Who Really Tore My Family Apart?

February 7, 2023

By Fang Xia, China

I was a teacher, and my husband was an engineer. We had a great relationship throughout our entire marriage, and our daughter was smart and well-behaved. Our friends and colleagues all admired us. Then in December 2006, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Reading God’s words, I learned that our Savior, Almighty God, has expressed lots of truths to purify and save mankind. Having faith, reading God’s words, gaining the truth, and casting off sin and our corrupt dispositions is the only way to be protected by God through the great disasters, and ultimately enter His kingdom. I also learned that for each of us, our life has come from God, and God has given us everything we own. As created beings, we ought to do our duty. Later I started to share the gospel and water newcomers. Every day felt so fulfilling. My husband noticed that since becoming a believer, I always had a smile on my face, and said to me happily, “Before you were always totally wiped out after a day of work and I worried about you. As a believer you’re just as busy every day, but you’re doing better and better. Apparently having faith is great!” But good things don’t last. Before long, he started oppressing me and standing in the way of my faith.

One day in March 2007, he came home from work and said sternly the moment he walked in, “Today, our boss called a general meeting for cadres from every department and said in recent years, there have been more and more believers in Almighty God, putting the Party into a panic. They’ve listed The Church of Almighty God as a major national target, and all believers in Almighty God are subject to Communist Party arrest. It’s worse for public employees: Anyone who’s found to be a believer or have a family member in the Church will be fired, without exception! Since no one at your school has found out about your faith yet, give it up before it’s too late. You’ll be arrested if your boss finds out!” I was thinking that having faith is the right path and doesn’t break any laws, so why would the Party want to stop me? So I said to him, “When China joined the WTO, didn’t it declare that there’s freedom of belief in China? Why the suppression now? What’s wrong with my faith?” He got really angry and responded, “I know having faith is good, but the Party doesn’t allow it, so what can we do? An arm can’t wrestle down a leg. If you keep your faith you could face arrest and prison at any time. If you were arrested, wouldn’t that ruin our family? You have to give up your faith, for the sake of this family!” Hearing that from him made me indignant. I hadn’t imagined that in their efforts to keep people from believing in God, the Party would use people’s bosses to pressure them, but it did explain my husband’s abrupt change of heart. I wondered if the Party would let me off the hook if they ever did find out about my faith. Why is it so hard to be a believer in China? Then I remembered a passage of God’s words a sister read for me once. “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(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?). I remember she also fellowshiped, “The Communist Party is an atheistic party. It hates God and is against Him. As believers in a country ruled by the Communist Party, we’re bound to be oppressed and humiliated. The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven(Matthew 5:10). God uses these oppressive environments to perfect people’s faith. Being able to stand firm through such an oppressive, painful environment is what God most approves of!” This gave me faith. I knew I couldn’t give up because of the Party’s oppression. No matter how my husband stood in my way, I was determined to believe.

