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Testimony of Younger Shen: The Kidnapping        中文

I am one of the victims of the April 16 kidnapping.

This was an elaborately planned conspiracy. It can be traced back to April, 2001. There was a preacher named Ai Yan Ling in the house church in Ping Ding Shan region, He Nan province. She told the top leader of the church, brother Yang, that she heard that sister Li Shu Xia had a relative who was the general secretary of the Singapore Haggai Institute. She heard that he ran businesses in Bei Jing and Guang Zhou, and that he wanted to meet house church coworkers, because he had the desire to help those who had the need to go to study at the Haggai Institute. So brother Yang met with this Mr. Lian who claimed to be the secretary of the Singapore Haggai Institute. Lian had his daughter with him. During the conversation, Lian and his daughter said that they were also from this province, therefore they wanted to be able to contribute something to the church in their hometown, to provide help to those who wanted to study at the Haggai Institute. They asked brother Yang to write a résumé (describing his office in the church, family condition, church status and request for learning etc.), and give it to Lian along with his phone number, picture and a photocopy of his ID card, so that he could take them back to the institute for the leaders to make a decision about him. After brother Yang gave them the required material, they said that he must have the recommendation of his leaders on his résumé for it to be acceptable to the institute. They also said that they’d like to meet with Yang’s leaders and talk with them in person.

Brother Yang went to meet with older brother Shen who had been his mentor, and he asked Shen to write a recommendation for him. He also invited Shen to meet Lian and his daughter. After they met, Shen shared with Lian that the house church had always suffered from a lack of regular theological training, that it had a very weak biblical foundation, and that heresies and cults have been very actively disturbing the church everywhere. So he asked Lian to help the church, so that more people might have the opportunity to receive training. Lian responded, “I’m just a business man. I came back here just to visit my hometown, not wanting to bother anybody’s business. But God disciplined me, and let me have a relapse. So I prayed to God and confessed my sin. I was healed immediately. Now I know I must obey God, and offer this help to you.” Then he asked each one of brother Shen’s coworkers to write a résumé for him to take back to the institute. After all the résumés were handed to him, he left, and didn’t contact us again for one year.

March 2002, Lian suddenly called us again, saying, “The institute has talked about this over and over again. Now I and my daughter have been asked to bring Mr. Yu, the principal of the institute, and the sister who is in charge of the administration of finance to come to do more research on this matter.” We met them in Lian’s sister’s home in Ying Yang county, He Nan province. During our conversation, they explained that the reason why they hadn’t contacted us for one year was because people in the institute disagreed on recruiting Mainland Chinese students, therefore Lian and his daughter had some difficult times. Now this group was sent here to get more understanding of the situation. We talked for about two hours and then left the town. They said they needed to make further decisions.

A few weeks later, Lian called us again and made an appointment to meet with us. A few of us met him, and this time he brought with him some introductory material regarding the history of the Singapore Haggai Institute, so that we could have a better understanding of the institute. He said the institute had reached an agreement on the training issue. However, they had a concern for the amount of time that it would take for us to process our passports; therefore they had agreed to offer the six mainland Chinese families that are related with them for us to use for training now. We declined their offer and said, “We are very busy at the moment. The wheat harvest season in the countryside is coming soon, and farm work will be very demanding for us, so we can’t have any training now. Besides, going to Haggai Institute to study is not a matter we can accomplish in one or a half year’s time; even if we can go now, we’ll not all go. We’ll send 2 or 3 people there each year. Let’s talk about holding a training in China sometime later.” But their eagerness and zeal made it impossible for us to refuse the offer, so we said we could do it in 2 to 3 weeks time. In this hasty way, the decision for this training was made. At that time we had no other thoughts except that we were going to devote ourselves to the study of the Bible and get ourselves more equipped in the knowledge of the Word. We had absolutely no idea that we so quickly fell into their trap, into the snare that they had designed. Later we learned that the two women from Ping Ding Shan Church had been their spies for a long time.

April 15, thirty four of us left our homes from different places to go to these six cities for the training. They were: Shang Hai, Qing Dao, Harbin, He Bei, Xi’an and Zhong Xiang in Hu Bei province.

April 16, me and a few other coworkers arrived in Shang Hai from Zheng Zhou of He Nan province. They picked us up from the train station with a car and took us to a family in the city. Not long after we sat down, we noticed an old man peeping into the room through the windows. They said this man was from the residents’ committee and was a busybody. The principal also came, looking anxious, saying, “The whole environment is very bad. A brother working in the Front Union of Shang Hai told me that a major persecution on the church had been issued by the government recently. The state is trying to crack down on house churches. We are all at stake. Let’s scatter!” So they divided us four brothers into two groups, and the other four from the “head-covering” group were also separated into two teams (they were actually from one EL group). They found two cars and sent us to a family in the suburb (later we learned that in this way they separated the 34 of us into 17 different families).

