A Young Christian’s Story: How I Grew Under Persecution and Tribulations
My name is Liu Ying. I am a 22-year-old Christian. In my childhood, as my mother often went out to spread the gospel and bear witness to God, she was well-known in the local area. My family, therefore, became a target of focused monitoring and attacking of the CCP, and I grew up under the persecution of the CCP government.
The CCP Police Broke Into Our House and Threatened Us
When being pregnant with me, my mother started believing in the Lord Jesus. When I was six, my whole family accepted God’s work in the last days. Under the guidance of my parents, I learned to pray to God and knew lots of stories in the Bible, and I often sang hymns to praise God with my parents, growing up happily. But unexpectedly, my happy life was soon destroyed by the CCP.
On a winter’s day in 2003, my father and I were learning the hymn of God’s words when the rural cadre and three policemen suddenly rushed into our yard. On breaking through the door, the police started to look around and then ransacked our house wildly. One of them questioned my father with a face full of rage, “Someone reported that your wife believes in God. Where is she? Get her back immediately!” Then he caught sight of the hymnbook. My father immediately came forward to protect it, but several policemen rushed forward and took it away from my father’s arms. I was stunned by this scene, standing in the corner of the wall motionlessly. I stared at them, astonished. I thought: “How come these policemen snatch our stuff and want to arrest mom every time they come?” I was so scared that I called upon God in my heart. At this time, my father said angrily, “What are you doing? How could you just break into my house and ransack it wildly? Is there any rule of law here?” The police ignored my father’s questions and spoke to him fiercely, “Get your wife back, and don’t let me hear about her believing in God again! Otherwise, I’ll immediately put her into prison!” Then they left in anger.
No sooner had they left than my mother came back home. I cried out to my mother, telling her what had just happened, and she caressed my hair, saying, “Don’t be afraid, and don’t cry. Isn’t mom safe and sound? But I have to leave and hide for a period of time.” On hearing these words, I couldn’t stop tears from falling down my face. I grabbed my mother’s hand, begging her, “Don’t go, mom! If we make it clear to the police that believing in God is a good thing, they will not arrest you. Mom, please don’t go, okay?” “You’re still too young to understand these things,” my mother spoke to me with tenderness. “When I’m not at home, you must rely on God more and do as your father says. I’ll come back after a while.” Afterward, my mother left alone. Looking at her receding figure, I thought of the police’s remarks before they left. Then I had some understanding about what my mother had told me before that the CCP police arrested the believers of God, and I clearly saw that the policemen were actually bad guys.
The Police’s Visiting Brought Criticisms on Us
After that, the police called at our house from time to time, which made our life change radically. To escape from the CCP’s arrest, my mother could only sneak into home under the cover of night and leave before dawn. So the time we spent together was quite little. Without my mother’s company, I learned to do the housework which my peers couldn’t do at a very young age, such as doing the laundry and cooking. Without my mother by my side, other children in the village were unwilling to play with me, and the adults also ridiculed me, saying, “Your mother left home for big money.” “Your mother has abandoned you.” After hearing their gossip, I was grieved to the utmost, and cried out in my heart, “It’s not true. It’s not that my mother doesn’t care about us; it’s not that my mother has abandoned me. It’s because the CCP police want to arrest my mother that she cannot live with us often. It’s the police’s fault, not my mother’s.”
When I was a little older, I went outside the village for schooling, and only returned home on weekends, so the chances I had to meet my mother were even fewer. What consoled me was that during the summer vacation I could spend some time with my mother. It should have been a happy thing for me to meet my mother, but I must keep my weather eye open. Even when I was playing with my pals on the street, I could not play without worry like them, because I was entrusted with an important mission—keeping watch so that my mother could escape as early as possible when the police came. I don’t remember how many times I have stood guard, but I do remember how I lived my childhood in fear and dread. Ten years passed in a flash. Under the protection of God, our family got through the persecution of the CCP. My mother wasn’t arrested and kept performing her duty safely, and I’d been growing up healthily under God’s care.
