In a certain village people heard the explosive news: Qinlu (Chin-lu) has believed in Jesus. But many people did not believe it, for Qinlu was a morally corrupt person who could inflict terrible hurt and damage on others.

However he truly repented. It was Christmas of 1971 when, with joy, Qinlu was baptized in water and took identification with Christ. He received water baptism in an icy river, and the brethren had to break open seven inches of ice before he could be baptized. When Qinlu came out of the water, every hair on his head became an icicle. His clothes froze as if they were armour and it took much effort to remove them. After that, he immediately took part in a communion service. After he had received communion, the Holy Spirit came on Qinlu and several brethren like fire falling. They were anointed with the oil of gladness and began dancing and praising the Lord. Then they began speaking in tongues.

Three months later, the Lord clearly called Qinlu to preach the Gospel. One day, he was in a meeting when the commune authorities organized a group of soldiers and surrounded the meeting place. Angrily, the cadres came into the meeting and commanded that the people report their names one by one. Qinlu immediately stood up and said very loudly, `I am Qinlu, from Dalian Shan (Dalian mountain).'

The rest of the brothers and sisters were afraid of the consequences, and dared not give their names. As a result the soldiers bound them and took all who attended this meeting to the re-education classes of the commune. But they did not tie up Qinlu as he had reported his name. For ten days they laboured during the day and read newspapers and documents about Party policy in the evening.

Though Qinlu was oppressed physically, his heart was not oppressed. He constantly led everyone in prayer and through the Word of the Lord encouraged the believers to be strong and love the Lord. As a result many became fervent believers. Qinlu took advantage of lax supervision at the commune to send the brothers and sisters out to preach the Gospel. He himself did this often and, as such, was an example to others.

Late at night Qinlu returned from re-education classes to his home to see the many preachers from other districts who came to his house to avoid arrest. During the night he fellowshipped with them and learned from them. Every day in the early morning hours he had to climb over the wall to return to the re-education school, but the authorities never discovered him.

After ten days, the cadres asked everyone in the re-education classes to discuss the benefits of their learning. They said, `Those who have learned well can return, but those who have not yet learned must remain here to learn more.' Qinlu was the first to rise and say, `I have learned well.' They said, `If this is the case you can discuss what you have learned.'

Qinlu continued to say without hesitation, `During the past ten days of learning, I have come to understand more clearly what kind of a person I was before, but now I'm saved by Jesus. The people in the world love good people, their friends, those who are handsome. Only Jesus came to the world and loved sinners. He loved enemies, in fact He loved to the extent that He shed his blood. Due to this wonderful love He is willing that everyone should repent, for those who love the Lord shall obtain eternal life, but those who do not believe shall be condemned ...' The cadre interrupted Qinlu, `Enough, enough, don't say any more. Take your bedding and return home.'

After one year, the commune and brigade realized that Qinlu had changed greatly. Not only was he straightforward and impartial, but his ability to handle affairs was excellent and he had many talents. Therefore they appointed him to be the leader of the production brigade. Qinlu refused to do so three times. After that he realised that being the leader of the brigade had many benefits, therefore he agreed to be the brigade leader.

After he became the leader, due to the presence of the Lord, he was selfless, put sacrifice before pleasure and had great concern about the members. As everyone respected him, his words had authority. During the rest time he continually preached the Gospel to the members of the commune and encouraged them to believe in Jesus. Due to his love and inspiration, many believed in Jesus. Before very long his neighbours and the vast majority of the commune members believed in the Lord. He constantly organized the people to come to meetings to worship the Lord.

The production output of this brigade was fantastic, and brigade members helped others and taught three other brigades. Originally, these three brigades were not of one heart. They always fought and had differing opinions. But when Qinlu became the leader of the second brigade, they all came together and increased their production, submitting to the leadership of Qinlu.

The Lord chose Qinlu's family and they willingly received others into their home. During that time there were few preachers of the Gospel. In an area of 19 districts in this province, there were only about ten workers to feed the flock and preach the Gospel to people. These workers stayed in Qinlu's house where they had their devotions.

During one tense period, the house churches were continually under persecution. Many workers from that district and several outer provinces went to Qinlu's house to hide. Thank the Lord for his protection, for these people in Qinlu's house hid for one month and then returned home safely. Therefore it was the Lord's will that Qinlu had become the leader of the brigade.

At that time, food supplies were very short. Qinlu's family had only one meal everyday so that they could share their rations with the workers. The God of Elijah is also our God, and was the God of Qinlu. Because of the kindness of his family in receiving others, God remembered him and many wonderful things took place.