April 17, the teaching started. There were 6 teachers teaching 4 of us students (among these four, two were EL members). On the second day, I asked a teacher Chen, “Your teaching sounds like the teaching of the Eastern Lightning.” He responded by saying, “The EL people teach from the Bible, and we do too. So it’s hard to avoid similarity.” We whole-heartedly believed that they were teachers from Singapore, so we let down our guard. Besides this, they were so loving, gentle, humble and zealous in serving, so we just put down our caution.

On the evening of 18, while everybody had gone to his own room, a woman walked into my room to talk with me. She said she had been an orphan. Her father went to Singapore before the Cultural Revolution. After the Cultural Revolution started, he was not able to come home again. So he got married again in Singapore. She and her mother struggled together through life. At her graduation from college, her mother died. She then went to Singapore to her father’s home, but not long after that, her father and her stepmother died during an air crash. She was left alone ever since, with no parents, no brothers or sisters, only a large sum of inheritance. Later she married a nominal Christian man. He went to America to run some business, and had a mistress there. She was so lonely, and she had no relatives in China, so she asked me to be her brother. After hearing her tragic story, I comforted her with words from the Bible. She immediately held my hands in hers. I wondered how overseas people could be so open. Two days later, she came to my room again when there was nobody else around. She sat before me and stared at me. Seeing her situation, I told her, “You should influence your husband with the love of the Lord, so that he can repent. Don’t lose your mind while you feel empty in your heart, and fall into the scheme of the devil.” After she heard this, she stayed for a little while and left.

Two days later, the principal asked me to write a letter to my people in different places to comfort them, asking them to settle down, to be submissive, and to build relationships with the brethren from the head-covering group. I didn’t know this was their scheme, and I wasn’t able to tell anything wrong then, so I wrote a letter. Later I also did two assignments according to their requirements, for the purpose of helping the head-covering group to change their belief in covering the head. Later I learned that they processed my letter in the computer, and added something by imitating my handwriting, then sent the copies of the letter to different places. Their deceitfulness had indeed reached its fullness!

During the first 20 days, there were two or three teachers teaching about the Old Testament and some history. There wasn’t many flaws in what they taught. At the end of about one week’s time, older Shen told me secretly one day in the bathroom, “I’m afraid these people are EL members, and the two head-covering guys are also in their company. Why don’t they have women waiting on them, while we each have one? Also I see these women are debauching and flirting. Be very careful.” As we walked out of the bathroom, older Shen said, “We Chinese house churches have established rules. The relationships between men and women should be appropriate, and they should not stay too close to each other.” Upon hearing these words, the woman named Lian started to weep, and the teachers all came to explain, “Your words are too harsh. Lian is not even married yet. Your words are very hurtful. Overseas people are relatively more open.” After the weeping, Lian started to massage older Shen’s head (Shen had a brain blood vessel condition). I wondered how could these people be so loving and enduring? So I asked a head-covering guy in secret, “How long have you known them?” He replied, “We’ve known them a few years, and we have a relationship with their church.” When I heard this, my guard was once again let down.

April 29, they said May Day was coming soon, and a long national holiday was coming, during which time the relatives of this family were coming to visit, so we should separate for a few days. At 9 in the evening, a car came and took older Shen, two teachers and a woman away. Me and another head-covering guy were left behind to continue studying.

May 4, they started to teach errors contradictory to biblical truth. I argued a few words with them and stopped listening to them. For 2 or 3 days I didn’t eat anything. May 5, they openly confessed, “We are preachers of the EL.” Upon hearing these words, I felt as if I was stricken by many thunders. I couldn’t hold my anger and started to condemn them, “You gangsters! You are the thieves to the church. You are false Christ and anti Christ. You are serpents coated in human skin. You are the scum and disgrace of the country. I will never ever give up my genuine faith and give in to your demonic teaching.” I told them that my attitude was to not listen, not read, not think, not argue and not believe. I told them that they’d better give up the attempt to win me over, that all of their effort and practices would be in vain. I knew then that it would be impossible for me to get released, but I was not sure how they were going to deal with me. I knew in my hometown there had been four Christians maimed by the EL members. Their arms and legs were broken, their mouth cut, and their ears nearly cut off. I visited all of them while they were in hospital.

