92. Agonizing Choices
By Alina, Spain
In 1999, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, and before long I was elected to be a church leader. In December of 2000, at noon one day, I was eating with my two kids when five officers burst into the house and started tearing the place apart, searching the place without showing a warrant. At that time, my son was only six years old, and the two kids were clutching on to my clothing in fear, their hands trembling. In the end, they found a Bible and a journal of devotionals I’d written. They were pulling me and pushing me, trying to get me into the police car. The kids were crying and yelling, “Mommy! Don’t go!” At that moment, tears suddenly started pouring down my face, because I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to go back and see them again. My heart was filled with sorrow. Later, they brought me into a PSB interrogation room where they handcuffed me to a metal chair. Several people were there staring at me ferociously. I was terrified then, and I prayed to God ceaselessly, asking Him to give me faith. I thought of God’s words: “Now is the time that I shall test you: Will you offer your loyalty to Me? Can you loyally follow Me to the end of the road? Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block this road?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). God’s words gave me faith, and thinking about how God is my support, I felt less afraid. No matter how brutal the police were, they were in God’s hands. I swore that no matter how they tortured me, I would not be a Judas and betray God. I pledged my life to stand witness for God!
One of the officers started the interrogation: “Who converted you to believe in Almighty God? Who is your leader? Where is the church’s money kept?” I said, “I don’t know a thing.” The director of the National Security Brigade said, “We found your home today because we already have evidence of your faith. We can get you convicted even if you don’t say a word. But if you tell us what you know, we’ll let you go home right now.” I didn’t say a word. He then said, “Your kids are so young—it would be terrible if they didn’t have their mom to care for them. If their teachers and classmates find out their mom is in jail, they’ll be taunted and looked down on. Wouldn’t that be incredibly harmful to their psyches? Could you steel yourself to that? You wouldn’t brush off your children for your faith, would you?” Hearing him say that immediately brought to mind the children’s looks of fear when I’d been arrested, and in a moment my heart was in a knot. All that happened today would traumatize and affect the children so greatly! If I were sentenced, who would care for them? Especially my son, who’d always been illness-prone, what would he do without me there to care for him? If they were discriminated against and laughed at by teachers and classmates, would they be able to deal with it? My tears flowed ceaselessly at these thoughts and I rushed to pray to God: “God! I’m worried about my kids and I feel like a wreck. Please protect my heart so I can be calm, rely on You, and stand witness.” After I prayed, I thought of these words of God: “Despite the fact that you are here before Me, doing things for Me, deep down you are still thinking of your wife, children, and parents at home. Are all these things your property? Why do you not entrust them into My hands? Do you not have sufficient faith in Me? Or is it that you are afraid I will make inappropriate arrangements for you? Why do you always worry about the family of your flesh? You always pine for your loved ones! Do I have a certain place in your heart?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 59). God’s words immediately brightened my heart. God is the Creator, and He has dominion and governance over everyone’s fate. Whatever happened with my two kids in the future was in His hands, and my worrying was useless. I had to have faith in God, and entrust them to His hands. At this thought, I calmed down, and no longer worried for them so much. I knew the police were using the children to blackmail me into selling out the church. They were the ones who had arrested me illegally, destroyed my normal family life, and now they were saying it was my faith that prevented me taking care of my children. Wasn’t this distorting the facts, and turning black into white? When that occurred to me, I shot back at them, “Is it because of my faith, or is it because you people have me locked up in here? Believers in God read God’s word and seek to be good people, they don’t do anything illegal. Why are you constantly arresting believers?” They burst out in raucous laughter when I said that, and one officer said, “You are so naïve. If everyone believed in God, who’d listen to the CCP? Then who would the Party lead? So we can’t let you believe, and if you do, you’ll be arrested!” I was infuriated, and it reminded me of something God said: “In a dark society such as this, where the demons are merciless and inhumane, how could the king of devils, who kills people without batting an eye, tolerate the existence of a God who is lovely, kind, and also holy? How could it applaud and cheer the arrival of God? These lackeys! They repay kindness with hate, they began treating God as an enemy long ago, they abuse God, they are savage in the extreme, they have not the slightest regard for God, they plunder and pillage, they have lost all conscience, they go against all conscience, and they tempt the innocent into senselessness. Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). Through God’s words, I saw into the CCP’s essence. They are perverse and contrary to Heaven. It was God who created all things, created this humanity, and it’s God who nurtures and sustains all of mankind. Worshiping God is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, but the Communist Party doesn’t let people believe in and follow God, they promote atheism and evolution to mislead people. They even shamelessly claim that “there is absolutely no God in the world” and that “the people’s happiness comes entirely from the Party.” They want the people to be deeply grateful, to listen to and obey them. The CCP is incredibly evil and despicable! In the last days, God personally came to earth to save mankind, expressing millions of words. What the CCP most fears is that people will read the word of God and understand the truth, and that they will discern the Party and, no longer under its control, will turn toward God. That’s why the CCP does everything they can to arrest Christians, vainly hoping to suppress God’s work and reach their goal of controlling humanity forever. Once I’d personally experienced their persecution, I saw their demonic essence of hating the truth and being the enemy of God, and despised from the depths of my heart this evil pack of demons who resisted God. I resolved to firmly follow God and stand witness to God no matter how much I suffered.
