By Chen Chen, China
Monday, December 5, 2016 Cloudy
Today, I was released from jail. I’m overwhelmed with emotion. I spent four years in “the hell on earth” and could still survive. This was entirely due to God’s protection and guidance.
At about 3 o’clock p.m., I was brought back by the local officials, including the director of the Judicial Bureau, an officer of the police station, the village committee secretary, and the township public security officer. They took me to the local judicial organ first and then to the police station; at the same time, they took samples of my hair, fingerprints, photograph, blood type, and handwriting. The police officer, who took charge of me, said to me, “You must stay within the county. If you go outside, you must report to us; otherwise, we’ll catch you back once we find you leave without permission. And one more thing, you must come and report every month.” Hearing these words, I was indignant, thinking: “Just because I believe in God, you arrested me and gave me a four-year sentence; you deprived me of my freedom and subjected me to inhuman torture and torment. Today I could narrowly escape death and get out of the jail, but you start to control and restrict my personal freedom even before I get home. Isn’t this putting me in a jail without walls? You’re too hateful.”
Monday, December 12, 2016 Sunny
I’ve been back for a week. Although the life at home is much better than in prison, I can’t go out to attend meetings or see my brothers and sisters because of the CCP’s restrictions of me. At 4 o’clock this afternoon, the head of the police station talked to me. He asked me, “You were imprisoned for several years; have you realized that you were wrong in your belief?” I hesitated for a moment, and my heart was at war: “If I tell the truth, can it be that he will directly send me to jail again? Anyway, I’ll break through this dark influence. No matter what, I’ll stand on God’s side and never make concessions to Satan.” Then, I replied firmly, “My belief in God is not wrong.” He gave an icy glimpse and said, “Then you must be under our supervision for five years. If you behave well, we’ll terminate control over you after two years.” I realized that this was Satan’s temptation. They wanted to induce me to give up my faith for getting rid of their supervision soon. Undoubtedly, they wanted me to deny God and betray God. How sinister and cunning they are! I prayed to God silently: “O God, the CCP is crafty, and did its utmost to entice me to betray You. I implore You to keep my heart so that I won’t yield to it for the sake of my own interests.”
Sunday, December 18, 2016 Sunny
In the morning, I secured the door and read God’s words at home. Suddenly there sounded a pounding noise on the door. I was stunned and hurried to hide my book of, and then calming myself, I opened the door. It was the township public security officer coming to talk to me. He said, “Don’t believe in God anymore. What God? If you want to believe in anything, believe in the CCP.” Hearing his biting words, I said, “It’s my freedom to believe in God. You have no right to restrict me.” He angrily said, “Then you can only believe at home. No gathering. Besides, you must cooperate with us: If someone comes to preach or ask you to attend meetings, call me and report right away.” Hearing his words, I felt resentful, and thought: “It’s a self-evident truth that we created beings should believe in God and worship God. You not only prevent me from believing in God, but also force me to report others, trying to make me become a Judas to sell out my brothers and sisters. How crafty and malicious you are. I’ll never be deceived by you.”
Saturday, January 28, 2017 Foggy
Today is the New Year’s Day. I’m so happy that my son is coming back. It has been four years since the last time we saw each other. I’ll cook something delicious for him, and prepare a family reunion dinner. After lunch, I began to make preparations, humming hymns of God’s words happily. Suddenly, we heard a knock at the door. My husband opened it and found that they were the head of the police station and three other policemen. They came to harass us even on the New Year’s Day as if they were haunting ghosts; my good mood was spoiled.
The head said to us with tongue in cheek, “We came to implement the communiqué from Party Central(the campaign themed “family-like ethnic bonding”). All the people who have religious beliefs are the objects we bond with. From now on, we are relatives. What plan do you have for the year ahead? If you have any difficulties in life, just tell us.” Hearing his words, I was very astonished. I thought: “We have neither money nor power, and we have been abandoned by the worldly people because of believing in God. How come you as a government official care about my family and are even going to be our relatives? There must be Satan’s scheme within it. I can’t let my guard down.” I kept praying to God in my heart, begging Him to protect me. Then, without our permission, they forcibly took photos of us. Before they left, they said they would come to “visit” us often in future.
