by Xiaoxiao, Japan
From my childhood, I followed my mother to go to the church. However, I didn’t truly feel the ’s presence until I was in the fifth grade. At that time, my mother went to Taiwan because of her job, and therefore, we met once a year or so. As my mother wasn’t by my side, I felt very lonely, having no choice but to speak my heart to the Lord frequently. Unknowingly, I learnt to pray. Every time I prayed to the Lord, I received strength and felt that He was right beside me. Meantime, I prayed to Him for the health and security of my family. I felt indeed peaceful in my heart. When I was in senior high, I went to the church alone every weekend and listened to the message of “God so loved the world” preached by the pastors, which I felt very good.
In 2009, I came to Japan to study. On the first day of school, I met Sister Li who came to my school to preach the gospel. When she knew I was a believer in the Lord, she invited me to go to their church to have meetings. I realized that it was the Lord’s sovereign arrangement and then I jumped at the invitation to go to the church with her on the weekend.
In the church, she took very good care of me and I also treated her as a member of my family. Later, I moved to Tokyo. When I chose a school, I wanted to choose one near my home, but the church was in Yokohama. If I did that, I had to leave the church in Yokohama. Sister Li, after knowing my thought, persuaded me, “You’d better not change the church. This is what the Lord is not pleased with. He wants us to remain in a fixed church. We should be careful, for there are many heresies in Japan. Don’t read the books given out by other churches which set up stalls on the street, lest you are deceived.” It was the first time I had heard of the word heresy. Though I didn’t have much of an understanding of it, the moment the thought occurred to me that her faith in the Lord was stronger than mine, I deemed that listening to her shouldn’t be the wrong thing to do. Otherwise, once I entered the wrong church and followed false Christs, I not only could not gain the Lord’s praise, but would descend to hell. Consequently, I finally chose a school in Yokohama.
During the subsequent gatherings, I often heard the pastors preach that many churches around us were not genuine churches and were heresies. … Having listened to these words told over and over again, I had some precautions and fear toward other churches. I never dared go to other churches to attend meetings and listen to their preaching, and dared not contact the believers in other churches at my will either. Yet when we had meetings, the pastors always talked about giving offerings, exalted themselves and testified that how they worked and sacrificed for the Lord. … I often felt dozy after listening a few moments. Little by little, because I could not rise up early, I wanted to give up attending meetings. But as long as Sister Li didn’t see me at the meeting, she would give me a call and asked me to attend church services. It got to the point that going to the church every time was like performing a task for me.
In order to interest brothers and sisters in listening to the preaching, the church constantly organized us to participate in some outdoor activities, such as travelling, having dining parties on festival and holiday, putting up tents on the hill to listen to sermons in summer, going to the student center in winter, inviting the pastors from South Korea to preach or inviting others to sing praises. Besides, the church also held fetes. Brothers and sisters sent away the things that they didn’t need to the church and then the church sold them and gave the money to disaster areas. When I took part in these activities, I felt they were bustling, but when I returned home, I felt I gained nothing in , without increasing in the least faith in and knowledge of the Lord. Later, because of the busy work, I seldom went to the church.
In 2015, I registered a Facebook account. At the beginning, my purpose was only to put my photos taken during my travelling on the Internet to get others’ envy. Later on, I noticed that many people sent some words of the Lord Jesus in the Bible and sent some videos to encourage others to have confidence. I thought they were very good and then forwarded them. As a result, I got acquainted with Sister Ouyang from France and Sister Guo from Netherlands. Sister Guo always attended meetings and heard sermons on the Internet. So she asked me whether I would like to take part in. I thought: I can’t receive any supply from the church. And I seldom go to the church because of busy work. It is a good way to hear the message on the Internet. Thus, I assented.
When I first listened to the preaching on the Internet, I heard the preacher talk about the society’s darkness and evil: People have been corrupted by Satan and have degenerated to such an extent that they have lost their humanity and can do anything for money. So much so that many pastors who service God do not witness to God and lift up the truth. For the sake of their jobs, they continually call believers for donations, having gone astray from the Lord’s way. They are detested and rejected by God. … It was my first time to listen to such preaching. I thought his preaching was so practical and attractive that I successively listened for 4 hours unknowingly, without sleep. I was glad to know that there was another message to listen to the next day. Hence, I invited Sister Ouyang to listen to it with me.
In this meeting, the preacher talked with us about the inside truth regarding the work of Jehovah God in the Age of Law and the work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. He also mentioned that because the Pharisees didn’t have an understanding of God, they relied on their own conceptions and imaginations to resist and condemn the new work done by the Lord Jesus. God’s work is at odds with the conceptions of man, and the characteristic of His work is new and wondrous. When we face the new work and words of God, we should hold a heart of humble seeking and obedience. … I recognized the fellowship of this brother and thought what he said was reasonable. Afterward, he, by quoting the prophecies of the Bible, said the Lord has returned and He is incarnate. In the , He opens the book, discloses all the mysteries and brings a stage of new work. At his words, I was surprised, “Has the Lord returned?” I thought the Lord is in heaven and very far away from me and only when we die would we meet the Lord. I never thought that God will still return to earth like two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus came to earth to preach, to speak, and to be with His disciples. Thinking of that picture, I felt God is very close to me. While he was preaching, I made notes. After a while, I suddenly remembered as though I had heard of the words “Eastern Lightening” and “Almighty God” somewhere before. When I thought Sister Li and the pastors said that there would be many heresies and false Christs in the last days, in an instant I was on the alert.
At that moment, I was on pins and needles and feared whether I met the heresy. Just in case I picked the wrong church and was deceived, I couldn’t go to heaven. Just then, some Bible verses I had read before came to my mind, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23-24). I was more frightened. But I thought this brother preached quite well and had the ’s enlightenment. Furthermore, his preaching was based on the Bible. What he preached wasn’t like a heresy, a false way. I felt kind of confused and was at a loss what to do for a good while. I prayed to the Lord silently and asked Him to keep me and lead me to learn to discern. After prayer, I suddenly recalled what the brother fellowshiped at the two previous meetings. He once said, “We should recognize the like the wise virgins did rather than judge and condemn it the moment we hear the words which don’t match our personal conceptions. If we judge and condemn it at will, this won’t concur with the Lord’s teaching. Because God’s work doesn’t accord with man’s conceptions, we should figure it out in everything and not jump to a conclusion. …” I thought to myself: Yes. It’s important to discern God’s voice. Moreover, we are on the Internet. Granted that I listen to it, I will lose nothing. If the is the , doesn’t it offend the Lord that I blindly abandon and condemn? I can’t be too imprudent. I’d better listen some more.
Although contradictions and fluster occupied my mind, I still finished listening to his preaching carefully. After the meeting, I asked Sister Ouyang’s opinion of this matter. She had the same viewpoint as mine that we both were afraid of blindly condemning the work of Almighty God and of missing the Lord’s coming. Thereupon, we decided to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days to know on what grounds they testified that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Furthermore, we didn’t want to be those who heeded and trusted only one side.