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. According to incomplete statistics, in just 2018, at least 11,000 CAG Christians were arrested for engaging in church activities, and at least 20 died of persecution.
The Life Force That Can Never Be Extinguished
By Dong Mei, Henan Province
I am an ordinary person who lived a run-of-the-mill life. Like many who yearn for the light, I tried lots of ways to search for the true meaning of human existence, so that my life could have more meaning. In the end, all my efforts were in vain. But after I was fortunate enough to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, miraculous changes occurred in my life. It brought more color to my life, and I came to understand that only God is the true Provider of people’s spirits and lives, and only God’s words contain the true meaning of human life. I was glad that I had finally found the right path in life. However, whilst performing my duty one day, I was illegally arrested and brutally tortured by the CCP government. Thereafter, I underwent a life experience that will forever be etched into my life’s journey …
One day in December 2011 at around 7 a.m., another church leader and I were carrying out inventory on church assets when more than ten police officers suddenly burst through the door. One of these evil police rushed up to us and shouted, “Don’t move!” Seeing what was happening, my head reeled. In my mind I thought, “This is bad—the church is going to lose a lot of assets.” Next, the evil police searched us like bandits carrying out a robbery. They also ransacked each room, turning them upside down in short order. In the end, they found some property belonging to the church, three bank cards, deposit receipts, computers, mobile phones, and so on. They confiscated all of them, then took me, the other church leader and two others to the police station.
In the afternoon, the evil police brought in another three sisters that they’d arrested. They shut the seven of us in a room and didn’t let us speak, nor did they let us sleep when night fell. Seeing the sisters shut in with me, and thinking of how much money the church had lost, I was beside myself with anxiety. All I could do was urgently pray to God: “O God! Now that this situation has befallen me, I don’t know what to do. Please protect my heart and keep it calm.” After praying, I thought of God’s words: “Do not be afraid—when things like this happen in the church, they happen with My permission. Stand and speak on My behalf. Have faith that all things and matters are permitted by My throne and contain My intentions within them” (“Chapter 41” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You should know that all things in the environment around you are there by My permission, I arrange it all. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you” (“Chapter 26” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words quelled the panic in my heart. I realized that, today, this environment had befallen me with God’s permission, and that the time had come when God was asking me to bear testimony for Him. Having understood God’s will, I prayed to God and said: “O God! I wish to obey Your orchestrations and arrangements, and to stand firm in my testimony to You—but I am of small stature, and I ask that You give me faith and strength, and protect me so that I may stand firm.”
The next morning, they split us up and interrogated us. One of the evil police said proudly, “I know you’re a church leader. We’ve been monitoring you guys for five months. …” When I heard him describe in detail everything they’d done to monitor me, a shiver ran down my spine. In my mind I thought, “The CCP government really puts a lot of groundwork into arresting us. Since they already know I’m a church leader, there’s no way they’re going to let me go.” I immediately made a resolution before God: I’d rather die than betray God and be a Judas. Seeing that their questioning wasn’t yielding any results, they assigned someone to watch me and not let me sleep.
