By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Pine Stands Stronger for The Shaking – Persecution Testimonies
By Han Dong
The weather in December was especially cold. Han Dong, along with the brothers and sisters of the host family, talked and laughed around the stove in a joyous atmosphere. Though they were not a family, their relations were even closer than those between family members. When Han Dong saw the little granddaughter of the host family who was acting like a spoil child and leaning against the host brother, he couldn’t help but recall the moment of departure when his grandson hugged him tight. Thinking about these, he imperceptibly sank into the memories of the past….
With the tears staining his face, Han Dong’s seven-year-old grandson nestled against Han Dong, held him tightly and didn’t want to let go. Biting his lip, the child said in a low voice, “Grandpa, I don’t want you to leave.” Han Dong watched the child lovingly, fighting back his tears, and said, “Qiangqiang is a good boy. Be good. Dad and mom have other things to do. They’ll come back several days later.” Qiangqiang muttered, “Daddy and mommy have been caught by the bad cops. Now, grandpa is leaving.” After saying that, the child kept silent. Han Dong knew that he couldn’t keep things secret from his grandson. So he said to him, “Qiangqiang, stay at home with granny, won’t you? The police want to catch grandpa. Grandpa will come back after hiding out for some time.” The sobbing child lowered his head and said nothing. When he saw the helpless look of his grandson who had to endure such big pressure at so early an age, Han Dong felt that his heart was broken. He didn’t want to leave home and his young grandson. But he knew he had to. If he were caught by the police, he would cause trouble to the brothers and sisters of the church….
One day in October 2014, as usual, Han Dong drove his motorcycle on his way home after performing his duty. When he was about five hundred meters away from home, he saw a white minivan parking by the roadside. Having a look at it, Han Dong wondered how could a minivan appear in the gully? Without much thinking, he continued to head toward home. But he never expected that in the place less than twenty meters away from his home, he was completely dumbfounded by the scene before him: Several police were knocking violently at the door of his house, shouting loudly, “Open the door. Open the door quickly….” Seeing this scene, Han Dong made a quick U-turn and sped away.
Han Dong didn’t stop until he had driven about five hundred meters and he then hid his motorcycle in the mountain forest and ran to a higher place, for he was eager to see the situation of his home. He deeply knew that once his son and daughter-in-law were arrested, the police would torture them because his daughter-in-law had been caught when she was preaching thea year ago and had been detained for a month; he was very worried that they would be caught. At that time, Han Dong noticed a big tree in front of him, without thinking twice, he climbed up the fifty-foot-tall tree directly and sat on the branches of the tree, gazing at the condition in his house steadily.
Han Dong saw vaguely that several plain-clothes police had carried out of the underground root cellar the buckets of books ofthat he had been hiding there. Then, he saw the police forced his daughter-in-law into the white minivan by the roadside. Han Dong’s heart ached with anger and sorrow. How he wished he could stop the police van to get back those books of God’s words and stop the police from taking his daughter-in-law away. However, Han Dong knew clearly that once found, he would also be arrested…. He grinded his teeth in anger to that scene which he would never ever forget. Han Dong prayed to God again and again in his heart, wishing God to keep his heart, keep the heart of his daughter-in-law, and make her stand fast by relying on God, overcome the cruel torture of the CCP, and bear testimony for God…. He got home down the uneven path in the mountain with caution, calling his son’s name in a low voice, yet, the reply was his own echoes. He knew his son didn’t rid himself of those evil police either. After entering the house, he saw it was left in a total mess and he could hardly find a place to stand. It seemed as if the house had been rifled by bandits. Looking at the disorderly house and thinking back to the scene a moment ago, Han Dong’s heart was pierced. He didn’t know how to continue the journey ahead, but could only to God silently and seek God’s guidance.
In helplessness, Han Dong thought of God’s words, “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth, it is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts roam its every corner, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations, being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded. Who can see the world beyond the skies? The devil tightly trusses all of man’s body, it puts out both his eyes, and seals his lips firmly shut. The king of devils has rampaged for several thousand years, right up until today, when it still keeps a close watch on the ghost town, as if it were an impenetrable palace of demons…. Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” Han Dong understood that in such an atheistic country, there is not a bit of freedom for people having belief in God and walking the right way of life. The CCP government monitors and catches all the believers in God, persecutes and tortures them, and even deprives them of their lives; what’s more, it also tries to brainwash the believers with atheism to make them give up their faith. But the worst thing is that it enforces economic control, destroys the livelihood of people who have faith, and deprives them of their rights to survival. The evil party of CCP arrests and persecutes the believers so as to ban God’s work and turn China into a region without God. To avoid the arrest of the CCP, his son and daughter-in-law had stayed far from home for several months. They came back just yesterday and the police came to their home and arrested them. A happy and complete family was forcefully split up and broken apart by the CCP…. Thinking of these, Han Dong bitterly hated the CCP and saw clearly that Satan is evil, insidious, contemptible, and malicious. Meanwhile, he thought that if he had come home ahead of time in performing his duty, he would probably have been arrested by the CCP. Having experienced God’s care for him, he believed more firmly that his son and daughter-in-law were in the hand of God and God would guide them to overcome the situation.