One day, Qinlu came upon two brothers from outside the area. He thought of every method possible to serve them. His family had only a little flour, but he used it to make one small bowl of jiaozi (dumplings), and prepared to receive these two brethren. Who would believe that after these jiaozi's were put in the wok to cook, he would take out enough to feed these two brethren until they were full, with still two large bowls left?

Once, Qinlu's sister took one basket of wheat to make flour, who would think that, when this one basket of wheat was milled it would become two full baskets of flour? There were more amazing things. Qinlu's house had only one small wok, and usually when they made porridge, at the very most, it could only provide food for six people. With ten or more preachers, there were always twenty people who ate, and they always had leftovers. For many years there were meetings in Qinlu's home. Sometimes there were 40 or 50 people, sometimes over 100. Qinlu used his wok each time to make food and everyone ate until they were full. Hallelujah!

In August of 1973, a Judas reported to the PSB in the city that preachers were staying with him every day. They then sent seven PSB officials who came to his house on motorcycles to make a search. Thank the Lord, when the PSB men came Qinlu had already moved the preachers elsewhere, so they did not find anything.

They then took Qinlu to the brigade headquarters for questioning. `Do you have people living in your house?'

`Yes, people who pass by on the road stay there, how can I refuse them?' he replied.

`Then who are those people, and what are their names?'

Qinlu laughed loudly and said, `Over such a long period so many people have come, how can I know where they are from and their names?'

The PSB officials continued to question him, `You mean to tell us, you don't know the name of a single person? How can that be?'

Qinlu again laughed saying, `I don't know. You yourselves go and investigate.'

The PSB questioned him for a long time, but got no results. They were so angry they hit the table and reprimanded him.

After that, the PSB sent people to watch him continually for 74 days. During this time, Qinlu was called in daily `to consider his ways and tell the truth'. But they obtained nothing from him. They were unable to find anything against him. They went back to the PSB office and said to Qinlu, `We have investigated you for a long time, and you are not corrupt. You have done nothing bad, and you do well the work of the brigade. But it is too bad that you stubbornly hold on to this religious superstition.' Qinlu laughed and said, `If I didn't believe in the Lord, I would be a stubborn man, and how would I do the work of the brigade well?'

In April of 1974, Qinlu was arrested because of his involvement with a certain preacher in another city. The day before he was arrested, Qinlu was working when he heard a small voice say to him, `Son, your heaven is in the cross, and without the cross there is no heaven.' Qinlu immediately knelt down and with tears he said, `Lord, it is true, I am willing to follow you down the road of the cross.'

Qinlu was the first brother to be arrested from the church in `F city. Before very long, Brother Ming was also arrested. They were together in detention for seven months. In the detention centre, Qinlu had a dream: A man with white hair and a long beard came to him with an open book and asked, `Are you Qinlu?' Qinlu said, `Yes I am.' That old man then opened an ink box and had Qinlu put his hand in the ink box and said, `21 months.'

After he woke up, Qinlu immediately told this dream to Brother Ming. But he said, `I don't believe that we must be here 21 months. I see it as three or four months, the most five months and then we will be set free.'

After that, Qinlu counted the time - one day, two days, five days, one month, two months, five months. After one year he stopped counting. In the end, Qinlu's time in detention was lengthened to two years, and the day that he left the detention centre it was exactly 21 months.

The detention centre where they were kept was truly hell on earth. The way they treated the prisoners is frightening to anyone who hears it. They not only received much punishment, but they were only given a little to eat each day. The prisoners were always starving, so much so that when they could leave their cells they rushed outside to eat grass. The most terrifying thing was that some people ate their own excrement and as a result went insane. There was one prisoner who ripped up his shirt to eat it. Before very long he had eaten half his clothes. As a result every day he excreted blood and it was so painful that he fainted. Due to starvation every evening more than ten prisoners would faint.

During this period of 21 months, they questioned Qinlu daily, sometimes twice a day. He was not only questioned by the PSB officials of that province, those from other provinces also came to question him. Everyday Qinlu had to kneel in the PSB office. You can imagine the physical punishment and pain that he experienced.

In January of 1976, they formally sentenced Qinlu to two years in prison. The PSB bound him up tightly on the day of his sentencing. After that they took him as a common criminal to a public 'struggle session.' Many people gathered there. The people's militia had guns to keep order. Many armed PSB men had weapons pointed at the prisoners and there were many with machine guns.

Many students threw stones at Qinlu and spat on him. At this time Qinlu saw his parents, brother and sister. But he was not sorrowful or in any way ashamed, rather he smiled broadly at them, for he considered it a glory to suffer for the Lord. Thus, their hearts were put at ease.

