In the early 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to implement its new Regulations on Religious Affairs, thereby throwing a cloak of legitimacy over Xi Jinping’s “Sinicization of religion” policy. It also folded the State Administration for Religious Affairs into the CCP’s United Front Work Department to increase its control and suppression of religion, further laying bare the CCP’s evil attempts to completely ban religious beliefs and eradicate all religions in China. Its suppression and persecution of religious beliefs has been escalated to a political campaign, leading to a general deterioration in conditions for religion throughout China. More than a million Muslims in Xinjiang have been imprisoned in re-education camps; a large number of churches, mosques, Buddhist temples, Taoist temples and other religious sites have been destroyed, all religious activities of the house churches are banned, numerous numbers of Christians have been arrested and imprisoned and some of them have died or become disable as a result of beatings; even in the Three-Self churches, Christians are requested to hang the portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping, sing the national anthem and raise the national flag. Among all the persecuted religious groups, The Church of Almighty God (CAG) suffers the harshest persecution.
I See Through the CCP Government’s Lies and God’s Love Draws Me Back to Him
By Kemu, South Korea
“I’m telling you one more time—don’t keep talking to me about that God stuff, and you’re not allowed to have anything to do with those believers in God anymore. If I see that you’ve been in touch with them again, I’ll smash your phone to pieces!”
“Why? Why are you standing in the way of my faith?” my wife asked, her face full of confusion.
“Why? It’s for your own good and the good of our family. Don’t you know that the CCP government is seriously cracking down on and suppressing The Church of Almighty God? Don’t you know about the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case in 2014? It says online that Zhang Lidong, the main offender in the case, was a member of The Church of Almighty God. If you get together with those people, you’ll just be putting yourself into extreme danger!”
She responded resolutely, “Zhang Lidong and those others weren’t with The Church of Almighty God—you just can’t believe those things they say online. I’ve been in contact with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God for two or three months and what I’ve seen is that they’re all upstanding people who are kind and sincere toward others. They help each other out whenever anyone has a problem, and it’s not like what they say online at all.”
I was incensed and remained unconvinced. “Go online and see for yourself, then you’ll know whether I’m right or not.”
My wife then led me over to a seat and said, “You’re the sort of person who thinks things through. You have to approach this reasonably and speak according to the facts—you can’t just listen to one side of the story! Every major media outlet in China is just a mouthpiece for the CCP government; they’re just tools for the government to deceive the people. What kind of credibility do their reports have? Don’t you remember the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989? The students in Tiananmen Square were protesting against corruption and advocating for democratic freedoms, but the CCP government found some unknown people and had them disguise themselves as students and infiltrate the students’ ranks, then had them start to hit, smash, rob, burn, and overturn military vehicles. Those people created a lot of chaos, and then the CCP government framed the students with their crimes. After that, the CCP government used media like TV and radio to flood the airwaves with their reports, slandering the student movement as a counterrevolutionary riot, and then launched a bloody crackdown on them, which resulted in at least several thousand students shot dead or crushed by tanks. Anyone who knows about the history of the CCP government knows that it has always struck out against righteousness, and that it simply doesn’t tolerate the existence of any groups or individuals that have different political views or opinions. In order to achieve a dictatorship, the CCP government has always attacked and condemned those groups or people, even going so far as to suppress them or ban them entirely. Every time the CCP government has violently suppressed a religious faith, a movement for democratic rights, or ethnic minority protests, it first starts by fabricating false cases, and then it creates a huge public outcry to stir up the people, and then it violently suppresses them. That’s a fact. The May 28 Zhaoyuan Case was the CCP government framing The Church of Almighty God—it carefully concocted yet another false case.”
I couldn’t refute what she had said at all, and thought to myself, “She’s known some of the family members of victims of the Tiananmen Square protests and knows the inside story. Everything she said is true. But still, even if that Zhaoyuan incident has nothing to do with The Church of Almighty God, I’ve never been in contact with their members and I don’t know what sort of church it is. We live in such a troubled world now—what if she gets conned?” So, I told her again that she wasn’t allowed to have contact with anyone from The Church of Almighty God. As I left, I slammed the door, leaving her there in tears.
