By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Overcomers’ Testimonies“God Is the Pillar of My Life“
“You love me, ! It is your love that has led me until today. Your love has accompanied me through so many sufferings and hardships, and through so many dangers and temptations. It is you who lead me by the hand, caring for and keeping me. … I love you, Almighty God! It is your love that arouses me. Your love gives me enjoyment; your love gives me strength. My heart loves you forever. I don’t care about adversity or blessing, but only seek to satisfy your heart.” (from “God’s Love Is as Deep as the Sea” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) Whenever I sing this hymn, I will be overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings and full of thanks and love for God in my heart. I’ve followed Almighty God for over ten years. Along the hard and rugged way, I deeply feel that it is really because God’s great love has cared for and kept me that I’ve walked until today.
I was once a leader in the True Church. At that time, I was very zealous. In order to guard well the Lord’s sheep, I was busy like a top every day. Whenever a brother or sister was passive and weak, I went to visit; when someone had difficulty, I tried my best to help; I also went everywhere to preach. However, the brothers and sisters were still weak, and their love gradually grew cold. Some returned to the world to work and some did business. The church became more and more desolate…. One day, a sister and I went to preach the to her auntie. It happened that two relatives came to her auntie’s home. After learning that they were also believers of the Lord, I chatted with them. Unknowingly I was deeply attracted by their preaching. I had never heard such good preaching. Like a dry seedling receiving rain, my thirsty heart was watered. I also knew the reason why the church became desolate was that we didn’t keep up with the working of the . But when I heard them say that God was incarnated again and did a new work, I began to doubt, fearing that I might take the wrong way, and even more fearing that I might lead the brothers and sisters astray and couldn’t give an account to the Lord. So I shut the door of my heart tightly. No matter how they fellowshipped, I wouldn’t seek or investigate, and I also insisted on leaving. They pled me to stay again and again, prayed for me in tears many times, advised me to investigate carefully, and fellowshipped with me for ten whole days with great love and patience. Though I was tough in the mouth, I admired them secretly in my heart. I had never seen that any brother or sister in our denomination had such love and such living out. I simply couldn’t do it. After that, they read many words of God to me. The more I listened, the more I felt that those words were good and couldn’t be spoken by man. The Holy Spirit also doubly moved me within: This is , and I should seek and investigate! Later, through fellowshipping with the brothers and sisters again, I firmly believed that these words were the personal utterance of the , and was certain that Almighty God is the returned Jesus. In the church life that followed, the brothers and sisters loved each other and were frank with each other. We enjoyed God’s word together, and our joy couldn’t be expressed in words. I was full of gratitude to God in my heart. To repay God’s grace of salvation, I began to perform duty in the church. Just when I pursued the truth with full confidence and performed duty zealously, I was arrested and persecuted by the CCP government. When I recall that painful experience, it seems as if it happened yesterday and every bit of it is still fresh in my mind. Facing the ferocious devils, I was once timid and weak. It was God’s word that comforted my sorrowful heart time and again, gave me faith and strength, became the pillar of my life, and led me to overcome the siege of satan….
It was in early January 2001. The church leader came to have a meeting with me and gave me some gospel-preaching materials. After the meeting, I was intent on handing those materials out to the brothers and sisters for preaching the gospel, so I put them in a small paper box and hurriedly went out with it. At that time, I took a short cut down a path. While walking, I had a thought within: It’s not safe ahead (Later I knew that the Holy Spirit was guiding me at that time). But I was numb and thought: It should be all right. So I continued to go forward. When I got to the fork, suddenly two men came to me from the opposite direction. They stopped me and questioned me. I was so nervous that my heart thumped violently. I thought: It’ll be troublesome if they’re the police and I fall into their hands! At that time, I kept calling to God, “O God! May you keep my heart quiet before you. May you give me wisdom and courage to deal with them.” When I was off guard, the two men each seized one of my arms and fiercely took me to the community office. They ordered me to squat motionless against the wall and cursed with some obscene and shameless dirty words. One of them pointed at me and said smugly, “We’ve followed you for a long time….” Then, I carefully looked at the two men and felt that they looked very familiar. I seemed to have seen them in the dime store which I passed by every day. Actually they were undercover cops, spies and lackeys of the CCP! Just because I believe in God, they actually watch my movements in secret. They are really too base and shameless! Then, they opened my paper box. I suddenly remembered that the notebook on which I wrote things at the meeting was still in the pocket next to my skin. If they found it, many brothers and sisters would be involved. I hurriedly prayed to God, “O God! May you keep me and make a way out for me.” Just when they were flicking through the gospel-preaching materials, I seized the opportunity to take out the notebook and threw it in the bookshelf in the room. Only then did I breathe a sigh of relief. Just at that moment, an evil cop asked loudly, “Speak! Where are these materials from?” I didn’t answer him. Then they made a phone call and asked for a black car. They pulled and dragged me into the car, and said to me fiercely, “You don’t tell now, but you’ll tell after a short time. Even if you have iron lips and steel teeth, we will pry them open!” Hearing the evil cops’ threat, I fell into panic. So I prayed urgently and made a vow before God: No matter how the evil cops treat me, I would rather be imprisoned for life than betray God and sell out the brothers and sisters. Then, I suddenly remembered that the beeper with which I contacted the brothers and sisters was still on me. But before I had time to throw it away, the car had driven into the police station.
