Persevering Through Adversity

March 2, 2024

By Anna, Myanmar

In May of 2022, members of several villages accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. But not soon after that, many newcomers stopped coming to gatherings. After looking into it we learned that armed soldiers were doing night patrols and would arrest anyone holding gatherings. In other areas, some brothers and sisters had already been fined, arrested and incarcerated for their faith. The newcomers in those villages were so scared that they didn’t dare attend gatherings. It was then that my leader assigned Isa and me to go support the newcomers. At that time, Isa and I were watering newcomers separately.

One night before I had returned home, Isa suddenly called me and said our host sister was afraid of being fined or jailed and was telling us to move out. I thought, “Where can we possibly find a host family at this hour?” Later on, we ended up trying Sister Yana, but Yana and her son were scared of being arrested and didn’t dare host us, so we were left homeless in the middle of the night. I felt so sad and wronged. It was raining that night, Isa and I didn’t know where to go and we wanted to leave that place, but there were still so many newcomers that needed watering and support. If we left there and the newcomers didn’t receive watering, they’d be even less likely to stand strong on their own and we would be shirking our responsibility. Realizing this, I decided to stay and see if anyone else would be willing to host us.Later, a newcomer was willing to let us stay at his house, but we could only stay there one night. At the time I cried, thinking, “I can only stay there one night and then I will be homeless. I want to work but face great obstacles; we aren’t familiar with the area, and if the government finds out we are spreading the gospel we’ll be arrested and persecuted.” I felt discouraged and wanted to quit. When my supervisor heard that I wanted to leave, shesaid, “Newcomers do not understand the truth and live in timidity and fear—they need watering and support. We can’t quit on the newcomers, see if you can find a way to stay. We must learn to rely on God, He will prepare a place for you.” Her advice made me realize that I should rely more on God during this difficult time. So I prayed to God, asking Him to open a way for us. After that, while going through some messages on our group chat, I came upon this passage of God’s words: “From when God entrusted the construction of the ark to Noah, at no point did Noah think to himself, ‘When is God going to destroy the world? When is He going to give me the signal that He will do so?’ Rather than pondering such matters, Noah tried hard to commit each thing God had told him to memory, and then to carry each one out. After accepting what was entrusted to him by God, Noah set about carrying out and accomplishing the construction of the ark spoken of by God as if it was the most important thing in his life, without any thought of delay. Days passed, years went by, day after day, year after year. God never put any pressure on Noah, but throughout all this time, Noah persevered in the important task entrusted to him by God. Every word and phrase that God had uttered was inscribed on Noah’s heart like words carved upon a stone tablet. Heedless of the changes in the outside world, of the ridicule of those around him, of the hardship involved, or of the difficulties he encountered, he persevered, throughout, in what had been entrusted to him by God, never despairing or thinking of giving up. God’s words were inscribed upon Noah’s heart, and they had become his everyday reality. Noah prepared each of the materials needed for building the ark, and the form and specifications for the ark commanded by God gradually took shape with each careful strike of Noah’s hammer and chisel. Throughout wind and rain, and regardless of how people mocked or slandered him, Noah’s life proceeded in this manner, year after year. God secretly watched Noah’s every action, without ever uttering another word to him, and His heart was touched by Noah. Noah, however, neither knew nor felt this; from start to finish, he simply built the ark, and assembled every kind of living creature, in unwavering fealty to God’s words. In Noah’s heart, there was no higher instruction that he ought to follow and carry out: God’s words were his lifelong direction and goal. So, no matter what God said to him, no matter what God asked him to do, commanded him to do, Noah completely accepted it, and committed it to memory; he regarded it as the most important thing in his life, and handled it accordingly. He not only did not forget, he not only fixed it in his mind, but also realized it in his daily life, using his life to accept and carry out God’s commission. And in this way, plank by plank, the ark was built. Noah’s every move, his every day, were dedicated to the words and commandments of God. It might not have seemed that Noah was performing a momentous undertaking, but in the eyes of God, everything Noah did, even every step he took to achieve something, every labor performed by his hand—they were all precious, and deserving of commemoration, and worthy of emulation by this mankind. Noah adhered to what had been entrusted to him by God. He was unwavering in his belief that every word uttered by God was true; of this, he had no doubt. And as a result, the ark came to completion, and every manner of living creature was able to live upon it(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Two: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Submitted to Him (Part One)). Noah heard God’s words, and kept His words and commission close to his heart; he considered the making of the ark the most important aspect of his life, and the completion of the ark his greatest responsibility. For days upon days, years upon years, and despite the suffering, fatigue, hardships, inclement weather, slander, ridicule and abandonment by others, he persevered in his God-given commission and never once considered quitting. He did this because he had a God-fearing heart, so God’s every word was engraved in his heart. Comparing Noah’s behavior to my own, I always wanted my duty to go smoothly and to never encounter hardship. When difficulties arose in my duty and I had nowhere to stay and risked being arrested, I always wanted to shrink back and was averse to suffering and paying a price. I saw that I just didn’t care for God’s will and did not truly want to satisfy God. Noah’s experience was quite motivating to me and also made me feel ashamed. I was no longer willing to pander to my flesh and decided to stay behind to support the newcomers. If no one would host me, I’d go sleep out in the fields, but I would persevere in spreading the gospel and watering the newcomers.