During the third day’s interrogation, the chief of the evil police turned on a computer and made me read materials vilifying God. Seeing that I was unmoved, he next questioned me closely about the church’s finances. I turned my head to one side and ignored him. This made him so angry he started swearing. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t say anything—we can detain you indefinitely, and torture you whenever we want,” he threatened fiercely. In the middle of that night, the police began their torture. They pulled one of my hands over my shoulder and wrenched it downward, and lifted the other up behind my back. Pressing against my back with their feet, they forcefully handcuffed both wrists together. It hurt so much that I screamed in pain—the bones and flesh in my shoulders felt like they were going to be ripped apart. I could only kneel motionless with my head on the floor. I thought my screams would make them ease up on me, but instead they inserted a teacup between my cuffed hands and my back, which redoubled the pain. The bones in my upper body felt like they’d been snapped in half. It hurt so much I didn’t dare breathe out and cold sweat poured down my face. Just as I felt I could bear the pain no longer, one of the evil police took this chance to say to me, “Just give us a name and we’ll let you go straight away.” At that moment, I called out to God to protect my heart, and I immediately thought of a hymn: “God incarnate suffers, how much more should I, a corrupt person! Should I yield to dark powers, how would I see God? When I remember Your words, they make me long for You. Whenever I see Your face, I fill with guilt and respect. How could I abandon You, seeking so-called freedom? Ready to suffer, to repay Your hurt heart” (“Awaiting God’s Good News” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). “Yes,” I thought. “Christ is the holy and righteous God. He incarnated in the flesh and came to earth to deliver salvation to thoroughly corrupted mankind. For some time now, He has been persecuted and hunted by the CCP government and has been opposed and condemned by mankind. God should never have had to suffer in this way, but He quietly endures all of this to save us.” So, upon reflection, I saw that I was suffering now in order to gain salvation—I should be put through this suffering. If I yielded to Satan because I couldn’t bear the pain, how could I face God ever again? Thinking this gave me strength, and I grew unyielding once more. The evil police tormented me for about an hour. When they undid the handcuffs, my whole body collapsed limply to the ground. “If you don’t talk, we’ll do it again!” they shouted at me. I looked at them and said nothing. My heart was filled with hate for these evil police. One of them stepped up to put the handcuffs on again. Thinking of the excruciating pain I had just suffered, I kept on praying to God in my heart. To my surprise, when he tried to pull my arms behind my back, he couldn’t move them. My arms didn’t hurt too much, either. He was trying so hard his whole head was covered with sweat—but he still couldn’t get the cuffs on. “You’re pretty strong!” he huffed angrily. I knew that this was God caring for me, and that God was giving me strength. Thanks be to God!
Making it to daybreak was hard. I still felt traumatized when I thought about how the evil police had tortured me. They had also threatened me, telling me that if I said nothing, they’d have to take me deep into the mountains and execute me, and that, afterward, when they arrested other believers, they’d say I sold out the church—they’d blacken my name, and make the other brothers and sisters of the church hate and renounce me. Imagining that, my heart was swamped with waves of desolation and helplessness. I found myself feeling timid and weak. In my mind I thought: “I’m better off dying. That way I won’t be a Judas and betray God, nor will I be renounced by my brothers and sisters. I’ll also avoid the pain of torture of the flesh.” So I waited until the evil police who were guarding me weren’t paying attention, and then I smashed my head hard against the wall—but all that happened was that my head swam; I didn’t die. At that moment, God’s words enlightened me from within: “When others misinterpret you, you are able to pray to God and say: ‘O God! I do not ask that others tolerate me or treat me well, nor that they understand or approve of me. I only ask that I may be able to love You in my heart, that I may be at ease in my heart, and that my conscience may be clear. I do not ask that others commend me, or hold me in high regard; I only seek to satisfy You from my heart …’” (“Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words drove out the gloom from my heart. “Yes,” I thought. “God sees people’s innermost hearts. If the police frame me, even if the other brothers and sisters really misunderstand and renounce me because they don’t know what actually happened, I trust that God’s intentions are good; God is testing my faith and my love for Him, and I should seek to satisfy God.” Having seen through the devil’s cunning schemes, I suddenly felt embarrassed and ashamed. I saw that my faith in God was too small. I had been unable to stand firm after suffering a little pain, and had thought to escape and avoid God’s orchestrations through death. The evil police’s aim in threatening me in this way was to make me turn my back on God. And if not for God’s protection, I would have fallen for their cunning scheme. As I pondered God’s words, my heart was filled with light. I no longer wanted to die, but to live well, and to use what I lived out in reality to bear testimony to God and bring shame upon Satan.
