How Faith Comes About
By Liu Yu, China
One day near the end of August 2008, I was informed that Brother Xiaowu, a church leader, had been arrested. Brother Hong and I immediately told our brothers and sisters to move, and we transferred out the church’s property. During that time, we also met with two church leaders that we wanted to partner up with to do church work. That night after concluding fellowship they returned home, but the next day we couldn’t get in touch with them because their phones had all been switched off. Only a few days later we received word that these two leaders, as well as more than 20 brothers and sisters, had been arrested. I wondered if I was being monitored too, since I often gathered with Brother Xiaowu. It seemed like I was in danger of being arrested at any moment. I was pretty scared and often prayed to God, asking that He help me stand strong through this adversity. During one gathering, I saw this passage of (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?). Through reading God’s words, I understood how because God has incarnated in the last days to save mankind and has appeared to do His work in the nation of the great red dragon, the most God-resisting nation, where He’s been pursued and persecuted by the CCP, we, too, are fated to suffer persecution as followers of God. But through our suffering, we get a feel for the hardships that God endures in saving mankind. God was using this persecution and hardship to strengthen my resolve and perfect my faith. This situation was God’s way of perfecting and blessing me. God determines in advance how much each person will suffer. I will only be arrested if God permits it. I’m willing to stand witness for God and will never betray Him like Judas!: “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete”
One day in January 2009, at a little after 2 p.m., I was reading God’s words at home when, suddenly, I heard a harsh rapping on my door. Someone yelled: “Public Security Bureau. Open the door now!” My heart was beating out of my chest as I rushed to hide my book of God’s words. I continually prayed to God, asking Him for courage and faith. When I opened the door, more than ten police officers came crashing in while yelling, “Don’t move, stand against the wall!” They started rummaging through my closets and drawers, flinging my clothes every which way. They found my laptop, cell phone and books of God’s words. A female police officer took me to the bathroom to search me. I thought to myself: “Looks like they came prepared. Maybe I’m one of their high-priority targets. Otherwise why would they send this many officers? If that’s the case, they certainly won’t let me go easily. Who knows what kind of torture they’ll use on me.” I just silently prayed to God and knew in my heart that I was only arrested with God’s permission. God was trying and testing me—I must rely on God and stand witness for Him. They placed me in handcuffs, put a hood over my head and then took me to the County Public Security Bureau to take down my information. That night, they delivered me to the detention house. Apart from the handcuffs, they also placed me in 11-pound leg shackles. When they took me to my cell, the shackles were so heavy that I had to pick them up with my hands and drag myself along. Each step was exhausting.
In the cell, the officers locked my handcuffs to the chain between the two foot braces and then locked the chain to an iron ring connected to the base of the wall. They put a chamber pot by the wall, so even when going to the bathroom I was still locked in place. It was frigidly cold, the warden had removed my down jacket and I didn’t have a blanket. I suffered through that whole night shivering and curled up in a ball on the floor. On the following afternoon, two officers from the County National Security Brigade cuffed and hooded me and took me to a very remote place. Only after we’d arrived and were indoors did they remove the hood. They then locked me to a metal chair. In front of the chair there was a metal plate 20 inches long and 12 inches wide, and by my feet there were two semicircular metal rings. My feet were clamped into the metal rings and my hands were cuffed in front of me. At around 7 p.m., three officers arrived. One of them interrogated me on church-related questions and even showed me a picture and asked if I recognized the person photographed. I looked and saw that it was my co-worker Brother Hong. I was shocked—I never imagined that Brother Hong would be arrested too. The CCP must have been monitoring us for quite some time. I replied to them saying I didn’t know