For a while, they were having meetings nearly every day at his work, stressing there couldn’t be any believers among employees or their family members. My husband came home and lectured me on ideology nearly every day. One evening when I got home from a gathering, he looked grave and said, “You went to another gathering? How many times have I told you that you can’t go to gatherings—why won’t you listen? It’s not like you don’t know that the Party forbids religion. Our boss has told us over and over that the Party won’t let any believers in Almighty God off easily! Isn’t keeping your faith at a critical time like this just looking for trouble?” I said, “Having faith doesn’t break any laws. What right does the Party have to not allow that?” His response was, “The Party doesn’t care if you break any laws or not. Believers in Almighty God are considered political criminals. If you’re arrested by the Party for your faith, not only will it ruin your reputation, but your life will be in danger, and your family will be implicated.” I told my husband, “You know very well that the Party is anti-God, but you’re on their side, standing in my way. Aren’t you afraid of punishment?” He said disparagingly, “Punishment isn’t important—it’s important to understand which way the wind is blowing. The Communist Party is in power now, so if you want to survive under their rule, don’t you have to do what they say? I get money from the Party, so I have to speak and act on their behalf. You’re also working and collecting a salary under the Party, so why would they let you off if you follow God instead of the Party? You have to be aware of what’s at stake! Are you going along with the Party, or with Almighty God? You have to choose today!” I was really conflicted at the time. If I decided to keep my faith, my boss could find out at any time. Then I’d lose my position and probably be arrested by the police. I’d had my job for over a decade. I’d worked hard up until then and had been promoted to a mid-ranking teacher. I’d gained the students’ admiration, their parents’ respect, my colleagues’ envy, and my boss’ recognition and approval. Wherever I went, relatives and friends treated me very well. If I lost my job, I’d face rejection from my family, the mockery of others, and the disdain of my colleagues. I was afraid my reputation would be ruined if that happened. Then I thought, “Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days is the last stage of His work to save mankind. The only way to be freed of corruption is to undergo God’s judgment and cleansing, then we can survive the disasters under God’s protection and be taken to a beautiful destination. Missing that chance will be a lifelong regret.” I thought of something God says. “If you are of high station, of honorable reputation, possessed of abundant knowledge, the owner of plentiful assets, and supported by many people, yet these things do not prevent you from coming before God to accept His calling and His commission and to do what God asks of you, then all that you do shall be the most meaningful cause on earth and the most righteous undertaking of mankind. If you reject the call of God for the sake of status and your own goals, all that you do shall be cursed and even despised by God(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 2: God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind). Thinking of God’s words brightened my heart. Having faith, pursuing the truth, and doing the duty of a created being is the only thing with value and meaning. But faced with a choice between faith and work, I was constrained by name and status, afraid that the Communist Party would take away my job because of my faith, which would ruin my reputation. What mattered to me was still my career and my name. But what could those things do for me? They’d just bring temporary gratification for my vanity; they’d never help me gain the truth or get rid of my corrupt disposition. And what meaning is there in others’ admiration? Also, I knew that the Communist Party is an enemy to God. To hold on to my job and enjoy a good status and reputation, if I gave up my faith, living an ignoble existence under the Party’s rule, wouldn’t that be betraying God? I couldn’t be that kind of person. And so, I told my husband very calmly, “I’ll never give up my faith.” He stared right at me and said sternly, “If you keep your faith, I’ll report you to the police and have you arrested.” He started making a call as he said that. I was totally stunned at the time. He knew that the Communist Party oppresses believers, but was still going to hand me over to them. Wasn’t that just throwing me to the wolves? To serve his own interests, he disregarded our love as husband and wife, and wanted to report me to the police to get me to give up my faith. I couldn’t give in to him. Then he asked me over and over, “Made up your mind?” I said, “Even if I’m arrested and do time, I’m keeping my faith!” My husband’s face went ashen and he threw the phone on the ground in anger.

I remember one night, his expression changed immediately when he saw me reading God’s words, and he said, “How many times have I told you? In China, you simply can’t take a path of faith! From the central government down to local authorities, from management down to individual employees, things are monitored and carried out at all levels. The Party will get you if you keep on believing in God!” Hearing my husband say that all the time, and also thinking of the constant danger of arrest as a believer in the Party’s country was scary for me. I wondered if I could withstand the torture if I were arrested someday. What if they beat me to the point of death or disability? If I couldn’t take the suffering and became a Judas, betraying God, wouldn’t that be the end of my life? I knew I wasn’t in a good state, so I quickly said a prayer to God in my heart, asking for faith so that I wouldn’t lose testimony through that oppression and hardship. I read this in God’s words: “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there is nothing it can do with man(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapter 36). God’s words are so well put. When we are ready to put our lives on the line and aren’t constrained by death, Satan’s hands are tied. I was afraid of being beaten to death by the police mainly because I lacked faith. I valued my own life too much. Everything is under God’s command, including our lives and deaths. I had to give myself over to God and submit to His orchestrations and arrangements. Even if I was beaten to death, that would be persecution for the sake of righteousness, which has value. With the confidence I got from God’s words, I read some of them for my husband: “We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth and shall cease to exist(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 2: God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind). I gave my husband testimony on God’s righteous disposition that tolerates no offense. The Communist Party arresting and persecuting believers is doing evil and resisting God, and will be punished by God. By standing with the Party and keeping me from my faith, he was doing evil along with them. After listening he said helplessly, “You think I want this? The Communist Party is making this happen. If I don’t keep you from believing in God, I could lose my living, too. Why can’t you think of me? If you’re arrested and imprisoned for being a believer, if they don’t kill you they’ll at least rip off some flesh. How could I just watch you suffer? What can I do to get you to give up your faith?” I said, “Almighty God is the one true God, and I will never give up my faith!” Shockingly, when he saw I wouldn’t give in, he got physical with me. In a rage, he said to me, “If you’re arrested for your faith, that’s a dead end. You just insist on putting yourself in their hands. But you tell me, what is there to believe in if you’re dead?” After that he pinned me down on the bed like a madman, clutched my neck hard and said, “I’ll strangle you, then see if you can believe!” I was being strangled and couldn’t breathe, and I was fighting as hard as I could, but it was no use. I passed out. As I was gradually coming to, I thought of how my husband, who had never hit me over years of marriage, had become so vicious toward me to protect his status and his job, nearly choking me to death. I was devastated. I also hated the Communist Party even more. If they didn’t use family members’ jobs and futures in their threats, my husband never would have been so merciless.

