China Aid Association
My name is Hu Zhengying, and I live in Lengshui Township, Zhongxiang City.
I was born in 1952. I came to the Lord for I had been sick. In the first couple of years, I was attending the three-self church. I became a believer on January 16th, 1988. It was another believer who asked me to follow the Lord, and that all I needed to do was to call out His name. Actually we had no idea how to do that. Then I learned how to pray. I couldn’t read. They asked me to pray, so I did. God really listened to my prayers. There was a three-year old kid that had been having a fever. He had been hospitalized for about a week but didn’t get any better. So I prayed and put some water on him. As it turned out, he recovered. Because of this, many came to the Lord. Even those with sores believed, and got well. In the summer of 1988, my brother’s mother-in-law came and asked me to believe in the Lord, but I didn’t want to listen. She brought a believer and spent a night in my house, asking me to go to the worship. I called my brother’s mother-in-law Aunt Zhang. She had asked me to go to Zhongxiang to worship. It was too far away; I wouldn’t go. In January, 1989, they brought Sister Gaoyuan, Aunt Zhang and Ailian along, who preached to me in my room, asking me to go to the worships. I didn’t go. I don’t remember why, but I went to Wuhan.
On January 30th, a brother was down with a stroke. I had prayed for him in my house, where he got well and rode his bike home. His family members forbade him to believe, but I asked him to believe anyway. He had been taken to me on a bike. Later he got well, and rode his bike home. On arriving home, he tore all the bodhisattva pictures to pieces. (We were believers; so we asked him not to worship the bodhisattvas.) He just tore them like that. That very afternoon I went to treat other people’s illnesses and drive out demons. There was this person with a bad headache, and I went to pray for him. We two sisters went, and cured him.
He came for that reason too. He could read, so he taught me the lyrics, for you sing praise songs in the three-self church. After that, we grabbed something to eat. He had been talking to us, but all of a sudden he just dropped dead. We had no idea he was dead. They even prayed for him bare-footed. We were really fuddle-headed, for we said to ourselves that King David had gone to the mountains to pray bare-footed. Sister Zhengfeng (It was kind of cold by then.) even took her shoes and socks off. But that man never woke up. The entire production brigade (group one and group two) all swarmed in; there were several hundred people, both little children and adults. His father came too, kneeling under my eaves. Then he climbed onto the eaves, crying out loud, “Lord, Lord, please raise my son!” He looked as if he wanted to go up into the heavens but couldn’t. That man was dead, but I didn’t feel too much of a loss. I would follow the Lord no matter what, even if they say he died because of me. Later they took the body away, but I didn’t see it. In the evening Sister Zhengying and I went to his house. A shelter had been set up. They were putting some clothes on the body, so I brought a coat along too. My family was real poor too, but I brought stuff to his house anyway. His grandma was well over seventy, whom I took hold of, and said, “Granny, please don’t turn away from the Lord because your grandson’s dead.” She said, “My goodly grandson is dead! What do I need the Lord for?” She struck the two of us with her stick. We hid in a dark corner and prayed, where she couldn’t see us. We prayed for three days at home for this. Then I went to Wuhan. Before I left, I went to Aunt Zhang, whose son-in-law was my brother. We were close relatives. She was acquainted with people in power out there. I was going to ask her for help, since that man was dead. We were thinking about seeking justice from her. She was a believer too, but I didn’t know anything about their following the Lord. She had asked me to worship, but I didn’t go with her.