After they left, I thought: “How crafty the CCP is! With this excuse, they can justifiably come to my home. And I will have less freedom. Just because my husband and I believe in God, both of us were imprisoned for a total of ten years, when we were forced to slave away for the CCP. I had never thought that even now it would still not let us go but come to haunt us every few days.” This reminded me of God’s words: “Satan wins its fame through deceiving the public. It often establishes itself as a vanguard and role model of righteousness. Under the banner of safeguarding righteousness, it harms man, devours their souls, and uses all sorts of means to benumb, deceive and incite man. Its goal is to make man approve of and follow along with its evil conduct….” “In every matter, Satan’s behavior exposes its evil nature. Out of all the evil acts that Satan has carried out upon man—from its early efforts to delude man into following it, to its exploitation of man, in which it drags man into its evil deeds, and Satan’s vindictiveness toward man after its true features have been exposed and man has recognized and forsaken it—not one fails to expose Satan’s evil substance; not one fails to prove the fact that Satan has no relation to positive things; not one fails to prove that Satan is the source of all evil things. Every single one of its actions safeguards its evil, maintains the continuation of its evil acts, goes against just and positive things….” God’s words have thoroughly revealed the evil substance of the CCP. It always publicly claims “freedom in religious belief,” and misleads people into believing that China is a country with freedom of belief. Actually, under its autocracy there is no freedom of belief. All that it does are tricks to cheat and fool people. It also sets itself up as a “great, glorious and correct” party but, in reality, pretends to be kind to people. Yet in fact, it projects a false image to confuse people. Now it promotes the banner of being our relatives so as to be perfectly justified to interfere in our belief in God. It’s really “the fox who preaches to the goose.” The CCP is tricky and crafty and cunning indeed.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Light Rain
At 9 o’clock p.m., the township officer told me to go to the office of village committee to have a meeting. I felt a little nervous, and didn’t know what tricks Satan intended to play. I could only beg God to protect my heart so as not to be deceived by its lies. On the spot, the Secretary of the County Standing Committee read the communiqué from Party Central on cracking down on religious beliefs. And he also told me, “From now on, I’ll be responsible for your family. I’ll often visit you and help you find ways to get rich.” I knew this was another trick of Satan. What he read and said implied something to me. From the outside, he seemed to help us get rich soon, but his actual intention was to use this means to occupy my heart so that I would fall into the temptation of money, having no time to worship God and giving up believing in God. Facing Satan’s tricks on me, I couldn’t help but feel sad, thinking: “They harass me like this over and over again; could I lead a peaceful life in the future?”
Saturday, April 1, 2017 Cloudy
Early in the morning, when I was practicing spiritual devotions, I heard the voice over the loudspeaker of the village shout, “Anyone who reports strangers, suspicious people, preachers, or believers who have gatherings can get a reward of 500 to 1,000 yuan. …” What a morning! I couldn’t even quiet my heart to continue my devotions. Hearing that voice, I couldn’t help recalling the matter of the Secretary of the County Standing Committee reading the document on cracking down on religious beliefs last month when I was in the office of the village committee. It seems that the CCP arrests and persecutes believers in God more and more frenziedly and that its methods become more and more malicious. In order to make China a zone of atheism, it even uses the national funds as rewards to encourage people to report on believers in God, but yet pays no heed to the hardships of its people. It really doesn’t engage in its proper duty.