Every time my husband’s job applied more pressure, he ramped up his persecution of me. One day when he came home from a meeting, he gave me another ideological lecture, and said that under the CCP’s rule in China, the entire family suffers if one person is a believer, so I couldn’t keep my faith or both of us would lose our jobs, and our daughter’s studies and career would be impacted. He asked how our daughter could ever hold her head up if I were imprisoned for my faith, and said even if I didn’t think of the two of us, I should think of her. I was thinking that if the Communist Party took away my husband’s job and ruined my daughter’s future because of my faith, wouldn’t they both hate me forever? I was really distressed at the time, so I silently called out to God, asking Him to guide me. I remembered this from God’s words: “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? Whatever I say is done, and who among human beings can change My mind? … Is it not I who have personally made these arrangements?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 1). All things are in God’s hands. Whether my husband and I lost our jobs, whether my daughter’s studies were impacted, and whether she’d get a job, was all arranged by God. Only God can determine all things—not the Communist Party. At this thought, I said to my husband, “People’s fates are in God’s hands, under His rule. You think that if you listen to the Communist Party your job is guaranteed? The Party doesn’t even have a handle on its own fate, so how can it control others’ fates?” Then angrily, he retorted, “If you’re dead set on being a believer, the Party is going to get you. They send the believers they find to their deaths. You’d be better off dying at my hands.” Before I could react, he ran into the kitchen like he’d lost his mind, grabbed a knife, stood in front of me, then said sternly, holding the knife up, “Are you going to be a believer, or have a nice life? If you insist on being a believer, I’ll slit your throat!” Both angry and afraid, I called out to God urgently in my heart. Just then, our daughter suddenly burst out of her room, put herself in front of me and yelled, “Dad! If you’re going to kill Mom, you’ll have to kill me first!” He was startled by what she did, and with his eyes fixed on her, the muscles in his face froze in place. He slowly put down the hand holding the knife. I felt an unexplainable sense of loss and pain in my heart as tears of grief and indignation flowed. I’d never imagined my husband would threaten my life because I believed in God. This was not the man I’d married. This was clearly a demon!

I read this in God’s words in my devotionals one day. “Why does a husband love his wife? Why does a wife love her husband? Why are children dutiful to their parents? Why do parents dote on their children? What sorts of intentions do people actually harbor? Is their intent not to satisfy their own plans and selfish desires? Do they truly mean to act for the sake of God’s management plan? Are they really acting for the sake of God’s work? Is their intent to fulfill the duties of a created being?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). “Anyone who does not recognize God is an enemy; that is, anyone who does not recognize God incarnate—whether or not they are inside or outside this stream—is an antichrist! Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). I thought about God’s words. Scene after scene of my husband oppressing me played through my mind like a movie. Why was my husband, who had never yelled at me or hit me, doing everything he could to persecute me since I became a believer? Why would all those years of marriage just crumble in the face of personal gain? There’s no true love between human beings—everyone’s just using each other. My husband was good to me before because I could go to work, earn money, and bear his children. In his eyes, I was useful. But now that I’d chosen faith, which affected his interests, he didn’t care about the feelings between us. To keep me from believing in God, he wanted to report me to the police, he choked me until I passed out, and even threatened me with a knife. He insisted he didn’t want me to have faith because he was thinking of me, and was afraid I’d be arrested, but it was all for himself. He put his own career and reputation above all else. To protect his own living, he was willing to be the Communist Party’s running dog, its lackey, forcing me onto a dead-end path. He even used all sorts of vile, evil tactics to stop me from believing in God. In essence, he was a demon who hated and resisted God. Then I read another passage of God’s words. “As someone who is normal, and who pursues the love of God, entry into the kingdom to become one of the people of God is your true future, and a life that is of the utmost value and significance; no one is more blessed than you. Why do I say this? Because those who do not believe in God live for the flesh, and they live for Satan, but today you live for God, and live to do the will of God. That is why I say your lives are of the utmost significance. Only this group of people, who have been selected by God, are able to live out a life of the utmost significance: No one else on earth is able to live out a life of such value and meaning(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps). God’s words were really inspiring for me and helped me see the meaning of life. Having faith, pursuing the truth, and doing the duty of a created being is the only way to live a life with meaning and value. I’d been working myself to the bone out in the world, and I’d made a bit of a name for myself, but I felt empty and miserable inside. I’d become ill from exhaustion, and my perfectly good voice had become so hoarse I could barely talk. At that point I really felt that no matter how many certificates of honor or how much admiration I had, it would never resolve my illness or spiritual emptiness. The reputation I’d pursued and had all those years couldn’t help me gain the truth or save me from Satan’s corruption and harm. On top of that, during my years of teaching I’d been inculcating students with all sorts of things that deny God. I’d been singing the Communist Party’s praises the whole time. If that continued, there’s no way I’d have a good outcome. I had to stop serving the Party. I prayed to God in my heart, asking Him to give me a way out. Later, when I went for a health checkup, the doctor told me, “Your throat is in terrible shape. The whole thing has changed color, and it’s really engorged with blood. It’s swollen and is so enlarged it’s impacting your vocal cords. Considering your profession, if you don’t stop using your throat, you’ll probably lose your ability to speak altogether.” Then he suggested a six-month medical leave of absence for me. I gave God heartfelt thanks. I thought I’d have more time to read God’s words and do my duty, but my husband started using an even more vile tactic to stand in my way.

