12. God’s Words Led Me to Bear Witness
By Xiao Min, Shandong Province
I was born in a poor, backward part of the countryside and lived a hard, impoverished life as a child. In order to achieve a better life as soon as possible, after I got married, I began to work like crazy. I ended up, however, getting sick from overwork, and I went from being fit and healthy to being wracked with illnesses. I lived in a state of pain caused by my illnesses and I sought medical advice and treatment wherever I could. I ended up spending a lot of money, but my illnesses never got any better. In the spring of 1999, two sisters preached the gospel of Almighty God’s work of the last days to me. By reading Almighty God’s words, I perceived the authority and power of God’s words, I knew that no human being could possibly have spoken them, and that the words of Almighty God are indeed the voice of God. I became absolutely certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and that He can save us from all our pain. As I read God’s words more and more, I came to understand some truths and I came to a thorough understanding of many things in the world. My pained, stifled spirit felt liberated, and I gradually recovered from my illnesses. My gratitude to God knew no bounds, and I began to actively preach the gospel and bear witness to God’s work of the last days.
It was not long after, however, that I was arrested three times in succession by the CCP government for preaching the gospel, and each time I was arrested, Almighty God guided me to overcome the persecution of Satan. In 2012, in the course of performing my duty for the church, I once again fell into that monster’s den and was subjected to torment at the hands of the devil Satan …
Toward evening on September 13, 2012, I returned to my host home and, just as I always did, I parked my scooter outside and pressed the doorbell. To my surprise, no sooner had I opened the door than four burly men pounced on me like wolves. They twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me, then shoved me down onto a chair and pinned me there. Several policemen immediately began rummaging through my bag…. Faced with this sudden and ferocious display of force, I was dumbfounded with fright, and felt like a pitiful little lamb caught by vicious wolves, without any strength to resist whatsoever. They then took me out and put me into the back of a black sedan car. Inside the car, the police chief, looking like a pathetic little man intoxicated with his own success, turned and grinned slyly at me, saying, “Hah! Do you know how we caught you?” Afraid that I might try to make a run for it, police officers held me down on either side, as though I were a dangerous criminal. I felt both angry and panicked, and I couldn’t guess how the police would punish and torment me. I was deeply afraid that I would not be able to withstand their torture and would become a Judas and betray God. But then I thought of God’s words: “As long as you pray and supplicate before Me frequently, I will bestow all faith upon you. Those in power may seem vicious from the outside, but do not be afraid, for this is because you have little faith. As long as your faith grows, nothing will be too difficult” (“Chapter 75” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words gave me faith and strength and, gradually, they helped me to calm down. “Yes,” I thought. “No matter how savage and fierce the wicked police are, they are just pawns in God’s hands and they are in God’s orchestrations. As long as I pray and call on God with a true heart, then God will be with me and there is nothing to worry about. If these wicked policemen torture and beat me cruelly, then that will just be God wanting to test my faith. No matter how they might torment my flesh, they can never stop my heart from looking to God and calling on God. Even if they kill my flesh, they cannot kill my soul, as everything I am is held in God’s hands.” Once I’d thought this, I no longer feared Satan the devil and I became resolved to stand witness for God. I therefore called out in my heart, “O Almighty God! No matter what they do to me today, I am willing to face it all. Though my flesh is weak, I wish to live in reliance on You and not give Satan even one chance to exploit me. Please protect me, let me not betray You, and let me not become a shameful Judas.” As we were driving along, I kept singing in my mind one of the church hymns: “By God’s disposing and by His arranging, I meet adversity and undergo trials. How can I lose heart, how can I hide? God’s glory comes first. In adversity, God’s words guide me and my faith is perfected. To God I give my utmost devotion, what matter if I die, God’s will is higher than all” (“I Ask Only That God Be Satisfied” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). As I silently sang, my heart filled with inexhaustible strength, and I became determined to rely on the wisdom and strength God was giving me to fight Satan to the death. Once they had taken me into the interrogation room, I was surprised to see that a sister who performed the same church duty as me, the sister from my host home, and a church leader were there as well. They had all been caught too! One of the police officers saw me looking at my church sisters and he fixed me with his gaze and scolded me, saying, “What are you gawking at? Get in there!” To stop us from talking to each other, the police locked us up in different interrogation rooms. They roughly searched me, undid my belt and frisked me all over. It felt like such a gross insult, and I saw how truly evil, despicable and mean these CCP government demon underlings are! I felt furious, but I had to choke on my fury, as there was no place in this den of monsters for reason. After they had confiscated a new scooter that belonged to the church and over 600 yuan I had on me, they began to question me. “What’s your name? What’s your position in the church? Who’s your leader? Where are they now?” I made no answer, so the policeman roared at me, “Do you think we won’t find out if you don’t tell us? You have no idea what we can do! You should know that we’ve arrested your upper level leaders too!” They then proceeded to list a few names and asked if I knew any of them, and they continued to question me. “Where is all your church’s money kept? Tell us!” I rebuffed everything they said, saying, “I don’t know anyone! I don’t know anything!” When they saw that their first round of questioning had failed, they decided to play their ace, and they began to take turns to interrogate and torment me in an attempt to wear me down. The police questioned and tormented me non-stop for three days and four nights. During this difficult time, I called on God in earnest, and God’s words guided me: “You should not be afraid of this and that; no matter how many difficulties and dangers you might face, you are capable of remaining steady before Me, unobstructed by any hindrance, so that My will may be carried out unimpeded. This is your duty…. Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block this road? Remember this! Do not forget! All that occurs is by My good intention, and everything is under My observation” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Yes!” I thought. “Almighty God is my strong tower, and with Almighty God as my staunch support, I have nothing to fear! As long as I have the faith to cooperate with God, then I believe that God will help me overcome Satan’s temptations and get through this difficult time.”