Later, Isa and I reached out to a newcomer named Nevin and asked if we could stay in a cabin on his field. Nevin and his parents all consented. I knew that God had opened up a way for us. After that, I summoned all the newcomers in the village together for a gathering and fellowshiped with them: “When God does His work to save people, Satan continually causes disturbances. God allows Satan’s disturbance and persecution in order to perfect man’s faith and love, and to reveal and cast out people and test their faith. If we believers want to pursue truth and life, we cannot shrink from suffering. Due to the persecution, we can’t hold gatherings in our houses, so we’ve had to gather in the mountains. Despite the difficulty of these conditions, the suffering we’ve been going through has been meaningful. If we wait until after the satanic regime collapses and the persecution ceases to believe in God, God’s work will have already concluded and we will lose our chance at salvation. Why should we spread the gospel? Because these are the last days and this is the last stage in God’s work of salvation of mankind. If we miss out this time, we will never be saved. In the future, the calamities will grow ever more grave and unbearable.” We fellowshiped quite a bit at that time, and afterward some newcomers said, “We cannot protect ourselves from these calamities, and no one, not even the government, can save us. Only God can save us, so we must believe in God and attend gatherings.” Some newcomers said, “We can’t be afraid of being arrested or fined by the government, everything is in God’s hands and we must continue gathering.” After that, we fellowshiped on the truth of the incarnation and the work of judgment. After watering them for another ten days, they were all able to attend gatherings regularly.

After another ten days or so, the police ordered another night patrol. Nevin was afraid of being implicated and didn’t want us to stay in his cabin any longer. I couldn’t help but complain when faced with this situation. We had so many newcomers to water and support, there were so many difficulties in our work, and we didn’t even have a place to stay. I was quite unhappy and didn’t feel like resolving the newcomers’ issues. Later on, a sister sent a passage of God’s words to me: “Because when a person accepts what God entrusts to them, God has a standard for judging whether their actions are good or bad and whether the person has obeyed, and whether the person has satisfied God’s will and whether what they do meets that standard. What God cares about is the person’s heart, not their actions on the surface. It is not the case that God should bless someone as long as they do something, regardless of how they do it. This is a misunderstanding people have about God. God looks not just at the end result of things, but places more emphasis on how a person’s heart is and how a person’s attitude is during the development of things, and He looks at whether there is obedience, consideration, and the desire to satisfy God in their heart(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I). After reading God’s words, I reflected on myself: When I first started supporting newcomers, I thought that I was performing my duty, that it should go smoothly, and that the newcomers would understand, host and protect me. When I encountered persecution, no one would host me, and several problems cropped up in our work, I just complained about what a difficult situation I was in, and how the newcomers were not eager for the truth. I felt the work was just too difficult and I wanted to go home. When it came to suffering and paying a price, I just didn’t want to submit. I only considered the interests of my flesh and didn’t care for God’s will at all. Thinking of this, I felt so ashamed. Later on, a sister sent me this reminder: “Why weren’t you able to submit when it came to suffering and paying a price? Why did you always only consider the interests of your flesh? What corrupt disposition caused this?” I continually pondered the sister’s questions.