One day in February 2009, he asked two of my classmates and my younger brother to come over. They forced me into a car and took me to a mental hospital. But there was nothing wrong with me, so the hospital wouldn’t take me. My husband said, “You know that the Party arrests believers and that it’s a death sentence, but you insist on being a believer. Only someone with a mental problem isn’t afraid of death. They’re limited in the tests they can do at this hospital. The provincial mental hospital has better facilities and more competent doctors. I’ll take you there for a checkup to see if you’re mentally ill.” I responded angrily, “I think you’re the one with the mental problem. It’s not that I’m not afraid to die. I choose to believe even if it means death, because I know Almighty God is the coming of the Savior. He has expressed so many truths and can save man from sin and disasters. Unbelievers who don’t accept God’s judgment and purification will all die in the disasters.” But he wouldn’t listen. Early the next morning he made me go to the provincial mental hospital. We went up to the second floor and I saw a crazy lady curled up in a ball on the floor of the hallway locked up with a really heavy chain. A middle-aged man was holding on to one end of the chain, pulling on it really hard, dragging the woman along the floor. She had both arms stretched out in fear, holding onto the chain, struggling with all her might and yelling loudly. Seeing her hair looking like straw and her terrified expression, and hearing her heart-rending shrieks, was a bloodcurdling experience. In that instant I was overcome with a sense of pain and being wronged. I felt that this was a tremendous insult to my dignity and I wanted to immediately turn around, go downstairs, and get out of that cursed place, but I couldn’t. My husband was following me every step of the way. Then I remembered something from God’s words. “Many are the sleepless nights that God has endured for the sake of the work of mankind. From up high to the lowest depths, He has descended to the living hell in which man lives to pass His days with man, He has never complained of the shabbiness among man, and He has never reproached man for his disobedience, but endures the greatest humiliation as He personally carries out His work. How could God belong to hell? How could He spend His life in hell? But for the sake of all mankind, so that the whole of mankind can find rest sooner, He has endured humiliation and suffered injustice to come to earth, and personally entered into ‘hell’ and ‘Hades,’ into the tiger’s den, to save man. How is man qualified to oppose God? What reason does he have to complain about God? How can he have the gall to look upon God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (9)). To save mankind, God has incarnated in the last days and come to atheist-ruled China, appearing and working in this most evil, most anti-God place, suffering the oppression and condemnation of the Communist Party and religious world, and enduring great humiliation, but God takes it all without a word. He’s the Lord of creation, so supreme and honorable, but He’s come to live among corrupt human beings, bearing enormous humiliation, expressing truths among man and quietly doing the work of saving humanity. But I, a corrupt human, seeing that I was to be associated with the mentally ill, felt like my dignity was wounded and that it was humiliating for me. I wanted to escape. I didn’t have the slightest resolve to suffer for the sake of truth. I was embarrassed at that thought and I said a silent prayer to God, swearing that no matter what I had to face next, or what sort of humiliation I suffered, I’d never give in to Satan. The doctor just offhandedly gave me a couple bags of medication and sent me home. When my husband later saw that he really couldn’t keep me from my faith, he just ignored me, and I took on a duty again. Then in October 2012, when a Judas ratted us out, the police found out I might be a church leader and started having plainclothes officers tail me. I had to leave home and go to another region to do my duty so I wouldn’t be arrested. I later found out that the day after I left home, the police went to my house to arrest me. They also arrested three other brothers and sisters to ask them about my whereabouts, and started a manhunt for me using my photo. Two months later, the National Security Brigade searched my house and confiscated a couple books of God’s words, and told my husband they’d get me even if I’d run to the ends of the earth. The Bureau of Education also went to my house practically every day, forcing my husband to look for me. I was then near the top of the Communist Party’s most wanted list.