From then on, they condemned me every day as a Pharisee, the man who crucified Jesus, and an opposer of God. They said that I deserved punishment; that I should be cursed and perish. The head-covering guy screamed and shouted like a ghost during the night, and in the morning he’d say he had seen visions and heard voices in the wind, saying, “God has come. Believe and don’t delay. Don’t oppose God, lest you perish!”

About May 7, they told me, “Because you are not believing, we have decided to send you home. Tonight we are taking you to see your coworkers. Tomorrow morning we’ll let you go.” About 9 in the evening, a few of them pushed me into a car. After many turnings, we came to a home, and there I was locked in. It was a two-storey building with a size about a dozen square meters. They put me in a room with the door bound with ropes and locked up. Even the windows were painted with dark green oil paint, letting hardly any light in. There was also a guard at my door all the time. I lay on my bed and refused to listen to them. However, the head-covering guy listened to them everyday. They taught everyday and condemned me everyday. They didn’t stop twisting the Bible and opposing the truth, attempting to make me give up my ideas and belief. If there was any free time, they’d fill it with playing their songs from CDs. I couldn’t sleep during the day, or at night, nor could I enjoy any food. I felt my head was breaking, and I was deeply tormented both spiritually and physically.

One morning, they suddenly said that they needed to go for a meeting somewhere else. The head- covering guy also left with them. I was so glad that I could find relief for a while, and be spared of the torment for one day. Not long afterward, the woman came in. She locked the three doors and sat before me, chewing something in her mouth, and soon she started to attack me. I was lying in bed at the time. She threw herself on me with hugs and kisses, saying many shameless words. I resisted with all my strength, ceaselessly asking God to deliver me from temptation. In the end, when I didn’t know what else to do, I managed to sit up and declared, “I am a Christian! I am the husband of my wife!" She didn’t succeed and left.

In the last week I was there, because I broke their windows and shouted for help, they were forced to stop their demon talk.

June 3, I was forced into a car by a few men and sent to the Shang Hai train Station. When I finally arrived home after those 50 days confinement, I was very pale, as skinny as a stick of wood. I hardly looked like a human after all the torment. After I came home, I learned that the whole family had heard about the fact that we were kidnapped long ago, and that the church was informed by a sister who managed to escape from the Manchu area. My people told me that brothers and sisters had been praying for us fervently. They told me that two brothers also fought their way out, and the family reported the case to the police. With the pressure the EL received from the police, they were forced to release their victims. If all these had not happened, I simply had no idea at all whether we’d be dead or alive, or when we’d be able to escape their demonic hands.

June 20, we had a denunciation meeting, profoundly exposing and condemning the Eastern Lightning cult. Every one of the kidnapped coworkers talked about his experience during the confinement, disclosing the vile and despicable methods of the EL such as lying, deceit, money, employment opportunities, women, mind-altering drugs, sexual stimulants, dreams, visions, pretending to be ghosts, abuse, spreading division, blackmailing, isolation, spiritual and emotional torments, disrupting families, etc.

Through the sharing and discussions among brothers and sisters, through the denouncing of the EL, we all realized that the reasons why the church had suffered such extreme loss were because we didn’t have enough knowledge of and precautions against the EL cult, neither did we have enough legal sense. During the meeting, we agreed on the following strategies against the EL:

1. Put great effort in wide-scale teaching about guarding against the intrusion of the EL false teachers.
2. Root out the EL spies from the church. In every one of our house churches, every believer should curse the EL cult in the name of Jesus Christ.
3. Once anyone is caught spreading the EL teaching, he should be turned over to the police.
4. If someone is kidnapped by the EL, he should shout loudly for help. We’d rather be caught by the police than fall into the evil hands of the EL cult.
5. Once kidnapped, one should guard his heart, be alert and pray constantly, not to listen to, read about, think about, argue with, nor to believe the EL.
6. Those who are released from kidnapping, should openly confess their experiences and accept the examination of the body. Their ministry should be stopped temporarily. The body should genuinely love and care for their well-being.
7. For those victims who have come back to their sound senses, the body should accept them with trust, so as not to fall into the schemes of the devil.
8. For those suspected ones who don’t seem to have a clear understanding and firm position, the body should try to restore and admonish them in love, faith and watchfulness.

Let our stumbling be the warning for the future of the church in the rest of the world. May brothers and sisters be alert and watchful, to guard against and resist the schemes of cults and heresies, and to walk in the truth of the Lord.

Brother Shen
July 27, 2002


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