The two evil policemen tasked with guarding me asked why I had hit my head against the wall. I said because the other policemen had beaten me. “We primarily work through education. Don’t worry—I won’t let them hit you again,” one of them said with a smile. Hearing his words of comfort, I thought: “These two aren’t bad. Since I was arrested, they’ve been quite nice to me.” With that, I relaxed my guard. But at that moment, God’s words flashed into my heart: “At all times, My people must be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, protecting the gate of My house for Me…, which will stop you falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it will be too late for regrets” (“Chapter 3” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words provided a timely reminder to me, showing me that the devil’s cunning schemes are many, and I should be on guard against these demons at all times. Little did I expect that they would soon reveal their true colors. One of the evil police began to slander God, while the other sat beside me patting my leg, leering at me and asking about the church’s finances. In the evening, seeing I was dozing off, he started groping my chest. Seeing them reveal their true faces, I was filled with indignation. Only now did I see the supposed “People’s Police” were nothing more than hooligans and bullies. They were actually capable of doing such despicable, nasty things! As a result, I could only urgently pray to God to protect me from their harm.
Over the next few days, the evil police not only questioned me closely about the church, but also took turns keeping watch over me and preventing me from falling asleep. Afterward, seeing that I’d given them nothing, the two evil policemen interrogating me grew furious. One of them laid into me, slapping me across the face, hitting me who knows how many times. My face smarted, began to swell up, and in the end grew so numb I couldn’t feel anything. Because their questions had yielded nothing from me, one evening the chief of the evil police screamed at me and said, “You need to start opening your mouth. You’re testing my damn patience—I don’t believe there’s nothing we can do with you. I’ve met many people much tougher than you. If we’re not harsh on you, there’s no way you’ll submit, damn you!” He gave the order and several of the evil police started torturing me. In the evening, the interrogation room was gloomy and terrifying—I felt like I was in hell. They ordered me to squat on the ground and place my shackled hands over my feet. Next, they inserted a wooden baton between the crooks of my arms and behind my knees, forcing my whole body to curl up. They then lifted up the baton and rested it between two tables, leaving my whole body hanging in the air with my head upside down. The moment they hoisted me up, my head went dizzy and I found it hard to breathe. It felt like I was suffocating. Because I was suspended in the air upside down, all my weight was hanging off my wrists. At the beginning, to stop the handcuffs cutting into my flesh, I clutched my hands tightly together, curled up my body, and tried my hardest to stay in that position. But my strength slowly ebbed away. My hands slid from my ankles to my knees, and the handcuffs cut deep into my flesh, leaving me in excruciating pain. After hanging like this for about half an hour, it felt like all the blood in my body had pooled in my head. The painful distension in my head and eyes made it feel like they were going to explode. Deep cuts had been gouged into my wrists, and my hands were so swollen they looked like two loaves of bread. I felt I was on the verge of death. “I can’t take any more, take me down!” I shouted desperately. “No one can save you but yourself. Just tell us a name and we’ll let you down,” said one of the evil police officers viciously. In the end, they saw I really was in trouble and took me down. They fed me some glucose syrup and started questioning me again. I lay limp as mud on the ground, my eyes squeezed tightly shut, paying them no heed. Unexpectedly, the evil police hoisted me into the air once again. Without the strength to hold on with my hands, I had no choice but to let the handcuffs embed themselves in my wrists, the serrated edges sawing into my flesh. At that moment, it hurt so much I let out a heartrending scream. I didn’t have the strength to keep fighting and my breathing had grown extremely shallow. It seemed like time had stopped. I felt like I was teetering on the verge of death. Thinking that this time I really was going to die, I wanted to tell God the words in my heart before my life ended: “O God! At this moment, when I really am on the verge of death, I feel afraid—but even if I do die tonight, I shall still praise Your righteousness. O God! In my brief life’s journey, I thank You for choosing me to return home from this world of sin, stopping me from wandering, and allowing me to ever live in Your warm embrace. O God, I have enjoyed so much of Your love—and yet only now, when my life is about to end, do I realize that I haven’t cherished Your love. Many times have I made You sad and disappointed; I am like a naive child who knows only to enjoy its mother’s love, yet has never thought to pay it back. Only now that I am about to lose my life do I understand that I must cherish Your love, and only now do I regret having missed so many good times. Now, what I regret most is that I have been unable to do anything for You and I owe You so much, and if I can still live, I will certainly do my best to perform my duty, to make up for what I owe You. At this moment, I ask only that You give me strength, so that I may fear death no longer, and face death with fortitude….” My tears fell, one after another, trickling down my forehead. The night was frighteningly quiet. The only sound was the clock ticking, as if counting down the seconds that remained of my life. It was then that something miraculous happened: It felt as if warm sunlight was shining upon me, and I slowly stopped feeling the pain in my body. God’s words reverberated through my mind: “From the moment you come crying into this world, you begin to fulfill your duty. Performing your role in God’s plan and in His ordination, you start your life’s journey. Whatever your background, and whatever the journey ahead of you, no one can escape the orchestrations and arrangements of the Heaven, and no one is in control of their own destiny, for only He who rules over all things is capable of such work” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Yes,” I thought. “God is the source of my life, God rules over my destiny, and I must place myself in God’s hands and submit to His orchestrations.” Pondering God’s words gave me a pleasant, tranquil feeling in my heart, as if I were reclining in God’s warm embrace. I found myself falling asleep. Afraid that I was dying, the evil police took me down and hurriedly gave me some glucose syrup and water. In my brush with death, I had beheld God’s miraculous deeds.
