The Ups and Downs of a Soldier’s Gospel-Spreading Path
In 2021, soon after I accepted God’s gospel of the last days, I began spreading the gospel. One time, I invited more than 20 comrades to listen to a sermon. Through reading’s words and fellowshiping on and bearing witness for His work of the last days, they ultimately all accepted Almighty God. I was extremely happy, and I had the faith to continue spreading the gospel.
Not long after I started spreading the gospel, my platoon leader began to persecute me. He said I had gone overboard with my faith in God, and he also said this in front of the troops: “I was thinking about cultivating you to become a squad leader, but now you believe in God and don’t listen to me—you will regret this! In the future, even if your parents die, I still won’t let you take leave.” After hearing the platoon leader’s words, some comrades also ridiculed me: “Everyone believes in Buddha; by believing in God, you’re insulting our faith.” Confronted with ridicule and humiliation from so many people, I started to feel a bit weak, and I hastily walked away. I found a quiet place, knelt down, and prayed to God: “God, the platoon leader scolded and humiliated me, and my comrades ridiculed me. I am so weak; may You give me faith and strength. I know that I am being tested, and I cannot let it affect me or interfere with my duty.” Soon after this, the front lines went into battle, and the troops kept a close watch over the rooms. One night, I was preparing to go water the new believers, but it occurred to me that we were being kept on a short leash recently, and whoever got caught sneaking out would be punished. They would be beaten and scolded or tied up outside for one night. I was worried that if the platoon leader knew that I often went out, he would certainly scold, beat, and humiliate me again. Thinking of this, I didn’t dare to go out and water the newcomers. I spoke my thoughts to Carter, whom I was paired with. Carter said: “You care so much about your reputation. God has arranged such an environment for us to see how we experience it, to see whether we can learn any lessons. You must pray to God more and reflect more on yourself. If you are governed by your vanity and self-respect and give up on your duty because you can’t handle the ridicule of others, what kind of problem is this? If you do not go to water all those newcomers in the village, then are you not treating your duty lightly and being irresponsible?” He also sent me a passage of (The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know Man’s Nature). Through reading this passage of God’s words, I understood that the attitude of holding oneself responsible for fulfilling one’s duty was very important. God uplifted me and gave me the opportunity to perform my duty, so I must hold onto my duty and do my best to complete it. I am a created being, and I have eaten and drunk so many of God’s words and understood God’s will and His demands, and now I give up my duty as soon as I face some difficulties. I have betrayed God. I thought of the ordinary people here who could face war at any time, who were in a state of anxiety every day. God put me into this environment to let me spread the gospel to these people without delay, to water these new believers properly, so that they can lay down a foundation upon the true way and attain salvation, and receive God’s protection amid disaster. God hopes to see my loyalty and hopes that I can have faith and stand firm in my testimony, and does not want to see me flinch when performing my duty, but I couldn’t stand being faced with humiliation, and I treated my duty lightly and did not take responsibility. This is a betrayal of God, more severe than that of Judas, and I deserve to be cursed. Through seeing God’s words, I understood that no matter the situation, no matter how much I suffer or how much I am humiliated, and even if it costs me my life, I must complete all that God has entrusted me with. This is the responsibility and duty that I should fulfill. After that, I partnered up with two of my brothers to spread the gospel and water the newcomers. 27 people were converted in one month, and afterward they were handed over to the church. I was very grateful for God’s guidance, and I felt at peace in my heart.. “How you regard God’s commissions is extremely important, and this is a very serious matter. If you cannot complete what God has entrusted to people, then you are not fit to live in His presence and you should be punished. It is perfectly natural and justified that humans should complete whatever commissions God entrusts to them. This is man’s supreme responsibility, and is just as important as their very lives. If you do not take God’s commissions seriously, then you are betraying Him in the most grievous way. In this, you are more lamentable than Judas, and should be cursed. People must gain a thorough understanding of how to treat what God entrusts to them and, at the very least, they must comprehend that the commissions He entrusts to humanity are exaltations and special favors from God, and that they are most glorious things. Everything else can be abandoned. Even if a person must sacrifice their own life, they must still fulfill God’s commission”
Later on, our troops were transferred, and I relocated to another place. Some newcomers didn’t know that the platoon leader persecuted believers in God, so they tried to spread the gospel to him, and the platoon leader began to look into who was spreading the gospel to the villagers. I felt scared: “Would my spreading the gospel to the villagers be exposed? Would the troop leader arrest me and send me to prison? Then I would certainly suffer and be humiliated. It would be better if I waited a while until we had a longer leash to resume spreading the gospel. That way, I wouldn’t get caught; I don’t want to be humiliated again.” So, I didn’t go out to spread the gospel for three days. Even though I would attend gatherings online every night, I felt empty inside. I didn’t feel as at ease as when I was doing my duty before.