I went to her first this time, for I was afraid that she might be angry with me. She held my hand, and said, “Why are you going to the official church?” Actually I had brought Zhou Guangtai and Xianye along, who had been attending the official church. We told him about this, who said we had followed the wrong faith. We wouldn’t listen to him, and left. Then we headed for Wuhan. We had just sold a pig and got only 80 RMB, with which we would take the train and pay for our living expenses. Only 80 RMB! What was more, we didn’t have any grub for days, for we had been fasting. Our lips were parched! The reason why we were going to Wuhan was that we wanted to be baptized, so that we could be ready for heaven. Here when you come to the Lord, you needed to be baptized, and that would be enough. On arriving there, we went for the pastors in Wuchang. We had looked for them in Wuhan. The pastors preached to us for two hours. We wanted to be baptized, but they wouldn’t baptize us. I told him (Pastor Li) what had happened to me. I had thought that he was a pastor, who surely knew more than we did, and could give us justice that we deserved. So we said to him about how that man died and his folks were accusing us of killing him and so on. I was trying to seek justice there. But he just added one more straw to the camel’s back, saying, “You had suffocated him by putting your hand on him.” I was so mad that I didn’t care to say anything anymore. There had been several sisters there. They were worried even this thing didn’t happen in their homes. But it happened in my home! I was worried all the more! My sister-in-law, by youngest brother’s wife, for whom I had been taking care of the child (he was only five years old) for six months, was going to the court. My father’s folks were also going to the court. When I got Jingmen, I went again to Wangji. After I got off the train, I went to Huji for Hu what’s-her-name, who was also a priest. After I got there, I found that they had no place to live either. They had purchased several houses, which served as an inn and a gathering place (they wanted to make money). I felt upset when I went there. I thought of nothing else. To me everything was over. I might as well just jump off the train and get killed for it. I didn’t even want to go back. As it turned out, Ailian, Gaoyuan and Aunt Zhang had stayed my house for three days. I was away for Wuhan for three days, and they waited for me for three days. It was the wonderfulness of the Lord; it was the day of His election. After I got back, still I was afraid to go home. So I hid in Yuan Guohua’s house, who was an accountant. There were several hundred believers in the three-self church. Guangtai was the leader, while Yuan Guohua was the second in position. I was treating people’s disease, driving out demons and serving others, which would make me the third in position. Seeing that those people were at me, Guangtai kept away from them too. They were going to sue him too, so he hid. I was bolder than him, so I said, “Let’s call a spade a spade. I don’t think anything can be too bad for us Christians to bear. Guangtai, you are not going to jail. If you are afraid, I will go to jail in your place. I would take the handcuffs off you and out them on me.” I was supporting him. In the meeting he even gave me praise. I still stayed there and didn’t go back.
When I got back, Sister Gaoyuan and the others had been praying there for us for three days. She didn’t have anything to eat either, so I went out to get a pig. My daughter was reading in the room, and I called her out to take hold of the pig. They had gone to school, and the pig had run out. They were afraid to get him, for they were strangers here. The pig was nowhere to be found either. We weren’t home, having this big trouble. They stayed in my house for three days. I opened the door, threw my padded coat onto the chair, and said, “Let’s pray,” for I was still zealous for the Lord. Aunt Zhang smashed at the table and said, “Hu Zhengying, what good can come from your prayers? You had prayed till a man died! I had been waiting here for three days. There isn’t any rice or flour in your house. I just grabbed a handful of flour to make some paste for Gaoyuan. I had left my house just because of you!” She had come to preach the gospel to me. She scolded me for some time. I lowered my head and listened to her, for she was a senior in my family. They said a lot that night, from Genesis on till how the Lord Jesus gave up His life to save the sinners. I said, “You sing ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, and I sing the same thing too. What’s the difference? You are just nagging for nothing.” I was just stubborn. In the end Sister Gaoyuan was angry with me, and Ailian shed tears beside her, right in my shabby living room. I said, “What is she crying for? I didn’t cry even when there was a dead man in my house.” My heart was really hardened. The next morning, I didn’t know why—maybe I was in fear—but I think God touched my heart. I grabbed a bite. They began to preach to me from morning till noon. I said, “Enough. Stop it. I don’t understand all this. I can’t read! I have grown indifferent. I’ll call Xuegui and other people to talk with you.” They said to themselves that finally their words took effect. So they said, “Great! We’ll wait here.” They had been about to leave. I said, so you are taking this seriously? I had been zealous anyway. So I called five people, including Xuegui and Hu Zhengfeng. They preached to us, which did make sense. What they said was right. I didn’t know they had prepared a “life meeting” for us. I said, “Do you still give baptisms?” They said, “Yes.” I thought, it was so good that we got this chance to be baptized. We would leave right after we got baptized. She said, “We can baptize you soon.” Wow! I said, “That would be great!” What they had said was a piece of good news to us. We had been in Wuhan for days, but failed to be baptized. So we asked them to take us to the “life meeting”.