Later on, my husband got me out on bail by paying someone to get it through. The day of my release, a cop said, “Based on your current attitude you’re definitely going to keep on believing. We’ll be watching you, and we’ll get you back in here the moment we find you gathering or sharing the gospel!” So that I could keep believing and doing my duty normally, I was forced to move several times. My husband was a township deputy head at the time and he’d lost any chance of promotion since I was arrested for my faith. Then in April 2007, one evening he came home and said, “Some cadres will be promoted in the city soon. Because of your faith, I haven’t passed political background checks the last few times I had a chance. I’ve told my leader I want to be part of the field this time, and he said he’d recommend me as long as you give up your religion.” He also told me, “You just need to stop believing for us to have a good life, and we can give our children a stable home. If you insist on keeping your faith, we have to get a divorce. I don’t want to be dragged into this anymore. Give it some thought!” Hearing him say all this was really painful for me. If we divorced, so much hurt would be caused to our children! He’d always been good to me, and our children were obedient. He had a job, I was in business, and we really had a happy life. Our wonderful family was being torn apart because of the Chinese government’s persecution. Thinking about this, I felt sick, like my heart was being torn asunder. I prayed to God: “God, I can’t leave You, but I can’t let go of my husband and my kids. I don’t know what to do. Please enlighten me, so I can understand Your will.” Then, I thought of God’s word: “There is no relationship between a believing husband and an unbelieving wife, and there is no relationship between believing children and unbelieving parents; these two types of people are completely incompatible. Prior to entering into rest, one has physical relatives, but once one has entered into rest, one will no longer have any physical relatives to speak of” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). I thought through God’s words and understood that people of faith and people without faith are two types of people with different essences. Their outlooks on life and values are different. I was on the right life path of faith, that of pursuing the truth. My husband was on the path of an official career, a path to climb the ranks and make money. To work toward promotion, he was disregarding years of marriage and our children’s feelings, and choosing divorce instead. That’s because in his heart, his status and future had become more important to him than me and the kids. Even though he claimed he wanted to give the kids a stable home and have a happy life, it was all an illusion. He was good to me before, because I didn’t have any impact on his personal interests. Now my faith and arrest were impacting his official career and had become a barrier to his promotion and making more money, so he wanted to divorce. It seemed really cold when I thought of that. I saw that there’s no real love between human beings, just deceit and exploitation. My husband knew very well that the Communist Party was an evil party, but he kept taking its side, telling me to give up my faith, even pressuring me with divorce. We had different outlooks and were on different paths, and we wouldn’t be happy even if we stayed together. When I realized this, I knew what I had to do.
We went to the Civil Affairs Bureau the next morning to do our divorce paperwork, and on the way he said, “You know, I don’t want to divorce but there’s no other option. Take good care of yourself.” Hearing him say this made me suddenly tear up. I thought of all the hardships and the mocking from others that I’d have to face after the divorce, and I was gripped with pain. I quickly prayed to God, asking Him to protect my heart. I thought of God’s words: “You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and you should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). I saw from God’s words that no matter how good a life someone may live in the flesh, no matter how many others envy and admire them, none of that means anything. Only pursuing the truth and doing the duty of a created being can gain God’s approval. Only this is a life of integrity and dignity, and is the most meaningful and valuable of lives. Thinking of this was really freeing, and I handled the divorce proceedings without misgivings.
In May 2011 while in a gathering, I was arrested again. They were the same officers from a decade before. They found my ID and called my name out, saying, “These ten years we’ve been to your house plenty of times without finding you and now we’ve really struck gold. We won’t let you go this time!” As they spoke, they handcuffed me and put me in the police car. In the car I thought of three sisters who had been arrested before and brutally tortured by the police for a whole month. One of them had suffered permanent damage to her left arm because she’d been left suspended for too long. Thinking of that set my heart pounding. I was afraid I’d be beaten to disability or death. I urgently called out to God in my heart: “God! Please protect me and guide me through this environment. Even if I’m beaten to death I’ll never be a Judas.” I thought of God’s words after my prayer: “You know that all things in the environment that surrounds you are there by My permission, all planned by Me. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you. Do not fear, the Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 26). It was true. My life and death were entirely in God’s hands, and they couldn’t take my life from me without God allowing it. I thought of Job going through his trials. God wouldn’t let Satan harm Job’s life and Satan couldn’t go against what God said. This brought me some peace in my heart and gave me faith to face what lay ahead.