Because on the first day the police hadn’t managed to get the information they wanted from me, they were shamed into anger, and a chief among them said fiercely to me, “I’m not going to give in to her recalcitrance. Torture her!” When I heard him say this, my spirit faltered and I began to be afraid, and I worried that I was already crumbling under their torment. All I could do was to call sincerely on God: “O Almighty God! I feel so weak right now and all strength has left me. But the police want to torture me and I really don’t know if I can stay standing firm. Please be with me and give me strength.” The police took my handcuffed hands which were still behind my back and hung them on a broken table, then they forced me to maintain a half-squat position. They eyed me hostilely and pressed me with questions. “Where is your leader? Where is all the church’s money?” They were just itching for me to break under the pressure of that torture and capitulate to them. After the wicked police had continued this torment for about half an hour, my legs began to ache and tremble. My heart was beating hard and my arms were hurting badly too. I was at the limit of my endurance and I felt as though I couldn’t last a moment longer, and so I called out in earnest in my heart: “O Almighty God! Please save me. I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to betray You as a Judas. Please protect me.” Just then, these words of God came to mind: “Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words awakened me and enabled me to realize that Satan was tormenting me in this way to make me betray God and give up pursuing the truth. This was a battle being waged in the spiritual realm: It was Satan trying to tempt me, and it was also God’s way of trying me. This was the very moment that God needed me to bear witness. God had expectations of me and so many angels were watching me right now, as was Satan the devil, all waiting for me to declare my position. I simply could not give up and lie down and I could not surrender to Satan; I knew I had to allow God’s work to be carried out through me in order to meet God’s will. By unalterable principle, this was the duty I should be performing as a created being—this was my calling. At this crucial juncture, my attitude and my behavior were to have a direct impact on my ability to bear victorious witness for God, and even more so were to have a direct impact on my ability to become a testimony to God’s defeat of Satan and His gaining of glory. I knew I could not cause God grief or disappoint Him, and I could not allow the cunning schemes of Satan that afflicted me to succeed. Thinking these thoughts, strength suddenly rose up in my heart and I said staunchly, “You can beat me to death, but I still don’t know anything!” Just then, a female police officer came into the room. She saw me and said, “Quickly, let her down. What are you trying to do, kill her? It’s on your head if something happens to her!” I knew in my heart that Almighty God had heard my prayers and had kept me safe from harm in this moment of danger. When the wicked policemen let me down, I immediately crumpled to the floor. I couldn’t stand, and my arms and legs had totally lost all feeling. I barely had the strength to breathe and couldn’t feel my four limbs at all. I felt so scared right then and tears rolled ceaselessly from my eyes. I thought: “Am I going to end up crippled?” Despite this, however, the wicked policemen still didn’t let me go. With one on either side of me, they took hold of my arms and dragged me like a corpse over to a broken chair, and pushed me down onto it. One of the policemen said viciously, “If she doesn’t speak then hang her up with rope!” Very quickly, the other wicked policeman took out a thin nylon rope and used it to hang my handcuffed hands onto a heating pipe. My arms were immediately pulled straight, and my back and shoulders soon began to hurt. The wicked policemen kept on questioning me, asking, “Are you going to tell us what we want to know?” Still, I made no answer. They got so angry that they threw a cup of water in my face, saying it was to wake me up. By this time, I had already been tortured to the point where I had not even an ounce of strength left, and my eyes were so tired I couldn’t even open them. Seeing that I remained silent, one of the wicked policemen meanly and shamelessly forced my eyes open with his hands to make fun of me. After undergoing several hours of interrogation and torture, the wicked policemen had gone through every trick in their book, but their attempts to make me talk had, once again, all ended in failure.
