A Letter From
In May of 2010, several leaders and workers of the church in China were arrested and put into prison. The accusation that the National Security Department made against them is that their work is a secret movement to educate citizens to rise up against the government. This accusation is the most serious crime with which anyone in China can be charged. It takes four and a half months to investigate a crime of this caliber and come to a decision. They do not count the first two weeks of the interrogation process. One of the leaders in prison was asked to sign a document saying they are a religious group influenced by a foreign entity that wishes to attack the Chinese Government. He refused to sign as it is absolutely untrue. The following is a letter from Sister LCY, who was released after several weeks in prison.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4
On the evening of May 16, I was arrested with Sister JS, and we were taken to Dalian the next day by train. On our way we were handcuffed and had absolutely no freedom as three police officers watched us even when we drank water and used the toilet. In the following days we learned that Pastor Z and Brother F were arrested, as were Brother K, Sister J and Pastor Kang’s two translators!
In a motel, the Internal Security Division of D city police interrogated us and then passed us on to the sub branch of economy crime. Two teams were in charge of watching us until we were sent to the D city watch house.
During the interrogation at the motel, I fasted three days for my sin and earnestly asked the Lord to give me a heart loyal to Him and to give wisdom to me as well as to the nine other coworkers to answer the interrogators. During those three days, the word of the Lord comforted and encouraged me.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:8-14
“Can a woman forget her sucking child. That she should not have compassion on the son of her woman, yea they may forget, yet will I not forget Thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:15-16.
During the interrogation the Lord gave me much wisdom to answer, some of which was beyond what I could have thought. Sometimes when I worried about whether or not coworkers would know how to answer, the interrogator answered for us, thank God.
At 11:00 PM on June 4, I was taken to prison. After the registration, I was imprisoned in a very small room that was just about ten square meters with 16 other prisoners. I couldn’t sleep but cried the whole night. I knew that it is hard to be released once you are arrested. I could see no hope at that time; all I could see was the narrow room with only walls, bars and two windows. I was very sad and frustrated when I thought about being away from my relatives and away from other colleagues. And temptations attacked me and made me question a lot. “Did God abandon us even when we believe in Him so much? Why did He allow this tribulation to come to me?” I prayed deep in my heart, “Oh, Lord please let me out by your mysterious action! Didn’t you open the door to save Paul and Silas?” But when there was no answer, I thought of John the Baptist and his imprisonment and death for God; yet Jesus didn’t save him, which was for the benefit of future Christians like me. Hadn’t I said I would be committed to the Lord with all my heart and with all my body? Wasn’t this the time to show my loyalty? These thoughts calmed me down.
In the Desire Of Ages on page 224 it reads: “Jesus did not interpose to deliver His servant. He knew that John would bear the test. Gladly would the Saviour have come to John, to brighten the dungeon gloom with His own presence. But He was not to place Himself in the hands of enemies and imperil His own mission. Gladly would He have delivered His faithful servant. But for the sake of thousands who in after years must pass from prison to death, John was to drink the cup of martyrdom. As the followers of Jesus should languish in lonely cells, or perish by the sword, the rack, or the fagot, apparently forsaken by God and man, what a stay to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist, to whose faithfulness Christ Himself had borne witness, had passed through a similar experience!”
The most difficult thing to bear was being worlds apart from those one loves, and I fully endured the sorrow of being apart from loved ones in this life. But when I thought of Jesus, I was comforted by the fact that Jesus left all the glories of heaven and His beloved Father, His familiar home and all the angels respecting Him, in order to save us. He came to this dirty and demoralized earth. Hasn’t He experienced the sorrow of parting? I cried because of our Savior’s great love for us.
I thanked God after comparing my life with Christ’s life. I had just lost my freedom, but our Jesus suffered very much until His life ended and He made an offering for our sins. I haven’t resisted unto blood so far.
I looked up at the sky through the small window and prayed: I knew He was there beyond the sky that He had created. I remembered the mysterious pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that He had made for Israel, and I saw the thick cloud disappear when the wind blew, which made me think of the Lord’s promises.