My Mother Was Almost Arrested
One day in the winter of 2012, I heard from my father that my mother was almost arrested by the CCP police when she was spreading the gospel. That afternoon, the CCP police carried out a search of our house again. Seeing them rummaging through every corner like bandits, I was full of indignation. “Just because of your arrest, I could not enjoy my mother’s care as other children did when I was little, and now, I can’t even see her. But you still don’t let us off and search arbitrarily in our house. You’re simply forcing my family on the road to ruin.” Then I thought of a passage in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “In the country controlled by the great red dragon, people have no freedom. It is impossible for you to find a place which is peaceful or which belongs to you. Even if you believe in God in your own house, the lackeys of the great red dragon, the policemen, will break in at midnight. Look, you cannot even have a good night. The country of the great red dragon is just like a prison of devils where none can survive, where even good people would be tormented to death.” That’s true. In China, there is no place for believers of God to survive. Although the constitution clearly grants religious freedom, it is for deceiving foreigners. In fact, the CCP government not only doesn’t allow people to believe in God, but also wants to wipe out all believers of God.
At that moment, the head of the police station questioned my father loudly, “Where has your wife gone?” “I don’t know,” my father said furiously. “Our spreading God’s gospel is for bringing people who live in suffering before God; it is a good deed as well as an act of righteousness. What is wrong with it? We don’t do anything against the law.” One of the rural cadres said, “Why should she spread the gospel of some God? Where is God?” On listening to these words, I gnashed my teeth in anger, thinking, “God is in heaven and on earth as well; He is present everywhere. But those who detest and oppose the truth cannot see God. Believing in God is the law of heaven and we are walking the righteous path of life. Why do you persecute us so crazily? You don’t believe in God but even blaspheme God. That is totally unreasonable!” Then a policeman yelled at my father, “Get your wife back, and ask her to go to the police station and sign a document tomorrow. If she doesn’t come, you shall go to the police station in her stead.” Then they left.
Around 11 o’clock that night, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice. I was very excited, dying to call her, but then I thought, “If I call her, what if she is reluctant to leave by then? What if I can’t control my emotions and ask her to stay? She is in danger of being arrested and is much safer if she is outside the home. I can’t be so selfish.” Then I refrained from sobbing with enormous difficulty lest she hear me. My mother watched me for a moment, and then went to sleep. Around 5 a.m. the next morning, I got up and went to see if she was still at home, only to find that she had already gone. Immediately, I felt quite sorrowful, and couldn’t help but cry out in my heart, “If it were not for the CCP government’s arrest, how could I not dare to call my mom? And how could my mom not dare to stay at home and have a sound sleep? All of our sufferings are caused by the CCP government. It made my family torn into pieces, but started the rumor that we believers of God don’t care about our families. It’s really a professed liar that specializes in distorting the facts and confusing black and white! I bitterly hate these devils.”
Pressed Closely by the CCP, My Father Fled From Home
One morning in May, 2014, I was roused by the sound of a call, and my father’s voice came on the line, “I’ll leave home to get a temporary job. When you have a holiday, don’t come back, because no one will be at home by then.” Before I could speak, my father had already hung up. When I called back, his phone was switched off. Immediately, I felt worried: My father is in poor health; why does he want to leave home to work? Is it that the CCP …
A few days later, I learned from my cousin why my father left home. In 2014, the CCP intensified its persecution of The Church of Almighty God. The police went to “visit” our house time and again. As a result, my father not only was unable to attend meetings regularly, but also lived in fear every day; he had no way but to flee from home. After my father went outside the village, the CCP police held a mass meeting, mobilizing all the villagers to monitor our family and directly call them whenever seeing any of us; they also demanded that the rural cadres telephone them and inform them about my family’s situation every two days; besides, every day the police staked out our house from 5 a.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. the next morning…. After knowing these things, I held back my tears, thinking: “We just have faith in God without committing any crime; why does the CCP put in such efforts on us? Over the period of more than ten years, the CCP has forced my entire family to separate from each other; now it still doesn’t let us off but monitors and stakes out our house. It seems that it won’t give up until my parents are put into prison. The CCP is extremely hateful! Its purpose is to eliminate all the believers of God. What the CCP truly hates isn’t only us, but also the incarnate God who comes to the earth to save us humans. The Lord Jesus said, ‘If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you’ (John 15:18). The CCP has put in so much energy, time, and money to wantonly resist and obstruct God’s work; its aim is to turn China into a place without God. Once discovering anyone who believes in God, the CCP will do everything to drive out and exterminate that person. Why does it pay such a great price for us and press us so closely? The only reason is that we all believe in God and worship God instead of worshiping it, which irritates it. On the surface, the CCP forbids us to believe in God; but in reality, it exposes its ugly face of hating truth and opposing God.” At that moment, I saw more clearly the devilish substance of the CCP and didn’t feel that miserable.