Han Dong dare not stay at home any longer, so he hurriedly went to his mother’s home by motorcycle. His mother cooked a meal for him he was in no mood to eat. He thought that the evil police wouldn’t come back since they had just arrested his son and daughter-in-law, so he decided to leave his motorcycle at home. Unexpectedly, when he was about thirty meters away from home, he met an acquaintance by accident. The acquaintance saw Han Dong driving back toward home and shouted to him urgently, “How dare you come back? You’re now on the wanted list of the Public Security Bureau. Some police are at the door of your home. They said you are ‘a big fish.’ If they cannot arrest you, they swear not to stop! Why don’t you get away quickly?” Hearing these words, Han Dong had no time to think carefully, but swung his motorcycle and immediately left. After arriving at a safe place, he hid his motorcycle well. When recalling what the unbeliever said to him just now, he couldn’t help gasping. It was indeed dangerous! But for God’s care and protection, he would have gone home, and he didn’t know what would have happened to him…. At that moment, he felt that God was beside him and protecting him.
Han Dong thought of God’s words, “I will mobilize all to serve Me, and moreover, I will reveal My power, so that every man can see that in the whole universe world not a single object is not in our hands, not a single person is not in our service, and not a single accomplishment is not performed for us.” “Regardless of how ‘powerful’ Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is…, throughout the vast expanse of the universe, there is not a single person or object that was born from it, or exists because of it; there is not a single person or object that is ruled by it, or controlled by it. On the contrary, it not only has to live under the dominion of God, but, moreover, must obey all of God’s orders and commands. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land—let alone mankind, who was created by God.”’s words gave faith and strength to Han Dong and made him experience the authority and power of God’s words and see God’s deeds, almightiness, and wisdom. Without God’s permission, however great Satan’s influence is, it dares not transcend the bounds that God has made for it. Han Dong was no longer perplexed and had God to rely on. He was ready to experience the persecution and pursuit of the CCP.
Han Dong knew the only place in which he could stay now was the mountain forest. He entered the deep forest and sat on a stone. Thinking of his son and daughter-in-law, he couldn’t imagine what kind of tortures they were suffering. He had no choice but to pray for them, hand them over to God and ask God to keep them through the difficulties.
In the evening, Han Dong went to his mother’s home in secret. His wife hurried to say to him, “Han Dong, the police found me in the rented room (It is used for accommodating a student) and asked where you are. They asked you to go to the Public Security Bureau soon and send some clothes to our son and daughter-in-law, saying that our children are cold there. In my opinion, they want to find a chance to arrest you.” After saying that, his wife couldn’t help but weep. Han Dong knew she was worried that their children would not stand the tortures. Seeing this, Han Dong felt a wave of sorrow and comforted her, “Don’t be so sad. Let’s hand them over to God. We should have faith in God’s almightiness and sovereignty. God’s words say, ‘I am your strong tower, I am your shelter, I am your backup, and moreover I am your Almighty One, and I am your everything!’ I’m sure our children will depend on God’s guidance and struggle through the difficulties.” Hearing this, his wife nodded.
The next day, after his wife met the brothers and sisters outside, she went back to the home of her mother-in-law in a hurry. His wife told him the words of the brothers and sisters, “Han Dong, the brothers and sisters said the police have put up your photos and arrest warrants here and there, so you’d better leave home and stay in the places of the brothers and sisters. They also want me to tell you that whatever circumstances you encounter, you should pray more and rely on God. God is with us, so no matter what difficulties, we’ll get through those things.” At the time, Han Dong felt his heart full of warmth. When he was persecuted by the CCP and could find nowhere to hide, the brothers and sisters, taking a risk of being arrested, contacted his wife and found him a place to live in. It is Almightythat makes the brothers and sisters concerned and help each other. He prayed to God unceasingly and asked God to keep his heart. He was willing to hand his old mother and young grandson over to God’s hand and face the circumstance boldly.
After Han Dong arrived at the home of the brothers and sisters, they treated him as their own family, took meticulous care of him, and often read and fellowshiped God’s words with him. In this big family, the brothers and sisters shared everything and helped each other. He tasted the love from God and led a full life every day. Although he couldn’t get together with his family till now and didn’t know how long he would continue to hide, yet he no longer considered himself and his families, for he was certain that thehas arranged the way ahead for everybody. He only wanted to take the limited opportunity to perform his duty faithfully and repay God for His salvation to him.
The little granddaughter came up to Han Dong and called him grandpa. The voice interrupted his memory. Han Dong held the little granddaughter in his arms and had a look at his watch. It was time for him to go out to perform duty. Han Dong stood up, held an umbrella, and strode out. A little while later, the sight of his back disappeared in the boundless snow….