protect my son and daughter-in-law.” After, my heart calmed down a lot.
Failing to seek out whom they wanted, the police vented their anger on me, questioning me, “Are you still believing in God? What you eat and drink comes from the CCP, so you’d better behave yourself and obey the CCP. Tell us where your son and daughter-in-law are. Have they gone out to preach the gospel? If you don’t tell us while you know where they are, you’ll be punished for harboring criminals!”
I was kind of scared by their threat, worrying they would send me to prison. And I earnestly prayed to God, thinking, “Today God gives me such a trial to see if I have faith in Him; Job’s trial was the temptation of Satan, and so is the thing befalling me. However, all is in the hands of God; without His permission, the police could do nothing to me; if God allows me to be put into jail, I shall obey Him.” Having this faith in God, I wasn’t scared anymore. Failing to get anything from me, the police left finally.
My Younger Son Leaving Home to Avoid the Arrest, My Family Endured the Cold Looks of Others
In the fall of 2014, the police came again to ask the villagers about my younger son. It so happened that my neighbor was there watching others playing cards, and he told the police that my younger son had gone out for work and was not at home. Actually, my younger son was just at home that day; it was God who kept him from being arrested through the words of an unbeliever. And from this I saw God’s omnipotence and sovereignty over all things, and offered my thanks to Him in my heart. As God says, “The heart and spirit of man are held in the hand of God, and all the life of man is beheld in the eyes of God. Regardless of whether or not you believe this, any and all things, living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear according to God’s thoughts. This is how God rules over all things.”
I thought to myself, “The CCP’s arrests of Christians have become more and more outrageous. It seems that my younger son cannot stay at home any longer. But there are the aged and young as well as the farmland needing to be taken care of. If he leaves, how will we deal with these? But if he doesn’t leave, he will probably be arrested and stay in jail for several years, and even could lose his life.” Later, to avoid the arrest of the CCP, my younger son had no choice but to leave home.
After he left, the heavy burden of family life laid on my daughter-in-law’s shoulder. In addition to taking care of my wife and me and three kids, she had to do all the farming work. Our life was pretty hard, but to walk the right path of believing in God, we endured the hardships in silence. In those years, my wife and I suffered both physical and mental agonies because of the persecution from CCP, and came down with many diseases. In 2012, my wife became ill with cerebral thrombosis, and after that she could hardly look after herself, and needed to be taken care of day and night.
In 2016, my daughter-in-law was forced to flee due to the CCP’s persecution. In 2017, my wife passed away without seeing my younger son and daughter-in-law in her last moments. There were only me and my three grandchildren left in my home then. Falling for the rumors and lies of the CCP, the villagers all ridiculed and slandered my grandchildren, which greatly wounded their young hearts. Unable to bear the gossips as well as the sarcasm and odd looks of others, my two granddaughters stopped going to school after graduation from primary school.
Seeing Through the Demonic Substance of the CCP, I Will Always Follow
After suffering the persecution of the CCP, though my family were separated from each other, I deeply appreciated that everything of us is in the control of God, and that He protects and cares for us all the time. When we encountered danger, God preserved us from it; when we suffered persecutions and tribulations, God comforted us with His words. It was God who led my family through those rough days. Every time I thought of and pondered God’s love, a warm feeling would rush into my heart. What’s more, God had me gain some discernment of the essence of the CCP by its persecution. God says, “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! … Where is the true freedom and legitimate rights and interests? Where is the fairness? Where is the comfort? Where is the warmth? Why use deceitful schemes to trick God’s people? Why use force to suppress the coming of God? Why not allow God to freely roam upon the earth that He created? Why hound God until He has nowhere to rest His head? Where is the warmth among men? Where is the welcome among people?” “How could this devil, fuming with rage, allow God to govern its court of power on earth? How could it willingly admit defeat? Its odious countenance has been revealed for what it is, hence one finds himself not knowing whether to laugh or cry, and it is truly difficult to speak of. Is this not its essence? With an ugly soul, it still believes that it is incredibly beautiful. This gang of accomplices! They come down among the mortals to indulge in pleasures and stir up disorder. Their disturbance causes fickleness in the world and brings panic in the heart of man, and they have distorted man so that man resembles beasts of unbearable ugliness, no longer possessing the slightest trace of the original holy man. They even wish to assume power as tyrants on earth. They impede the work of God so that it can barely move forward and close off man as if behind walls of copper and steel. Having committed so many sins and caused so much trouble, how could they expect anything other than to wait for chastisement? Demons and evil spirits have been running amok on earth and have closed off the will and painstaking effort of God, making them impenetrable. What a mortal sin! How could God not feel anxious? How could God not feel wrathful? They cause grievous hindrance and opposition to the work of God. Too rebellious!”
Outwardly, the CCP government advocates religious freedom, but in reality, it frenziedly persecutes and arrests Christians, which made my family shattered. My children were forced to flee our home, unable to visit their mother in her last moments, much less take care of us in our old age. As believers in God, we were taking the right path of life. Yet, the CCP slandered and attacked us. Even the unbelievers such as our neighbors and relatives were deceived by the rumors of the CCP, ridiculing and slandering us, following the CCP in denying and resisting God. The CPP government persecutes Christians by all kinds of methods, disturbing and disrupting God’s management plan of saving mankind, from which I see clearly that it is a devilish organization that resists God and hates God, and I will be its sworn enemy. The CCP has been going against God all along. As long as it takes power for just one day, the Chinese people will not be able to get rid of the sufferings it brings them. Having conducted numerous evil deeds, the CCP is bound to receive the righteous punishment from God. Only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and only He can point out the bright way of life for us. Therefore, I will follow Christ till the end!