It was a particularly dark night with no moonlight and no stars. I felt really awful as I walked along the road. I thought of our ten years of marriage—from our first meeting, to falling in love, to getting married, we had been through a lot, but no matter what we faced we had always talked things through and supported each other. We’d never had any huge fights. Yet, I had just really laid into her for her faith—I felt I really shouldn’t have treated her that way. But then again, it said online that The Church of Almighty God was no good, so by not letting her practice her faith I was doing her a favor. Why couldn’t she understand me? At that moment I felt incredibly tired and upset. I got out my phone and a wonderful photo of our happy family flashed in front of my eyes—our daughter’s sweet smile momentarily dispelled my fatigue. I thought of how I was the backbone of the family and that preventing my wife from practicing her faith was for her own protection and was for the good of our family, so I decided that I had to stick to my guns.
Over the period of time that followed, I was afraid of damaging my wife’s feelings for me and thus didn’t dare start any major conflicts, so I just told her not to talk to me about anything to do with God. Even though we seemed to get along normally on the surface, there was already a chasm opening up between us.
One day, just as I had walked in the door after getting off my morning work shift, I heard the sound of cheerful music wafting out from the bedroom along with bursts of happy laughter from my wife and daughter. Curiously, I thought, “Hm? I haven’t heard such a joyful sound at home in so long. Ever since my wife came to South Korea, she’s never really gotten used to the environment here because of the different lifestyle, language and culture. In particular, she left behind her elderly mother and a job that she loved, and she doesn’t have any relatives or friends by her side—she often sits alone and cries. I’ve seen her looking pained and upset but have never known how to comfort her, so what kind of song could be bringing her so much happiness now?” I very quietly opened the door and saw a dance and song video produced by The Church of Almighty God The True Love of God being displayed on the computer screen. Six young women were joyfully dancing and singing with such feeling, but it was their faces brimming with such joyful smiles in particular which instantly pulled at my heart. I was full of curiosity, thinking, “What sort of church is this, and what kind of group is this? Why is it that their songs and dances are so infectious and so soothing? If they really were bad people, how could they have such kind, genuine smiles?”
Seeing me, my daughter said happily, “Dad, isn’t this a nice song? Mom and I really like it. Sing and dance with us!” I picked her up in an embrace and kissed her little face, then said indulgently, “Sweetheart, I like energetic, powerful songs and dances.” She swayed her head and thought for a moment. “Dad, you like tap dancing, right? Mom, put on that video with the really great dancing for him.” I couldn’t bear to interrupt her and figured that I’d watch it for just a little bit even if it was from The Church of Almighty God—these days this kind of harmonious atmosphere was hard to come by in our home. Holding my daughter, I sat next to my wife and started watching. The dance and song video God Has Brought His Glory to the East was powerful and energetic with a delightful rhythm. In a tap dancing style, they danced with such heroic vigor; I’ve always loved singing and dancing, so I was really drawn in. Seeing how engaged I was, my wife said excitedly, “These songs and dances have all been arranged and recorded by brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. None of them are professionals.” I couldn’t help but seriously reflect on this. “How could people without professional training dance so incredibly well?” I thought. Smiling, she said, “It’s amazing, isn’t it! Without God’s own work and guidance, would non-professionals be able to dance like that? You’d be even more astonished if you saw the films that they’ve made. The Church of Almighty God has the work of the Holy Spirit—it has God’s blessing. That’s why their songs, dances and films are so well made, and on top of that, all the truths communicated in their films benefit people a lot. All that negative propaganda online is just the CCP government spreading lies about The Church of Almighty God. They’re not at all true. The reason the CCP government spreads these lies is so that everyone will become hostile to The Church of Almighty God and won’t dare to look into God’s work of the last days, and thereby lose God’s salvation.”