During these `struggle sessions', the other prisoners were ashamed to let people see them. Therefore they lowered their heads as the PSB forced them onto the platform with their pistols. Only Qinlu acted like he was going to receive a prize. With confidence he walked up the platform. When he got there, his two hands held up a placard that said, 'Qinlu, the counter-revolutionary who has put on the garments of religion.' He looked at everyone with a smiling face.

After they sentenced him they sent him to a labour camp. After a short time, Brother Ming was also sent there. The two met each other, were encouraged and prayed together. Qinlu had to fire bricks in a kiln. But he had a heart of love for the Lord and for others, even as Jeremiah said, `there was a fire in his bones.'

In spite of the hard labour, in the evening when he went back to the camp, he took off his prisoner's clothes, put on the clothes he brought from home and sneaked out to the neighbouring villages to preach the Gospel. He returned the next morning before the cadres found out. If he had been discovered he would have had his sentence increased by one to two years and would be put in an isolation ward for two to three months. Eventually Brother Ming also went with him to places up to 15 kilometers away to preach the Gospel. Many came to hear the preaching.

After Qinlu was arrested, in order to find out about the preachers from the other provinces who had lived in Qinlu's house, the PSB sent several men to live there for two years. The whole family of six were often questioned and the PSB men were very vicious toward them. They frequently took his parents, brothers and sisters to the brigade headquarters and severely beat them up. But the family was protected by the Lord and each time they were questioned they were bold and did not divulge any information.

Once Qinlu's sister was taken to the brigade, and she did not answer a single word. The interrogator took a pistol and beat her around the mouth until her teeth were shattered and dropped out, leaving open bleeding wounds. When Qinlu's sister was taken to the brigade headquarters, her mother opened the door of her house and knelt there and prayed, asking the Lord to protect and give strength to her daughter. She continued until early morning when her daughter returned.

In 1978 Qinlu eventually returned home. At that time in the southern part of Henan, the churches were in a pitiful state. Several old servants of God were arrested and put in prison. The remainder became fearful and unwilling to minister. Many believers stopped their meetings. They could not live normal lives, were fearful and there was no one to shepherd and comfort them. They were as sheep without a shepherd. Qinlu could not believe that the church had come to such a condition and it was very painful for him.

Every day he took his bicycle and went to many places to exhort the brothers and sisters not to stop meeting. He encouraged them to love the Lord fervently and to remain alert and pray. He travelled in the middle of the night, facing all kinds of dangers and freezing cold winds, as he went from family to family and from village to village. As he rode his bicycle, he thought about the sorrowful state of the Church and began weeping. He finally stopped cycling, knelt down on the ground and wept before the Lord.

 

`How often has his shadow shown under the light of the stars and the moon.

How often has his voice of wailing been heard deep into the night and in the early hours of the morning.

How many times has he been under the winds and in the rains.

How many times have his footprints been left in the icy snowy ground.'

 

After this time of difficult work, the churches began to experience revival. Every time Qinlu held a meeting, many people came together. God gave him great strength and every time he preached many people were moved and repented with tears. Once, he went to Wanhe to preach on a mountain slope, and about 2,000 came to hear the preaching. The Holy Spirit moved mightily in the meeting and many were enlightened. They repented before the Lord with weeping and untold numbers were greatly revived.

Qinlu began to preach at 6 p.m. and went on until 11 p.m., but the people were not willing to leave. He continued to preach through midnight until 1 a.m. Several thousand people in this large meeting place were so quiet it was unbelievable. You could even hear a pin drop. The brothers and sisters were so hungry for the Word they sat there without moving. The longer Qinlu preached the louder his voice became. He had much to share. He preached until the morning of the second day.

Before long, all the churches in each district experienced revival. Qinlu went to the churches in each area and through the leading of the Holy Spirit appointed workers in each area. In the spring of 1983, due to the moving of the Holy Spirit, Brother Qinlu brought a group of young brothers and sisters to a certain district and began a work that had an impact that was beyond description.

Then he was persecuted with the brothers and sisters and they were severely beaten. Because of this incident that took place in `E' district, they were arrested and forced to take part in learning classes. More than 200 brothers and sisters were arrested and a total of eight were sentenced.

As Qinlu was held responsible, he began to live as a fugitive, avoiding arrest and preaching on the run for two years.

In order to arrest Qinlu, the PSB sent several special men to live in Dalian Shan village. During those two years, Qinlu and several others who were wanted by the PSB, slept in ditches, in the forest or in the fields. Only when it was raining did they return home to sleep.

