Christian faith, Jesus and the Bible, testimonies

Great Things He Must Suffer for My Name's Sake
(Acts 9:16)

After Ming and Yun left Heping town, they went to county 'A' in Henan Province. As they went they wept and sang Acts

'And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me~ nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God.'

The situation in 'A' county was also very tense. Along the roads, in the villages, everywhere one could see posters against God, signs attacking the church and wanted posters naming the brethren the government wanted to arrest. The brothers and sisters here were different from those in Heping town. They truly loved the Lord and God's servants and were willing to risk death by receiving those brothers and sisters who were wanted by the police.

The co-workers in 'A' county convened a meeting on December 15 to encourage one another to stand steadfast and be victorious in these adverse circumstanceS. Mmg and Yun, together with Brother Jian, took turns to preach in this meeting. Brother Yun stood up. He was about 25 years old, of medium build and for the sake of the Lord travelled and laboured all the year long. He was skinny as a rod. His face, usually bright with a smile, was unusually sombre. Under his bushy eyebrows were a pair of large eyes that conveyed warmth and intense strength.

The brothers and sisters began the meeting with a song:

To be a martyr for the Lord

From the time the early church appeared on the day of Pentecost,
followers of the Lord all willingly sacrificed themselves.
Tens of thousands have sacrificed their lives that the Gospel might prosper.
As such they have obtained the crown of life.

Those apostles who loved the Lord to the end,
Willingly followed the Lord down the path of suffering.
was exiled to the lonely isle of Patmos.
Stephen was crushed to death with stones by the crowd.

Matthew was cut to death in Persia by the people.
died as his two legs were pulled apart by horses.
Doctor Luke was cruelly hanged.
Peter, Philip and Simon were crucified on a cross.

Bartholomew was skinned alive by the heathen,
Thomas died in India as five horses pulled apart his body,
The apostle James was beheaded by King Herod,

Little James was cut up by a sharp saw.

James the brother of the Lord was stoned to death,
Judas was bound to a pillar and died by arrows,
Matthias had his head cut off in Jerusalem.
Paul was a martyr under Emperor Nero.

l am willing to take up the cross and go forward,
To follow the apostles down the road of sacrifice.
That tens of thousands of precious souls can be saved,
l am willing to leave all and be a martyr for the Lord.

To be a martyr for the Lord, to be a martyr for the Lord,
l am willing to die gloriously for the Lord.

They sang with all their might and the whole meeting place was shaken. One could only hear the sound of weeping. Yun was full of the power of the Holy Spirit and preached with great authority. On the morning of the third day, Brother Jian prophesied that, 'Within three days, there will be some among us who will suffer for the Lord and be bound.'

That evening it began to snow heavily. Soon a thick blanket of white covered the mountain. Nearby one could hear the sound of branches breaking under the weight of the snow. Some of the older homes in the village were also unable to withstand the heavy layer of snow and collapsed. Outside, it was unbearably cold and drops of water quickly turned into ice.

Inside the meeting place, a fervent fire was burning in the hearts of the brothers and sisters as the sound of intercession and praise ascended into heaven.

The meeting did not end until midnight and everyone left, going to the homes of different believers to rest. Brother Yun and several other brethren had not gone very far, when a group of people approached them. There were more than ten men with torches in their hands. As they rushed toward Brother Yun they cried with a loud voice, 'What are you all doing?~ The brethren immediately sensed something was wrong, so they turned and ran. But one of them caught hold of Yun and used the electric (cattle) rod on him. His whole body was being electrocuted and he felt as if he had been stung by a scorpion or as if a thousand arrows had pierced his heart. He fell over, unable to move in the snow.

This group of people were from the rural Public Security (police) substation. Without a word, they tied up Yun very tightly. Suddenly, an intimate voice from above said to Yun, 'I know.' (See Revelation 2:9) Immediately all the pain and fear left him.

With a harsh voice someone shouted, 'Where are you from?
'What is your name? What are you doing here?
'How many were with you?
'Where are they now? Answer quickly, otherwise you will be beaten to death.'

Yun was very tense. He was not concerned about his own safety, but about Brothers Ming, Jian and many other coworkers. How could he warn them about trouble? He immediately thought of David when he feigned insanity. He called out very loudly:

'I am
... a ... heavenly ... man, live in gospel ... village. My name is true ... new ... creation. My father is full of grace. My mother is faith ... hope ... love.'

