Chapter 15: Experiencing Many Tribulations (Part Five)
E. Forty Days of Prison
Psalm 142:7a Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to Your name.
Phil. 1:19 For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
After I’ve returned, the Lord has not abandoned me, allowed me to have service within the church. From 1991 to 1993, God really blessed the gospel work in Fuqin. In these three years, the total number that got baptized in this whole county is up to five thousand people. After 1992, the church started to prioritize the edification of the young saints. In the first time, there was only several scores, later on the numbers gradually increased to several hundred, the area cared for also increased in size. Many of the young saints that had accepted perfecting that time, has become coordinating coworkers today, serving in various localities. The brothers of Fuqin has also lead by the Lord to the point of being in one accord.
December 1993, I was detained again in the city detention center, was imprisoned for about a total of forty days, this is my sixth time entering prison. When the Gongan people finished the arrest procedure and about to take me away, I begged them to let me pray before leaving. At that time, my wife, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and another niece was standing by me, I opened my mouth to pray to the Lord: “Lord, since you allowed me to enter into suffering again, I ask you that you give me enough grace. I consecrate myself to you, and I also give everyone in my family to you, that you would care for them, and protect them within your love…” After the prayer, I was taken away to the detention center of Fuqin city.
When I was put in a cell, a head official came in and say to the convicts, “This old man has heart disease, you are not to touch him, if something happens you are responsible.” Later, another prison doctor came in to say, “This old man is a good man, not a criminal like you, you have to treat him well…” I don’t know these two people, but they cared for me such, it is truly god’s hand in this. After the officials are gone, the convicts in the cell surrounded me and asked why I was arrested. I said, “I’m a Christian, arrested because of the affairs of the church.” They immediately started cursing: “Believing in Jesus is to ask people to do good, but arrested here? The government is wrong!” So, they gave me the best spot in the cell, and took care of me well. I am grateful of them, and even more thankful of my Lord that loves me and watch over me.
In the first examination, it is also those three officials. I said to them, “I am only for my faith, for the affairs of the church. You can sentence me to however many years, I won’t worry about myself.” They said, “The government is not trying to put you in jail, just to get some clear answers to some questions. The first question that they brought up is, how come such a remote area like Heilongjiang still has people writing letters to me. Because when they came to arrest me at my home, I was replying to a letter from a sister from Heilongjiang. I answered, “In the country, many believers of various provinces know me, understand me, whenever they have any questions concerning faith, they would all write letters asking for my consultation.” I followed up to say, “I’m not only well known in the country, it is the same overseas. Believers from many countries all know me. I am famous, because I was imprisoned by you again and again, and sentenced to this many years.” The three of them can’t help but nod in agreement after hearing this.
On the morning of the last day of this incarceration, (January 31, 1994), I wanted to fast and pray again, but there’s a voice within that says clearly, “No need to pray, only praise.” I quietly praised the Lord, and believed that he will release me today. But there was nothing different the entire morning, after lunch, when everyone was about to go take their afternoon nap, the official came in to say, “So and so, pack up your things and go back.” All the convicts in the cell cheered, and immediately helped me pick up my things and escorted me out of prison. In these forty days, these convicts took special care of me, I’ve also shared God’s gospel with them. This truly is God’s grace upon me once again.
It is only after that I’ve left prison, that I learned that in the couple of days I was arrested, many brothers and sisters from various Mainland provinces and so many countries overseas were all praying for me, this truly showed me the reality of the Body of Christ. Haikou has an old brother that was ill and about to depart this world that still prayed for me. In Yuxi, there was a four-year-old little girl that also prayed for me. On these brothers and sisters, I see the Lord’s love and the love of the members yet again.