Later, I came across a passage of God’s words: “Now, can things befalling you that do not accord with your notions affect the performance of your duty? For example, sometimes the work becomes busy, and people are required to endure some hardship and pay a bit of a price to perform their duties well; some people then develop notions in their minds and resistance arises in them, and they may become negative and slack off in their work. Sometimes, the work is not busy, and people’s duties become easier to perform, and some people then feel happy and think, ‘It would be great if performing my duty was always this easy.’ What kind of people are they? They are lazy individuals who are greedy for the comforts of the flesh. Are such people loyal in performing their duties? (No.) Such people claim to be willing to submit to God, but their submission comes with conditions—things must fit with their own notions and not cause them to suffer any hardship in order for them to submit. If they might encounter adversity and need to endure hardship, they complain a lot and even rebel against and oppose God. What kind of people are they? They are people who do not love the truth. When God’s actions accord with their own notions and desires, and they don’t have to endure hardship or pay a price, they are able to submit. But if God’s work does not align with their notions or preferences, and it requires them to endure hardship and pay a price, they are not able to submit. Even if they don’t openly oppose it, in their hearts, they are resistant and annoyed. They perceive themselves as enduring great hardship and they harbor complaints in their hearts. What kind of problem is this? It shows that they do not love the truth(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). Through God’s words I learned that some people want things to just go smoothly in their duty. As soon as they encounter difficulties and they must suffer or pay a price, they are resistant and complain. Such people are lazy, covet the comforts of the flesh, are not loyal in their duty, do not care for God’s will in the slightest, and do not love the truth. I realized I was just the same. I just wanted an easy duty and for work to proceed smoothly. I wasn’t willing to suffer or pay a price. When faced with persecution, when the newcomers dared not host us or gather for fear of being arrested and not only did my flesh suffer from not having a place to stay but I also had to pay a greater price to find newcomers and fellowship about God’s words and assist them, I complained about how difficult it was to be under persecution, how timid the newcomers were and I just wanted to quit my duty and leave. As soon as I encountered difficulties I began thinking of the interests of my own flesh and lacked the slightest bit of loyalty and submission. God allowed this situation to happen and wanted me to seek the truth and learn lessons from this experience, but I didn’t value life entry, always coveted the comforts of the flesh and viewed my duty in terms of my own preferences. I just wasn’t someone that loved the truth. There was another passage that had a deep impact on me. God says: “Today, you do not believe the words I say, and you pay no attention to them; when the day comes for this work to spread and you see the entirety of it, you will regret, and at that time you will be dumbfounded. There are blessings, yet you do not know to enjoy them, and there is the truth, yet you do not pursue it. Do you not bring contempt upon yourself? Today, although the next step of God’s work has yet to begin, there is nothing exceptional about the demands that are made of you and what you are asked to live out. There is so much work, and so many truths; are they not worthy of being known by you? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of awakening your spirit? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of making you hate yourself? Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it; these are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all walking corpses? … I bestow real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment). Through God’s words I realized that God expresses His words, waters and supplies people and gives us a chance to perform our duties with the hope that we will pursue and attain the truth in our duties, achieve dispositional transformation and be saved. This is God’s exaltation and grace. Lovers of the truth cherish such opportunities. In the course of their duties, they pursue and attain the truth. As for me, I didn’t love the truth and when I encountered difficulties in my duty, I would be resistant and complain about my situation. I felt it was all too tiring and difficult, wasn’t willing to suffer or pay a price and just wanted to shrink away. Given how lazy and unwilling to pursue the truth I was, even if I followed God to the very end, I’d never obtain the truth or achieve dispositional transformation and would ultimately be cast out and punished. I had to stop pandering to my flesh, I had to rebel against it and do my duty well. I realized that these newcomers were timid and afraid because they had only just entered the faith, hadn’t yet rooted themselves on the true way and didn’t understand the truth. If I didn’t pay a price and undergo a little suffering to water and support them, these newcomers would likely be unable to stand strong on their own and I would be marked for a transgression. No matter whether or not we would have a host family and regardless of whether we would undergo suffering, I was willing to persevere in my duty and fulfill my responsibility. That day, Nevin’s mother came out to me in the fields and told me, “The militiamen are starting their night patrols now, we’re worried that you’ll run into them since you’re an outsider going in and out of the village.” I fellowshiped with her saying, “When God was prepared to destroy Sodom, the Sodomites wanted to harm the two angels that God sent there. Lot survived because he hosted the two angels in his home. God is now doing the last stage of His work of mankind’s salvation. These people that persecute believers are as evil as the Sodomites. It’s normal to be worried, but we must have faith. Whether or not we will be found by the militiamen is in God’s hands. We must pray to God more, He will protect His own work. If you do not host us and we must leave, we won’t be able to water you. If you host us while we spread the gospel here, this is your good deed, and God will remember this.” After my fellowship, she felt less afraid and was even quite happy. After that, she took good care of us and I was able to settle down and fellowship with newcomers and hold gatherings day and night. After understanding some truths, the newcomers invited their friends and family to listen to the gospel. In just two months, 120 villagers accepted God’s work in the last days. I was so happy to see all these newcomers attending gatherings. Despite the fact that it was a tough process and I suffered a bit, I felt at peace knowing I’d fulfilled my duty. Having witnessed God’s guidance, I gained faith.