him. One of the officers got fed up and said: “This is a waste of time, just use torture tactics on her!” Another officer threatened me, saying: “We’re giving you a chance and asking politely, but if you don’t speak now, we’ll make you speak!” When I heard him say that, I thought of how, in the past, many of my brothers and sisters had been arrested and tortured, beaten to a pulp, crippled and even killed, and I became frightened, thinking: “If I don’t speak, what kind of torture will they subject me to? Will I be crippled or killed?” I quietly prayed to God: “Dear God! I don’t know what kind of torture they’ll use on me, but please protect me. I’m willing to stand witness for You and would rather die than be a Judas!” After praying, some of the (Matthew 10:28). God’s words gave me faith and strength. I thought, “No matter how cruel the officers are, they can only damage my body. My soul is in God’s hands. If I can stand witness and satisfy God, I might die, but I’ll earn God’s commendation. But if I betray God and act shamefully like Judas, my body and my soul will be subject to God’s punishment and curses.” Realizing this, I felt less scared. Seeing that the interrogation wasn’t working, the officers took me to another room and started the torture. They forced my arms behind my back, wrapped them in a towel and then tied them together tight with a rope. Then they put a wooden rod between my arms and my back. One of the officers picked me up, suspended the wooden rod on a 6-foot high stool and then let go of me, so that I was hanging from the stool with my arms supporting all my weight. I cried out in pain. My chest felt like it was ripping open and my arms and shoulders were burning with pain. It was hard to breathe and I felt like I was suffocating. Because my arms were wrapped behind me, I couldn’t lift my head. I started sweating from my forehead and my arms and hands went numb. One of the officers let out a sinister cackle and said: “You couldn’t speak now even if you wanted to. You’d better start praying to your God!” Not soon after, the sweat from my forehead dripped to the ground and the officer thought I was crying. He cocked his head and jeered: “Let me see, are you dripping sweat or tears?” I continually prayed to God, saying: “ ! I don’t ask that You deliver me from this torture, I just ask that You give me the strength to endure so that I can stand strong.” After praying, I was still in great physical pain, but I didn’t feel so much suffering. They left me hanging there for half an hour before letting me down. My arms were completely numb and unresponsive.’ words came to mind: “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”
Next, they sat me down on the metal chair and yanked me by my arms and wrists, wrapping my arms around the rectangular metal plate in front of me, and then handcuffed my hands together before tilting the chair forward. Now there was nothing propping up my back, so my arms were holding up my whole body. The metal plate was digging into my arms, which quickly started to ache with pain. After about half an hour, they came back in, hauled me to my feet and then used the wooden rod to hang me up again. My whole body was in severe discomfort, I was having trouble breathing and felt like I was going to suffocate. But one of the officers actually laughed and said: “She’s so skinny, and probably not suffering much. That Hong guy was fat. Soon as we hung him up, the wooden rod broke. He fell so hard he screamed and told us everything.” I was so angry when I heard how they tortured Brother Hong. But I was also a bit worried: “Did Brother Hong really betray God and sell me out? If he sold me out, then they’d know what duty I was fulfilling in the church, and then they definitely wouldn’t let me off easy. Who knows what kind of torture they had in store for me. Maybe I should just confess something inconsequential to them?” Just then, I thought of God’s words which say: “At all times, My people should be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, guarding the gate of My house for Me; … so as to avoid falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it would be too late for regrets” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 3). God’s words helped me realize that the officer saying that Brother Hong had said everything was Satan’s cunning plot. It wanted to sow discord between us and trick me into betraying God. Satan is so lowly and evil! Thanks to God’s enlightenment and guidance, I made a resolution: “No matter what torture or trick the officers use on me, I will never betray God and become a Judas.”