On arriving there, I saw that two sisters were also arrested and taken there. In the interrogation room, the cops took away from me over 1,000 yuan in cash, two phone cards, and a beeper. Then, another seven ferocious cops came in. Four of them interrogated the two sisters, and the other three interrogated me. Suddenly, my beeper rang (the call was from a brother). My heart flew into my mouth at once: How can I send the present information out? The evil cops took me into another room and forced me to answer the call. In order to protect the brothers and sisters from falling into the devils’ hands, I hurriedly hinted the brother on the phone by saying, “You’ve gotten a wrong number!” The evil cops closely questioned me about who made the call. I insisted, “I don’t know. He’s gotten a wrong number!” Seeing that I didn’t tell them, they immediately rushed at me like fierce tigers and wolves, and swung their fists and struck my head and face violently. After a short time, I was beaten so badly that I fainted on the ground and lost consciousness. When I woke up, they dragged me up from the ground. Since I staggered and couldn’t stand steadily, they handcuffed one of my hands to the heating pipe. The chief shouted loudly in exasperation, “Do you believe in Almighty God? Who is your leader? How many people are there? Where do you have meetings?” I asked him in reply, “Why did you arrest me? What law have I broken by believing in God?” After hearing it, he shouted loudly, “You have broken the law by believing in Almighty God. Now it’s the CCP’s world. I’m the law. I say that you’ve broken the law, so you have. You dare refuse to listen to the CCP. You’re really courting death!” The evil cops asked me repeatedly. Failing to get the information they wanted, they handcuffed my other hand to the heating pipe. After a short time, my arms ached unbearably. But the more I struggled, the tighter the handcuffs became, and they kept sticking into my flesh. My wrists ached as if they would break. I couldn’t help screaming, but I still didn’t say anything. Seeing that hard tactics didn’t work, they resorted to soft ones. They called in a lackey, and he said to me hypocritically, “You’d better tell us. If you tell us, we’ll let you go home for the Spring Festival. Your husband and child are waiting for you.” I said nothing. I knew that it was satan’s habitual trick and was their plot and scheme. The evil cops attempted to use both hard and soft tactics to force me to submit. No way! Seeing that they couldn’t pry any word out of me, the evil cops flew into a rage and roared, “Get the electric baton! See whether she’ll speak or not!” Hearing those words, I shivered and was really kind of timid. How powerful the current is! Man’s body can hardly endure it. What if I can’t overcome it? I prayed silently in my heart, “O God! My flesh really can’t overcome the devils’ cruel tortures. May you give me faith, so that I can overcome all temptations from satan and stand testimony. I would rather die than be a Judas and betray you!” Then, I thought of a passage of , “When man gives up his life completely, nothing is difficult. No one can daunt him. Is there anything more important than ‘life’? In that case, satan cannot possibly do anything on man and has no way to do with man.” (from “The Interpretation of the Thirty-sixth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Under the inspiration and enlightenment of God’s words, I knew that God is so wise in working. Satan the devil just wants to make me betray God through torturing my flesh. However, through it God transforms and perfects me, so that I can overcome the restraint and bondage of satan’s influence of darkness and completely turn to God and be gained by God. This is God’s good purpose. I should obey and cooperate with the work God does on me, and resolutely stand on God’s side and satisfy God to shame satan! Without God’s permission, satan can’t harm my life. With the timely leading and guiding of God’s words, I became much stronger within, and wasn’t fearful of the devils’ cruel tortures and threats. No matter what soft and hard tactics they used, I just prayed to God silently and drew near to God in my heart. Seeing that I said nothing, the evil cops roared hysterically, “Bring the electric baton!” Immediately, they jabbed my head, face, and body wildly with the baton. I felt worse than death, and the painful feeling was beyond description. In the end, they still didn’t get anything from me, so they cursed me through gnashing teeth. An evil cop seized my chin and said venomously, “Isn’t your body made of flesh? Don’t you feel pain? What good has Almighty God given you, so that you risk your life for him like this? You’re really incorrigible!” Hearing his words, I responded to him in my heart: I’m a mortal being and can feel pain, but with God’s word of life as the source of my strength, I can tough it out. My whole being is from God. I can live until today completely because of God’s care and keeping. Not only so, God bestows to me the way of truth to save me from satan’s various afflictions. I should bear testimony for God and should live for God! As the evil cops really couldn’t get anything from me, they walked out of the interrogation room in dejection. Seeing their discomfiture of exhausting the tricks, I couldn’t help exclaiming in my heart: God has won! Satan has been defeated! This is completely the result achieved by the authority and power of God’s words. God is really so almighty!