They even used my child to draw me back home. One afternoon in late December 2012, I got an unexpected call from my daughter: “Mom, I’ve been afraid to call you. The police are looking everywhere for you, and they’ve searched our house. I’m calling you now to tell you that leaders from the Bureau of Education and from your school asked Dad and me to tell you that they want you to give up your faith and come back home, and they promise they won’t hold you accountable. They also said that as long as you come home, even if you don’t ever go to work, they’ll still pay you your full salary.” I was indignant when I heard that. The Communist Party was using status and money to tempt me into giving up my faith. How despicable! What made me really sad was that my daughter seemed to deeply trust what the government and school leaders said. From that I saw clearly that my husband and daughter were both being fooled and used by the Communist Party. I said to my daughter resolutely, “Honey, you’re looking at this too naively. Do you know what would happen if I came home? I’d be like a lamb thrown to the wolves. I can’t go home.” She responded anxiously, “They said if you don’t come home, they’ll revoke all 20-plus years of your pension. Mom, come back. If you don’t, they’ll make Dad divorce you and have me sever ties with you. If you don’t come home, then you won’t be my mom anymore.” I was stunned at the time. The Communist Party was not only taking away my living, but even coercing my husband to divorce me and my daughter to sever ties with me. It was evil and vile! I hated the Party with all my heart. I thought of God’s words. “Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin! Who has embraced the work of God? Who has laid down their life or shed blood for the work of God? For generation after generation, from parents to children, enslaved man has unceremoniously enslaved God—how could this not incite fury? Thousands of years of hate are concentrated in the heart, millennia of sinfulness are inscribed upon the heart—how could this not inspire loathing? Avenge God, completely snuff out His enemy, do not allow it to run rampant any longer, and do not permit it to rule as a tyrant! Now is the time: Man has long since gathered all his strength, he has devoted all his efforts and paid every price for this, to tear off the hideous face of this demon and allow people, who have been blinded, and who have endured every manner of suffering and hardship, to rise up from their pain and turn their backs on this evil old devil. Why put up such an impenetrable obstacle to the work of God? Why employ various tricks to deceive God’s folk? Where is the true freedom and the legitimate rights and interests? Where is the fairness? Where is the comfort? Where is the warmth? Why use deceitful schemes to trick God’s people? Why use force to suppress the coming of God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (8)). The Communist Party shouts about freedom of religion, but secretly uses all sorts of vile tactics to oppress believers. This clearly displays its evil nature of hating the truth and opposing God. The Party was trying both the carrot and the stick to keep me from having faith, first using a generous salary as bait, trying to use money to tempt me back home so they could arrest me. When I didn’t fall for it, they were going to take away my job and salary, cutting off all my income, and chasing me away from home. This clearly showed me that the Party looks moral and just on the outside, but at its heart is brutal and evil. It’s a perverse gang of demons that goes against God at every turn. I came to hate it and reject it from the heart, and swore I’d break from it even if it cost me my life! I didn’t go back home. My husband was forced to divorce me and my daughter severed ties with me.

Before when I was working inside the Party system, I couldn’t see its evil essence. I praised it all the time, and served the Party faithfully. After experiencing its persecution, I finally saw its evil essence of hating the truth and working against God, and came to fully hate and forsake it, swearing to never follow it again. I also saw God’s love. It was God’s words that gave me faith and strength, allowing me to stand strong through persecution and hardship over and over. I’m so grateful to God. No matter how hard the path ahead of me is, I will follow Almighty God to the end, unwaveringly!

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