Seeing that they couldn’t get anything out of me by questioning me, the wicked policemen decided to employ a devilish plot: They had someone from the city who called himself an “interrogation expert” come to deal with me. They took me to another room and ordered me to sit on a metal chair, then they chained my ankles tightly to the chair legs and my hands to the chair arms. A little while later, a bespectacled, refined-looking man came in with a briefcase. He smiled broadly at me and, pretending to be nice, he undid the chains holding my hands and ankles to the chair and allowed me to sit on a cot bed to one side of the room. One moment he was pouring me a cup of water, then he was treating me with sweets. He came up to me and said with feigned friendliness, “Why suffer like this? You’ve suffered so much, but actually it’s not that big a deal. Tell us what we want to know, and everything will be alright….” Faced with this new situation, I didn’t know how I should be cooperating with God, so I hurriedly prayed to God in my heart and called on Him to enlighten me and guide me. Just then, I thought of Almighty God’s words: “You must endure any trials and accept all that comes from Me. You must follow the Holy Spirit no matter how He leads you. You must have a keen spirit and the ability to distinguish things. You must understand people, and not blindly follow them; keep your spiritual eyes bright, and possess a thorough knowledge of all things” (“Chapter 18” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words showed me the path of practice and helped me to realize that a devil will always be a devil, and that a devil can never change its demonic God-resisting, God-hating essence. Whether they use hard tactics or soft tactics, their goal is always to make me betray God and forsake the true way. Thanks to the warning of God’s words, I came to have some discernment of Satan’s cunning schemes, my mind cleared, and I was able to take a firm stand. The interrogator then said to me, “The CCP government forbids people from believing in God. If you continue to believe in Almighty God, then your whole family will be implicated, and it will affect the futures, the employment prospects, and the civil service prospects of the children in your family. You’d better think it over carefully….” After he’d said this, a battle began to rage within me, and I felt doubly disturbed. Just as I was feeling lost, I suddenly thought of Peter’s experiences when he successfully stood witness before Satan; Peter always tried to understand God through every cunning scheme Satan threw at him. And so, deep in my heart, I looked to God and entrusted everything to Him, and I sought God’s will. Without being aware of it, Almighty God’s words came into my mind: “Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day. Human development and progress are inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. … God alone knows the fate of a country or nation, and God alone controls the course of this mankind” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words filled me with light. “Yes!” I thought. “God is the Creator and our fate as mankind is in God’s hands. Satan the devil is of the ilk that defies God. If they can’t even alter their own destiny of being doomed to hell, then how could they rule the fate of man? Man’s destiny is predestined by God, and whatever jobs my children might do in the future and however their prospects will be is up to God—Satan has no control over these things whatsoever.” Thinking this, I became able to see even more clearly how despicable and shameless Satan and demons are. So as to force me to deny God and reject God, it was employing insidious and vile tactics—these “mind games”—to lure me into being duped. Had it not been for the timely enlightenment and guidance of Almighty God, I would already have been overthrown and taken captive by Satan. Now that I knew how despicable and evil Satan was, my confidence to not give in to its cunning schemes was strengthened. In the end, the wicked policeman was at a loss and didn’t know what else to do, and so he left in dejection.
