10. A Song of Life Amidst the Ruin
By Gao Jing, Henan Province
In 1999, I had the fortune to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days. Through reading God’s words, I perceived the authority and power they hold, and felt that these words were the voice of God. Being able to hear the words expressed to mankind by the Creator moved me beyond my ability to describe, and for the first time, I felt the sense of peace and joy in the depths of my spirit that the work of the Holy Spirit brings to man. From that moment on, I became an increasingly avid reader of God’s words. After I’d joined The Church of Almighty God, I saw that the church was a completely new world, entirely different from that of society. All the brothers and sisters were simple and kind, pure and full of life. Although we weren’t related to each other by blood, and we each came from different backgrounds and had our own identities, we were all like kindred spirits who loved each other, supported one another, and were united together in joy. Seeing this really made me feel how happy and joyful, how beautiful and sweet a life spent worshiping God is. Later, I saw these words of God: “As members of the human race and devout Christians, it is the responsibility and obligation of us all to offer up our minds and bodies for the fulfillment of God’s commission, for our entire being came from God, and it exists thanks to the sovereignty of God. If our minds and bodies are not for God’s commission and not for the righteous cause of mankind, then our souls will be unworthy of those who were martyred for God’s commission, and much more unworthy of God, who has provided us with everything” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words allowed me to understand that, as a created being, I should be living for the Creator, and that I should be dedicating and expending my all to spread and testify God’s gospel of the last days—only this is the most valuable and meaningful life. And so, when I heard that many people living in far-flung, remote areas hadn’t heard Almighty God’s gospel of the last days, I resolutely said my farewells to the brothers and sisters in my hometown and set out on my journey to spread the kingdom gospel.
In 2002, I arrived in a remote, backward mountainous area in Guizhou Province to preach the gospel. Spreading the gospel there required me to walk many miles along mountain paths every day, and I often had to brave the wind and snow. With God beside me, however, I never felt tired, or that it was a hardship. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit’s work, the gospel work there soon took off, with more and more people accepting God’s work of the last days and the church life overflowing with vitality. Guided by God’s words, I spent six happy, fulfilling years in that place. That is, until 2008, when something extraordinary happened out of the blue, something that would shatter the joy and tranquility of my life …
It happened around 11 a.m. on the morning of March 15, 2008. Two brothers and I were in a gathering when suddenly four policemen burst through the door and quickly had us pressed down on the floor. They handcuffed us without a word, then shoved and dragged us into a police van. Inside the van, they all sniggered wickedly, waving their electroshock batons at us and occasionally jabbing them into our heads or torsos. They cursed us savagely, saying, “You sons of bitches! You’re so young you could do anything, but oh no, you have to go and believe in God! You really have nothing better to do?” Having been arrested so suddenly left me feeling very nervous, and I had no idea what lay in store for us. All I could do was call out to God silently in my heart, over and over: “O God! This situation has befallen us today by Your permission. I ask only that You grant us faith and protect us so that we may stand witness for You.” After I prayed, a line of God’s words floated into my mind: “Be loyal to Me no matter what, and bravely advance; I am your rock of strength, so rely on Me!” (“Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Yes!” I thought. “God is my support and He is my strong and powerful backup. No matter what situation I find myself in, as long as I can stay loyal to God and stand with Him, then I will surely overcome Satan and bring shame to it.” The enlightenment of God’s words enabled me to find strength and faith, and I silently resolved: I would rather die than abandon the true way and not stand witness for God!
Once we arrived at the police station, the policemen dragged us roughly out of the van, then pushed and shoved us into the station. They thoroughly searched us all over and found some gospel materials and a cellphone in the bags belonging to my two church brothers. Seeing that they hadn’t turned up any money, one of the wicked policemen dragged one of the brothers over and kicked and beat him until he fell to the ground. After that, we were taken to different rooms to be interrogated separately. They questioned me all that afternoon, but they didn’t get a word out of me. It was after 8 p.m. that evening when they noted us down as being three anonymous detainees before sending us all to the local detention house.