Later on, one of my sisters came to know about my state and sent me a passage of God’s words. “You believe yourselves to possess the utmost sincerity and loyalty toward Me. You think that you are so kindhearted, so compassionate, and have devoted so much to Me. You think that you have done more than enough for Me. But have you ever held this up against your actions? I say you are plenty arrogant, plenty greedy, plenty perfunctory; the tricks with which you fool Me are plenty clever, and you have plenty of contemptible intentions and contemptible methods. Your loyalty is too meager, your earnestness too paltry, and your conscience even more lacking. … When you perform your duty, you are thinking of your own interests, of your own personal safety, of the members of your family. What have you ever done that was for Me? When have you ever thought of Me? When have you ever devoted yourself, at any cost, to Me and My work? Where is the evidence of your compatibility with Me? Where is the reality of your loyalty to Me? Where is the reality of your obedience to Me?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ). I read God’s words and then reflected on myself. Before, I thought that I was dedicating and expending myself enough for God. After I started believing in God, I was always spreading the gospel, and would do so even if I was on the front line. One time, I came back from watering newcomers, and my commander thought I was the enemy and was preparing to shoot me. Luckily, one of my brothers promptly noticed that it was me, and so he didn’t pull the trigger. I believed that spreading the gospel and expending myself for God in this way, and suffering a lot while also gaining some people already showed that I was loyal to God, and He should be satisfied. But actually, I wasn’t loyal at all. When doing my duty, the first thing I thought about was my own reputation and interests. I was afraid that the platoon leader would beat, scold, and humiliate me if he caught me going out to spread the gospel; I was afraid of losing face. So, I stopped doing my duty and didn’t spread the gospel or water newcomers anymore. The platoon leader looked into who was spreading the gospel to villagers, and I was afraid he would find out that it was me and that they would arrest and imprison me, so I stopped doing my duty yet again. When faced with such circumstances again and again, all I thought about was my own reputation. Whenever something involved my reputation or some humiliation, I would toss my duty to the side and stopped performing it. I saw that even though I was willing to expend myself for God, whenever my own interests were involved, I chose to preserve myself and did not defend the church’s work at all. I was not responsible in the performance of my duty, and I did not have a conscience or reason. Now I finally recognized that I was not loyal, that I was not sincere enough toward God, and that I was too selfish and contemptible!
