Chapter 15: Experiencing Many Tribulations (Part Three)
C. Seven Years of Being Watched and Two Short Trials
Psalms 124:7 Our soul has escaped like a bird, / Out of the snare of the fowlers; / The snare is broken, / And we have escaped.
Psalms 91:3a For He will deliver You, From the snare of the fowler,
In the October of 1973, though I have been released and allowed to return home, I was not able to enjoy a peaceful living. Because the Cultural Revolution has not ended, and I suffered seven years of restrictions, did get to come and go as freely, sometimes even need to draw water and wash public bathrooms, or get called to do voluntary labor. So I don’t dare to go out and serve the church during daylight, and often go out at night. One evening, a young brother use his boke to take me to Longtian, but tripped heavily in a downhill area, I got hurt as well, and we only got to Longtian after midnight. Just so happen at this time, Sister Shunzhen Chen is there, she mended my wounds. Back then, transportation is this inconvenient. Though the environment is this harsh, but thank the Lord! God has a new beginning in the gospel work in Fuqing. In the two years of 1974 and 1975, the whole county had over a thousand people being baptized into the Lord each year. In 1976, we invited old Brother Zaisheng Chen of Hanjiang to come to Fuqing. He first stayed at Yuxi, and continued in Xiaheyang and recover the practice of laying on hands. Thru the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the one accord of the Coworkers, this year the whole county propagated the gospel, where those who were baptized reached over five thousand, the most prosperous year in the history of Fuqing’s gospel. But come the later half of the year, I was arrested twice. The first time I was imprisoned eighteen days, the second time I was imprisoned for half a month.
The first time was in October 1976, my father came back via Hong Kong. Since he’s left the country in 1951, he’s served the Lord in the churches in Hong Kong and Indonesia, hasn’t returned home in twenty-five years. This time, he’s returned home due to missing home, and only stayed in my younger sister’s home in Fuzhou. I came to meet him in Fuzhou. Later, the government believed he might have brought some church secret mission to tell us, and thus detailed him for interrogation. I was also arrested. At that time I was imprisoned in a secret room on Hong Road, they assigned two militia watching me day and night, as if I’m a felon. Our family members don’t know where I was. At that time I can only lift my eyes to the heavens, and beg God to give me a miraculous salvation. Turns out that only after eighteen days, they suddenly released me. Later on when I was walking on the street, I saw that the streets have posted large banners that says “Down with the Gang of Four”, then I know it was because of political turbulence, that the classes ended early, and I get to be released. After a few days, my father was found innocent under investigation, and was escorted out of the region and back into Hong Kong.
The second time is in the December of 1976, in Fuzhou, Minhou, Changle, Lienhiang, Fuqing, Putian these six localities with a total of over eighty brothers and sisters met together in Lindi village of Changle county. Old Brother Zaishen Chen, Sister Meiyue Chuang and myself were responsible for the speaking on the podium, and to practice the laying on of hands in the meeting. Locally, there was a work group of the government, that had left not long ago, but when we were meeting, they came back for whatever reason, and found that we are meeting, and went to report us. At that time just so happened to be right after the fall of the Gang of Four, the situation is very tense, the government doesn’t know the nature of our meeting, and send huge teams of police to arrest all the saints that were meeting, I was among them at the time.
That night, we were kept on the stage of a theatre, the brothers are at one side, the sisters at the other side. Brother Zaishen Chen was the first to be handcuffed because he was speaking on the podium at the time. The police with their flashlights, were looking for any possible leaders, whenever they see any that are older, they cuffed them, but I wasn’t noticed by them. On the second day, they tied us together three by three with rope, and transferred us to Tantou District. When registering our names, God allowed me to report my nickname, so was not noticed again that time. On the third day, the brothers and sisters who aren’t from Changle County were all transferred to the learning class of Changle county seat, with a officer from Fuzhou Department of Public Security to examine us, with the goal of finding the speaker and organizer. But miraculously, up to the end of the examination, I still slipped thru among that many people. At that night, they transferred the twenty-some brothers and sisters from Fuzhou and Minhou, to Fuzhou, I was among them. More individual examination in Fuzhou, I slipped thru their notice again. This truly shows the Lord’s marvelous leading, it is the Lord that hid me underneath His wings.
Later on, the three brothers that organized this meeting were sentenced to laogai. The rest of us were in labor at Cangshan branch, the brothers were all very worried for me; because I have been sentenced twice, if my identity was discovered, that is going to have severe consequences. At that time, the Lord touched a sister that really loves the Lord, because she knew that I’ve suffered twice, was imprisoned for many years, and thus has a special burden for me. So, she told a public security officer that she knows, pointing out that I’m her relative, and asked him to release me ahead of time, and it was permitted. On January 5, 1977, I was released, all the brothers and sisters also imprisoned in the study class were all happy for me. On the second day after I was released, they discovered my identity, but they’ve already personally released me, so they don’t recapture me. Praise the Lord, this time I was only imprisoned for fifteen days. This incident allows me to see, if the Lord doesn’t want you to suffer or the time of suffering has not arrived, even though you have fallen into the enemy’s trap, he would save you. If God’s will have arranged that you would suffer to learn a lesson, regardless of how hard you try to escape, you would not escape. We should belief that our whole life are all in the Lord’s hand. (Psa. 31:15).