The police began to kick him, and said angrily, 'What kind of nonsense is this? We asked you where you came from and where are those who were with you!'

Yun answered loudly, 'They are all in the village back there.'

'Move, take us to them. If you are not telling the truth we will skin you alive,' the PSB threatened.

Yun then led the police back to the village, shouting as he went,
'lam a heavenly man. The PSB has apprehended me.' He shouted at the top of his voice hoping the brethren would hear. A group of more than ten local brothers and sisters heard the commotion, and came out to see.

The PSB immediately asked them, 'What are you doing here?'

One sister said, 'Watching a movie.'

As soon as Yun heard that, he immediately thought of 1 Corinthians 4:9 and said silently to the Lord, 'Lord, I ask you to help me so I can act out a very good play for the world and angels to see!' Yun walked slowly, dragging his feet.

The PSB asked Yun, 'Which house is it? Quickly lead us there!'

Yun deliberately acted like he was confused and, feigning surprise, said, 'It is not this village, it is that village.'

His answer infuriated the police so much so that they used their fists, feet, electric rods, wooden truncheons and gun handles to viciously beat Yun. If it were not for the protection of the Lord, without a doubt Yun would have been beaten to death. When the brothers and sisters following Yun saw how cruelly he was being beaten, they all began to weep quietly.

Yun, fearful that they would be implicated, shouted out, 'I am a heavenly man, and do not recognize any of you. How could you possibly know me?'

Yun was taken to the police station. Brother Jian and three other brethren were also arrested and taken there. Several old mothers who were believers came, some on crutches, despite the weather to bring blankets, rice and vegetables. When the police asked them who these items were for, they replied, 'For the heavenly people.'

Yun heard this from inside his cell and tears welled up in his eyes. The love of the brothers and sisters gave him such warmth. In northern 'A' county, the temperature seldom fell below - 15 degrees Celsius. Yun's feet were numb with cold and his whole body shook all over. The handcuffs made it worse, for the more he shook the tighter the handcuffs felt. Yun likened himself to an eagle that stretched out its wings but was suddenly put in an iron cage. He continually called, 'Jesus' and sang choruses.

Yun noticed that in his cell there was a large drum so he immediately lifted up his handcuffed hands and began to beat on it. He sang Psalm 150 to the beat of the drum,

'Praise you the Lord, in the firmament of his power praise Him ... For his mighty acts praise Him ... use drums and cymbals to praise Him

He stood up and danced. His hands slowly regained feeling and his whole body felt warm. The guards were not amused. However, as they were all sleeping in their warm quilts, no one bothered to get up to stop this 'crazy man.

The next morning, Yun, han and three other brethren were taken tothe courtyard of the police station. The snow was piled high on the ground. The police unlocked their handcuffs and said to them, 'Today we have been generous with you and have removed your handcuffs.

You must sweep away the snow in this courtyard. As for this "heavenly man," not only will we not loose his handcuffs, we will severely punish him.'

At that the man ordered Yun to kneel. But Yun said, 'I will not kneel before you, I will only kneel before my Lord, my God.'

Then the man said mockingly, 'I am your Lord. Only kneel before me and I will immediately release you.'

Yun said angrily, 'In the name of the Lord I say, you are not my Lord. My Lord is in heaven and I am a heavenly man.'

The man then switched on the electric rod and, with a sneer said, 'If you are a heavenly man, you will not fear the electric rod. Come, put your hands on the electric rod.'

He was forced by several other police to stretch out his hands towards the electric rod. As the power flowed through his body he immediately called out, 'Lord, save me!' The electric rod stopped working and he was able to hold on tightly to it with his hands staring at the one who declared he was the 'Lord.' He was so dumbfounded he broke into a cold sweat and, throwing down the electric rod, ran away.

That day, the five brethren were put into a stuffy vehicle and taken to the detention centre of the Public Security Bureau of 'A' county. As Yun and Jian were being taken to a certain prison cell, they realized that without a doubt many brothers and sisters would be here, too, as a result of this persecution. Yun, therefore, shouted, 'I am a heavenly man. A heavenly man will not become a Judas. A heavenly man must be strong and bold.'

