(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lin Sung* had just completed evangelism training. As part of the final assignment, the class dispersed to surrounding villages to practice sharing the gospel. Sung sent a text message to tell a friend where he would be. When government officials intercepted that message, his homework assignment changed from sharing Bible stories to a fight for survival.)
EAST ASIA – One day, I was out sharing the gospel in some small Chinese villages when, suddenly, the police surrounded me. They grabbed me and threw me in the back of a van.
“We know that you have been trained for Christian evangelism, and we are taking you in,” they told me.
There was not much I, a simple farmer, could do. I had the evidence (class notes from the training course) with me, so I just leaned back onto the seat and prayed. That’s when God gave me an idea. I took the training notes out of my book and stuffed them into the cracks and crevices of the van.
When we arrived at the station, they tried processing me, but they couldn’t find the evidence. They kept going through my things, swearing they knew I had the formula for spreading Christianity written down. I told them truthfully that I did not have it on me.
Even without proper evidence, they threw me in jail. The officials told me that all I had to do to get my freedom was to recant my beliefs. I refused. So, they tried torturing me into submission.
They chained me to a pole. For the first few days, they did not give me water or food. Finally, they brought me food – but there was nothing to drink. This went on for another day or so – I can’t remember. Always they bring me food but nothing to drink.
I seriously thought I would die chained to that pole, so I prayed to God and He gave me another idea.
When the guard came with my food that night, I asked if I could clean the kitchen. They were surprised by the offer and granted my wish. They took me into a room where dirty dishes were piled high. Flies swarmed the overflowing trash bins and around the dishes with dried food. The stench was overwhelming. As soon as the officers left and locked the door behind them, I lunged for the sink.
I put my face into the dirty dishwater and took a long drink. I did not care about the pieces of food floating in the water. I did not care that the water was dirty and gray in color. This is how I survived – drinking dirty dishwater, and I was thankful that God provided for my needs.
The persecution and torture continued. I was interrogated day after day. Each time, they tried to get me to recant my faith. I refused to denounce Jesus as my Lord. They realized their current methods of persecution would not make me change my mind, so they changed tactics. They chained me outside the jail to a tree.
During the day, the hot sun scorched me. At night, mosquitoes feasted on me. When I slapped them away, the noise and movement caused the motion-censored spotlights to light up. There was no way to get sleep. I was miserable and my body was weak.
Finally, they sent two officers to finish me off. They were big and muscular. They beat up my fragile body without even breaking a sweat. One of the officers put his heavy, metal-tipped boot on my neck and pulled my arms and shoulders in different directions. It felt as if he were going to snap my neck like a chicken’s.
“This is your last chance,” the big officer said. “Denounce Jesus and gain your freedom.”
I looked straight into his eyes and replied, “Your methods will not work on me. I decided to die for Jesus the day I decided to follow Him.”
I immediately felt the tension around my neck loosen. The guards were shocked at my outburst. They looked at each other and shook their heads in disbelief. The big, burly officer took his foot off my neck and pulled me upright.
“This guy has no fear of death,” the officer said to his partner. “Let’s let him go. No amount of persecution is going to change him. It is useless.”
They unlocked the chains and let me go home.
Brothers and Sisters, I share my story to encourage all believers to stand firm in the faith. God is victorious!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Susie Rain is an International Mission Board writer living in Asia. UPDATE – After being released from jail, Sung went back to complete his “homework assignment.” As a result, his team baptized more than 100 new believers and planted seven house churches in the same area where he was persecuted. For more stories about persecution in Asia, go to http://www.asiastories.com.)