As soon as we arrived at the detention house, two female correctional officers stripped me of all my clothes. They cut off anything metal on my clothes and took my shoelaces and my belt. Barefoot and holding my trousers up I made my way with trepidation to my cell. When they saw me come in, the women prisoners surged toward me like lunatics and completely surrounded me, all of them asking about me all at once. The lights were so dim in there that their eyes looked as wide as saucers; they were glaring at me and curiously looking me up and down, while some tugged at my arms, touching here and pinching there. Dumbstruck, I stood rooted to the spot, feeling very afraid and not daring to say a word. At the thought that I would have to live in this hellish place with these women, I felt like bursting into tears at the injustice of it all. Just then, a prisoner who had been sitting on the brick bed not saying a word, suddenly yelled, “That’s enough! She’s just arrived and doesn’t know what’s what. Don’t frighten her.” She then handed me a quilt to put around myself. I felt a surge of warmth in that moment, and I knew well that it wasn’t this prisoner who was being nice to me, but God who was using the people around me to help and take care of me. God had been with me the whole time, and I was not at all alone. Having the love of God to keep me company inside this gloomy, nightmarish hell on earth, I felt tremendously comforted. Deep in the night after all the other prisoners had fallen asleep, I still had no mind for sleep whatsoever. I thought about how, just that morning, I had been happily performing my duty with my brothers and sisters, and yet that night I was lying in this tomb-like hellish place, with no idea when I’d ever be let out—I felt an inexpressible sorrow and distress. Just as I was immersed in my own thoughts, a freezing cold wind whipped up out of nowhere and I shivered involuntarily. I lifted my head to look around and only then did I realize that the cell was open to the elements. Besides the roof over the sleeping area, the rest of the cell had a mesh above it made of thick metal bars welded together, and the cold wind just rushed right in. Occasionally, I could also hear the footsteps of the policemen on patrol walking on the roof. All I could feel was bone-chilling fear, and my fear, my helplessness, and my feelings of having been wronged all flooded my heart; tears fell unbidden from my eyes. Just at that moment, a passage of God’s words floated clearly into my mind: “You know that all things in the environment that surrounds you are there by My permission, all planned by Me. See clearly and satisfy My heart in the environment I have given to you. Do not fear, the Almighty God of hosts will surely be with you; He stands behind you and He is your shield” (“Chapter 26” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Yes,” I thought. “God has permitted the CCP government to capture me. Although this place is dark and terrifying and I have no idea what I will come up against next, God is my backup so there is nothing to fear! It’s all or nothing, and I place everything into God’s hands.” Having understood God’s will, I felt much more relaxed, and so I said a silent prayer to God: “O God! Thank You for Your enlightenment and illumination which have enabled me to understand that all of this is happening by Your permission. I wish to submit to Your orchestrations and arrangements, to seek Your will in this predicament, and to gain the truths You wish to give me. O God! It’s just that I am of such small stature, so I ask that You grant me faith and strength and protect me so that, no matter what tortures I might be put to, I will never betray You.” After praying, I dried my tears and contemplated God’s words, as I quietly awaited the coming of the new day.
Early the next day, there was a banging sound and the cell door opened. One of the correctional officers hollered, “Out, Jane Doe!” I lingered for a moment before I finally realized she was calling me. In the interrogation room, the policemen once again asked me to give my name and address, and to tell them about the church. I said nothing, but just sat on the chair with my head lowered. They questioned me every day for a week, until finally one of them jabbed his finger at me and yelled, “You bitch! We’ve spent days with you and you haven’t said a word. Fine, just you wait. We’ve got something to show you!” Having said this, the two policemen stormed off, slamming the door behind them. One day as night was falling, the police came again to summon me. They handcuffed me and stuffed me into a police van. Sitting in the back of that van, I couldn’t help but feel panic beginning to rise inside me, and I thought: “Where are they taking me? Could they be taking me out to the middle of nowhere to violate me? Will they stuff me in a sack and throw me into the river to feed the fish?” I was incredibly afraid, but just then some lines from a church hymn called “The Kingdom” began to resound in my ears: “God is my support, what is there to fear? I pledge my life to fight with Satan till the end. God lifts us up, we should leave everything behind and fight to bear witness for Christ. God will carry out His will on earth. I’ll prepare my love and loyalty and devote them all to God. I will joyfully welcome God’s return when He descends in glory …” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). In a second, an inexhaustible strength rose up inside me. I lifted my head to look out the window as I silently pondered the lyrics of the hymn. One of the policemen noticed that I was staring out the window and quickly drew a curtain across it, before bellowing fiercely at me, “What are you looking at? Lower your head!” Being yelled at so suddenly made me tremble with shock, and I lowered my head right away. Four policemen were all smoking inside the van, constantly blowing out clouds of smoke, and pretty soon the air inside the van had become intolerably foul; I began to cough. One of the policemen sitting in front of me turned around and pinched my lower jaw with his fingers before blowing smoke right in my face. He then said maliciously, “You know, you only need to tell us everything you know, and you won’t need to suffer at all; you can just go home. You’re a young woman, and you’re very pretty….” As he said this, he ran his fingers across my face and winked lasciviously at me, then laughed wickedly and said, “Maybe we’ll find a boyfriend for you yet.” I turned my face away and brought my chained hands up to throw his hand off. Embarrassed into anger, he said, “Oh, you’re so strong. Just wait till we get where we’re going, and then you’ll behave yourself.” The van drove on. I had no idea what I was about to face, and so all I could do was call out to God silently in my heart: “O God! I’m ready to risk everything now. No matter what tactics these awful officers use against me, as long as I have one breath left in my body, I will bear strong and resounding testimony for You before Satan!”