God did His work in me. Gaoling held this “life meeting,” which took place in the east side of the river. There weren’t any bridges at that time. So Aunt Zhang told us to bring rice along. We were truly zealous for the Lord, and cared for nothing but God’s house. She asked me to bring some rice. I said that we from the three-self church were really zealous. They had said that each person should bring two liters of rice, but we brought almost one dou, which we carried on our bikes to Zhongxiang. Zhongxiang was far away from here. Later we came to the west side of the river for the “life meeting.” After a couple of days, Xiaohong asked me, “Have you been saved?” while kneeling in prayer. I said, “Of course! I had been saved before I came.” She said, “Why have you come then? How were you saved?” I said, “After I prayed, sick people just got well! That means I have been saved, doesn’t it?” In the first couple of days, I didn’t feel a thing; neither did I that night. But the others were all crying their hearts’ out. I said to myself that I should cry too, since the Lord had given up His life for me. I felt greatly troubled and painful. On the third day, the meeting was about to be over. I was seized by the Holy Spirit so I cried till I rolled on the ground. I was heartbroken. If I cried, I would cry with more sadness than others. If I laughed, I would laugh more happily than others. I really had a good cry that day. They asked me if I was saved. I was in a trance and didn’t know anything about being saved. All I felt was joyfulness. I had no idea what “being saved” was like. Are you asking why I cried? For the blessings I had received. The Lord had suffered a horrible death on the cross for me. For the sinners He had laid down His life. Only when the Holy Spirit was in me could I cry. After I cried, I just poured out confessions of all my sins before the Lord. After I got back, I looked at the fig trees and found them somewhat different.
After I got back that day, the teacher prepared baptism for us. After the “life meeting” was the baptism, which took place in Guanzhuang Village. God willing, we returned home right after the baptism, for He knew our needs. I cared nothing for my family or my children at school, for I was overjoyed. God had saved my life! I went to Shipai to proclaim the good news. We also preached to Aunt Gao in Liji. We were running about, even to Jingmen. We went on night and day. We were blessed with the gift of powerful prayers. We were here and there all the time, kneeling in prayers. There were brothers and sisters who went to Liji and got back late at night only to return to the work the next morning. We spent the night on the road. After walking for some distance, we would kneel down to pray. It was this zeal we had€¦ The key was to live prayerfully. It was not only about the “life meetings” or preaching the good news. One has to keep the need of God’s house in mind, caring not where the believers are. We are all one in the body of Christ. We used our bikes all the time, no matter it was for cutting wood or delivering rice. Everything we had, we shared. We just lived like that. All the brothers ands sisters were zealous, preaching the good news here even without a single person to receive them. They just stayed there and asked everybody to follow the Lord. It was harvest time and everybody was busy. If it were not the work of the Holy Spirit, it would be no avail even if they were more able speakers. I attended trainings for church pillars. After that, I found it more important to preach. After the meeting, we felt that the house of God was in great need. We just went on like this, attending meetings. Seeing the need of God’s house, we co-workers all said that we would dedicate our children to the Lord too. Our children were also in God’s house. What God wanted was not the worst, but the best. The best would be our dear children. How could we let go of the children? God needed the most precious, so I would give Him the most precious. I prayed before the Lord day and night that I could give my children to Him. I couldn’t carry on God’s work with my own strength, for I wasn’t able to do anything. We went through all this in prayers.