On the third day, the chief of the police saw that they’d gotten no information out of me and became furious, complaining about his underlings for their incompetence. He came to me and, with a mirthless smile on his face, spoke sarcastically, saying, “Why haven’t you come clean yet? Who do you think you are, Liu Hulan? You think we’ve already done our worst so you’re not afraid, huh? Why doesn’t your Almighty God come and save you? …” As he spoke, he frightened me by waving a small taser in front of my eyes that crackled and flashed with blue light, then he pointed at a large taser that was currently being charged and threatened me, saying, “Do you see that? This small taser will soon run out of power. In a moment, I’ll use that fully charged large taser to electrocute you, and then we’ll see if you talk! I know you’ll start talking then!” I looked at the large taser and I couldn’t help but begin to panic: “This wicked policeman is so fierce and diabolical. Will he end up killing me? Will I be able to endure this torment? Will I be electrocuted to death?” In that moment, weakness, cowardliness, and the pain and helplessness I felt all flooded my mind…. I hurriedly called on God: “O Almighty God, though my flesh is in great pain and is so weak, I’m still not willing to give Satan what it wants. My flesh is lowly and worthless, and I wish only for You to gain my heart and to accept my heart. Please protect me and keep me from betraying You and becoming a traitorous Judas.” As I called on God, several lines from a hymn of God’s words drifted into my mind: “Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God” (“The Onset of Illness Is God’s Love” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). These words of the Lord Jesus also came to mind: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). God’s words caused my tears to flow freely—I felt incredibly moved. The strength in my heart was like a raging fire. “Even if I die today,” I thought, “what is there to fear? It is a glorious thing to die for God, and I will give up everything to fight with Satan to the death!” Just then, some lines from another hymn of God’s words came to mind: “On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was in agony, as if a knife were being twisted in His heart, yet He had not the slightest intention of going back on His word; always there was a powerful force compelling Him onward to where He would be crucified. Ultimately, He was nailed to the cross and became the likeness of sinful flesh, completing the work of the redemption of mankind” (“Emulate the Lord Jesus” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I sang and sang in my heart, and tears fell ceaselessly down my cheeks. The scene of the Lord Jesus Christ being crucified played before my very eyes: The Lord Jesus was mocked, reviled and slandered by the Pharisees, His executioner lashed Him with an iron-clasped whip until He was covered in cuts and bruises, until finally He was cruelly nailed to the cross, and yet He never made a sound…. Everything the Lord Jesus went through was suffered for the sake of His love for mankind, and this love overcame His love for His own life. At that moment, my heart was inspired and moved by God’s love, and I was filled with tremendous strength and faith. I felt unafraid of anything, and I felt like it would be glorious to die for God, whereas to be a Judas would be the greatest shame. To my surprise, when I decided I would stand witness for God even at the cost of my own life, God aided me once again to escape the clutches of death, and He opened up a way out for me. At that moment, a wicked policeman ran into the room, saying, “There’s trouble at the city square, we have to mobilize the police force to suppress it and maintain public order!” The wicked policemen hurried away. By the time they got back, it was late into the night, and they didn’t have the energy to interrogate me anymore. They said viciously to me, “Since you won’t talk, we’ll send you to the detention house!”
On the morning of the fourth day, the wicked policemen took my photo and hung a big square sign around my neck with my name written on it with a brush. I was like a denounced criminal, being mocked and ridiculed by the wicked police. I felt like I was being subjected to the greatest humiliation, and I felt very weak inside. I realized that my state of mind was not right, however, and so I hurriedly called on God silently in my heart: “O God! Please protect my heart and enable me to understand Your will and not fall prey to Satan’s cunning schemes.” After praying, a passage of God’s words appeared clearly in my mind: “You are a created being—you should of course worship God and pursue a life of meaning. … Since you are a human being, you should expend yourself for God and endure all suffering! You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job and Peter. … You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Is that not the most meaningful life?” (“Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words carried authority and might, they filled my heart with light and dispelled all darkness, and they enabled me to understand the meaning and value of life. They allowed me to understand that, to be able to pursue the truth as a created being, and to live to worship God and satisfy God, was the most meaningful and worthwhile life. To be able today to be captured and detained for my belief in God, to suffer all this humiliation and pain, and to be able to share in the tribulations and in the kingdom of Christ, was not a shameful thing, but a glorious one. Satan does not worship God; on the contrary, it does all it can to interrupt and obstruct God’s work, and this is what is most shameful and despicable. Thinking these thoughts, I became filled with strength and joy. The wicked policemen saw the smile on my face and gazed at me in amazement, and said, “What do you have to be happy about?” I replied justly and forcefully, “It is perfectly justified to believe in God and worship God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. Why shouldn’t I be happy?” Under the guidance of God, I was once again able to rely on God to overcome Satan.