Hearing what she said and seeing the glowing look on her face, I became even more curious. I thought about how, since she had started believing in Almighty God, she had recovered from her depression from feeling homesick and missing her mom. I also saw that she had become more patient with our daughter and no longer lost her temper; she had also started to take care of me incredibly well. Could it really be that Almighty God had changed my wife? Was The Church of Almighty God really as great as she said? As I thought through all of this, my heart felt tied up in knots—I didn’t know if I should let her continue practicing her faith. After a bout of internal struggle, I decided to go to The Church of Almighty God and check it out for myself. If it wasn’t like what it said online, then I wouldn’t stand in her way anymore.
Over the weekend when I was free from work, I approached my wife and told her that I wanted to go have a look at The Church of Almighty God—she was both surprised and pleased. Once we got there the brothers and sisters received us warmly, and I felt from their expressions, actions, and how they interacted with others that they were kind and sincere. My nervousness and guardedness gradually eased. Then, a sister told everyone excitedly, “Brothers and sisters, the musical, Xiaozhen’s Story won an international award!” I asked out of curiosity, “Can I watch it?” They all voiced their agreement in unison and started playing the musical. Xiaozhen’s ups and downs in the story really touched my heart and I thought of how I myself was another Xiaozhen. I drifted through society when I was younger because of a family misfortune, suffering all sorts of bullying and humiliation just to get by and being given the cold shoulder. And now I was striving and working hard to make a living and had gone through all sorts of things, sweet and bitter. I had suffered a lot through ups and downs over the years, and I felt tired and sad, but I always acted strong in front of my wife and friends. Who could have known the pain in my heart? Toward the end of the musical this song was sung: “… The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time …” (“God Is Seeking Your Heart and Your Spirit” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Every line of the song warmed my lost, suffering soul, and every note sung felt like a mother stretching out her hands to her long-lost child. What I felt was the call of love—I was incredibly moved. I couldn’t stop the tears flowing down my face as the musical ended. It was the first time I had ever cried in front of so many people and I felt a bit embarrassed, so I quickly and quietly turned my head to wipe away the tears. I exclaimed sincerely, “That’s such a wonderful musical!” I then gave Xiaozhen’s Story a round of applause.
My wife looked at me and said to me happily and with great emotion, “That your heart has been stirred by Xiaozhen’s Story was because God has moved you! I know that the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case had an impact on you and that you’ve had a lot of misunderstandings about Almighty God’s work of the last days. I also know that you’re concerned for my safety and the safety of our daughter, so today let’s look and see what really happened with that case.”
The brothers and sisters then played a video for me, The Truth Exposed Behind the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case. It revealed several major suspicious aspects of the case and then dissected them layer by layer. I was really engrossed in it and did my own analysis of the case along with the video to find out the truth. The furrow in my brow gradually relaxed as the video went on and, as I saw layer after layer of lies being exposed, I let out a long breath. I realized that the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case was single-handedly concocted by the CCP government to stifle religious belief and eradicate The Church of Almighty God. The offenders in the case, Zhang Lidong, Zhang Fan and the others, denied with their own mouths that they were members of The Church of Almighty God, and said that they were completely unaffiliated with the church. But the CCP government completely disregarded the suspects’ testimonies and flagrantly went against the facts, insisting that the crime has been committed by people from The Church of Almighty God. What was even more outlandish was that even without a court trial or verdict, the CCP government rushed headlong into publicly and definitively planting the case on The Church of Almighty God through TV and Internet media, all to create a public uproar to suppress the church and wipe it out. The CCP government framed the church and created such a false case so that it could start to frantically suppress and arrest Christians in the church without a hitch. It’s just like how it suppressed the June 4 students’ movement in 1989—it first fabricated rumors to portray the students’ patriotic movement as a counterrevolutionary riot, and then it started carrying out arrests and murdering people. Faced with the facts, I finally saw with complete clarity that the CCP government’s tactic for eradicating any dissenters has been to first fabricate rumors and distort the facts, then frame them, and then violently suppress them. By turning the truth on its head, distorting reality and framing The Church of Almighty God, the CCP government makes it so that people who don’t know the truth are taken in by its lies and will misunderstand the church—the CCP government is so detestable! But something I still didn’t understand was that the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God are upright people who are nothing like it says online, so why would the CCP government so frantically persecute the church and go to such pains to plant that murder case on The Church of Almighty God and arrest its members? What was really going on?
