A Disgrace From My Past

November 30, 2022

By Li Yi, China

In August 2015, my family and I moved to Xinjiang. I’d heard that the Communist Party had strict surveillance and control measures in place, claiming it was to fight riots by the Uyghur minority—the environment was dangerous. After getting to Xinjiang, the atmosphere felt even more tense than I’d imagined. Police were on patrol everywhere. Going to the supermarket we had to go through security, getting a full-body scan. Boarding a bus, there were police patrolling by the stops with guns strapped to their backs. Seeing all this made me really nervous. As believers, we already face arrest and persecution by the Communist Party. Also the surveillance and control were so strict here, it felt really tense to me, like I was in danger of being arrested or losing my life at any moment. Around October, I heard that two sisters had been arrested and sentenced to 10 years for delivering books of God’s words. I was pretty shocked to hear that, too. They weren’t leaders, but got 10 years just for delivering books of God’s words. I was in charge of church work, so I figured if I were arrested, I’d get at least 10 years. At the time, images of brothers and sisters being tortured in prison were foremost in my mind. I felt really afraid. I was worried that I’d be arrested, then tortured, and regret the day I was born. I got more scared and didn’t dare think about it further. But I also heard some brothers and sisters fellowship on how they looked to and relied on God to do a duty in that sort of environment, and saw His almighty rule, and felt His care and protection. This was encouraging for me and gave me the faith to get through the situation.

In February 2016, I learned that Wang Bing, an evil person in a church I was responsible for, was always finding fault with the leaders, seriously disrupting church life. A few coworkers and I discussed it, and we decided I should travel to that church to address the issue. But I was kind of afraid. The sisters who were given 10-year sentences were arrested at that church. The CCP even rounded up local villagers to announce the news of those two sisters’ sentencing, intimidating and threatening the locals not to believe in God. It was a dangerous environment. I didn’t know if I’d be arrested if I went. I found excuses not to go. But then I saw that my partner, Sister Xin Qin, was ready and willing to go, and I felt kind of ashamed. Xin Qin hadn’t been a believer for long and was just training as a leader. There were so many problems in that church and it wasn’t a good environment. I felt bad about having her go. So I said, “Maybe it’s best that I go.” When I got there, I saw that Wang Bin couldn’t fellowship an understanding of God’s words in gatherings, and he always found fault with leaders, seriously disrupting church life. I discussed it with the preacher, and we decided to first isolate this evildoer, and fellowship on the truth with the others to help give them discernment to prevent further disruption. Then we could train Sister Zhong Xin as quickly as possible to take on the church’s work. But fully resolving that church’s issues would probably take quite a bit of time. About half of the church’s brothers and sisters had been arrested, so the longer I spent there, the more dangerous it would become. Since we’d decided on a solution to the problem, I figured I could let the preacher follow up from there on. I rushed to hand off the remaining tasks and went back home. The preacher later reported that that evildoer was becoming increasingly brazen, forming a faction in the church to attack the leaders, seriously disrupting church life. I fellowshiped with the preacher on some solutions, but the problem remained unresolved. I felt a little guilty. Dealing with messes in the church was my responsibility, but I didn’t want to stay there out of fear of being arrested—that wasn’t right. But I also thought of a sister who had recently narrowly escaped arrest when she was taking a train to attend a gathering at our church. What if I got on a train and the same thing happened to me? I was thinking that as a leader, I couldn’t do my job unless my safety was ensured. And so, I still fobbed off that church’s problems on the preacher, but since her capabilities were limited, the church’s issues remained unresolved.