A brother was brought in and asked by the PSB officials if he was a heavenly man. He denied it, saying, 'I am not a heavenly man, I am an earthly man.' The PSB official said, 'OK, since you are an earthly man, you will be locked up with a heavenly man.'

When he entered Yun's cell, Yun looked him in the eyes and said, 'We should tell Satan NO! NO! NO!' As he said this he stood up and while repeating 'NO' he wrote over and over on the wall 'NO! NO! NO!' until his fingers bled and the characters 'NO! NO! NO! appeared on the wall in blood. That brother was so ashamed he bowed his head and wept with sorrow.

The brothers and sisters had brought blankets, clothes and socks for Yun. But what he actually received was only a ragged quilt with the words 'Heavenly Man' written on the top. Still, Yun gave thanks to the Lord. They also brought him a new pair of boots, but the man in charge of guarding him seized them.

Life in prison was very difficult. For each meal the prisoners ate smelly, mouldy sweet potato paste mixed with some roots. Once a week they were allowed one small 'mantou' (steamed bread). A few days after entering prison it was Yun's turn to eat a mantou. Upon receiving it, with both hands he lifted up this mantou of two ounces, knelt down and thanked the Lord.

As he was giving thanks, a fellow prisoner snatched the mantou from his hand and hid it in his shirt. Yun continued to kneel on the ground with his hands lifted up. The monitor of that cell, noticing the mantou in his hand had disappeared, immediately began to question each prisoner in the cell. Everyone said they did not know where it went.

The monitor reported it to the prison police who searched each prisoner. As a result, they found the culprit. The prison police ordered him to kneel on the ground and then urged the other prisoners to beat him viciously. Most of these prisoners were hooligans and ruffians, full of hatred. They greatly enjoyed being allowed to beat up someone. They immediately began to strike and kick that prisoner with their fists and feet until blood started flowing from his nose, eyes and mouth. Like a small chicken they lifted him up and put his head in a bucket of urine until there was no more movement and he fell over dead on the floor.

Seeing that he was dead, Yun felt a surge of guilt and started sobbing uncontrollably. Brother Jian felt equally so distressed that he could hardly swallow his mantou. That evening they spent the whole night crying and praying. The next morning, the prison guard incited the prisoners to beat Yun. This became a daily routine for several days.

His body was already very weak. How could he survive the severe beatings of these ruffians? They knocked Yun onto the ground and they stamped on his chest and stomach. Yun began to spit out blood. He was barely alive. Brother Jian held Yun, sobbing uncontrollably.

Among them was a young prisoner whose mother was a Christian, but he had not yet believed in the Lord. Yet having spent several days with Yun in the same cell he felt strongly that Yun was not a mental case at all, but an outstanding person. He saw the manner in which Yun was beaten up. His feet were bare and had turned purple with cold. Blood constantly flowed from his mouth and his body frequently convulsed. He could not but weep tears of compassion for Yun and really felt for him. He was so moved by Yun's plight he even used his own ragged overcoat to cover Yun.

The Bible says,
'Blessed are the meraful,for they shall obtain mercy.' (Matthew 5:7). The next day, they brought this young man out of the cell and allowed him to cook in the kitchen. Not long after, they released him from prison and he eventually became a Christian.

The PSB from 'A' county interrogated Yun several times. Despite severe beatings they were not able to extract any information from Yun. So, they sought help from the PSB offices of the surrounding counties, cities and districts, asking them to send people to identify him. They sent in pictures of wanted men, but Yun was not among any of them.

On January 25 the PSB officials of 'B' city came with photographs. When Yun entered the interrogation room, the supervisor of 'B' city PSB immediately recognized him. He laughed loudly, 'You put on a good act pretending to be insane. You think you are a very clever man, but there is no way you can elude me.'

Yun was denied breakfast. Before taking him to 'B' city, the police beat him up again. His eyes were blackened and his face was so swollen that he was unrecognizable. They crossed his hands and handcuffed them so tight the metal cut deep
7ly into his flesh. Yun thought that he would certainly die and asked the Lord to receive his spirit. Instead, they transferred him to 'B' city Public Security Bureau.

From "Lilies Among Thorns". Copyright (C) 1991, Dennis Balcombe. Used by permission.

I would strongly recommend buying a copy of this book or sending a donation to Brother Dennis Balcombe to assist the believers in China, who are persecuted even in our day.



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