A police officer saw I was in bad shape and said: “Not doing so well, huh? If you don’t start talking, first we’ll hang you up for half an hour, then an hour, and so on and so forth.” Later, I felt like my body was nearing a breaking point, and so I tried to step on a screw sticking out from the stool to get a foothold and ease the pain a bit, but the officer saw right away. He kicked my leg and viciously barked: “Who said you could step on that? That’s not allowed!” My body started involuntarily swaying from side to side, which made my arms hurt even more. It hurt so badly that I broke out in a full body sweat and didn’t even have the strength to raise my head. It felt like the seconds were crawling by. After who knows how long, I suddenly felt my right shoulder collapse downward. Right after that, my left shoulder also collapsed and my whole body sunk downward. I realized my shoulders had dislocated. I yelled out: “My shoulders are dislocated!” Only then did the officers let me down. When they undid the rope, my arms stiffly swung down from behind my back to my front. They were completely numb and bloated. When I stood up, they slumped down at my sides. They couldn’t move on their own and didn’t bend at the elbow. It felt like I had two wooden clubs hanging from my shoulders. They then put my handcuffs back on and started moving my arms around. They violently yanked my arms behind my head, pulling them as far back as possible, then they pulled my arms hard to my left while looking to see if I’d wince or was in pain. My arms were completely numb, so after pressing for a while with no effect, they yelled: “Stop faking it!” I really wanted to lift up my arms, but they just wouldn’t budge. I thought to myself: “Are they really dislocated? Am I going to be crippled? How will I eat and even go to the bathroom from now on?” That night, they put me in handcuffs again and locked my footcuffs to the front of the bed. I lay there in bed, unable to sleep. My arms were aching and numb—it was hard to bear. I couldn’t help but wonder if the police would subject me to the same torture tomorrow. The thought of all that pain and suffering scared me. I didn’t know if I could take it. In the throes of misery, I prayed to God: “Dear God! Please protect me and give me faith and strength. No matter how much I suffer, I won’t betray You and won’t rat on my brothers and sisters.” After prayer, I thought of God’s words which say: “Toward those who showed Me not the slightest loyalty during times of tribulation, I shall be merciful no more, for My mercy only extends so far. I have no liking, furthermore, for anyone who has once betrayed Me, much less do I like to associate with those who sell out the interests of their friends. This is My disposition, regardless of who the person may be. I must tell you this: Anyone who breaks My heart shall not receive clemency from Me a second time, and anyone who has been faithful to Me shall forever remain in My heart” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination). God’s words gave me a sense of His righteous, majestic and unoffendable disposition. God loves and perfects those who are loyal to Him. No matter what tribulations and suffering they experience, they always remain loyal to and stand witness for Him. Only such people can remain in God’s kingdom. As for those that betray God like Judas, not only will they not have a good outcome, God will punish and curse their spirits, souls and bodies. If I betray God just to rid myself of temporary bodily suffering, I’ll miss my chance at salvation forever. I also thought of how when the officers tried to trick me into betraying God, God gave me the wisdom to see through Satan’s trick. When the officers tortured me, my body did suffer to a degree, but God quietly protected me and gave me strength so that I could overcome the weakness of my flesh. I’ve experienced God’s love for me and witnessed His almightiness and sovereignty. I can’t betray my conscience—No matter how much I suffer, I must stand witness for and satisfy God!
On the third day, at around 9 a.m., the officers brought me to a large room and made me sit on a metal chair again. One of the officers wrapped a towel around my head at the mouth and then forcefully jerked it backward. I felt a sharp pain where my shoulders dug into the metal chair, and my legs began to lift off the ground as the chair tipped backward. With the towel in my mouth, I began to have trouble breathing. I could only breathe through my nose, and my throat hurt so much that I could barely swallow my own saliva. Then, one of the officers took a syringe filled with mustard oil and squirted the oil up my right nostril. It felt like my whole nasal cavity was on fire, and when I breathed in, the oil dripped down into my throat. It was difficult and terrible trying to swallow that oil. I didn’t dare breathe in, but if I didn’t breathe I knew I’d suffocate. It’s hard to describe how awful that feeling was. I struggled with all my might, but they held that towel tight on my mouth and there was nothing I could do about it. The mustard oil was so spicy that tears streamed from my eyes. It felt like time was standing still—the seconds passed excruciatingly slowly. They only let up their grip once I had swallowed every last bit of the oil. It took my neck quite some time to recover from the ordeal. I felt nauseous and stooped over the chair blowing my nose as hard as I could. My whole face and nasal cavity became irritated by the spice. It was an intensely painful, burning sensation. One of the officers saw I was about to puke and angrily glared at me while yelling: “Hold it in!” I despised that pack of demons! The pain was almost too much to bear, and I didn’t know if I could take much more. I had no idea how much longer they planned to torture me, so I silently prayed to God saying: “Dear God, I don’t know how many more times the officers plan to torture me, but I won’t betray You due to the weakness of my flesh. Please protect my heart, and give me faith and strength so that I can stand strong throughout this ordeal.” After praying, I felt a little bit better. I knew that God had listened to my prayers and softened my pain. I thanked God in my heart! About ten minutes later, they squirted the mustard oil into my other nostril. All told, they squirted three syringes of mustard oil up my nose that morning. Each time was a hellish ordeal. One of the officers viciously sneered: “We should just kill you. We can dig a big hole and bury you inside. No one will ever know!” I thought that since they were willing to torture me so cruelly, there was probably nothing they wouldn’t do. I envisioned them throwing me into a big pit and covering me with dirt. I was in utter misery, and thought to myself: “Am I really going to die at such a young age?” In the midst of my suffering, God’s words came to mind: “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing in which I do not have the final say. Is there anything that is not in My hands?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 1). The enlightenment and guidance of God’s words helped me realize that my life was in God’s hands, it was all up to Him. No matter how vicious and evil the officers were, without God’s permission, they wouldn’t dare take my life. I didn’t have an actual understanding of God’s almightiness and sovereignty and my faith in Him was weak, so when I heard the officer say they would kill and bury me, I became cowardly and afraid. I wasn’t bearing witness at all! After realizing all this, I no longer felt cowardly and afraid, and I made up my mind that I would stand witness and humiliate Satan even if it meant my death.