In September 2016 I received a letter unexpectedly saying four brothers and sisters from that church had been arrested for delivering books of God’s words. One of them, Zhong Xin, was brutally beaten. A couple days later another letter came saying that the police had beaten her to death. This news hit me like a bolt from the blue. I simply couldn’t accept it. I knew the Communist Party’s torture methods were absolutely merciless, but I hadn’t imagined someone who was alive and well would be beaten to death in a matter of days. It was terrifying. I felt like the air around me froze and I couldn’t help but burst into tears. I got more upset the more I thought about it, and kept asking myself how that could have happened. I’d known for a while that an evildoer was disrupting that church and its members weren’t able to live a proper life of the church. I was a church leader, but I’d failed to thoroughly resolve the problem out of fear of arrest. If I’d taken on a bit more responsibility, or if I’d issued directives behind the scenes and got the problems resolved, reminding the brothers and sisters to watch out for their safety more, maybe Zhong Xin wouldn’t have been beaten to death by the police. Her death threw me into a state of intense guilt and I was terrified. I felt like this was a really oppressive environment, like dark clouds were pressing down on me and I could hardly breathe. But I knew that at such a critical juncture, I couldn’t keep running away, so I rushed to help the preacher deal with the aftermath. But conditions at that church still weren’t fully taken care of, and I learned that a sister who I’d worked with recently, had also been arrested, and the police had learned some things about our church’s principal leaders and workers. I’d been in frequent contact with those brothers and sisters, so if the police reviewed surveillance footage, I was concerned I could be arrested at any time. If I was arrested and given prison time, there was no telling if I’d make it out alive. I could even end up like Zhong Xin, beaten to death by the police at a young age. I got more scared as I thought about it and didn’t want to keep that duty. I didn’t even want to stay there anymore. Since I never addressed that state, and I failed to resolve the problem of the evildoer disrupting the church for several months, I ended up being dismissed. I took on text-based work in the church after that, but I still felt like that was dangerous. I was worried I could be arrested any day and really wanted to do a duty back in my hometown. Brothers and sisters fellowshiped with me, hoping that at such a critical time, I could stay and help them deal with the aftermath. But I was overcome with fear and I wouldn’t listen to them urging me to stay, so I ended up leaving that place.

In April 2017, because of my behavior, the church put my attendance of gatherings on hold and had me isolate and self-reflect at home. I couldn’t hold my tears back when I heard the news, but since I’d abandoned my duty and became a deserter at such a critical time, I knew it was God’s righteousness that I was isolated for self-reflection. I was willing to submit. I read this in God’s words in my devotionals one day: “If you play an important part in spreading the gospel and desert your post without God’s permission, there is no greater transgression. Does it not count as an act of betrayal against God? So how, in your view, should God treat deserters? (They should be put aside.) Being put aside means being ignored, left to do as you please. If people who are put aside feel remorse, it is possible that God will see that their attitude is sufficiently remorseful and still want them back. But toward those who desert their duty—and only toward these people—God does not have this attitude. How does God treat such people? (God does not save them; God despises and rejects them.) 100% correct. More specifically, people who perform an important duty have been commissioned by God, and if they desert their post, then no matter how well they did before, or do after, to God, they are people who betray God, and they will never again be given the opportunity to perform a duty(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). “God has the utmost disdain for people who desert their duty or treat it as a joke, for the myriad behaviors, actions, and manifestations of betrayal against God, because amid the various contexts, people, matters, and things arranged by God, these people play the role of impeding, damaging, delaying, disrupting, or affecting the progress of God’s work. And how, for this reason, does God feel and react toward deserters and people who betray God? What attitude does God have? Nothing but disdain and hatred. Does He feel pity? No—He could never feel pity. Some people say, ‘Is God not love?’ God does not love such people, these people are not worthy of love. If you love them, then your love is foolish, and just because you love them, that does not mean that God does; you may cherish them, but God does not, for in such people there is nothing worthy of cherishing. And so, God resolutely abandons such people, and doesn’t give them any second chances. Is this reasonable? Not only is this reasonable, it is above all one aspect of God’s disposition, and it is also the truth(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). The judgment and revelation of God’s words was painful, like a knife to the heart. Zhong Xin was beaten to death and my partner was arrested. At such an important time, I should have been working with the brothers and sisters to deal with the aftermath, but instead I just ran away. Anyone with the least bit of a conscience wouldn’t do something like that. I just couldn’t forgive myself for doing such a thing. I used to believe that no matter what I did wrong, God would have mercy on me as long as I repented to Him. But then I realized that was just my notion, my imagining. God says that He gives up on those who give up on their duty and turn their back on Him at a critical time, and He won’t give them more chances. Reading God’s words, I learned that there are principles to His mercy and tolerance. God won’t blindly forgive and bestow mercy on just any person, for any offense. God is also righteous, majestic, and will not tolerate offense. Since the very moment I fled, I’d been feeling like God had already given up on me. I had absolutely no peace of mind whatsoever—I was filled with regret. I have no idea how many times I prayed, how many tears I shed over it. Whether God abandoned me or not, I was ready to render service for Him to repay my debt, and I knew that however He treated me, whatever He did would be righteous. I wouldn’t complain even if He sent me to hell because what I’d done had been so offensive, so hurtful to God. I’d been a believer for all those years, I’d made some sacrifices, and I wanted to pursue salvation, but I’d never imagined that when faced with arrest and persecution by the Communist Party, I would be greedy for life, abandon my duty and betray God, committing a grievous transgression. Thinking about that left me really miserable and in despair. I couldn’t stop the tears. I was overcome with guilt and regret. If I hadn’t stubbornly insisted on leaving the area, but I’d been able to keep doing my duty when needed, managing the aftermath along with the others, that would have been so much better. Then I wouldn’t be living in such misery and despair. That wasn’t how I wanted things to turn out! But at that point it was too late, no matter what. I’d made my own bed. I hated myself for just wanting to save my own skin, for being selfish and vile. Someone like me wasn’t worthy of God’s tolerance and mercy. I felt that since the church hadn’t expelled me, I should do service as well as I could to make up for my transgression.