After more than half an hour, the van came to a stop. The policemen dragged me out; I staggered to my feet and looked around. It was already completely dark, and there were only a few empty buildings dotted around without even one light shining—it all looked so gloomy and terrifying. I was escorted into one of the buildings. Inside, there was a desk and a sofa, with an electric bulb hanging from the ceiling which cast a horribly pale light over everything. There were ropes and steel chains lying on the floor, and across the room there was a chair made of thick metal bars. Faced with this frightful scene, I couldn’t help but begin to panic. My legs turned to jelly and I had to sit on the sofa to calm down. Several men then came into the room, and I was loudly scolded by one of them. “What do you think you’re doing, sitting there? Is that yours to sit on? Get up!” While speaking he rushed over to me and kicked me a few times, then grabbed the front of my top, pulled me off the sofa and dragged me over to the metal chair. Another of the policemen said to me, “You know, this is a great thing, this chair. You just have to sit on it for a little while and you’ll ‘get the benefit’ for the rest of your life. This chair has been specially prepared for you believers in Almighty God. We don’t let just anyone sit on it. You just be a good girl, do what we say, and answer our questions honestly, and then you won’t have to sit on it. So tell us, why did you come to Guizhou? Was it to preach your gospel?” I said nothing. A tough-looking policeman standing to one side pointed at my face and swore at me, saying, “Stop playing dumb, damnit! If you don’t speak up, you’ll get a taste of the chair!” I still remained silent.
Just then, a seductively dressed woman came into the room, and it turned out that she had been asked by this gang of policemen to come and persuade me to confess. She exhorted me with false gentleness, saying, “Look, you’re a stranger here, and you don’t have any relatives or friends around. Tell us what we want to know, OK? Once you’ve told us what we want to know, I’ll find you a job, and find you a husband here in Guizhou. I promise I’ll find you a good man, too. But if you don’t want that, then you could come work for me as my nanny. I’ll pay you every month. That way, you could settle down here and put down some roots.” I raised my head and glanced at her, but did not reply. To myself, I thought: “Demons are demons. They don’t acknowledge the existence of God, but just do all manner of terrible things for the sake of money and profit. Now they’re trying to use profit to bribe me and get me to betray God. How could I possibly fall prey to their cunning schemes and become a shameful Judas?” She saw that her “kind-hearted” words had had no effect whatsoever on me and felt that she had lost face in front of the other police, so she immediately dropped the façade and showed her true colors. She removed a strap from her backpack and cruelly whipped me with it a few times, then aggressively threw her backpack onto the sofa. Shaking her head in exasperation, she went and stood to one side. Seeing what had happened, a fat, evil policeman stormed over to me, caught me by the hair, and smashed my head against the wall several times, yelling at me through gritted teeth, “Don’t you know when someone’s trying to do you a favor? Eh? Don’t you? Are you going to talk or not?” My head was banged against the wall so many times that I saw stars, my head was buzzing, the room was spinning, and I fell to the floor. He then dragged me up and flung me down onto the metal chair as though I were nothing more than a little bird. Only after I had recovered a little did I begin to open my eyes a bit—I saw that in his hand he still clutched a strand of my torn hair. I was strapped to the chair from my head to my feet, and a thick steel plate was set before my chest. My handcuffs were attached to the chair, and shackles weighing tens of pounds were attached to my feet, and then they were also chained to the chair. I felt like a statue, unable to move a muscle. The cold and heavy chains, locks and cuffs held me to the metal chair—my suffering was beyond words. Seeing me in pain, the evil police were pleased with themselves and began to mock me, saying, “Isn’t the God you believe in almighty? Why doesn’t He come to save you? Why doesn’t He save you from this tiger chair? You’d better start talking. Your God can’t save you, only we can do that. Tell us what we want to know, and we’ll let you go. You could have a good life. What a waste believing in some God!” I faced the sarcastic remarks of the wicked police very calmly, for God’s words say: “In the last days, God uses words, not signs and wonders, to make man perfect. He uses His words to expose man, to judge man, to chastise man, and to make man perfect, so that in the words of God, man comes to see the wisdom and loveliness of God, and comes to understand the disposition of God, and so that through the words of God, man beholds the deeds of God” (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The work God