At that time, I read a passage of God’s words and was very inspired. “Spreading the gospel is everyone’s duty and obligation. At any time, regardless of what we hear, or what we see, or what kind of treatment we encounter, we must always uphold this responsibility of spreading the gospel. Under no circumstances can we give up on this duty because of negativity or weakness. The duty to spread the gospel is not smooth sailing, but fraught with danger. When you spread the gospel, you will not face angels, or aliens, or robots. You will face only evil and corrupt humanity, living demons, beasts—they are all humans surviving in this evil space, this evil world, who have been deeply corrupted by Satan, and resist God. Therefore, in the process of spreading the gospel, there are certainly all sorts of dangers, to say nothing of petty slander, sneers, and misunderstandings, which are common occurrences. If you truly regard spreading the gospel as a responsibility, as an obligation, and as your duty, then you will be able to regard these things correctly and even handle them correctly. You will not give up on your responsibility and your obligation, nor will you deviate from your original intention to spread the gospel and testify to God because of these things, and you will never put this responsibility aside, for this is your duty. How should this duty be understood? It is the value and primary obligation of human life. Spreading the good news of God’s work in the last days and the gospel of God’s work is the value of human life” (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). After reading God’s words, I understood that spreading the gospel is not smooth sailing. Because we are dealing with corrupt mankind, we will certainly encounter various dangers when spreading the gospel, such as being beaten and scolded, humiliated, derided, and slandered—this is inevitable. Spreading the gospel is the unshirkable duty of all who believe in God. No matter what persecution befalls them, and no matter how others humiliate or ridicule them, one cannot give up their own duty, and when the critical moment comes, one can only be remembered if they perform their duties well. The duty and responsibility that God has given me is of the utmost importance, and I should let go of my vanity and self-respect and continue spreading the gospel and bearing witness for God, bringing more people before God to fulfill my responsibility. This is the best way to bear witness for God and humiliate Satan. No matter how the platoon leader scolds or humiliates me, no matter how my comrades ridicule me, and even if they are going to tie me up to a tree and hang me, I still must spread the gospel and bear witness for God.
Later, our troops were transferred yet again to another place, and there was no way for me to go out and spread the gospel, so I spread the gospel online with several of my brothers in the army. I created a group on my phone and added these brothers to the group. Unexpectedly, the platoon leader took my phone when I wasn’t paying attention, and he said to me: “If you prove that you do not believe in God in the form of a written pledge, I will give your phone back.” I said: “I didn’t do anything wrong, so why did you confiscate my phone?” The platoon leader said: “You have taken your faith in God too far. The Wa people’s faith is in their party—believing in God is illegal!” As he said this, he grabbed a shovel and hit me. The next day, the platoon leader discovered the chat history between my brothers and me in my phone, and also found God’s words as well as the church’s films and videos. He reported this to his superiors at the headquarters. The commander asked me: “Where did you accept Almighty God? What is your position in the church? To whom have you spread the gospel? How many believers are there among our troops?” When they were asking me, I was scared, and my body was shaking a bit. I thought: “If I tell the truth, then I am betraying God like Judas, but if I don’t, then the commander and others will go ask these brothers who spread the gospel to them, and if they say that it was me, my fate will certainly be even worse.” I was praying to God repeatedly in my heart, asking Him to guide me and give me the strength to stand firm in my testimony, so that no matter how I was humiliated or how I suffered, I would not sell out my brothers and sisters and do as Judas did. And then, I said: “My belief in Almighty God means gathering and worshiping God.” I didn’t answer any of their questions after that.
In the end, they sent me back and placed me in confinement. They chained me and three other people together by our feet. When we ate, slept, and went to the toilet, we did it all four of us together, and it was also difficult to walk. My heart grew a bit weak: “I have been placed in confinement and am handcuffed and shackled. If the unbelieving comrades saw me, what would they think? Would they also say that I had taken my faith in God too far?” When I thought of these things, I felt embarrassed and felt that my reputation was ruined. I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I wanted God to help me break free from this environment, and I didn’t want to be humiliated like this anymore. I had to wear handcuffs when I went to eat, and other soldiers ridiculed me: “Why don’t you ask your God to remove your handcuffs?” I ate with my head down, not daring to look up, and prayed silently in my heart: “God, I am in pain. My stature is too small. May You guide me and give me faith and strength so that I can face the humiliation of others.” After praying, I felt that I was stronger, and I thought of acalled “A Choice Without Regret”:
1 When Satan’s arrests and persecution of Christians grow increasingly savage, when the city is full of dark horror, and I flee wherever I can, when human rights are stripped wantonly, when my only company is a long night of pain, I shall not waver in my faith in God, nor betray the Creator, the only true God. Almighty true God, my heart belongs to You. Incarceration can only control my body. It cannot stop my footsteps in following You. Painful suffering, a bumpy road, with the guidance of Your words, my heart is without fear, with the company of Your love, my heart is sated.