In my duty after that, I went wherever the leaders arranged for me to go. If I was told to go offer support for churches facing dangers, I just went, and I got some results after a little while. But I didn’t want to ever mention the matter again. I wanted to shield myself from it, to just forget about it. However, I couldn’t do that. It felt like it was deeply branded on my heart and wouldn’t go away. Every thought of it was painful and I felt profoundly guilty. Then one day I read something in God’s words that shed light on my state. Almighty God says, “In protecting themselves, antichrists often ignore the brothers’ and sisters’ safety. … If some place is safe, or if some work or duty may ensure their safety and not entail risk, they are very positive and active in going there, to show off their great ‘sense of responsibility’ and ‘loyalty.’ If some work does entail risk and is liable to go wrong, to get its doer found by the great red dragon, they make their excuses and pass it off to someone else, and find a chance to flee from it. As soon as there is danger, or as soon as there is a hint of danger, they think of ways to extricate themselves and abandon their duty, without a care for the brothers and sisters. They care only about getting themselves out of danger. They may already be prepared at heart. As soon as danger appears, they drop the work they are doing at once, without a care for how the church’s work goes, or for what loss it may incur to the interests of God’s house, or for the safety of the brothers and sisters. What matters to them is fleeing. They even have an ‘ace up their sleeve,’ a plan to protect themselves: As soon as danger is upon them or they are arrested, they say everything they know, clearing themselves and absolving themselves of all responsibility. They are safe then, no? They even have such a plan as that. These people are unwilling to suffer persecution for believing in God; they are afraid of being arrested, tortured, and convicted. The fact is that they have long since succumbed to Satan. They are terrified of the power of the satanic regime, and more afraid still of such things as torture and harsh interrogation befalling them. With antichrists, therefore, if all is smooth sailing, and there is no threat at all to their safety or issue with it, and no hazard is possible, they may offer up their zeal and loyalty, and even their assets. But if circumstances are bad and they could be arrested at any time for believing in God and performing their duty, and if their belief in God may get them fired from their official position or abandoned by those close to them, then they will be exceptionally careful, neither preaching the gospel and testifying to God nor performing their duty. When there is a slight sign of trouble, they become shrinking violets; when there is a slight sign of trouble, they wish immediately to return to the church their books of God’s words and anything related to belief in God, in order to keep themselves safe and unharmed. Is such a person not dangerous? If arrested, would they not become Judas? An antichrist is so dangerous that they may become Judas at any time; there is always the possibility that they will turn their back on God. Furthermore, they are selfish and mean to an extreme. This is determined by an antichrist’s nature and essence(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Two)). “Antichrists are extremely selfish and mean. They do not have true faith in God, much less devotion to God; when they encounter an issue, they only protect and safeguard themselves. For them, nothing is more important than their own safety. They don’t care how much harm is done to the work of the church—as long as they’re still alive and have not been arrested, that’s all that matters. These people are extremely selfish, they don’t think of the brothers and sisters at all, or of the work of the church, they only think of their own safety. They are antichrists(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Two)). Every word of God’s judgment and revelation went straight to the heart for me. I had nowhere to hide—I couldn’t escape. I was that sort of person, who just wants to protect themselves when faced with danger, without any consideration for the church’s work or the brothers and sisters’ lives. I was selfish and despicable. When I first arrived in Xinjiang, I saw it was a terrible environment everywhere. I was in danger of being arrested or losing my life at every turn. I regretted going there for a duty. When I learned there was an evil person disrupting things in a church and that needed handling, I made excuses not to go out of fear of being arrested and tortured. I did reluctantly go, but since I only considered my own safety, I left too soon, before things were resolved. I was well aware that there were serious problems in that church and I needed to go handle them, but I wanted to save my own skin. I used my position to give orders instead of doing real work, even pushing other brothers and sisters to deal with it while I cowered in a safe place, dragging out an ignoble existence, which led to that church’s issues not getting resolved for several months. I even made a reasonable-sounding excuse, that as a leader, I had to protect my own safety to do my work, but in fact, I was just finding an excuse to flee in the face of danger. And when Zhong Xin was arrested and beaten to death, I was still considering my personal safety, worried about whether I’d be arrested, whether I’d be tortured to death. I even wanted to find a chance to abandon my duty and leave that dangerous place. After I was dismissed, I didn’t want to help with the aftermath and ran back to my hometown. The brothers and sisters didn’t reprimand me, but deep inside I felt God’s abandonment, disgust, and condemnation of me. What I regretted most was that the church gave me a chance to be a leader, entrusting so many brothers and sisters to me, but in a difficult time I ran away, regardless of whether the others lived or died, without any thought for how the church’s work would be hindered. I became a deserter, a traitor greedy for life, and a laughingstock of Satan. Even more, that became an eternal wound in my heart. Through what the facts showed, I saw that I was a coward and lived in a selfish way without any humanity. God’s words hit the nail on the head, revealing the despicable, ulterior motives hidden deep in my heart. I couldn’t keep fleeing reality. At that point I deeply felt my profound sin of betraying God, that I didn’t deserve His salvation. I also thought of how God has incarnated twice to save mankind, of Him giving everything. Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus was crucified for mankind’s redemption, giving every last drop of His blood. Now in the last days, God has incarnated again to save corrupt mankind, putting His life on the line to work in the great red dragon’s lair, constantly pursued and persecuted by the Communist Party. But God has never given up on saving mankind. He has continued to express truths to water and supply us. God has given everything for man—His love for us is so real, so selfless. But I was incredibly selfish and lowly. In my duty I only protected myself, totally disregarding the church’s work. I was so indebted to God and didn’t deserve to live before Him. All I wanted was to render service for God so that maybe I could alleviate my sinfulness a bit.

