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
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
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.