I was an ordinary believer of a house church. Around 2000, our church began to become desolate, and we felt no enjoyment in the meetings. But our leaders restricted us from going out to listen to other messages and receiving strangers. And they often said to us, “Theis our only Savior, and only the way of the Lord Jesus is the true way. Any way that does not preach the Lord Jesus is false. Now the Eastern Lightning followers are preaching that the Lord Jesus has come back, who is called Almighty God. This is an impossible thing. You should have discernment so that you will not be deceived and betray the Lord Jesus. Whoever is found to have listened to their preaching and been deceived will be expelled from the church at once. …” These words made us live in fear every day. No one dared to contact any strangers or go out to listen to other messages.
In September 2003, Sister Zhao of our church, who pursued actively, invited me to investigate the words of Almighty God along with her, because she felt there was light in Almighty God’s words after hearing them. At first I was afraid of being deceived, but then I thought: There is no light in the preaching of our leaders, and I have felt no presence of the Lord for a long time when praying. Is it that I have been forsaken by God and haven’t kept up with God’s work as Sister Zhao said? If it continues, I’m afraid I will miss the Lord’s return. Sister Zhao is a person who pursues the Lord. Since she dares to investigate, I should also actively seek the footprints of the Lord, and can’t passively wait anymore. So I let my guard down and went with Sister Zhao to the Church of Almighty God to listen to the preaching. When Sister Chen fellowshiped about the words expressed by Almighty God, I felt her fellowship was novel and practical, and that Almighty God’s words were indeed the truth. Sister Chen told us, “God’s work of saving mankind is divided into three stages. The Lord Jesus’ work of redeeming man is the second stage. In the last days Almighty God expresses His word to judge and purify people—this is the third stage of God’s work, newer and higher work upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’s work of redemption. The stage of work done by the Lord Jesus was the redemption of mankind from the cross. As long as people accepted the name Jesus and confessed and repented before Him, they would be forgiven of their sins. However, man’s sinful nature is still deep-rooted within and is not eradicated, so they often sin in the day only to confess in the evening, bound by sins, and they are not qualified to enter into God’s kingdom. Man has to accept the work of judgment and chastisement that God does in the last days in order to be saved and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only by doing so can man get rid of the sinful nature and corrupt disposition, be purified and transformed, and be saved by God and enter into the kingdom of heaven.” After hearing her testimony, Sister Zhao and I both felt that Almighty God was the returned Lord Jesus.
Afterward, we took Sister Chen to preach the good news of the Lord’s return to Sister Zhu of our church. She also wanted to investigate after hearing it. But due to the deception and disturbance of our leaders, when Sister Chen went to testify to her again, Sister Zhu said our leaders didn’t allow her to accept the kingdom gospel and rejected Sister Chen, and also didn’t allow us to go to her home again. We had a premonition that our church leaders would come to disturb us too.
One day after lunch, Sister Zhao, Sister Chen, and I were reading God’s words at my home, when suddenly we heard sharp knocks on the door, and then someone called my name. I went to the door to listen carefully. The outside was noisy. The church leaders and co-workers had come. My heart rose into my throat. I thought that they must have come to disturb me and stop me believing in Almighty God. Being of small stature and afraid of their disturbance, I didn’t dare to open the door. At the time, Sister Chen calmed us, saying that it was Satan’s disturbance and that we should not be afraid, and she asked us to pray to Almighty God for protecting us from being deceived by our leaders. After a while, seeing that we didn’t open the door, they shouted from behind our house, “Sister Yang, Sister Zhao, you have received so much grace from the Lord; how can you betray the Lord and follow them? That’s not the true way. Turn back quickly, or else you will be abandoned by the Lord!” At least four or five people were shouting, and the voice was more and more urgent. I began to be a little frightened. I thought, “The leaders and co-workers all came to persuade us, placing so much importance on the matter; could it be that the way is actually wrong? It seems that I shouldn’t accept the way.” I couldn’t help guarding against Sister Chen. “But the word of Almighty God sounds like the voice of the Lord Jesus. It states God’s work so clearly, and conforms with the Bible. In addition, after listening to the sister’s fellowship about Almighty God’s words, I felt the peace and joy in the heart and had strength in believing in God. This should be the confirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit, and the way should be the true way. If I don’t accept it and can’t be saved in the future, what will happen to me?” My mind was in turmoil. When I noticed that Sister Chen was still kneeling on the floor and praying for us with sincerity, I recalled the days I got along with her. She was very simple and honest, and full of love for us, unlike what the leaders and co-workers said. Then my guard against her died away. The leaders and co-workers kept shouting for about two or three hours. As we still gave no response, they left with sighs of despair.
In the evening, Sister Chen, my husband, and I finished dinner in haste. We were ready to read God’s words together, when Sister Liu, a host sister of my former church, came to disturb us together with three sisters. At the sight of Sister Chen, Sister Liu yelled at her, “Where are you from? Why are you stealing sheep in our church?” Sister Chen said calmly, “Sister, we all know that only the Lord is the Shepherd and that all believers in God are the Lord’s sheep, not of someone or some church. Besides, I am here preaching God’s kingdom gospel and bringing God’s sheep back to God, which is completely after the Lord’s heart. Sister, let us sit down and have some fellowship together.” Sister Liu gave an oblique glare at Sister Chen, refused to fellowship, and peremptorily said to my husband, “Drive this woman away quickly; don’t let her deceive your wife. …” She was so rude and impolite, and my husband ignored her. So she tried to persuade me, “Don’t listen to them. What we believe is the true way. What they preach is not the true way and is misleading people….” Seeing her so wild, I felt very disgusted with her. I didn’t want to talk to her, and she turned to my husband. She urged him to drive away Sister Chen. My husband said angrily to her, “My wife didn’t understand much truth after years of belief with you. The sister from the Church of Almighty God spoke about God’s work so clearly. But you always say what they preach is a false way. Then you might as well argue with the sister now. If what you say has a basis and is in accord with the Bible, making us convinced, we’ll drive her away at once; if you can’t speak clearly, then you go away at once, and don’t come to disturb us again!” As soon as he said that, Sister Liu turned red and left in dejection with those sisters.
After that, when I was ready to follow Almighty God with full confidence, Sister Hu in our former church, who was on close terms with us, began to stay away from us after knowing that the leaders and co-workers had rejected us. What’s more, she slanderously said everywhere that we had been deceived into believing in the Eastern Lightning, betraying the Lord Jesus, and so on. As a result, all our villagers stayed away from us—even the unbelievers ignored us, not to mention the brothers and sisters in our former church. They all despised, rejected, and slandered us. In the beginning, by praying to God we were not troubled, and we tried to preach the kingdom gospel to those deceived brothers and sisters. But because of the leaders’ slander and smear against the Church of Almighty God, everywhere we went, the brothers and sisters there said that we were ungrateful to betray the Lord to follow a false way and asked us to turn back quickly. Time after time of frustrations and failures made Sister Zhao and me feel much pressure, and we were distressed and weak. Once again I thought of the words of the leaders, “The Lord Jesus is our only Savior, and only the way of the Lord Jesus is the true way. Any way that departs from the Lord Jesus is false….” And my heart kept being troubled by that.
To Be Continued …
Part Two: Brushing Away the Fog (II)