In December 2021, I was elected to be a church leader again. But thinking of how I’d betrayed God and didn’t deserve to be a leader, I told a leader in tears about how I’d been a deserter before. The leader said, “It’s been years, and you’re still stuck in this state of negativity and misunderstanding. That makes it hard to gain the Holy Spirit’s work.” I was also thinking that several years had passed, so why was I still so down about my transgression, and misunderstanding God? How should I resolve my state? After that I made an effort to pray and seek. I read this in God’s words: “Even when there are times that you feel God has left you, and that you have been plunged into darkness, do not be afraid: As long as you are still living and not in hell, you still have a chance. But if you are like Paul, who ultimately testified that for him to live is Christ, it’s all over for you. If you can awaken, you still have a chance. What is the chance you have? It is that you are able to come before God, you can still pray to God and seek answers from Him, saying ‘Oh God! Please enlighten me to understand this aspect of the path of practice, and this aspect of the truth.’ As long as you are one of God’s followers, you have hope of salvation, and will make it to the very end. Are these words clear enough? Are you still liable to be negative? (No.) When people understand God’s will, their path is a broad one. If they do not understand His will, it is narrow, there is darkness in their hearts, and they have no path to tread. Those who do not understand the truth are as follows: They are narrow-minded, they always split hairs, and they always complain about and misinterpret God—with the result that the further they walk, the more their path disappears. In fact, people don’t understand God. If God treated people as in their imagination, the human race would long since have been destroyed(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Identify the Nature and Essence of Paul). “I do not want to see anyone feeling as though God has left them out in the cold, that God has abandoned them or turned His back on them. All I want to see is everyone on the road to pursuing the truth and seeking to understand God, boldly marching onward with unfaltering determination, without any misgivings or burdens. No matter what wrongs you have committed, no matter how far you have strayed or how seriously you have transgressed, do not let these become burdens or excess baggage that you have to carry with you in your pursuit of understanding God. Continue marching onward. At all times, God holds man’s salvation in His heart; this never changes. This is the most precious part of the essence of God(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VI). “God became angry with the Ninevites because their wicked acts had come before His gaze; at that time His anger was derived from His essence. However, when God’s anger dissipated and He bestowed His tolerance upon the people of Nineveh once more, everything that He revealed was still His own essence. The entirety of this change was due to a change in man’s attitude toward God. During this entire period of time, God’s unoffendable disposition did not change, God’s tolerant essence did not change, and God’s loving and merciful essence did not change. When people commit wicked acts and offend God, He will bring His anger upon them. When people truly repent, God’s heart will change, and His anger will cease. When people continue to stubbornly oppose God, His rage will be unceasing, and His wrath will press in on them bit by bit until they are destroyed. This is the essence of God’s disposition. Regardless of whether God is expressing wrath or mercy and lovingkindness, it is man’s conduct, behavior, and the attitude man holds toward God deep within his heart that dictate that which is expressed through the revelation of God’s disposition(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). I was so moved and felt deeply guilty when I read these words from God. I realized I’d been misunderstanding God all those years. God’s will is to save mankind to the greatest extent possible. He wouldn’t give up on someone because of their momentary transgression, but He gives them ample opportunities for repentance. Just like the people of Nineveh. God only said He’d destroy them because they were doing evil, going against Him, and offending Him. But before destroying Nineveh, He had Jonah go share the word of God, giving them a final chance to repent. When they genuinely repented to God, He withdrew His wrath and turned it into tolerance and mercy, forgiving their evil deeds. I could see God’s great love and mercy for people from this. God’s profound wrath and generous mercy are principled, and shift entirely based on people’s attitudes toward God. Though God’s words of judgment and revelation are harsh, even condemning and damning, it’s just the confrontation of words, not real events. God’s will was for me to understand His righteous, unoffendable disposition, to have a heart of reverence for Him and truly repent to Him, so at any time, under any circumstances I could devotedly do a duty. At that point I realized I was too stubborn and rebellious. I’d been misunderstanding God for years, delimiting myself based on notions, trapping myself in a dead end. But really, God hadn’t given up on my salvation. I was misunderstanding God’s intention to save me. That reminds me of something God said: “God’s mercy and tolerance are not rare—man’s true repentance is(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II). Though God has His wrath and His judgment and revelations of us, and He condemns and curses us, He is full of love and mercy. If we don’t understand His righteous disposition, we tend to misunderstand Him. I felt really regretful and guilty after understanding God’s desire to save mankind. I didn’t want to keep running away from my past transgression or keep misunderstanding God and being guarded against Him. I was ready to repent. I wanted to use the lesson of this failure to keep warning myself. I’d been selfish, vile, and greedy for life. Facing danger, I became a deserter, disregarding the church’s work. I realized my weak point was my fear of death. I had to seek the truth to resolve that, to walk away from that.