Getting nothing from my mouth, the evil cops used another sinister trick: They dragged a sister to the room opposite to mine, and had me watch their torturing her. They jabbed the sister’s mouth with an electric baton so badly that it kept bleeding, and her face became purple from the beating. They even hung heavy things around her neck and ordered her to squat with her head up. If her body moved slightly, they immediately kicked her down and then dragged her up…. This gang of devils tortured the sister and made me watch, wanting to make me betray God by this base means. Seeing that they were so cruel and merciless, I bitterly hated these devils! After that, they dragged the sister into another room. I didn’t know what other means they used to torture her, but her heartrending screams came from that room, which were spine-chilling! At that time, my heart involuntarily tightened, and I really felt anxious for the sister, not knowing whether she could overcome the devils’ cruel tortures. I also worried whether I could withstand such a test. So I desperately prayed to God, asking God to give us faith and keep us so that we would not yield to the devils’ despotic power and could stand testimony for God! In the end, the several evil cops came out of the interrogation room like defeated roosters, and said to their fellows, “We tortured and beat her like this, but she still didn’t tell anything. There’s really nothing we can do with her.” When I saw the evil cops’ despondent look, tears leapt from my eyes, and I kept thanking and praising God in my heart. At that time, I really wanted to exclaim loudly: The sister has stood testimony for God! Satan has been ashamed and defeated! God has gained glory! Just as God’s words say, “Those in power look ferocious in appearance, but do not be afraid. That is because you have little faith. As long as your faith rises, nothing will be difficult.” (from “The Seventy-fifth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Then, the evil cops walked to me with fierce eyes. They wrapped my head in a black plastic bag and tied it tightly with force. Immediately I felt difficulty in breathing, and I could only call to God unceasingly in my heart. My breath became more and more rapid. The more I breathed, the more tightly the plastic bag stuck to my mouth, and the more I felt suffocated. Gradually I lost my breath and drooped my head despite myself. I was limp and feeble all over, feeling that I was going to die. I heard an evil cop say, “It’s not time yet. How come she’s collapsing? Stick her with a steel needle!” Then, a lackey stuck me wildly with a steel needle, and another one jabbed me violently with an electric baton. They were really frenzied and merciless and were too malicious! I bitterly hated those devils and swore to be irreconcilably hostile to them! At that time, a hymn of life experience resounded in my ears, “Head can be cut off and blood can be shed, but the backbone of God’s people cannot be bent; God’s charge is on my mind. I resolve to shame the old satan. Let tears shed in my heart; I’d rather endure great humiliations than cause God’s heart to be worried.” (from “I Wish to See the Day God Gains Glory” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) The hymn constantly encouraged me. I sang it repeatedly, and my faith became greater and greater. These devils can torture my flesh, but they can’t destroy my will to follow God. Under God’s inspiration and leading, the evil cops’ cruel tortures didn’t make me weak but instead I had the will to fight satan to the end even at the cost of my life. Just like that, the evil cops tortured me a day and a night. Finally, they were defeated and said fully convinced, “We’re really impressed by you group of people. You would rather die than yield.” The facts have proved: God forever triumphs, and satan is forever under God’s feet and is also under our feet! These evil spirits and devils are just doing service for God’s perfecting his people! Through the devils’ brutal tortures, I saw clearly that the CCP government is satan’s embodiment. In the same way satan attacks God and is hostile to God, it attacks God and is hostile to God. It tortures followers of Almighty God just to abolish God’s end-time work, turning China into a region without God and forcing the Chinese people to continue receiving its dark rule and live in the misery without God’s blessings. This is the maliciousness of the CCP evil party! Just as God’s words say, “It wants to destroy God’s all overnight and wants to humiliate and assassinate God once again, attempting to demolish and disturb God’s work. How could it allow God to be in an ‘equal position’ with it? How could it allow God to ‘interfere’ on earth in the work among people? How could it allow God to expose its ugly face? How could it allow God to disrupt its work? The devil is exasperated. How could it allow God to govern on earth its regime? How could it concede defeat willingly? Its ugly face is completely exposed, which is funny and annoying and truly unmentionable. Isn’t this its essence?” (from “Work and Entering In (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh)