I spoke about my confusion and a sister responded, saying, “Let’s first read two passages from 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, to make man join it in opposing God’s authority and sovereignty. However, when one grows wise to its schemes, plotting and vile features and does not wish to continue to be trampled upon and fooled by it or to continue slaving away for it, or to be punished and destroyed together with it, Satan changes its previously saintly features and tears off its false mask to reveal its true evil, vicious, ugly and savage face. It would love nothing more than to exterminate all those who refuse to follow it and those who oppose its evil forces’ (“God Himself, the Unique II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘The reason why Satan is exasperated and furious is thus: Its unspeakable schemes have been exposed; its plots are not easily gotten away with; its wild ambition and desire to replace God and act as God have been struck and blocked; its goal of controlling all of humanity has now come to nothing and can never be achieved’ (“God Himself, the Unique II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
After reading God’s words, she gave fellowship, saying, “God’s words expose the root cause of why Satan opposes God and harms mankind. If we then use God’s words to regard the CCP government’s actions in opposition to God and its persecution of Christians, we can clearly see that it is the embodiment of Satan, the devil, and it is the satanic regime that most hates the truth and resists God. It absolutely will not allow people to believe in God or take the right path so as to establish China as a zone of atheism—it wants to eradicate all religious beliefs. This is particularly true in the last days—Almighty God incarnate has appeared and worked in China, expressing truths to bring light to mankind. People from all religions and denominations who genuinely believe in God and love the truth, after reading Almighty God’s words, become certain that they are the truth, and, one by one, they are accepting His work of the last days. Many people have come to understand the truth by reading God’s words and have learned how to discern between good and evil. Thus they come to see clearly the CCP government’s evil essence and become willing to reject it, and they begin to pursue the truth and take the right path in life. As it sees more and more people gaining faith in God and following Him, its eyes burn with rage. It vainly hopes to drag people back into its camp so they can continue to be its slaves and remain downtrodden. To this end, the CCP government frantically persecutes and suppresses The Church of Almighty God by not only fabricating all manner of lies to frame and slander it, but also by employing all sorts of despicable tactics. It has issued confidential documents many times to mobilize huge numbers of armed police and military troops to frantically arrest and persecute Christians from The Church of Almighty God on a national scale in a deluded attempt to stop the spread of God’s gospel work and completely eliminate The Church of Almighty God. Particularly over the last few years, all sorts of gospel films and videos produced by The Church of Almighty God have been uploaded to the Internet one after another and God’s kingdom gospel has spread across the globe like wildfire. The CCP government is aware of its guilt, knowing that since coming to power, it has committed countless murders and done all manner of evil; its blood debt from persecuting Christians is a heavy one. It’s afraid that people all over the world will accept God’s work, understand the truth, clearly see its evil countenance and then reject it, which would then leave it without any footing in the world. Then its wild ambition to control all of humanity and be a god would be shattered. This is why the CCP government’s persecution of The Church of Almighty God has escalated. It meticulously crafted the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case in order to frame the church, in an attempt to rile up and confuse those who don’t know the truth into hating God and The Church of Almighty God, and doing evil along with it. We can see from this that the CCP government is perverse and runs contrary to Heaven, and that it absolutely detests God and hates the truth. It is the enemy of God—a demon that resists God. However, God is almighty and His wisdom is exercised upon Satan’s trickery. The CCP government’s ugly countenance is exposed to the light by its own mad opposition and oppression, and God’s chosen people can see its evil, reactionary nature even more clearly. They develop discernment of its despicable and evil nature, their will to follow God becomes even firmer, and they’d rather give up their very lives than stop following God. This shows that no matter how savage the CCP government is, it cannot stop true believers from following God, much less is it capable of stopping God’s work.”