Once, the PSB suspected that Qinlu was sleeping in his home and sent several cadres and people's militia army with several dozen rifles, pistols and electric cattle prods, to arrest him. They came in several vehicles but were afraid the noise would waken Qinlu, so they parked two kilometers away from his house.

Like a tiger stalking its prey they moved toward the house. Each person had three hand-carried lights like spotlights. They divided into three groups. The first group watched the roads leading from the house; the second group watched the wall surrounding the house. The third group rushed through the main door leading to the house to arrest him. Who would believe that it was all in vain?

Qinlu was on the small hill behind his house and saw and heard all that they said. He heard their curses and the questions they asked his family. He watched them most of the night until they finally cursed and left.

Qinlu's wife not only responsible for taking care of the whole family. Her house was regularly searched by the PSB. They beat her and she had to face much punishment and suffering. But the Lord was with her and gave her sufficient strength to overcome all. Whenever she was with the brothers and sisters, she was never seen looking sorrowful. In fact she was full of joy and encouraged them to be strong, not to fall back and to watch and pray.

In 1983, the government came against the 'Yellers Sect' and the whole church went. through a time of severe persecution. The PSB of `F' city declared that Qinlu, Brother Ming, Brother Bai and the others were the leaders of the 'Yellers Sect' and cruel persecution came to the Church. They declared that the leaders were to be arrested. The local authorities felt that the numbers to be arrested were too small and that it should be at least doubled. They then said, `In "F" city we need to execute 14 Christians.'

At that time the situation was unbelievably adverse and the heavens were full of dark clouds. The PSB made up their minds that they would use every way possible to arrest and execute Qinlu and the group of believers. Qinlu and the 14 brothers and sisters daily played hide and seek with the PSB. God miraculously protected them and they were always able to escape even when they were surrounded.

Daily they were on the run, but this did not hinder them from the ministry in each district. They went from this district to that district and this commune to that commune. At that time their lives were very difficult because they had no money for transportation and often had to walk 200-300 kilometers.

When they were thirsty they had to drink from the streams, and when they were hungry they could only tighten their belts. Some were so weakened from the lack of food they could hardly move. They would sleep under vehicles beside the roads or under tractors in the fields. Then one evening, it began to snow heavily and they were so cold they shook. Several sisters took a canvas bag and wrapped themselves in it. Only in that way could they survive through the freezing night.

During those days, one worker had no trousers to wear for five months. Several brothers had no money for a haircut and did not cut their hair for over five years so it grew very long. They were like a show to the people of the world to look upon.

Everywhere they were sought after; everywhere they were despised. But the world was not worthy of these people. They did not consider gain or loss. Every day they risked death that they might save lost souls. Though they risked death, had no certain dwelling place, were poor and had no livelihood, they were full of joy. Peace is something that no amount of money can purchase, but it is something that the fearful and those who covet pleasure cannot understand.

In this way Qinlu wandered for a full two years. To edify Qinlu and for the sake of many souls in prison, the Lord allowed him to be given over to evil hands. One day, Qinlu went with a brother in `F' city to the bus station to catch a bus to another place. He then saw a `Judas' looking at him. He told the brother who was with him to take the first bus, and he would wait for the second bus and leave quickly.

After the bus was a little over ten kilometers from the station, several PSB vehicles came up with their sirens on and forced the bus to stop. Several PSB men then entered the bus and began to check the identification of the passengers. When they saw Qinlu they asked, `Where are you from and what is your name?'

Qinlu said very calmly and deliberately, `I am Qinlu, from Dalian Shan.'

They immediately pulled him off the bus and cursed him saying, 'Qinlu, these several years you have been running very fast. But it doesn't matter what tricks you try, you cannot get away from us now. This time we have come to ask you to eat some `red soup pills' ('Red soup pills' is the local slang for `bullets').

Qinlu laughed and said, `Don't be so uptight. If I wanted to take off and run I would have done so.' After they heard him, they were astonished. They thought this man they had been seeking for years would resist them. They politely said to Qinlu, `All right. Do you want to be bound today?'

Qinlu said, `Go ahead.' Then they bound Qinlu to a motorcycle and took him away. Along the way Qinlu happened to see a sister and loudly told her, `Go home and tell the brothers and sisters that I have been arrested.'

When they arrived at the main PSB station, many PSB officials turned out to see him. These included the Chief of Police and the Department Head. One cadre said to him, `You are truly a VIP. Even the Chief and Department head have come to welcome you!' A policeman asked a cadre: `Where should I take Qinlu?' That cadre said very calmly while pointing at him saying, `Please take him to Nanlao!'