“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” Isaiah 44:22
The wind blew, the thick smoke from the chimney disappeared, which delighted me. Ancient Israel believed that their sin would disappear like smoke from the burnt sacrifice which they saw on the way as they walked toward the Sanctuary. Those words gave me much faith and happiness. The Lord knows us, no matter where we are. He is close to us, and we can lean closely on Him.
For breakfast they would give us steamed cornbread, steamed bread and salted radish. At noon, lunch was rice, and soup with a piece of meat floating on the top, and the same for dinner. It was the same every day. As we are vegetarian, the only source of vegetables was the soup, but there was animal oil in it; so we couldn’t eat it. Thank God the supervisor of the prison occasionally gave us extra uncooked Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage. I cannot describe the thrill and gratitude in my heart when we received the cabbage. My companions in the prison said. “The government is so nice to you!”
The nine of us co-workers were separated in prison. We were required to recite the regulations of the prison every day and self-reflect: “Confess the confession, expose others guilty, obedience teaches, deeply cuts off the roots of crime, diligently transforms the world’s outlook…..” In the evening, we had to stand for two hours to do that. We had no Bible to read and no possibility to read, but we could meditate on the Lord’s work, pray and silently sing Psalms. The words of the Lord are our stanchion and our strength to stand by.
As I mentioned, there were seventeen people, including myself, staying in the small prison room. Some were there for drug trafficking, stealing, cheating, or killing. They wrangled just for not being distributed a piece of meat or fought with each other for just a drop of detergent. I felt very sad and cried when I saw these things happen. Everyone was under great pressure because of the situation, and everyone was miserable from missing their loved ones. Why should we fight and quarrel instead of being loving, encouraging and comforting to one another.
I prayed for everyone in the room and loved them with my actions. I respected them, understood them, and that changed the atmosphere in the room because Jesus was there. Some of them believed in God then. Everyone was glad to share with others, clothes and other daily supplies. There was no longer any fighting. Among the prisoners there was a lady who changed tremendously. She was condemned to die and was awaiting her death sentence. She cried often and didn’t want to eat on many occasions. She could not cry out or keep skipping her meals as these activities were not allowed in the prison. She said she could not even commit suicide as her feet were in cuffs. She was so selfish that no one wanted anything to do with her. We had very crowded sleeping conditions; everyone could sleep only on one side. She used to wake the person up next to her, by elbowing her very hard, yet she would get very angry if anyone even touched her when she was asleep. This made everyone unhappy, as it disturbed everyone’s sleep.
Everyone was afraid to sleep beside her. I kept comforting her, encouraging her and and sharing my food with her. She noticed it and asked me to share my beliefs with her and to teach her how to pray. She changed: she shared her feelings with me and didn’t glare at others anymore, and she felt ashamed of her previous conduct. Never did she wake others again, nor did she mind even when others occupied her sleeping space. One day she prayed that she could see her daughter who she hadn’t seen for a long time. On that day, the superior came and agreed to grant her request and allowed them to talk face to face, which is impossible, as it is not allowed in prison. She felt the greatest favor of the supervisor and of the Lord. She then announced to everyone after God answered her prayer, “Please pray to God when you are having troubles.” The officer on duty observed the good atmosphere and expected the peace to be maintained for some time. Others remarked that Christianity is more than a 100 time better than Falungong (a rapidly growing non-Christian religion in China). Such words really comforted me. There were some dialogues with the interrogator that were very interesting. I will share a sample of them.
Every time I would say hello to them very politely, they would say, “L, you are in a good situation.” I would reply: “Yes, because we have Jesus and are very happy. Thank you for giving us such a chance and for letting me taste the feeling of losing my freedom and experiencing life in prison.” They would respond with, “Is that your true thinking or derogatory words?” They could not understand and would become angry. “Oh is this the place where you experienced life? Is this the place where you can preach?”
Another time they asked, “How do you feel about being imprisoned?” I Replied, “Since we didn’t follow the legal process of publishing, we should take the consequences for not obeying the law. But I know that it was the will of God, and we wanted first to follow His will.” They could not totally understand and were angry at me. They would shout, “L, we say this, you say that, don’t tell us such a load of garbage.”