The next day, the evil police spent the whole evening hoisting me up over and over again. They questioned me about the whereabouts of the funds for the receipts they’d confiscated. Throughout, I said nothing, yet they still didn’t give up. To get hold of the church’s money, they used every despicable means to torture me. At that moment, God’s words echoed in my heart: “Thousands of years of hate are concentrated in the heart, millennia of sinfulness are inscribed upon the heart—how could this not inspire loathing? Avenge God, completely snuff out His enemy, do not allow it to run rampant any longer, and do not permit it to kick up as much trouble as it wishes anymore! Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts, paid every price, for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words gave me great strength and faith. I would fight to the death with Satan, and even if I did die, I would stand firm in my testimony to God. Inspired by God’s words, I unwittingly forgot the pain. In this way, each time they hoisted me up, God’s words inspired and motivated me, and so the more times they hoisted me up, the more I could see through to their demonic substance, and the greater my resolve to stand firm in my testimony and satisfy God became. In the end, they each wore themselves out on me. “Most people can’t stand being hung up like this for half an hour, but she’s lasted all this time—she’s really tough!” I heard them comment. I was thrilled to hear this. In my mind, I thought: “With God as my support, you cannot beat me down.” As well as torturing my body, during my nine days and nights in the police station the evil police also deprived me of sleep. Every time I closed my eyes and began nodding off, they would smack their batons against the table, or else make me stand up and run about, or else just scream at me, trying to make me crumble and break my mind. After nine days, seeing they hadn’t reached their objective, the police still didn’t give up. They took me to a hotel, where they cuffed my hands in front of my legs, then inserted a wooden baton between the bends of my arms and legs, forcing me to sit with my body curled up on the floor. They made me stay in this position sitting on the floor for the next several days, which caused the handcuffs to cut into my flesh. My hands and wrists swelled up and turned purple, and my bottom hurt so much I dared not rub or touch it; it felt like I was sitting on needles. One day, one of the leaders of the evil police, seeing that my interrogation had been fruitless, walked up to me fuming with rage and slapped me hard in the face—hard enough to loosen two of my teeth.
In the end, two section chiefs from the Provincial Public Security Department came. As soon as they arrived, they took the handcuffs off, helped me to a sofa, and poured me a cup of water. “You’ve had a hard time over the last few days—but don’t take it to heart, they were just following orders,” they said, feigning kindness. Their pretense made me hate them so much I gnashed my teeth. They also turned on a computer and showed me false evidence, they said many things that condemned and blasphemed against God. I felt enraged. I wanted to argue with them, but I knew that doing so would only make them blaspheme against God even more frantically. At this moment, I truly felt how great the hardship suffered by God incarnate had been, and how much humiliation God had endured for the sake of saving man. What’s more, I saw how contemptible and hateful these evil demons were. In my heart, I secretly swore that I would make a complete break with Satan and forever be loyal to God. Afterward, no matter how they tried to deceive me, I kept my mouth shut and said nothing. Seeing their words were having no effect, the two section chiefs could only leave in a huff.