At 2 p.m., the officers came to interrogate me again. One of the officers kept looking at me; he didn’t believe that my arms were paralyzed, and so he intentionally started pricking underneath my fingernails with a toothpick. Even though I was already bleeding, I could only feel a little pain in my fingertips. As he pricked, he monitored my expression. When he saw that I wasn’t reacting, he said: “So your arms are in bad shape, huh? Why don’t I give you some electrotherapy!” Then the officers went and got a power cord and attached one end to a taser and the other to my two big toes and began tasing me. My heart began to race, my body went rigid, my back arching backward and legs kicking out in front of me. I cried out in unbearable pain. They stopped for a brief moment and then began tasing again while relentlessly interrogating me about the church. They went on like this for some time, tasing me more times than I can remember. I was completely defenseless to their brutality. That pain and agony was nearly impossible to bear. I was really worried that if they kept tasing me, they might cause some kind of permanent damage. They only let up when it was time for them to eat dinner. One of the officers unbolted me from the chair and let me up. I was amazed to find that when I stood up, I didn’t feel the least amount of pain. It was like I had never been injured. My body also didn’t feel as weak. I clearly saw that it was God’s protection and care that had alleviated my pain. In the past, I knew that in theory, God reigns sovereign over all things, but now I had personally experienced and seen God’s miraculous deeds for myself. I saw God’s love and mercy toward me and my heart was full of gratitude and praise for Him. I felt renewed confidence to undergo the officers’ torture. They tased me from 7 p.m. all the way until 11 p.m. that night. On the fourth morning, they forced mustard oil up my nose again. Again, I felt that unbearable pain and suffering. That morning, they used 4 whole syringes on me. At noon during lunch, I asked for a glass of water. One of the officers viciously sneered: “Don’t give her any water—otherwise she’ll have to use the bathroom.” Another officer said: “Her stomach and intestines have probably all been damaged by the oil.” After I heard that, I thought: “That’s right, they forced a lot of mustard oil down my throat. In normal circumstances, that would cause a lot of issues, but besides feeling a little thirsty, I don’t have any stomach discomfort at all.” I had a profound feeling that God was silently protecting me, and my heart was full of gratitude for Him.
That afternoon, when I still wouldn’t answer their questions, Director Guo with the Provincial Public Security Department took a taser and tased me in the back. I immediately fell to the floor. Then he made me sit in the metal chair and tased my arms. Each time he tased me, my arms would shoot up and then fall back down. He also tased me several times in the palms of my hands. He went on tasing me like that for two hours and only stopped when the taser ran out of batteries. After that, he rolled up some newspapers and smacked me across the face while yelling: “Are you gonna talk or not! I’ll make you talk!” My face smarted painfully from the blows. Only after the newspapers came apart and I still hadn’t said a word did he walk away dejected. Returning to my room, a female officer saw my swollen red face and snickered, saying: “Got slapped in the face, huh?” Then she threatened me, saying: “If you don’t start talking, the first day they hang you up, the second day they use the taser, and on the third day a man has his way with you!” I was sickened and disgusted by her words. This group of officers must have been truly evil to be able to think up such a despicable, shameless torture tactic. I couldn’t help but feel a little scared. What would I do if they really used such a lowly tactic? Just then, I suddenly thought of God’s words, which say: “There is nothing for you to be afraid of. Satans are under our feet….” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10). I thought, “That’s right. Aren’t all things in God’s hands? If God doesn’t permit it, nothing like that will happen to me. They’re just threatening me to get me to betray God, rat on my brothers and sisters and inform them about the church’s funds. No matter what torture tactics the officers use, I cannot betray God.” After that, the officers interrogated me a few more times, but when I still wouldn’t talk, they sent me back to the detention house.