does now is practical work, not supernatural. God uses His words to perfect man and allows His words to become our faith and our life. He uses practical situations to change our life dispositions, and it is this kind of practical work that can better reveal God’s great power and wisdom, and better defeat Satan once and for all. I had been arrested and was being subjected to cruel torture by the CCP government because God wanted to test my faith in Him and see whether or not I was able to live by His words and stand witness for Him. Knowing this, I wished to submit to any situation God permitted to befall me. My silence enraged the gang of evil police and they surged toward me as though they had all gone crazy. They surrounded me and violently beat me. Some punched me hard on the head with their fists, some kicked wildly at my legs, while others tore at my clothes and groped at my face. I seethed with rage in the face of their cruel beatings and hooliganism. If I hadn’t been tightly restrained to that tiger chair, I would have put up a desperate fight! Toward the CCP government, that arch criminal organization, I felt nothing but hatred down to my very bones, and I just had to make a silent resolution: The more it persecutes me, the more my faith will grow, and I will believe in God till my last breath! The more it persecutes me, the more it proves that Almighty God is the one, true God, and the more it proves that I’m following the true way! Faced with these facts, I realized very clearly that this was a war between good and evil, a contest between life and death, and that what I should do was swear to uphold God’s name and God’s testimony, to shame Satan with practical action, thereby enabling God to gain glory. Those wicked police tried to extract a confession from me over several days of torture and interrogation, but I told them nothing about the church. In the end, they were out of options, and said, “She’s a tough cookie, this one. We’ve been questioning her for days now, but she hasn’t said a word.” As I listened to them discussing me, I knew that God’s words had helped me to pass through every hellish gate these demons had placed before me, and that God had protected me so that I could stand witness for Him. From the bottom of my heart, I silently thanked and praised Almighty God!
Over more than ten days of interrogation, I had been sitting in that freezing tiger chair both day and night, and my whole body felt as though it had been plunged into an icy cavern. The cold had seeped into my very marrow, and every joint in my body felt as though it had been torn apart. One of the evil policemen who was quite young saw me shivering from the cold, and so took advantage of the situation to say to me, “You’d better start talking! Even the sturdiest people can’t last long on this chair. If you keep this up, you’ll spend the rest of your life a cripple.” When I heard him say this, I began to weaken and feel anxious, but then I silently called out to God, asking Him to grant me the strength to endure this inhuman torment and to not do anything that might betray God. After praying, God enlightened me with a church hymn that had always been my favorite one to sing: “I don’t care how tough the path of belief in God is, I only carry out God’s will as my vocation; much less do I care whether I receive blessings or suffer misfortune in the future. Now that I am resolved to love God, I will be faithful to the end. No matter what dangers or hardships lurk behind me, no matter what my end will be, in order to welcome God’s day of glory, I closely follow God’s footsteps and strive onward” (“Marching on the Path of Loving God” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Every last word of that hymn inspired me, and I sang it over and over in my mind. I couldn’t help but think of the vow I had previously made before God, that no matter what suffering or hardships I had to undergo, I would still expend my life for God and stay loyal to Him till the end. But I was beginning to feel weak and timid after suffering just a small amount of pain—how was this being loyal? Was I not falling prey to Satan’s cunning scheme? Satan wanted me to think of my flesh and betray God, but I knew I mustn’t let it fool me. That I was able to suffer for my belief in God was the most meaningful, valuable thing, it was a glorious thing, and no matter how much I suffered, I could not allow myself to become a pathetic little person who turned my back on my faith and betrayed God. Once I made this resolution to satisfy God, I gradually stopped feeling so cold and the pain in my heart vanished. Once again, I had witnessed God’s wondrous deeds and experienced God’s love. Though the police hadn’t achieved their goal, they still weren’t through with me. They began to take turns torturing me, and they kept me awake all day and all night. If I barely closed my eyes for a second, they would whip me with a switch made of willow, or else they would jab me hard with an electroshock baton. Every time they did that I would feel electricity coursing through me and my whole body would