During the ten days and nights in the hotel, they kept the handcuffs on me, making me squat on the ground holding my legs. Looking back on the time I spent under arrest, I spent nineteen days and nights in the police station and the hotel, and it was the protection of God’s love that had allowed me to nap a little. Besides that tiny nap, the evil police hadn’t let me sleep at all in all that time; I had only to shut my eyes for a moment and they’d do anything it took to keep me awake—whacking the table, fiercely kicking me, screaming at me, ordering me to run about, and so on. Each time I’d be startled, my heart would hammer in my chest, and my nerves would be shot. What with being kept awake in this way and the evil police’s frequent torture as well, my strength ended up severely depleted, my whole body was swollen and uncomfortable, and I started seeing everything in double vision. I’d know there were people in front of me talking, but the sound of their voices would seem as if it were coming from somewhere far away. What’s more, my reactions were becoming very slow. For me to have somehow made it through this was all thanks to God’s great power! As God said: “He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live out his every role. Thanks to His power and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force cannot be overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force.” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In my heart, I gave sincere thanks and praise to God: “O God! You rule all things, Your deeds are inestimable, only You are almighty, You are the inextinguishable life force, and You are the wellspring of the living water for my life. In this special environment, I have beheld Your unique power and authority.” In the end, the evil police got no answers to their questions from me, and they sent me to the detention house.
On the way to the detention house, two policemen said to me, “You’ve done really well. You guys might be in the detention house, but you’re good people. There are all sorts there: drug dealers, murderers, prostitutes—you’ll see when you arrive.” “Since you know we’re good people, why do you arrest us? Doesn’t the government talk of freedom of religion?” I asked. “That’s the Communist Party lying to you. The Party gives us our livelihood, so we have to do what it says. We don’t hate you or have anything against you. We just arrested you because you believe in God,” one of the policemen said. Hearing this, I thought back over everything I’d experienced. I couldn’t help but recall the words of God: “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words cut right to the heart of the matter, allowing me to truly see the true face of the CCP government and how it tries to gain kudos it does not deserve: On the surface, it flies the flag of religious freedom, but in secret it arrests, oppresses, and cruelly hurts those who believe in God up and down the country, in the vain hope of banning God’s work, and it even shamelessly plunders the church’s money, all of which lays bare its demonic substance that hates God and hates the truth.
Whilst in the detention house, there were times when I was weak and in pain. But God’s words kept inspiring me, giving me strength and faith, allowing me to understand that, although Satan had stripped me of the freedom of the flesh, my suffering had edified me, and had taught me to rely on God during the torture of these evil demons, allowed me to understand the true meaning of many truths and to see the preciousness of the truth, and it had increased my resolve and motivation to pursue the truth. I became willing to keep obeying God, and to experience all that God had arranged for me. As a result, when working in the detention house, I sang hymns and quietly thought of God’s love. I felt that my heart had come closer to God, and I no longer found the days so painful and distressing.
During this time, the evil police interrogated me many more times. I thanked God for guiding me in overcoming their torture time and time again. Afterward the evil police withdrew all the money from my three bank cards. Helplessly watching the church’s money being taken by the evil police broke my heart. My heart was filled with hate for this greedy, evil gang of demons, and I yearned for the kingdom of Christ to arrive soon. In the end, despite not having any proof, they sentenced me to a year and three months of reeducation through labor for “disrupting the public order.”
Through being brutally persecuted by the CCP government, I have truly tasted God’s love and salvation for me, I have come to appreciate God’s almightiness and sovereignty and His miraculous deeds, and I have beheld the authority and power of God’s words. Moreover, I have come to truly despise Satan. During that time of persecution, God’s words accompanied me through the distressing days and nights, they allowed me to see through Satan’s cunning schemes and they provided timely protection. God’s words made me strong and courageous, allowing me to overcome that savage torture time and time again. God’s words gave me strength and faith, and they gave me the courage to fight with Satan to the very end…. Thanks be to God! Almighty God is the truth, the way, and the life! I shall forever follow Almighty God to the very end!
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