I read this passage of God’s words later. “From the perspective of human notions, if they paid such a great price to spread the work of God, they should at least have received a good death. But these people were tortured to death before their time. This does not accord with human notions, but God did precisely that—God allowed it to happen. What truth can be sought in God’s having allowed this to happen? Was God’s allowing them to die this way His curse and condemnation, or was it His plan and blessing? It was neither. What was it? People now reflect on their deaths with much heartache, but that was how things were. Those who believed in God died that way, and it makes people’s hearts ache. How is this to be explained? When we touch on this topic, you put yourselves in their position; are your hearts then sad, and do you feel a hidden pain? You think, ‘These people did their duty to spread God’s gospel and should be considered good people, so how could they come to such an end, such an outcome?’ Actually, this was how their bodies died and passed away; this was their means of departure from the human world, yet that did not mean their outcome was the same. No matter what the means of their death and departure was nor how it happened, it was not how God defined the final outcomes of those lives, of those created beings. This is something you must see clearly. On the contrary, they used precisely those means to condemn this world and to testify to God’s deeds. These created beings used their lives that are most precious—they used the last moment of their lives to testify to God’s deeds, to testify to God’s great power, and to declare to Satan and the world that God’s deeds are right, that the Lord Jesus is God, that He is the Lord, and is God’s incarnate flesh; even down to the final moment of their lives, they never denied the name of the Lord Jesus. Was this not a form of judgment upon this world? They used their lives to proclaim to the world, to confirm to human beings that the Lord Jesus is the Lord, that the Lord Jesus is Christ, that He is God’s incarnate flesh, that the work of redemption He wrought for all humanity allows humanity to live on—this fact is forever unchanging. To what extent did they perform their duty? Was it to the ultimate extent? How was the ultimate extent manifested? (They offered their lives.) That’s right, they paid the price with their lives. Family, wealth, and the material things of this life are all external things; the only thing that is internal to self is life. To every living person, life is the thing most worthy of being treasured, the most precious thing and, as it happens, these people were able to offer their most precious possession—life—as confirmation of and testimony to God’s love for mankind. Until the day they died, they did not deny God’s name, nor did they deny God’s work, and they used their last moment of life to testify to the existence of this fact—is this not the highest form of testimony? This is the best way of doing one’s duty; this is what it is to fulfill one’s responsibility. When Satan threatened and terrorized them, and, in the end, even when it made them pay the price of their lives, they did not abrogate their responsibility. This is what it is to fulfill one’s duty to the utmost extent. What do I mean by this? Do I mean to have you use the same method to testify of God and to spread the gospel? You do not necessarily need to do so, but you must understand that this is your responsibility, that if God needs you to, you should accept it as a moral obligation(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound). I was really ashamed after reading God’s words. Saints through the ages have laid down their lives, spilled their blood to spread the gospel. Countless were martyred for God. Some were stoned to death or dragged to death by horses. Some were put in frying pans, some were crucified. And so many missionaries knew that by coming to China they faced the danger of being killed, but they still risked their lives to come share God’s gospel. And now, plenty of believers have been tortured and persecuted to death by the Party for spreading the gospel, sacrificing their lives to bear resounding witness for God. Their persecution was for righteousness, all of their deaths are meaningful and approved of by God. Before I never saw these things clearly, but I was always desperate to stay alive. I thought everything would end when I died, so with the Party’s mad persecution, I gave up my duty and lived an ignoble existence. This is a permanent stain and a serious transgression. When I’d just faced terrible situations, without being arrested, I betrayed God because I was afraid to die. I saw I had no understanding of God’s almighty rule. Whatever we should face in life, what we should suffer, is all ordained by God. We can’t run away from it. I’m grateful for God’s enlightenment and guidance, allowing me to understand this, so I could shift my mistaken perspectives and properly approach death. This thought gave me more faith. After that, no matter what I faced, I was ready to lean on God and bear witness, and wouldn’t abandon my duty or betray God.