Later, the evil cops locked the three of us in a small dark room. We sat there squeezed, feeling it very ghastly and horrible. Not knowing what other means those devils would use to persecute us, we could only to God and passed through the night in fear. After the day broke, the evil cops covered our heads with black cloth bags and dragged us into a car. Sitting in the car, I felt very nervous: Where will they take us? Will they take us to some wilderness and fix us to death and then throw our corpses there? Or will they take us to some place of execution and secretly execute us? … All the way, I was in trepidation, and was full of various guesses in my heart, not knowing whether I would really die this time or what other means they would use to torture me. Then, I thought of the ’ beloved disciple Peter two thousand years ago. When he was arrested and crucified, he still prayed to God, “God! I cannot love you enough! Even though you let me die, I still cannot love you enough. No matter where you will take my soul, no matter whether you will fulfill according to what you have promised before, and no matter what you will do in the future, I will love you and believe in you.” (from “The Course of Peter’s Knowing ‘Jesus’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) My heart gradually calmed down, and I had myself prepared. I’ll imitate Peter. No matter where they will take me, I’m willing to submit to God’s manipulation. Whatever God does is righteous. Today even if I’ll die, I’ll have no complaints, because I’m only a little created being, and shouldn’t make any demand on God. Moreover, this breath of mine is given by God. I should live and die for God. I didn’t know how long had passed when the car stopped, and the evil cops took the covers off our heads. I found that it was actually a hospital. The evil cops took us to have a physical examination by going through the formality, and then dragged us into the car and said, “This time, we’ll let you ‘eat the state food’ (which means to be put into prison).” Though it turned out to be a false alarm, it made me truly feel that in this fortress of demons where black clouds weighed heavily and people were intimidated terribly, and in China ruled by satan the devil, the atmosphere of white terror permeated everywhere, and the fear and horror within was really depressing and suffocating!
In the end, the CCP government groundlessly imposed on us the charge of “believing in a cult and disturbing the social order.” They forcibly forced us to sign, and then locked the three of us into the detention house. The life in the detention house was like this: Every day we ate dirty thick porridge and icy and hard steamed cornbread. When we broke off the steamed cornbread, it was all broken ice inside. Even so, we couldn’t eat our fill. There was no hot water supply in the prison. Even in the dead of winter, we had to shower with cold water. The prison guards mercilessly squeezed and exploited our labor. Every day we had endless work and were unpaid. At that time, I made handicrafts. The intensive work caused my fingers to be stiff and numb, and I had great difficulty in working. Even so, the prison guards didn’t care about it, and still ordered and urged me to work. If I didn’t finish the work, they would abuse me. The prisoners in the cell also required us to do dirty and tiring work, such as wiping the floor, brushing the toilet, and so on. If we reasoned with them, we would be abused. The prison guards not only turned a blind eye to it, but secretly instigated the prisoners to abuse us. There was no freedom at all in that place, and we were even restricted in going to the restroom. There was time limit for us, and we couldn’t go without permission. If we stayed there longer, we would be punished. In order to go to the washroom less, I dared not drink one more sip of water every day. When we sat on the stool working, we weren’t allowed to move freely or even stretch our legs straight. Every day we were exhausted, but we still had to stand watch for two hours…. In the prison, our bodies and thoughts were completely controlled by the devils, and we were like walking corpses, or like machines operating at an overload. Those devils restricted our activities to a designated area and shackled our thinking, not only afflicting our bodies but even more eroding our minds. In such an environment, I felt that days wore on like years! Once, a drug trafficker in the cell was in a bad mood, so she vented her anger on me and threw my quilt away. When I asked her for my quilt, she said fiercely, “If you ask me for it again, I’ll slap you! Do you know what place this is? It’s hell on earth!” Her words woke me up. It was indeed hell on earth! I looked around and there was no vitality at all, as if swarms of ghosts haunted and roamed there freely, and the terrifying atmosphere was spine-chilling. This wasn’t a place for man to stay, and