The reason why those in power persecuted on us was that we had dedicated our children to the Lord. There were several young sisters who were willing to do so. They attended the “life meetings” and “truth meetings.” No one could stop them. Their parents and all went to our place to have a word with us, and came at me, saying that it was me who had led them away from home. At first we were kind of scared, but the church was our backup. They taught us, “Let them come. Just tell them, ‘Your children have their own free will to go away from home. They are zealous for the Lord, for God’s work, for human beings’ souls.'” Those in power were angry at us. They took us to the production brigade, where we were held to studies, telling us to register to be believers. We didn’t listen to him. After we got back, we still preached the gospel. He said that we wouldn’t stay at home, and that there were many bad things happening, like arson and so on. We cared nothing. We weren’t even worried even if there were a man dead on our account. All we cared about was the good news. In 1995, we had been arrested. We didn’t know why, and had no idea that the police were going to get us. On May 8th, we were caught and jailed in Lengshui for three days. My younger brother, who was an unbeliever, asked me to take care of my mother. When I was arranging all this, I got caught. My brother was going to bail me out with money. But I got back before he got there, so he didn’t pay the money.
On May 13th, I was taken to Zhongxiang to be jailed for two months. My brother sought relationships and paid 2000 RMB to bail me out. While I was still in the jail, I didn’t want him to do so for I was a believer imprisoned for His name. But my brother took money there anyway for my old mother’s sake. He said to me that he didn’t pay any money. In the end he admitted that he had taken the money there, and asked me to pay the debt. This was what my own kinsmen did against my will, since I had been following the Lord. It was because my mother had been living with me that I didn’t get the chance to act as a good Christian. I never listened to them anymore, for it was their idea to pay the money. I would still risk my neck to follow the Lord, running about to serve Him.
On October 21st, things turned out against me. The superintendent came. I handed him a stool and asked him to sit. He wanted to go in and inquire into the situation of us believers. I refused to let him in the house. He was going to kick on our door, so I pulled at him and called to my mother, “Mom, the superintendent is here.” I gave out a loud cry. My mother said, “I can’t walk out.” She was trying to delay for time, so that the co-workers in my house would escape. The superintendent could wait no more, so he kicked the door open. The co-workers were running away into the fields, where the people transplanting seedlings for winter tried to stop them. Many of the brothers and sisters went bare-footed. About seventy of them got away, but the superintendent claimed there were well over a hundred. I said there were just a few of them, and got away. He tried to make a phone call, but I wouldn’t let him. But he went ahead anyway. At the back gate he pointed his gun at the brothers, saying, “I dare you to resist arrest!” But they ran away anyway; only the sisters were caught. I took hold of him and wouldn’t let him make the phone call; for fear that he might hurt the sisters. Then the police swarmed in and blocked the road. Their cars were right in front of my gate. Those people ordered me to go into a car. After that, they rushed into my house to rob. My quilts, oils and food were all taken away; even wax gourd and pumpkins too. All my belongings were gone. In the end they took me as well. The co-workers were going to have a retreat, so they received sacks of some sweaters, shoes and yarn from the church. These were taken away too. The police took over two wheelbarrows of my neighbors’ (Gangjin and Zhiming) and carried the stuff away. Then they locked my gate with the handcuffs. They also went into my neighbors’ house through the back door, and did some stealing there. The house was empty after they left. Rice and beans were all taken away. After they got the stuff for the gatherings, they took away my quilt, rice, sesame, green beams, and soy beans and so on. They brought them over to a production brigade nearby and weighted them. They were over 30 kilos. Tens of kilos of meat, oil, my wok and scissors were also taken away, which I didn’t even know. This was what they did to me. After my son returned, he was very angry. He said, “There isn’t anything evil going on in my house. What’s the big deal about my mother believing in Jesus?” My