Thinking back on the past decade, I felt that although I couldn’t get together with my mother because of the CCP’s arrest, God had always been guiding and leading me by my side. Countless times did God’s words console my sorrowful heart when I suffered the pain to a certain point. Countless times did God’s words comfort and encouraged me when I was weak and helpless. Along the journey I had walked, I didn’t feel lonely, for God had been in company with me. When I thought of this, the pain in my heart lessened.
My Home Was No Longer What It Had Been
After a period of time, I wanted to go back to see what my home was like. At 2 a.m. one morning, I returned to our village, only to find that the door of our house was tightly locked. Thus I climbed over the wall and tried to get in through the window. But after more than half an hour’s effort, I still couldn’t open it. Utterly helpless, I squatted down and cried. I thought: “In the past, my mother couldn’t come back because of the CCP’s arrest, but my father was at home; every time I returned, I could have a hot meal and enjoy father’s care. But now, my father has also been forced to flee from home. I stand at the door but cannot enter. Our family is gone, completely gone …” In pain and helplessness, I thought of the words in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life: “When did it begin that the Christians were slaughtered in China? In Qing Dynasty. The first group of Chinese Christians received the gospel from Hudson Taylor, an English missionary. In the beginning, he preached the gospel in Hongdong County, Shanxi Province, and not long after, about three or five decades later, the Ching government began to arrest and kill missionaries. Since the CCP came into power, it has been killing Christians more frantically, and nearly every family is under its control.” “What does ‘atheist territory’ mean? First, there’s no existence of God; second, there are no believers of God; and third, there are no missionaries. Besides, it’s always ruled over by the atheists. What’s its purpose of establishing such a region? It is to eliminate the Christians in Mainland China, so that the atheists can control China forever. Isn’t this devouring people’s souls? (Yes.)” That’s true. Believing in God in China, this fortress of demons, definitely we’ll be controlled and persecuted by the CCP. Since I have chosen the path of belief in God, I should undergo these sufferings. Throughout the ages, countless missionaries, who came to China to spread the gospel, had no place to rest but had to sleep on the grassland or under the bridges, and they risked being killed at any time. Now I can at least sleep in my own yard; I should be grateful. When I thought about this, I prayed to God silently, “God, now I’m unable to enter my house, but I’m willing to submit to this environment. I just hate the evil CCP. May You be with me and give me courage and faith so that I can get through the night.” After I prayed, an idea flashed into my mind: Try to open the window again. Unexpectedly, when I gave another try, I successfully opened the window. I clearly knew it was God sympathizing with my weaknesses.
After entering the room, I thought that I could have a sound sleep. But as soon as I lay down, I felt the bed was too wet to sleep on; then I had to drag my exhausted body to sit up. Looking around at the empty room, I burst into tears. I cried out in my heart, “Dad, mom, I miss you so much. Where are you?” I knew clearly that it was the CCP that caused our separation, but I still felt a little weak. Thus I quickly knelt down and prayed to God, “Oh, God! I miss my parents so much and feel so weak at this moment. May You protect my heart.” During prayer, a passage of God’s words came into my mind: “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 faith and strength. “Indeed, I have the fortune to live in the last days and experience God’s work. Though I’ve suffered some pain because of the persecution of the CCP, this suffering is valuable and meaningful, because it’s for satisfying God and glorifying Him, and is His exaltation and grace for me. Though I’m unable to see my parents, God has always been by my side, encouraging and comforting me all along, so that I don’t feel lonely. Through this environment, my will is tempered, and my faith in God increases; meanwhile I’ve gained an understanding of the CCP’s evil essence of resisting God. All of these are the precious treasures that God bestowed upon me.” When I thought of this, I offered up my prayer to God again, “God, what You’ve done on me is so significant. Now I’ve understood Your good intentions, and I’m willing to forsake my flesh and stand testimony for You in the CCP’s persecution.” After the prayer, I wiped my tears dry and felt quite comforted.