Later on, the head of the National Security Brigade questioned me. He said, “This is a major, critical case for our city right now. You were arrested ten years ago, and in 2009 someone reported that you were spreading the gospel. Several attempts to arrest you failed. This time, we got you on site at a gathering, so even if you don’t say anything, we can still get you for seven to ten years. Once you’re sentenced, your two kids won’t be accepted to college and they’ll never get civil service jobs. And they’ll be discriminated against by everyone because they have a mother like you. You’ll be to blame for ruining their futures. They’ll hate you for the rest of their lives! Even if you don’t think of yourself, think of your kids’ futures. If you cooperate with us, tell us who the leader above you is, and give us the church’s money, we’ll let you go.” Hearing him say that left me feeling incredibly disgusted. It is the Communist Party who stops at nothing to persecute Christians—they even used my children’s futures to threaten me, and force me to sell out the church and betray God, then claimed that it was my faith ruining their future prospects. That was a complete distortion of the facts!
They questioned me that day consistently until after 2 a.m. When they saw I wouldn’t talk, they sent me to the detention house. One officer said, “This time you’ll be sentenced and do prison time!” The cell was dark and damp. My rheumatism and rheumatic heart disease just got worse and worse, and every single joint ached. I was on watch for two hours every night, and after standing a while I had heart palpitations and tightness in my chest. It was awful. I thought about the officer saying I’d get seven to ten years, and I started calculating how many days there were in seven years, and then in ten years. That would be thousands of days and nights. How would I endure? Would I live to walk out of here? Thinking this, I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my face and I felt darkness taking over my heart. I realized I wasn’t in the right state, so I said an urgent prayer, asking God to protect my heart and give me the faith to endure these circumstances. I remembered God’s words: “In this vast world, who has personally been examined by Me? Who has personally heard the words of My Spirit? So many people grope and search in the darkness; so many pray amid adversity; so many, hungry and cold, watch in hope; and so many are bound by Satan; yet so many know not where to turn, so many betray Me in the midst of their happiness, so many are ungrateful, and so many are loyal to the deceitful schemes of Satan. Who among you is Job? Who is Peter? Why have I repeatedly mentioned Job? Why have I referred to Peter so many times? Have you ever ascertained what My hopes for you are? You should spend more time pondering such things” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 8). After pondering God’s words, I understood that God approved of Job and Peter because they truly believed and submitted. Job went through trials, lost his wealth and his children, and his whole body was covered with boils, yet he was still able to praise God’s name, and say “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21), which humiliated Satan. And Peter was crucified upside down for God, obedient till death, making resounding witness. As for me, I’d enjoyed so much watering and sustenance from God’s words, but I wanted to run away as soon as I faced a tiny bit of suffering. Where was my faith? Where was my obedience? I was a far cry from what God requires. I clung to my life so much, how could I give testimony for God? At this I felt really regretful and guilty and prayed to God: “God! I’m ready to put myself in Your hands. No matter how many years I get or how much I suffer, I wish to stand witness for You and humiliate Satan.” To my surprise, after I offered up everything and was ready to stand witness, I was released. I found out later that my ex-husband, afraid my imprisonment would impact our kids’ university admission, bribed someone to secure my release.
My ex-husband drove to the detention house to meet me on the day of my release. He saw how different I looked after losing so much weight, and asked me, “You’ve gotten so thin after just a month, you wouldn’t have made it several years. This time you’ll stop believing, right?” When I didn’t respond, he kept pressing me: “Come on, you’ll stop believing?” I told him very calmly, “I’ll keep believing! Having faith is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and I’ll believe as long as I live.” Hearing me say this, he hit the steering wheel in anger, sighed and shook his head, then burst out, saying, “I’ve got to hand it to your God! The Party tries everything to win over people’s hearts, but it never can, while you believers insist on believing without any material gain and even after multiple arrests. Your God is really something!” I thanked God for guiding me to stand witness.
A few days after returning home, my son came back from school and said to me solemnly, “Mom, today you have to make a choice. If you want to keep me as your son, you have to give up your faith. If you stay in your religion, I’m going to leave home and you’ll never see me again.” I was stunned. My son had always been so close to me and he’d never opposed my faith before. Why had he said this today? It was really painful, and I felt that this path of faith really was full of adversity, and ups and downs. There was a choice at every step. I felt that this was too difficult a decision, so I prayed to God and asked Him to guide me to understand His will. After I prayed, I thought of a passage of God’s words: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). God’s words helped me understand that, although it looked like it was my son asking me to choose, in fact it was Satan tempting and attacking me, to see if I would choose my familial relationship with my son, or if I would choose God. I had to stand witness to shame Satan. Thinking on this, I said to my son, “I cannot depart from God. Choosing to leave God would be like you deciding to leave me today. It would be unconscionable and it would let God down. I will always follow God. That’s my choice!” Hearing me say this, he left in tears. I felt upset at the time too, but I knew that I had made the right choice!
About half an hour later, he came back and said to me, “Mom, I was wrong. I shouldn’t have forced you to make that choice. My dad said that if you’re caught again, you’ll never get out. I was scared you’d get caught, so I wanted to use that tactic to get you to give up your faith.” Hearing him explain this filled me with disgust for this anti-God Communist Party demon. Just because I believed in God, the Communist Party arrested and persecuted me, tearing apart my family and dragging my husband and children into it. The more it persecutes me, the more I will forsake it, and follow God with an ironclad will!