Once they asked me, “If you faced difficulty or broke the law, would you look for the police?” I answered that it depended on the situation. They then gave me the example. “If a thief broke into your home and took your goods, would you call the police?” I told them, “No, he took what he needed. I would not call the police.” Police B was very angry with me and said, “You are really blind to the law.”
They could not understand our thinking, and we could not communicate in the same way.
About two weeks had passed since I was imprisoned. I occasionally met F and K, but never saw Pastor Z, knowing nothing about him and worrying about him. On a particular Sunday we were served Malibar spinach for lunch. I knew that is Z’s favorite, and I could imagine him enjoying his meal. I prayed, “Oh God, please let me meet Z or even just look at him from far away.” I actually met him on my way to the next interrogation. I stood there, and he passed by me, although obviously he didn’t notice me as he was without his glasses. I smile; he noticed me then and was somewhat astonished, and he left me with a smile which made me feel at ease. That was one more thing that I needed to thank God for.
When I was arrested, my computer and hard disk were with me. My only worry was that the data in the disk might become the evidence that they could use against us to sue us. While I was traveling on the train, three police officers were constantly watching me, and I was handcuffed the whole time. I had no idea how to destroy the hard disk or hide it. I kept praying and asked the Lord to help me.
One morning, I woke up early and saw the three of them sleeping. I wanted to take my hard disk, but I was afraid that if I moved they might hear and wake up. I prayed and asked the Lord to put them in a deep sleep. Things went very smoothly as I took it out and hid it. They knew nothing. Then I prayed to the Lord to protect the hard disk so that I could take it back when I was released.
One month passed. After my release, I boarded the train traveling between H city and D city and, after praying, asked the conductor to help me search for something. Thank God, the conductor agreed and allowed me to look for it. But when I could not find it, I remembered that there are a total of four trains running from H city to D city. According to the schedule I had not found the right train. The conductor agreed to contact the other conductor and ask him to look for it. He said, “It has been a long time since you lost it. Why did you come so late?” I could not answer him but prayed in my heart, asking the Lord to move him to patiently help me. As I had expected, they found it on the other train and told me to pick it up at the nearest train station. They even responsibly took down my phone number. I got the disk the next day, and it had remained in tact. God loves us. In answer to my sincere prayer, He helped me find the hard disk, even after a whole month.
We are serving such a wonderful God! His providential workings are always with us! I praise His name and His love towards us! --Sister L.C.Y.
Pastor Kang writes that he has heard that many of the policemen and jailors so respect our leaders’ faith and deportment that they call them into their offices to ask them the reasons for their faith. They even ask counsel for family problems and ask them to pray for them. Some of the jailors have started to bring raw vegetables for the prisoners to eat after they realized that our leaders do not eat any meat, which means that they have nothing to eat at times.
When Pastor Kang visited Korea recently, some of the workers were able to cross the border to see him. He wrote: “Sister Lu, who was in jail and released, was in our meeting. I was so happy to see her. I could clearly see that her prison experience made a big difference in her life. She was more calm and meek in her deportment, and her conversation showed that her trust in God had deepened. Several who have been released are house or city bound. They are being watched very carefully, so it is nearly impossible for them to travel. We have already selected other leaders to take over their jobs. Our printing work is still going on, and our colporteurs are gathering strength. They are already going up and down the streets with our books. They feel it is their life mission for God; they sense there is little time left to spread the Three Angels Message throughout the large land of China. We currently have 650 active colporteurs on the streets all over China. Since most of our male leaders have been arrested or their ID’s registered with the police, we must now use our sisters and young people to carry on the work. Another precaution we must take is to use only cash. It is not safe to store large sums of money in the bank since we are being watched so closely. What little money we have we must move around from place to place often so as not to arouse suspicion. We practically need to start our China ministry all over again due to the current persecutions and the arrest of our leaders.
My friends, this kind of persecution is going to come to us in the United States rather soon! I hope and pray that we are going to be prepared for the coming hardships that we may glorify Him in any given circumstances. Brothers and Sisters, we must have the faith of Jesus!
“Please remember our ministry in China in your prayers and pray for the safety of our people as they minister to all in the country!”
Pastor David Kang