In February of 2009, the CCP sentenced me to a year and half and sent me to a forced labor camp. A section chief in the labor camp asked an officer: “Can she work?” I said, “My arms are crippled, I can’t raise them.” The officer was afraid the labor camp wouldn’t take me, so he said: “Her arms are fine, she’s lying.” During a meal in the labor camp, I couldn’t move my arms or hands and couldn’t pick up my chopsticks, so a sister was going to help feed me, but the warden wouldn’t allow it. All I could do was sit on my stool, put a spoon in one hand, place my forearm on the table, and then press down with my body to push my forearm and the spoon upward and scoop up some food. The sister cried when she saw how hard it was for me. Before I had even finished eating, the warden made us go downstairs and stand in line. The sister saw that I hadn’t had much to eat, so she secretly slipped me a steamed bun. After that, I relied on my sister slipping me steamed buns to get enough to eat. Two sisters would trade off massaging my arms every night, and they took care of me. They also quietly fellowshiped on God’s words to encourage me. I knew this was all God’s orchestrations and a sign of His love for me and I was deeply thankful to God in my heart!
During that time, I still couldn’t raise my arms at all. One time, I asked a doctor: “Is there any medicine I could take for my arms?” The doctor said: “If your arms have been immobile for over three months, the muscles will atrophy and you’ll be permanently crippled. There is no treatment—even having injections will be of no use. The best thing you can do is practice walking your arms up a wall with your fingers.” So, during that time I diligently practiced this “wall crawl” exercise. I couldn’t raise my own arms, so I had to swing them up and catch the wall with my fingers and then slowly walk my arms upward. After walking up about a foot, my arms wouldn’t go any higher, so I’d let them swing down and then start again. At first I was full of confidence and hoped that one day a miracle would happen, and I’d be able to raise my arms and live normally. But after three months, I still couldn’t raise my arms, and I became a bit frustrated and dejected, thinking, “Would my arms ever get better? If they don’t recover, how am I supposed to live when I get out of the camp? I’m only a little over 30 years old—will I really have to rely on someone else’s care for the rest of my life?” In the midst of suffering and hopelessness, I prayed to God, asking that He guide me and give me strength and faith. That night, while my sister was massaging me, I described my current state to her. My sister comforted me, saying: “We have God, so we don’t need to be afraid. Just keep doing your exercises and we’ll keep massaging your arms. Don’t worry about anything.” My sister’s words brought me to tears. Later, I thought of God’s words which say: “While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take them all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement). God’s words showed me that when Job was weak and in agony, he never lost faith in God. No matter how God tried him, he always praised God for His great power, never blamed God and stood witness for Him. When my arms didn’t improve after 3 months, I lost faith and began to think about my future. I lived in negativity and suffering. I saw that my faith in God was still lacking, it was not true faith. God was using this suffering and refinement to purify and transform me and perfect my faith. I shouldn’t live in negativity and misunderstanding. Later on, the sisters would often fellowship with me and help me, and I was able to submit and experience this situation. When I submitted, I once again witnessed God’s miraculous deeds. Not long after, I gradually was able to raise my right arm. Then after about two months, I was also slowly able to raise my left arm. I was deeply grateful to God. The doctor said that after three months of immobility, my arms would be crippled, but God allowed me to miraculously recover. This was all due to God’s love and protection.
In June of 2010, I was released. Having been subjected to the cruelty and persecution of the CCP, I clearly saw its God-resisting demonic essence, and forsook and turned away from it in my heart. I also personally experienced God’s love. When I was caught in the devil’s lair and subject to the officers’ brutality and torture, God’s words filled me with faith and strength, and helped guide me through those trying times. After going through all this, I felt even closer to God. I saw that everything God does for man is His love and salvation. No matter what persecution or hardship I face in the future, I will always persevere in my faith, follow God, and fulfill my duty to repay God’s love.