Though Meeting With My Mother, I Could Not Talk to Her
In the summer of 2017, due to the need of my work, I had a chance to meet my mother. I had expected to have a heart-to-heart talk with her after arriving at the station. But my mother, after seeing me, still walked on hastily without saying a word. I followed her at a trot. “Mom, wait up!” I said, puzzled. My mother ignored me and looked around, saying, “Don’t speak to me. There’re many spies of the CCP. They have been monitoring and tracking us believers of God, and recently many brothers and sisters were arrested in groups. Listen, I’ll walk ahead, and you follow behind me; then even if I’m arrested, you won’t get involved.” Hearing her words, I immediately felt constrained and nervous. After understanding what she meant, I followed her obediently.
Looking at the back of my mother, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I thought, “In the past, my mother and I couldn’t stay together at home; now we finally have the chance to walk side by side, but it’s been ruthlessly deprived by the CCP. Because of the persecution of the CCP, we Christians have no freedom to walk or talk at will, and can’t even go back to our own home freely. Isn’t China the human hell smothered by the dark influence of the CCP?” God’s words say: “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth. It is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts run rampant everywhere, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations, being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded. Who can see the world beyond the skies? The devil tightly trusses all of man’s body, it puts out both his eyes, and seals his lips firmly shut. The king of devils has rampaged for several thousand years, right up until today, when it still keeps a close watch on the ghost town, as if it were an impenetrable palace of demons; this pack of watchdogs, meanwhile, stare with glaring eyes, deeply fearful that God will catch them unawares and wipe them all out, leaving them without a place of peace and happiness. How could the people of a ghost town such as this ever have seen God? Have they ever enjoyed the dearness and loveliness of God? What appreciation have they of the matters of the human world? Who of them can understand God’s eager will? Small wonder, then, that God incarnate remains completely hidden: 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!” That’s true. The CCP is indeed a gang of devils! It attempts to prevent us from believing in God and abolish God’s work, so as to turn China into a region without God and create an independent kingdom. I won’t fall for its tricks; and the harsher it oppresses us, the more clearly I see its evil essence of treating God as its enemy. No matter how great the adversity and persecution may be in the future, I’ll stand firm and follow God to the end.
As the Persecution Still Goes On, My Family Reunion Is Unforeseeable
This is my life. Compared with others of my age, I grew up in a special circumstance where my parents were persecuted by the CCP. Fortunately, owing to its arrest and persecution of my parents, I can even more feel the supreme God’s care, protection, and love for me. In the past decade, my life wasn’t as peaceful as my peers’. Confronted with the CCP’s persecution of my parents and the harm it brought to my family, I once cried, complained, and misunderstood, suffering lots of pain in flesh and refinements in spirit. However, it was in this situation that I was strengthened in advance, and became increasingly strong, independent, and brave, not as weak or willful as those of my age; besides, I’ve gained some knowledge of God’s work, developing true faith in God. This is actually a special education method by which God guides me onto the path of believing in Him. Moreover, through the CCP’s arrest and persecution, I clearly see its true face of being an enemy of God; I’m no longer bewildered or deceived by it, gradually developing a heart that hates it and betrays it.
In each stage of my life, God has been accompanying me in obscurity and leading me forward. The essence of God is so beautiful and good, and all He has done on me is love and salvation. Such a special environment is actually the blessing of God, and I’m so lucky to have experienced it. Now because the CCP is hysterically arresting God’s chosen people and hindering God’s work, the chances I have to meet my parents are becoming less and less; but no matter how the CCP persecutes us, I’ll perform my duty well and follow God to the end, for the path of believing in God is most valuable and meaningful.