After hearing Almighty God’s words and this sister’s fellowship, I understood that the CCP government persecutes The Church of Almighty God because its very essence is one that hates the truth and is an enemy to God. It wants to control the people, to have people firmly in its grasp, but the truths expressed by Almighty God take root deep in people’s hearts. The CCP government certainly wouldn’t want the people to all walk with God, so it does everything it can to fabricate rumors to deceive the public and concoct false cases, fostering public outrage in order to persecute The Church of Almighty God. That’s how the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case came about. My doubts about The Church of Almighty God were dispelled once I had understood the truth. However, I still had a concern: Since the CCP government is so oppressive of the church, would it be safe for my wife to believe in God?
The brothers and sisters then played a movie for me, The Lies of Communism. There was a passage of God’s words in it that really touched my heart. “We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth and shall cease to exist” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I could feel God’s authority and majesty from His words. No evil force of Satan nor any human being can possibly hinder God’s work. Although those in the CCP government are racking their brains to discredit and condemn The Church of Almighty God, even diabolically arresting and persecuting the church’s brothers and sisters, the brothers and sisters still persist in believing in and following God, and the gospel movies, choral works, and dance and song videos they produce are constantly being released online, totally unhindered by the CCP government. I finally saw how almighty God is and that no force can possibly stop His work. In her belief in God, my wife has God as her backup force, so there’s nothing for me to worry about. After understanding all of that, the worries and misgivings in my heart all disappeared. Smiling, I said to my wife, “It’s right for you to believe in Almighty God. I was so blind before—I mistakenly believed what I had heard and caused you to suffer so much. It was so wrong of me. From now on, I’ll fully support you in your faith.” Tears welled up in her eyes and she said with emotion, “It’s thanks to God that you’ve been able to see through the CCP government’s lies and emerge from the fog of confusion. This is God’s guidance and leadership!”
From that point on I started occasionally watching videos made by The Church of Almighty God with my wife, and I listened to her talk about her faith. However, I still felt that faith in God was a simplistic kind of belief. Sure, I could believe in God in my heart. But I still had to earn a living and raise my family, and provide enough so that we could live a good life. It was only later, after undergoing a bout of ill health, that I gained a completely new understanding about belief in God.
Around dusk one evening as our family was having dinner, I started to experience terrible stomach pains and huge drops of cold sweat began to run down my face. My wife quickly got me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a burst appendix. It was a critical situation that required immediate surgery. I felt a sense of helplessness and fear that I’d never felt before—if I didn’t make it, how would my wife and young daughter get by in a foreign country? Who would be there for them? Seeing what I was thinking, my wife held my hand and said, “I know what you’re worried about. God is almighty, and all things are in His hands. He has the final say over whether the surgery is successful, too. We have to lean on God and, no matter how the operation turns out, we can’t blame God, but must submit to His rule and arrangements.” I nodded after hearing what she had to say. Once the door to the operating room had closed, I closed my eyes and prayed to God. “O Almighty God! I’m terrified. Please give me faith so that I’m no longer afraid. I’m willing to lean on You.” I felt less afraid after praying, and an excerpt of God’s words from a video came back to me: “[E]verything man has—peace and joy, blessings and personal safety—is in fact all under God’s control; He guides and decides the fate of every individual” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “It’s true,” I thought. “God is almighty and my life is in His hands. The success of my surgery today depends on God’s rule and arrangements, so by handing everything over to God, there is nothing for me to worry about.” God’s words gave me faith; my uneasy heart was calmed, and I was no longer so concerned about the possible failure of the surgery. I gradually lost consciousness under the effect of the anesthetic. When I came to, the doctor told me that the surgery had been a success, and I knew that God had protected me. I offered up my praise and thanks to God over and over.