Late in the morning, I went to town to buy some vegetable. Hardly had I gotten home and begun to cook when my husband’s cellphone rang. It was the head of the police station and he asked me where I had been this morning. After hanging up, my husband angrily said, “It seems that they are spying on us.” Even when my husband worked at a nearby factory, he would often receive the calls from the leader of the village committee or from the police station. They would ask him where he was and what work he was doing. It was so disturbing that my husband couldn’t even work normally. Eventually, his boss became dissatisfied with him, and he could do nothing but quit that job.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Cloudy
At night, Sister Li quietly came to my home. She told me, “It is learned that the CCP has issued another communiqué to arrest those who were previously arrested and had their information recorded. Now some brothers and sisters of several churches have been arrested again. Hurry up and find a place to hide.” The sudden news made me feel that I was in a dangerous situation. I know that the way the CCP treats believers in God is to torture them to death. I spent four years in prison as if I had made a trip to hell on earth. Even until today, my heart still fluttered with fear. I sank into painful refinement and thought: “Where can I go? To my sister’s home? No. Since I was imprisoned due to believing in God, she has given me the silent treatment. To my uncle’s? No. His family are all atheists; not only do they not support me, but they persecute my belief. How about my aunt’s far away? But my ID card must be shown if I take a bus or train. No, I can’t go there. Once I’m caught halfway, won’t it mean that I escape from the wolf’s den but then fall into the tiger’s lair?” I searched my memory, but found nowhere to go. At that moment, I felt extremely miserable and distressed, and couldn’t help beginning to sob. In pain, I prayed to God, “O God, I beg You to enlighten me so that I can know Your will, gain confidence to face all this, and overcome this difficult barrier. May You help me and guide me.” After my prayer, I read a passage of God’s words: “How should man love God during refinement? By using the resolve to love God to accept His refinement: During refinement you are tormented inside, as if a knife were being twisted in your heart, yet you are willing to satisfy God using your heart, which loves Him, and you are unwilling to care for the flesh. This is what is meant by practicing the love of God. You hurt inside, and your suffering has reached a certain point, yet you are still willing to come before God and pray, saying: ‘O God! I cannot leave You. Although there is darkness within me, I wish to satisfy You; You know my heart, and I would that You invest more of Your love within me.’ This is practice during refinement. If you use the love of God as the foundation, refinement can bring youand make you more intimate with God.” “Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should go on to the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God, and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony.”
Instantly, a warm current rushed through my body. God’s words comforted my tormented heart, making me no longer worry or fear. Grateful tears ran down my face. Then I thought of Job’s story. He had heard of God only by the hearing of the ear, and yet he had that strong faith in Him: When he was tested by Satan, although he lost all his property overnight and had sore boils all over his body, he still held fast to his integrity, feared God and shunned evil. In the end, he stood testimony to God and made Satan flee. As to me, I’ve heard God’s voice with my own ears and received God’s personal nurture and supply, enjoying God’s such great love. Yet, when my flesh just suffered a little, I would feel weak and negative, and all that I thought about was to allow my flesh to suffer less; mywas really too small. In fact, this suffering is valuable and meaningful, for God says: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” After understanding God’s kind intention, I was willing to submit myself and experience God’s work practically. No matter how great difficulties and danger ahead, I would face them with courage. Thinking back on these many years since I believed in God, I endured persecution and suffering many times; though I had pain and weakness, was it not God who led me through them all the way? At this moment, it occurred to me that I could go to my cousin’s home for shelter.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 Sunny
I had made an appointment with my cousin, and she would come to fetch me tonight. Thinking about whether I could come back or not in the future, I felt a bit reluctant to leave. But if I didn’t leave, once I was caught by the CCP police and sent to the devil’s jail a second time, there must be more unbearable torment. I know how hard my life was when I was in jail in those few years. Without God’s words in mind, I would really have a life worse than death. So, in order to continue believing in God and following God, I had no other choice but to leave home. My cousin was willing to take me in; wasn’t this the way that God had opened up for me? At this thought, I had confidence and no longer worried.
At 10 o’clock p.m., my husband drove me to the pre-arranged rendezvous on the motorcycle, and then my cousin and I took a taxi. Sitting in it, I recalled the scenes of these years of my believing in God. Through experiencing the arrests and persecution of the CCP, I saw clearly its true face and that God was always with me by my side. When I was faced with the temptation of the CCP again and again, it was God who guided me to see through Satan’s tricks and gave me faith so that I was able to stand witness and didn’t deny God. When I was in the midst of misery and weakness, it was God’s words that guided me and comforted me so that I had faith to continue following Him. When I was faced with the danger of being arrested by the CCP again, God couldn’t bear to see me suffer tortures in prison, so He arranged for the sister to inform me so that I could escape from that dangerous situation. … God’s guidance made me truly taste His love and care for me. I can never thank God enough. The CCP’s hunting for me drove me to love God more and follow Him more faithfully. I hummed a hymn in my heart: “Holding faith so long, now I see the light. Experienced ups and downs, persecutions and hardships. Happiness and sorrows, garment wet with tears. Countless nights stayed awake and prayed. Rejected by the world; distanced by loved ones. Wandering every day, having no resting place. Freedom, just a sham, no human rights to share. Deep hatred of Satan! When to right the wrong? This world, dark and evil, I desire more the light of my life.is the truth, the way, and the life. I’ve made up my mind to follow Him. This world, dark and evil, I desire more the light of my life. Christ’s the truth, the way, and the life. I’ve made up my mind to follow Him.”
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