2 When Satan’s devils’ ruinous torture grows ever more severe, when searing pain hits me again and again, when the agony of the flesh is about to reach its limit, at the final moment, when my life is about to be taken, never will I give in to the great red dragon, never will I be a Judas, a mark of shame on God. Almighty true God, I will be loyal to You unto death. Satan can only torture and destroy my body. It cannot destroy the faith and love I have for You. Life and death shall forever be under Your dominion. I will forsake everything to testify to You. If I can testify to You and bring shames upon Satan, I will die without complaint.
How honored I am to follow Christ and pursue the love of God in this life! With a heart and soul, I should repay God’s love; I am willing to forsake all for testifying about God. For as long as I live, giving my entire being to God is a choice I shall never regret.
—Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs
This song gave me faith. No matter how others treated me, I could not betray God. Following God is a choice that I will not regret in all my life. I must let go of my reputation and risk everything to stand firm in my testimony for God.
In the past, I always felt that being persecuted as a believer in God was a humiliating matter, but then I saw a passage of God’s words that reversed my point of view. Almighty God says, “You are a created being—you should of course (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (2)). From God’s words, I came to understand that devils who arrested and persecuted Christians were enemies of God, and that the governments in dictatorships did not permit people to believe in and follow God, only allowing them to worship Buddha and the president and believe in the United Wa State Party. They made the people rely on their own two hands to create a good future, and change their fate through studying and earning money. Spreading God’s gospel in a place like this will lead to persecution and obstacles. Here, those who believe in God and spread the gospel will be met with persecution, ridicule, beatings and scolding, and even imprisonment. But this is persecution for righteousness—this suffering is meaningful. If, when I am subjected to torture and ridiculed and humiliated, I feel that I have lost face and cannot look anyone in the eye, then my viewpoint on things is not right. I am a created being, and believing in and worshiping God is something that is perfectly natural and justified. Spreading the gospel and bearing witness for God is the mission and responsibility given to us by the Creator, and it is also the most righteous thing in all of mankind. To be subjected to persecution in the spreading of the gospel is not a humiliating matter—this is being persecuted for righteousness. It is like Job and Peter. When Job faced trials, his family property was stolen by bandits, his children died, and he developed ulcers all over his body. Unbelievers ridiculed him, saying that the God he believed in was fake, and even his wife told him to abandon God and die, but he prayed to God all along, extolling His name and standing firm in his testimony for Him. Peter was also subjected to persecution in his spreading of the gospel, and in the end, he was nailed upside down to the cross, but he did not feel that this was a humiliating thing. Quite the opposite, he thought that he was part of corrupt mankind and was not worthy of being nailed to the cross like the , so he chose to be crucified upside down, bearing witness for God loud and clear. Their lives were the most meaningful lives; to be called righteous by God is the greatest honor. I also understood God’s will. I cared too much about my reputation, and I did not dare to do my duties out of fear of being humiliated. In arranging this kind of environment for me, God was allowing me to recognize and resolve my own corrupt disposition and erroneous point of view on things inside these environments. It was to perfect me and save me, and it also showed me that the government of the Wa people was a demon that hated the truth and resisted God, and that no matter how they persecuted and obstructed me, I could not yield to them. God is in charge of this world and of mankind, and my fate is in His hands. No country’s government can change my fate or my future. I don’t need to worry. No matter how hard it is, I will always follow God and stand firm in my testimony for Him. Once I recognized this, I felt that believing in God and all the suffering was worth it. I no longer was afraid of other people ridiculing and humiliating me, and when I went to get food, I didn’t feel ashamed to look at others. I often prayed to God and felt that He was keeping me company, and each day I was happier than the last.and pursue a life of meaning. If you do not worship God but live within your filthy flesh, then are you not just a beast in human attire? 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. In this world, man wears the devil’s clothing, eats food from the devil, and works and serves under the devil’s thumb, becoming completely trampled in its filth. If you do not grasp the meaning of life or obtain the true way, then what significance is there in living like this? 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?”