On July 6, 2022, my partner sought me out and said nervously, “Something happened. Three leaders have been arrested.” I felt uneasy after I heard her say that. They had had contact with lots of people and households, and one of them had been in touch with us just a few days earlier. We had to take care of the aftermath right away to prevent even greater losses. But I still felt a bit timid and afraid. If the police had their eyes on those brothers and sisters, I could fall into the cops’ web if I had contact with them. But then I thought of the painful lesson I learned before when I became a deserter, how I’d betrayed God and offended His disposition. That was a pain that I would never forget and I didn’t want to repeat my mistake. So I kept praying to God, “Oh God, I feel kind of afraid about what I’m facing today, but this time I want to stay true to my duty and not run away. Please give me faith and strength.”

I notified the brothers and sisters to watch out for their safety, and moved the books of God’s words to safe places. Then it occurred to me that my house wasn’t safe, either, so I wanted to go tell my mother-in-law and have her go rent a room that day. Right as I approached the entrance I saw a couple of young men wearing black. I didn’t dare go inside, but went to a relative’s house to find out what was going on. I learned that my mother-in-law had already been arrested, and those men wearing black were police officers. Later, I found out that a sister who had gone out to tell the brothers and sisters to move hadn’t come back and had probably been arrested, too. The circumstances didn’t allow me to give it much thought. I rushed to deal with other work with the sister I was partnered with. I found out later that that was a coordinated arrest operation by the Communist Party, and 27 people had been arrested between the night of the 5th and the day of the 6th. Faced with such an awful situation, I knew this was God giving me a chance to make a different choice. Before, I’d been a deserter, betraying God. I couldn’t let God down again this time, but I had to lean on God and work with the others to deal with the aftermath and do my duty. I felt calmer and more at peace when I thought about it that way.

When I talk about my transgression again, I’m able to face and acknowledge that I am greedy for life, selfish, and despicable, but I don’t want to be that kind of person anymore. I want that transgression to be like an alarm bell, to remind me not to repeat the same mistake. That failure makes me despise that corrupt disposition in myself, and not want to keep living so selfishly. Now when I see brothers and sisters in a similar state, I offer fellowship to them so they can understand God’s righteous, unoffendable disposition, and take that as a warning. That transgression is engraved on my heart and is very painful, but it’s become a precious experience in my life. Thank God!

You are so fortunate. Click the button to contact us, so you will have the chance to welcome the Lord’s return in 2023 and gain God’s blessings.

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