be wracked with convulsions. The pain was so bad that it made me want to die. As they beat me, they shouted, “You still won’t tell us everything, damnit, and you even want to go to sleep! Let’s see if we can torture you to death today!” Their beatings became more and more intense, more and more vicious, and my forlorn cries echoed around the room. Because I was so tightly strapped to the tiger chair and couldn’t move a muscle, I could do nothing but submit to their savagery. Those evil policemen became even more pleased with themselves and would occasionally erupt into raucous laughter. I had been subjected to whippings and electrocution for such a long time that I was covered in welts and cuts, my face, neck, arms and hands were covered in purple bruises, and my whole body was swollen. My body seemed to have gone numb, however, and I wasn’t in as much pain anymore. I knew that this was God caring for me and alleviating my pain, and in my heart I thanked God over and over.
I endured this for almost a month until I truly couldn’t take it any longer. I so wanted to sleep, even for just a little while. Those demons, however, lacked even the slightest trace of humanity. The moment they saw me close my eyes they would immediately throw a full glass of water in my face to startle me awake, and once again I would have to force my eyes open. My strength was utterly spent—I felt as though my life had reached its end. But God was always protecting me, keeping my mind very clear and alert and my faith strong so that I wouldn’t betray Him. Seeing that they hadn’t gained any information from me at all and afraid that I might actually die, the only thing they could do was take me back to the detention house. Five or six days passed and I still hadn’t recovered from their torture, but they once again dragged me out and chained me back to the tiger chair. They attached the heavy shackles to my feet again, and once more proceeded to try to extract a confession from me through beatings, torture and maltreatment. I was tormented there for around ten more days, and it was only when I really couldn’t take it anymore that they finally took me back to the detention house. Five or six more days passed and they played out the entire thing all over again. Six months went by this way, and I don’t even know how many times they put me through it—it was the same torture over and over. I was tortured to the point of utter and complete exhaustion, and from the bottom of my heart I gave up all hope of a future life. I began to refuse food and for several days I refused to drink even one drop of water. They then started forcing water into my mouth; one of them held my head while another held my face, opened my mouth and poured water into it. The water flowed around my mouth, down my neck and soaked my clothes. My whole body felt freezing cold and I tried to struggle, but I didn’t even have the strength to move my head. Seeing that refusing food was also a useless endeavor, I decided to take the opportunity afforded by going to the toilet to smash my head against the wall and kill myself. Dragging my incredibly heavy shackles along, I staggered one step at a time toward the toilet, clutching at the wall the whole way. Because I hadn’t eaten in so long, my eyes were all blurry and I couldn’t quite see where I was going; I fell down many times along the way. Through the haze I saw that my ankles had been turned into a mess of bleeding flesh by the steel shackles, and that they were bleeding profusely. When I reached a window, I lifted my head and looked outside. I saw people in the distance walking to and fro, going about their business, and all of a sudden I felt a wonderful stirring deep down inside me, and I thought: “Out of all these millions of people, how many believe in Almighty God? I am one of the lucky ones, for God has plucked me—such an unremarkable person—out of the crowd, and has used His words to water and provide for me, leading me every step of the way till now. I’ve been so greatly blessed by God, so why do I seek death? Wouldn’t I really hurt God by doing that?” Just then, God’s words came into my mind: “During these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Every word, replete with encouragement and anticipation, warmed and inspired my heart, and I felt doubly moved—I’d found the courage to go on. I gave myself an internal pep talk: “The demons can only ruin my body, but they cannot destroy my desire to satisfy God. My heart will forever belong to God. I will be strong; I will never capitulate!” I then made my way back, step by step, dragging my heavy shackles. In my dazed state, I thought of the Lord Jesus, completely covered in wounds, making His tortuous way to Golgotha, utterly exhausted and bearing that heavy cross on His back, and then these words from Almighty God came to mind: “On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was in agony, as if a knife were being twisted in His heart, yet He had not the slightest intention of going back on His word; always there was a powerful force compelling Him onward to where He would be