Qinlu was shocked. He knew that the prison in `F' City was known to be the worst in the whole province for its torture of the prisoners; the conditions in Nanlao were inhuman beyond any description. In that place a minor slip by the prisoners would result in them being stripped naked, their arms pulled apart, and they would be bound to a wooden cabinet. The police would use a bamboo rod to viciously beat the prisoner's head, hands, feet and body until there was no unbroken skin and they were covered with fresh blood. Then they used a hard piece of wood to beat the prisoner's palms, knees and ankles. Cruelty like this is seldom seen in the world today.

Qinlu was immediately taken for judgment. The courtroom was full of instruments of torture. The judge was the same man who judged him in 1974. He said, `Qinlu, you have come again.'

Qinlu very calmly said, `Yes, I have come again.'

`Do you still believe in Jesus?'

`I can lose my head and my blood can flow, but I can never lose my faith in Jesus.

`OK, we'll not talk about believing or not. You are a labour reform prisoner who has been released. After your return home in 1978, you not only did not change your philosophy, but you recklessly carried on counter-revolutionary activities. You are the main organizer behind the incident in `E' village. We have investigated thoroughly and already have a large amount of evidence. Now your only way out is to confess to the government and ask us treat you with leniency. Otherwise you will learn something today.'

Several policemen, hearing this, stood up and with eyes full of murder started staring at Qinlu. Qinlu coldly laughed saying, `Don't try this one again! I have already been in prison once. I understand the policy of the Party and country towards one who has been arrested. You say your policy is fair and based on evidence and that you are opposed to torture. However, here before me what are these instruments we see? I want to say to you gentlemen standing here, it is clear that it is not me who is a criminal, but you. You just said I was the main person responsible for the incident in "E" village. Bring forth the evidence!'

The power of the Lord was mighty on Qinlu. He spoke with authority and his words burned the ears of the judge so that there was nothing he could say. The judge was silent for a long time and finally said, `The trial is temporarily suspended for today. After you have gone back, carefully consider this and we will resume your trial in seven days.'

Qinlu was taken to the second ward of the prison. It was a very small room crammed with 14 prisoners. When the door was opened a nauseating smell came out. The prisoners inside had been beaten nearly to the point of death. Some were famished to the point of fainting. Some were struggling just to stay alive while others wanted to die. All the prisoners hung their heads with sorrow written on their faces. Several had pounded their heads against the walls in an effort to kill themselves, but without success.

When Qinlu saw the condition of these prisoners, the Lord immediately gave him the burden for these souls. He fervently prayed and asked the Lord to show his grace and send help. As Qinlu began to preach the Gospel to these pitiful people, their hearts were drawn by the love the Lord. As a result this group of over 40 prisoners, with the exception of two or three, all believed. Some of the prisoners came to visit Qinlu immediately upon their release from prison. Needless to say, in order to save these souls, Qinlu paid a great price in his body and suffered much.

After three months, God's work for Qinlu in the prison was completed. The plan of the authorities to have Qinlu executed was thwarted by the Lord. To everyone's surprise, Qinlu was not executed, moreover he wasn't even sentenced. After three months he was released!

On the day of his release from prison, the two highest authorities of the detention centre brought Qinlu forth. Mustering all their authority, they shouted, `Who is Qinlu?'

Without hesitating he answered, `I am.'

`Why are you in prison?'

`For believing in Jesus.'

The Assistant Supervisor, hearing this, gnashed his teeth, cursed him with a curse phrase that translated means: `I hate you so much! To execute you with a gun cannot satisfy my anger. I want to have you shot with artillery!'

Qinlu lifted up his voice and said, `Don't be so frenzied, for if I hadn't come to your prison, you wouldn't even have anything to eat.' Hearing this the Assistant Supervisor was so enraged that he ran towards Qinlu but he was stopped by the Supervisor. He said, `Enough, enough! The thinking of this Qinlu is already like a rock. You can't do anything with him.'

He then said to Qinlu, `Your case is finished. Today you can return home!' When Qinlu returned home, he was amazed as he found many brothers and sisters there waiting for him. When they saw Qinlu had returned peacefully, their hearts rejoiced and they all praised the Lord very loudly. They asked Qinlu to preach to them and tell them about his experiences in prison. In that way they happily conducted a meeting in Qinlu's home that lasted for three days.

 

From: Danyun, Lilies Amongst Thorns, Sovereign World Ltd, Tonbridge, Kent, England, 1991, pages 240-253

 

 

Index