Hades and hell were no more like this! At night, lying sideways on the bed less than one foot wide, I felt very desolate, forlorn, and mistreated. My tears kept flowing down, and I involuntarily cried out. The head of the cell heard it and said to me, “Don’t cry! These days I’ve seen that you believers in Almighty God are simply not like what the prison guards said. In future, if you have any difficulty, just tell me. No one will dare bully you anymore.” I knew that God pitied me. God comforted me through the words of the head of the cell, so I felt a long-lost warmth, and my grieved heart was consoled. I truly felt that God had been with me all the time and had never left me. Then, I thought of God’s words, “When men are sorrowful, I comfort them; when men are weak, I sustain them; when men get lost, I guide them; when men weep bitterly, I wipe off their tears.” (from “The Twenty-seventh Piece of Word” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words flowed through my whole body like a warm current. Only God loves me most, and God best knows my weakness and my small stature. It is God who has been caring for and keeping me day and night…. Feeling , I fell asleep unknowingly.
Under the devils’ high-handed control and trampling day after day, I was exhausted all day, and was greatly tormented physically and mentally. Gradually, I became weak, thinking: How many years will they sentence me to? When will such suffering end? I really have had enough, and no longer want to stay in this awful place! At that time, the Spring Festival was near. Looking at the iron windows, I missed my husband and child and really wanted to fly out of the cell with wings and reunite with my family. But the reality made me feel greatly helpless. Thus, I had an unreasonable demand, hoping that God could let me get out of there soon. The more I thought this way, the more darkened my heart became. I had to come before God and pray to God, “Almighty God! I live in passivity and can’t touch your will. I feel unbearably distressed, not knowing how to experience in such an environment. But I believe that everything is in your sovereignty. There is your good purpose in how long I’ll be imprisoned, and I’m willing to obey your manipulation and arrangement. May you inspire and lead me to understand your will.” After the prayer, I quieted my heart and pondered. I remembered that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, he was slandered, ridiculed, and abused by the world, and some even spat on his face and put a thorny crown on his head, but he endured all those silently. He is God who came from heaven to earth, so lofty, honorable, and holy, but he willingly endured great humiliations for redeeming us. But I am a man corrupted by satan and am nothing. If I even can’t endure such little grievance and humiliation, am I a follower of God? Moreover, in order to pursue to be saved, shouldn’t I even more suffer this? At that time, God’s love moved my heart, and I felt ashamed and guilty and indebted to God. I thought of a hymn of God’s word that I often sang before, “The end-time work requires your great faith and your great love; being slightly careless, you will stumble, for this stage of work is different from before, and what God perfects is man’s faith, which can neither be seen nor be touched. What God does is that the word becomes faith, the word becomes love, and the word becomes life.” (from “What God Perfects Is Faith” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs) Thank God for his leading. I had some knowledge of the work God did on me. Under the cruel persecution of the CCP government, though I suffered physically, I truly tasted the power of God’s word. When I was stuck in the desperate situation, I had faith and strength and overcame satan’s influence of darkness by relying on God’s word. Thinking of that, I was no longer worried for my situation, but instead I felt that this environment could better perfect my true faith in God and my will to suffer. Today it’s really God’s grace and uplifting that I can suffer such persecution and tribulation. I should thank and praise God. I’m willing to pull myself together and resolutely follow God to the end! When I was willing to obey God’s manipulation and arrangement, I saw God’s wonderful deed. I wasn’t sentenced but was released after 38 days in the detention house.
Thank God for arranging such a special environment to transform and perfect me. Through that experience, I saw clearly the CCP government’s devilish substance of strangling justice and only allowing people to walk the evil way but not the right way. Though I suffered a little physically, in the tribulation God’s words became the pillar of my life, supporting me to walk out of the siege of satan. I not only gained insight and grew in stature, but knew more clearly what to love or hate. Meanwhile, I tasted God’s thoughtful kind intention in saving me and his heavy grace and deep love for me. From now on, I’m willing to faithfully fulfill my duty to comfort God’s heart!