crucified” (“How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). At that moment, I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer, and they flowed freely down my cheeks. I said a prayer to God in my heart: “O God! You are so holy, and You are supreme, and yet to save us You personally became flesh. You suffered terrible humiliation and pain and were crucified for our sakes. O God! Who has ever known Your sorrow and Your pain? Who has ever understood or appreciated the painstaking price You paid for our sakes? I suffer this hardship now so that I might attain salvation. Moreover, I suffer it in order to clearly see the CCP government’s evil essence while I suffer cruelty at the hands of its demons, so that I’m never deceived or fooled by it again, and so that I might thereby be rid of its dark influence. And yet I’ve not shown any consideration for Your will, but have only been thinking of my own flesh and wishing to die so that the torment of this pain may come to an end. I’m such a coward and so despicable! O God! You expend Yourself and suffer for us at all times, and You devote all Your love to us. O God! I can do nothing now, but wish only to dedicate my heart wholly to You, to follow You to the end no matter how much I may suffer, and to stand witness to satisfy You!” I hadn’t shed a single tear over several months of cruel beatings and torture, so when I got back to the interrogation room the evil policemen saw that my face was wet with tears and thought that I was ready to crack. The fat one among them looked very pleased with himself and smiled at me, saying, “Have you thought it through? Will you play ball?” I completely ignored him and his face went purple right away. Suddenly, he lifted an arm and proceeded to slap me across the face more times than I could count. My face was left burning with pain while blood trickled from the corners of my mouth and dripped down onto the floor. Another of the wicked policemen threw a glass of water in my face and yelled through clenched teeth, “We don’t care if you don’t play ball. This world belongs to the Communist Party now, and if you don’t talk, we can still sentence you to prison!” But no matter how they tried to threaten and intimidate me, I still didn’t say a word.
Although the police couldn’t find any evidence to support charging me with a crime, they still wouldn’t give up, but continued to try to torture a confession out of me. Late one night, several of them got drunk and staggered into the interrogation room. One of them, eyeing me lasciviously, seemed to come up with an idea and said, “Strip her and hang her up. Then we’ll see if she plays ball.” Hearing him say this left me terrified, and in my heart I desperately called out to God for Him to curse these beasts and thwart their lustful ploys. They released me from the tiger chair, but I could barely stand with those heavy shackles around my ankles. They surrounded me and began to kick me around like a soccer ball, spitting melon seed husks into my face and yelling over and over, “Will you play ball? If you won’t be nice to us, then we’ll make sure your life isn’t worth living! Where is your God now? Isn’t He almighty? Let Him strike us down!” Another said, “Wang needs a wife, how about we just give her to him? Haha …” Seeing their demonic faces, my hatred for them burned so hot that all my tears were dried away. All I could do was pray to God and ask Him to protect my heart so that I would not betray Him, and so that I might submit to God’s orchestrations whether I lived or died. In the end, the evil police had played all their cards but had still not managed to get one word out of me. All out of options, they could do nothing but make a telephone call and report to their superiors. “This woman is as tough as nails. She’s a modern-day Liu Hulan. We could beat her to death and she still wouldn’t talk. There’s nothing else we can do!” Seeing them look so despondent, I thanked God over and over in my heart. It was the guidance of God’s words that had enabled me to overcome their cruel torture time and time again. May all glory be to Almighty God!
Despite the fact that countless interrogations had yielded them nothing, the CCP government charged me with obstructing the enforcement of the law and sentenced me to a fixed sentence of seven years in prison. The two brothers who had been arrested with me were likewise charged and sentenced to five years in prison. After having undergone eight months of inhuman torment, hearing this verdict of seven years in prison not only caused me no pain or distress, but on the contrary, I felt at ease and, even more so, I felt honored. This was because over the previous eight months, I had experienced God’s guidance every step of the way and had enjoyed God’s boundless love and protection. This had enabled me to miraculously survive the cruel devastation that would otherwise have been beyond the limits of my endurance, and I had been able to stand witness. This was the greatest comfort God could bestow on me, and I offered up my thanks and praise to God from the bottom of my heart!