Later on, our supervisor assigned us to support newcomers in a different village. We first went to the house of a newcomer, Brother John. John was relatively proactive in his duties and was able to bring newcomers together for gatherings, but he later stopped attending gatherings for fear of being arrested. We wanted to first support John and then go through him to support other newcomers, but John didn’t want to talk to us. His wife said, “During a meeting in our village, they told us not to listen to sermons or believe in God. The militia conducts night patrols and will arrest anyone caught listening. They have forbidden us from listening to sermons, we’re afraid of being arrested; and we’re also quite busy and don’t have time to listen.” Having said that, she just started ignoring us. Seeing how this newcomer wouldn’t even let us speak and avoided us, it seemed to me we were really up against it. Travelling to and from the village was a long and tiring journey, and so I stopped supporting newcomers and continued doing other work. After a while, my supervisor reminded me again that the newcomers would be busy during the day and I could go at night. I thought to myself, “They’re avoiding us and don’t want to listen; even if I go, I won’t know what to do. It’s a long journey to get there and will be even more difficult at night.” So I didn’t want to go. I then realized that I was shirking my responsibility to the newcomers by continually putting off going. I thought of God’s revelation of how false leaders work. God’s words say: “Say there is a job that could be completed in one month by one person. If it takes six months to do this job, do five of these months not represent a loss? Let Me give an example about spreading the gospel. Some people are willing to investigate the true way and only need one month to be converted, after which they join the church and continue to be watered and provided for. Six months is all it takes to establish a foundation. But if the attitude of the person spreading the gospel is one of indifference and perfunctoriness, and the leaders and workers have no sense of responsibility, and it ends up taking half a year to convert the person, does this half a year not constitute a loss to their life? If they encounter great disaster and lack a foundation in the true way, they will be in danger, and will you not owe something to them? Such a loss is not measured with money or material goods. You’ve held up their understanding of the truth by half a year, you’ve delayed them establishing a foundation and performing their duty by half a year. Who is going to take responsibility for this? Are the leaders and workers able to take responsibility for this? The responsibility for holding up someone’s life is beyond anyone’s ability to bear. Since no one can bear this responsibility, what is appropriate for the leaders and workers to do? Four words: Give it your all. Give it your all to do what? To fulfill your own responsibilities, doing everything that you can see with your own eyes, think in your own heart, and achieve with your own caliber. This is giving it your all, this is being loyal and responsible, and this is the responsibility that leaders and workers should fulfill(The Word, Vol. 5. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers. The Responsibilities of Leaders and Workers (4)). Through God’s words I learned that no matter what job one does, if it could have been done in a month, but it ended up taking six months to complete, this constitutes a very big loss. For instance, in the case of gospel spreading, if someone is willing to investigate the true way, they can be brought into the faith in a month and make a timely entry into God’s house if the gospel spreader fulfills their responsibility. This will allow them to understand the truth earlier and become rooted on the true way. If we do not pay a price in our duty, if we have a casual and perfunctory attitude and it takes six months to bring this person into the faith, this will be a great loss for their own life. If calamities happen, and these people haven’t yet accepted God’s work, and lack the watering and supply of the truth and die, no one can bear the responsibility for such deaths. Thus, this requires that we mustn’t procrastinate in our duties and must do our utmost to fulfill our responsibilities so that we have a clear conscience. While supporting newcomers and spreading the gospel, I wasn’t willing to pay a price and didn’t want to suffer. When I was assigned to support newcomers and spread the gospel in that village, and faced difficulties and a long journey, I pandered to my flesh and wished not to go, procrastinating day after day. These newcomers were timid, scared and didn’t dare attend gatherings due to government persecution; they direly needed watering and support to allow them to understand the truth and break free of their constraints. If God’s work came to a close and these people hadn’t broken free from the dark forces, and didn’t gather and listen to God’s words, then they wouldn’t understand the truth, attain God’s salvation and would be consumed in the calamities. What’s more, there were many in that village that had yet to hear God’s voice. If others pandered to their flesh as I did, giving up spreading the gospel in the face of difficulties, those people would not hear God’s voice and receive God’s salvation. I had to stop procrastinating and put aside my worries. No matter what situation arose, I had to go through it and fulfill my responsibilities.