After half a month in confinement,it was discovered that I was infected with COVID-19, so they transferred me to the brigade headquarters for quarantine. When I was on my way to the headquarters, they treated me even worse than a murderer. They put three shackles on my feet. The platoon leader and the others all ridiculed me: “Don’t you believe in God? Then how could you get COVID-19? You say that there’s a God, but there’s actually no God at all in the world.” When I heard these words, I didn’t feel that weak. No matter how the platoon leader and the others ridiculed me, and no matter how other people saw me, I was willing to submit. Then, the platoon leader said he was going to send me to be imprisoned in the security section. Fear welled up inside my heart, because the security section was very strict, and I was also worried about being humiliated in prison. Moreover, if I was in prison then I couldn’t go home. During that time, I was locked inside a room. I didn’t have my phone, and I could not read God’s words. There was a guitar there, and all I could do was play the guitar and sing hymns. I wanted very much to read God’s words, and I prayed to Him, begging Him to give me a way out. Several days later, I borrowed my brother Ivan’s phone and watched a film called My Story, Our Story. The brothers in the film were arrested by the Chinese Communist Party for believing in God and spreading the gospel. They were severely tortured and tormented, and many people humiliated them. They were sentenced to imprisonment and locked up for a number of years; some were kept for more than 10 years. They did not have any freedom, and they were overworked every day, but in jail they still were able to pray to God, sing hymns, and pass around the words of God to each other. They had an attitude of submitting to God and knew that they were walking the correct path in life. They all had faith and stood firm in their testimony for God. I was especially moved when I heard them reading God’s words. I really admired them. They suffered so much and were still able to be steadfast in their faith, to follow God and never back out. But when I experienced the humiliation, beating and scolding of others, I couldn’t stand it. I was afraid of being imprisoned, and lost my willpower as soon as I suffered a bit, wanting God to help me break free from such an environment. I felt that I owed God, and I hoped that God would give me one more chance. No matter how many years I was imprisoned, and no matter how great the humiliation, I would submit and face it. After I had quarantined for over 10 days, it happened to be time for those who came back from the front lines to take a scheduled month off. What I wasn’t expecting was that the army also let me take this time off. One unbelieving comrade said: “Look, Ayden made a mistake and he’s in labor reform, but it turns out that his holiday came even earlier than ours.” I was very grateful to God. I thought I would be locked up for several years, and I didn’t expect that I could go on holiday and return home. I saw God’s wondrous deeds, and I saw His almightiness and rule. Before I left, the commander told me not to spread the gospel when I went home. I thought: “When I spread the gospel in the army, you controlled me and beat me. Now that I’m going home, I have such a good opportunity to bear witness for God—how could I miss it? I am going to invest all my energy into spreading the gospel; I won’t let one little thing you say affect me.” After I got home, I started to round up my brothers and sisters to go to a village and spread the gospel. At that time, there were 6 people who accepted God’s work of the last days. More than 10 days after I returned to the army, the platoon leader transferred me to a position standing guard at a checkpoint. I was very grateful to God. Before, I was very busy in the army, and I didn’t have much time to spread the gospel. After I arrived at this position, I wasn’t so busy anymore, and I had more time for spreading the gospel. Even though the army’s persecution never stopped, I still persisted in spreading the gospel and bearing witness for God, and brought more people before God to obtain His salvation.
In the course of spreading the gospel, although I suffered some, was subjected to humiliation and beatings and scolding, and was also placed in confinement, I saw my own corruption and my own lacking, as well as God’s love. Whatever the circumstances I faced, each time God’s words were there to guide me, to make me let go of my vanity and my reputation, and have the faith and strength to carry on. These experiences showed me firsthand that suffering and being persecuted in the name of spreading the gospel is a meaningful thing. To follow God, expend oneself for Him, and fulfill one’s duty is the most meaningful life one can have.