Later, I saw these words from God: “[T]he first thing they must understand is where human beings come from, why people are alive, who dictates human fate, and who provides for and has sovereignty over human existence. This knowledge is the true means by which one lives, the essential basis for human survival—not learning how to provide for one’s family or how to achieve fame and wealth, not learning how to stand out from the crowd nor how to live a more affluent life, much less learning how to excel and to compete successfully against others. Though the various survival skills that people spend their lives mastering can offer an abundance of material comforts, they never bring true peace and consolation to one’s heart, but instead make people constantly lose their direction, have difficulty controlling themselves, and miss every opportunity to learn the meaning of life; these survival skills create an undercurrent of anxiety about how to face death properly. People’s lives are ruined in this way. The Creator treats everyone fairly, giving everyone a lifetime’s worth of opportunities to experience and know His sovereignty, yet it is only when death draws near, when its specter looms, that one begins to see the light—and then it is too late!” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
My heart brightened after reading God’s words and I understood that we don’t just live on this earth so we can lead mediocre lives to feed our families and be prosperous, or to be envied and looked up to by others, seeking fame and profit. We human beings are God’s creations and only by believing in and worshiping God, pursuing and understanding the truth, achieving knowledge of God, and clearly understanding that God rules over all things in our lives and that our fates are in His hands can we truly obey His rule and arrangements and behave and conduct ourselves according to His words. That is the only way to live with meaning and value; it’s the only way to not live this life in vain. I thought back on how I had felt before, that faith in God was a simplistic sort of belief, and that earning money for my family was what I should do with my life. Only when I had that life-threatening illness did I finally wake up. No matter how much money we earn or how high our status is, when we fall ill, those things can’t alleviate our suffering or the fear and helplessness deep in our hearts. On the brink of death, money, fame, and fortune can’t possibly give us back our lives or increase our longevity. I give thanks to God—it was He who gave me faith and strength through His words when I was faced with illness and felt so afraid and helpless. He gave me something to lean on so that I could calmly face everything that was to come. In particular, it was only God’s care and protection that allowed me to get through my surgery without a hitch. Through that experience I truly came to feel that God is both real and alive, that He can be our help and support at any time, and that He is also our strong backup. What we as humans should most pursue throughout our lives is belief in God, worshiping God, and we should understand and submit to God’s rule. That is what our spirits are most in need of, and that is the most meaningful life that we should pursue. That experience also changed my mistaken impression that faith in God was a simplistic kind of belief and I resolved to practice my faith alongside my wife, to read God’s words, and take the path of pursuing the truth and knowing God.
Brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God heard that I had fallen ill, so they came to visit me in the hospital. When they learned that I wouldn’t be able to work for some time and our family wouldn’t have any source of income, they helped me apply for a hardship grant and apply for reimbursement for the larger part of my medical expenses. In such a cold, indifferent society, the sincere helpfulness of the brothers and sisters really gave me a feeling of warmth, like we were all part of the same family. After staying in contact with them for some time, I saw that they were all deeply kind people who relied on God’s words in their interactions with others, that they treated other people sincerely, were upright and dignified in their words and actions, and that their humanity and the way they lived their lives were exactly they should be for Christians. They were entirely different from the people I worked with—there were hardly any people like them left in the world. I felt that the words of Almighty God really could change people and guide us onto the right path, and I felt that this church was full of love and that it gave people a great sense of warmth.
I think of the past when I was blinded by the CCP government’s lies and refused over and over again to seek or investigate God’s work of the last days, and even stood in the way of my wife’s faith, but God didn’t give up trying to save me. Using His words which the brothers and sisters read to me and the videos they played for me, God allowed me to see through the CCP government’s lies and clearly see the sinister truth behind them. When I was concerned about the outcome of my surgery and was living in fear, God’s words enlightened and guided me, they gave me faith and strength, and corrected my mistaken viewpoints. When I couldn’t work after surgery, God helped and supported me through the brothers and sisters. I experienced God’s love and mercy for me as well as the authority and preciousness of His words, and I very gladly accepted God’s work of the last days. Now, I frequently attend gatherings with my wife and read God’s words, and my heart is fulfilled and full of joy! I give thanks to God for saving me!