Later on, I thought of another passage of God’s words: “As a created being, as one of those who follow God, regardless of age, gender, or seniority, spreading the gospel is a mission and duty that everyone must accept. If this mission comes to you and requires you to expend yourself, pay a price, or even lay down your life, what should you do? You should be duty-bound to accept it. This is the truth, it’s what you should understand. This is not a simple doctrine—it is the truth. Why do I say it’s the truth? Because no matter how times change, how the decades go by, or how places and spaces change, spreading the gospel and bearing testimony to God will always be a positive thing. Its meaning and value will never change: It absolutely won’t be influenced by changes in time or geographical location. Spreading the gospel and bearing testimony to God is eternal, and as a created being, you should accept and practice it. This is the eternal truth(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item One: They Try to Win People Over). God’s words touched me deeply. It was with God’s grace that I was able to hear His voice. Spreading the gospel and watering newcomers was my duty and I had to see this work to completion. When I needed to suffer and pay a price, I should accept it unconditionally. No matter what difficulties or situations I faced, I had to submit and fulfill my duty. Having realized this, I went by myself to the village. It was dusk when I set off and had started to rain. As I walked along the road I prayed to God. Later, I came across an old lady while walking. I told her I was going to her village and so we walked one behind the other. After I got to the village I didn’t see the old lady again. It was dark. I wasn’t familiar with the roads there and didn’t know where to go, so I just sat by the side of the road. I was feeling quite anxious, worried that I wouldn’t know what to say if I ran into a night patroller, so I continually called out to God in my heart. Just then, a woman came back from working in the fields and, seeing me sitting all alone, asked me, “What are you doing sitting there? You can come home with me.” I followed her back to her house, and when I spread the gospel to her, she accepted it. Later on, she brought others to listen along. When people heard that I was spreading the gospel, some sought me out personally and had me come to their house to spread the gospel. I bore witness to Almighty God’s last days’ work and they really enjoyed hearing about it. Some said, “Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, They are one God. We should continue listening to Almighty God’s words.” Others said, “Even if the government persecutes us, we will continue listening.” Some of the newcomers were quite enthusiastic in gatherings, they’d come morning and night, and really thirsted and desired to gather and listen to sermons. I was quite surprised. In the past, I had always pandered to my flesh and was unwilling to suffer and pay a price, but when I rectified my state and became willing to cooperate, I saw that what God does is beyond our imagining. Our ability to expand our spreading of the gospel through that woman was a sign of God going about His work. It allowed me to see God’s authority and hardened my resolve to continue spreading the gospel. After around a month, we had spread the gospel throughout the village. Newcomers that were previously afraid of being arrested had mostly all started gathering again. Over 80 villagers were gathering normally and we were able to start a church. Thank God!

Through this experience, I learned that one’s attitude in one’s duty is very important. When we submit and care for God’s will, we see that no matter how hard our work is, as long as we cooperate sincerely, God’s guidance will become apparent. Despite revealing corruption, being negative and weak and wanting to quit, through the guidance and supply of God’s words, I didn’t give up on spreading the gospel and didn’t leave behind regret. This was all with God’s protection. Through this experience I gained faith and made progress in life. Thank God!

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