On November 3, 2008, I was sent to the First Women’s Prison to serve my sentence, and thus began my long prison life. There was an incredibly strict regime of rules in the prison; we got up at 6 a.m. and started work, and then worked all through the day till nightfall. Mealtimes and toilet breaks were as fraught as if we were in a warzone, and the prisoners weren’t allowed even a modicum of slack. The prison guards overloaded us with work so that they could profit even more from our labor, and they were more merciless to those who believed in God. Living in such an environment, I was always on tenterhooks—each day felt as long as a year. I was given the hardest and heaviest tasks in prison, and the food I was given to eat wasn’t even fit for dogs—a half-raw, black, tiny steamed bun and some yellow, dried up old cabbage leaves. In an effort to get my sentence reduced for good behavior, I would often work as hard as I could from dawn till dusk, and would even pull all-nighters to meet the production quota which was beyond my physical ability. I would be on my feet each day for 15 or 16 hours in the workshop, constantly turning the handle on the semi-automatic sweater-making machine. Both my legs swelled up and they would often ache and feel weak. Still, I never dared to slow down, because there were prison guards armed with electroshock batons constantly patrolling the workshop, and they would punish anyone they saw not working absolutely flat out, and withhold good behavior points from the prisoners. The incessant, exhausting labor left me utterly fatigued in body and mind. Though I was still young, much of my hair turned gray, and on many occasions I almost fainted onto the machine. Had it not been for God watching over me, I might not have survived. Ultimately, under the protection of God, I obtained two opportunities to have my sentence reduced, and I was able to walk out of that hell on earth two years early.
After undergoing as long as eight months of brutal torture and five years of imprisonment at the hands of the CCP government, both my body and mind had become severely damaged. I was terrified of encountering strangers for a long time after my release. In particular, whenever I came across a busy place with lots of people all bustling around, scenes of those evil police torturing me would come flooding back, and I would involuntarily feel a deep sense of terror and uneasiness inside. My menstrual cycles had been thrown into chaos from being chained to that metal chair for so long, and I was ravaged by all kinds of illnesses. Thinking back now over those interminable, painful months, although I experienced a great deal of pain and suffering, I saw clearly that the “freedom of religious belief” and “the lawful rights and interests of citizens are protected by law” often touted by the CCP government are just ploys to conceal their sins and their evil essence. At the same time, I also came to truly experience and appreciate God’s almightiness, sovereignty, authority and power, and I could feel God’s concern and mercy for me. All these things were the precious and bountiful riches of life which God bestowed on me. God’s work is practical and normal, and He permits the persecution of Satan and demons to come upon us. But while the demons frantically wreak their harm upon us, God is always there, silently watching over us and protecting us, using His words of authority and might to enlighten and guide us. God grants us faith and love, and He conquers and defeats the enemy Satan, thus gaining glory. I praise God’s wisdom and loveliness from the bottom of my heart!
I am now back in the church and have returned to be with my brothers and sisters. Under the guidance of God’s love, I live the church life, and together with my brothers and sisters, with one accord, we spread the kingdom gospel. My life is overflowing with vigor and vitality. I am now filled with faith for God’s work. I can practically see the beautiful sight of the kingdom of God manifesting on the earth, and I can’t help but sing God’s praises! “Christ’s kingdom has descended on earth. God’s word has conquered the world, and it has reigned on earth. All is established and completed by the word of God, for us to see with our very own eyes. We cheer! We praise! We celebrate the arrival of Christ’s kingdom on earth! We cheer! We praise! We celebrate a new Jerusalem descending from heaven. God’s word is among us, it lives among us, it’s with us in our every move and thought. … The beauty of the kingdom is bright and eternal. All people are proclaiming the word of God, submitting to His word and worshiping Him. The whole universe roils in jubilation. We cheer! We praise! We celebrate God’s almightiness and wisdom! We cheer! We praise! We celebrate that His work is done! We cheer! We praise! Almighty God leads us into Canaan Himself, so we can enjoy His riches!” (“Christ’s Kingdom Has Descended on Earth” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).