son wasn’t a believer yet. He went ahead for the Party secretary of the production brigade with two knives in his hands. Those cadres were so scared that they screamed and ran away. Then my son asked the leader of the production brigade for dinner, and told him to look into this matter. He agreed, and spent three days on it. He pleaded with them in the village, and went to the police department to see what they had robbed. He went to the Political Director, who said, “I never told them to rob.” The co-workers had changed their clothes by then, so I washed their clothes for them. While the police were here, shoes and clothes were all taken away, including my clothes hangers high up there; over a hundred of them. They took my son and me along. I went there and came back anyway. My son said to me, “Mother, please don’t stir up trouble anymore, since the leader of the production brigade has settled the matter for us. There are only 10 kilos of oil left to be returned to us.” The Party secretary asked, “What is it?” My husband was too timid to speak. My son said, “Tell him, father. What else is missing?” He dared not speak. So my son said, “10 kilos of oil, in a big bottle.” About four days later, they came back with half of the oil. He poured out the oil, took the tens of kilos’ cured meat away, as well as some steamed stuffed bun. There were oranges and other fruit there, which had been brought here on carts, which they had taken away too. I didn’t even get to see the fruit. The co-workers didn’t get beaten at the police department, but they were caught on the way to Lengshui, where they were badly beaten. They were held for the night in Lengshui. In the afternoon of the very day, the quilts were also taken away. I said, “You have robbed me of my quilts! Give them back to me!” There were over seventy benches, which were taken away. Some of my neighbors also robbed of some along with the police. They had some relatives in Yongping, so they left some quilts there. The police went in a car for his sister and other people, saying, “Are you a believer? You go drag the quilts off.” He could find no way to escape. They were so scared that they didn’t know what to do. He said, “I’m not a believer. I’m not a believer.” Then those quilts were taken to Lengshui Police Department. We were transferred to Zhongxiang, where they took out some clothes for the brothers to wear. Liu Congzheng took out some shoes for us to wear. I took a pair too, and went to Zhongxiang. There were still shoes, quilts and benches taken from us hoarded in Lengshui Police Department. We were told to take one quilt only. He said, “One quilt for each person!” I said, “You have taken away so many quilts from me, and now you are saying one for each person?” The several of us believers took a quilt each, and went to Zhongxiang. I was jailed for two months for I was trying to protect the co-workers and a sister. The brothers were beaten so brutally in Lengshui Police Department that they screamed on the floor on top of their lungs. They were struck with electric clubs. We were staying next door to the brothers, and didn’t get beaten. He said, “Hey, you are here again, old friend?” I said, “Here I am.” He struck them even harder, but didn’t strike me. I was taken to Zhongxiang for the sake of that sister. My brothers all went to ask them to dinner and tried to bail me out with money, but I wouldn’t allow them. They were afraid that I might be sentenced to a couple of years, and that there wouldn’t be anyone to take care of my old mother. She couldn’t see, and I had to bring food to her. They asked people for dinner just because of my old mother. Many people in Jingmen, Zhongxiang and Wuhan were stirred. He said, “Many people have spoken on your behalf. But your church is different from other churches. It is a reactionary organization.” We were reported on the papers in Lengshui. They came back and saw it. So what, I thought, since I couldn’t read. My brothers and sons had bailed me out with 2500 RMB. They were really annoyed and said that I shouldn’t have involved myself in all that stuff. I quarreled with them too, saying that they shouldn’t have paid the money. He was thinking for my old mother. I didn’t do my share for the Lord either; I should have been sentenced to three years in prison. He got me back, but I drove them away from my house, saying that it shouldn’t be me to pay the debt. But in the end I had to pay debt anyway. I’ve been trying to pay off the debt every since. Even so, I would still be a believer and go along the narrow road.
Orally presented by:
April 20th, 2004
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
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