I was then taken into the detention house. Everything in that place was even more gloomy and frightening, and I felt like I’d descended into some sort of hell. For every meal, I was given a small black piece of steamed bread and some boiled bok choy in a bowl of clear soup with a few vegetable leaves floating on the top. I was so hungry all day every day, my stomach was crying out for food. Despite this, however, I still had to work like a beast of burden, and if I didn’t meet my quota, I was beaten or made to stand guard as a punishment. Because this cruel torment went on for days and days, I was bruised and injured from head to toe, and it became hard even to walk, but the correctional officers still forced me to carry heavy loads of copper wire. Because of this heavy work, my injured back became unbearably painful, and all I could do at the end of each day was crawl onto my bed. But at nighttime, the wicked police would make me stand guard for the prisoners as well, and this excessive and exhausting work was impossible to bear. One night while I was on guard duty, I took advantage of the wicked police’s absence and, stealthily, I crouched down, hoping to have a rest. Unexpectedly, however, a wicked policeman saw me on camera in the surveillance room and stormed over to me bellowing, “Who said you could sit down?” One of the other prisoners whispered to me, “Hurry and apologize to him, or else he’ll make you ‘sleep on the wooden bed.’” By this, she meant the torture where a wooden door board is taken into the prisoner’s cell, their legs and feet are chained to it, and their wrists are roped to it. The prisoner is then tied to the board, and they are not allowed to move again for two weeks. Hearing this, I was filled with both anger and hatred, but I knew I couldn’t show even the slightest bit of resistance—all I could do was swallow my anger. I found such bullying and torture hard to bear. That night, I lay on my freezing cold bed crying at the injustice of it all, my heart filled with complaints and demands toward God, thinking: “When will this end? Just one day in this hellish place is one day too many.” I then thought of God’s words: “If you understand the significance of human life and have taken the right path of human life, and if in the future you submit to His designs without any complaints or choices no matter how God deals with you, and if you do not make any demands of God, then in this way you will be a person of value” (“How You Should Walk the Final Stretch of the Path” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words made me ashamed of myself. I thought of how I always said that I would endure any pain for God, that I would always obey God in every way, like Peter did, no matter how great the pain or hardship, and that I would make no decisions or demands for my own sake. When persecution and hardship befell me, however, and I had to suffer and pay the price, I wholly failed to live out my words in reality. I was filled with unreasonable demands for God and opposition to God, and I just wanted to escape this predicament so that my flesh would no longer suffer—how could I possibly gain the truth and life God was giving me by doing that? Only then did I finally understand God’s good intentions: God was allowing this misery to befall me to temper my resolve to endure suffering, and to allow me to learn how to obey in my suffering, so that I would be able to submit to God’s orchestrations and be qualified to receive His promise. Everything God was doing to me was being done out of love, it was being done to save me, and it was being done to change me into a genuine human being. My heart was thereafter liberated, and I no longer felt wronged or pained. All I wanted was to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, to cooperate in earnest with God in this situation, and to seek to gain the truth.
A month later, although they hadn’t gotten much evidence out of me, the police let me go. They did, however, label me with the charge of “disrupting enforcement of the law and taking part in a xie jiao organization” so as to restrict my personal freedom. For one year, I was not permitted to leave the province or the municipality, and I had to be at the police’s beck and call whenever they wanted me. Only after I got back home did I find out that all the belongings I had kept at the host home had been robbed and taken by the police. Besides this, the wicked police had ransacked my home like brigands, and had threatened my family, saying that they had to hand over 25,000 yuan before they would let me go. My mother-in-law couldn’t stand the fright of it all and had a heart attack, and only recovered after being admitted to hospital and receiving treatment, at the cost of over 2,000 yuan. In the end, my family was forced to ask everyone they knew to lend them money so they could scrape together 3,000 yuan for the police, and only then was I released. Due to the cruel tortures inflicted on me by the wicked police, my body has been left suffering with severe aftereffects: My arms and legs often swell up and become sore due to the severe stress put on them during my incarceration; I cannot even lift two and a half kilos of vegetables or wash my clothes, and I have completely lost the ability to work. The cruel persecution inflicted on me by the CCP government has made me hate Satan even more—I hate this reactionary, heaven-defying devil Satan.
Through experiencing this persecution and hardship, I have truly come to appreciate that God’s work really is so practical and wise. During my suffering, God instilled the truth in me, little by little, thus enabling me to leave the darkness behind, escape death, and win freedom and liberation in the truth. This is how God guided me to overcome Satan, again and again, through the persecution and hardships inflicted on me by Satan. He allowed me to gain the watering and supply of His words, to understand the truth and develop discernment, and He tempered my will, perfected my faith, taught me to look to Him and rely on Him, and my life gradually grew and matured. I truly came to see that God is already victorious and that Satan is already defeated, just as it is sung in this hymn of God’s words: “Proof of the great red dragon’s progressive collapse can be seen in the continued maturation of the people. This can be obviously seen by anyone. The maturation of the people is a sign of the enemy’s demise. God personally goes to the place where the great red dragon lies coiled, to do battle with it. And when all of humanity comes to know Him from within the flesh, and is able to see His deeds from within the flesh, then the great red dragon’s lair will turn to ashes and vanish without a trace” (“The Great Red Dragon Collapses as God’s People Grow” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).