Unbreakable: The Astonishing Faith of a Chinese Pastor

Welcome to the series Stories From the Field,” the podcast that takes you deeper into the stories from our national partners in the national church worldwide. Ron has sat with incredible men and women of God and listened to their testimonies and this podcast is a glimpse behind the scenes of his many adventures. The title of today’s story is simple and I think a little bit mysterious. It’s just Snowman.’ So what do you have to tell us?

Ron- Well, this happened many years ago and I was in China. And we were interviewing house church pastors. This one brother comes in and sits down and he was, well, you could tell he lived in a farming community, let’s put it that way. He had a work coat on, big boots, he wasn’t a city boy, I can tell you that much right now. He was a country lad. So he comes in and he sits down and he had quite a sense of humor. We got talking a little bit about what he did and then somehow in the conversation it was a question of, how did you get into ministry? That is when his story came out which I will tell you. This was a while back and he was pastoring in a village and I’ve been in this village actually, where he experienced this. He was witnessing all the time and winning a lot of people to the Lord. He was a leader in the House Church movement, all of this. The police brought him in one time and they wanted to break him, they wanted him to be an example and what they did, they brought him into the jail and they tried to torture him basically. To break as to where they were getting Bibles, who the leadership were, what his activities were, all these sort of things.

Joy- They wanted the inside information.

Ron- They wanted the inside information that was going to hurt people and hurt the church. Well, he wouldn’t give it to them. This man is stubborn. And I’ve known him for years now.

Joy- How old was he at the time?

<p>prison cell</p>
The police brought him in one time and they wanted to break him, they wanted him to be an example and what they did, they brought him into the jail and they tried to torture him basically.

Ron- I’m going to suggest that he was early 20s, 25, something like that. So we were sitting around and I still remember me asking one simple question, I said to him, Well, did you give in? Did you tell them anything?” And he snapped his head over and through the translator said, Well no, of course not!” Then he went on to tell me the rest of the story. He said they couldn’t break me. So they brought in this professional torturer from the Chinese army. This man came in and lined up all the guards along the wall in the cell where they were holding Snowman and he held up a piece of rope. He said with this one piece of rope I will show you how to torture this man and break him.

Charis-So he was using it as a training exercise?

Ron- It was a training exercise. Snowman was the object of this lesson as to how to torture. So, they took him, this professional torturer took him and twisted him with the rope and his body as he hung up on a beam and they hung him there by the rope and his arms and everything and all of his body was contorted and twisted. He says it was excruciating pain. They kept him there for hours and hours and hours. Finally, they took an electric cattle prod to him and they tried to, shock-induced, serious stuff, tried to break him that way. Well, this was embarrassing for this professional torturer he said finally, what we’ll do then is just put him outside in a blizzard that was going on outside, we’ll put him outside and see how he likes that. So they took him out and put him on a concrete bench, sub-zero weather just with whatever clothes he had on, not even a coat, all wrapped up in these knots and ropes and they thought he would be dead by morning. So they left him there all night and they kept checking on him every once in a while and he was still breathing. They were amazed. Here he is, he lasted through till morning. They called him the God Man.’ That was his nickname in the prison. And so I said to him, What was it like?” I was amazed by this story and I was asking the stupidest questions. So I said, What was it like?” And he said, It was cold, like really cold,” and he comes back at me like you dummy!

So, they took him, this professional torturer took him and twisted him with the rope and his body as he hung up on a beam and they hung him there by the rope and his arms and everything and all of his body was contorted and twisted. He says it was excruciating pain. They kept him there for hours and hours and hours.

Joy- But it’s amazing, it really is incredible.

Ron- Oh it is! They let him out, cut him loose and, oh I remember the other thing, when they arrested him, he was on his bike and they took the bike to the police station. After they released him, he went home and he came back a day or so later if I remember correctly, and he was fighting with them for his bike. He would not let it go. He said, You stole my bike!” No, go home.” You’ve got my bike!” These guys are sort of built that way, you can torture me, you can try to get information but that is my bike! We became friends after that.

Charis- Didn’t they release him because they were just frustrated that they couldn’t get anything out of him?

Joy- I was just about to ask, why did they release him?

Ron- They just thought he was the God Man.’ This was a miracle. And afterward, we got to be friends and he is one of my best buddies now in all of China and he’s the head of a larger operation there. So I said to him years later, Did you learn anything?” He says, Yeah, I was laying there and I think I was near death and God protected me even through the cold,” but he said he received at that time an incredible burden for the church and burden for the lost. In that time when he was being tortured, the pain, the suffering, and all of that, it’s like the Holy Spirit came and ministered to him right at the edge of death and he changed at that moment in time. He changed from a good strong worker to an unbelievable force for the Kingdom. His determination, his love, everything deepened that night when he was on that bench. So he is a good buddy and one of the leaders in China. And here is the other part too, I should throw this one in. One day I visited him in his village, this was a few years back and I was visiting him and his wife. We call his wife Snowflake. And we were visiting in the village and I still remember going and looking in this, oh, it was a house with a wall around it and sort of like a barn, and I had to go to the washroom and I said, Have you got a washroom?” He said we use the barn so I was there with the cattle in the barn and then I went back and we had supper and we were going to go to a church meeting that night. I met his aunt, wonderful lady, and his mom and dad. His dad was 71 years old and had started 70 churches and he still had his bicycle, he got around on his little three wheel bicycle. We were sitting there and I said, Your movement now is in the millions, where did it start?” He said, In the barn where you just went to the bathroom!” I said, Really?” He said, A bunch of us guys gathered there one time amongst the animals and it was the only safe place we could gather and we started the whole movement there.” I said, Wow, that is really something!” So this is God working through the simple things of life. Taking ordinary people, farmers, everything like that, infusing them with his Holy Spirit, giving them experiences that deepen their commitment to God, and then out of that is formed the church of Jesus Christ which is a force to be reckoned with in the world. You can try to torture us, you can try to break us, what shall separate us from the love of God? Nothing!

Joy- You know, it’s similar to a story we told recently in Behind the Scenes” of that Indian pastor in the slums. Just one person with a simple faith but wow, the power behind it! It’s something else.

Ron- We underestimate so much of the anointing and the power of the Spirit of God and we never imagine that people can be so transformed. And we look in the Bible and you look at guys like Peter. You look at Paul. You look at Stephen, stoned to death. You look at all of these individuals in the Bible and you say to yourself, yeah but they were exceptions to the rule. No, they were part of the rule! In other words, that is possible for each and every one of us. To be anointed, to be broken, to become bondservants, to have all this as the same thing God wants to do for us as he has done for people all over the world throughout all time. Therefore, I don’t like people say, oh yeah but that was special. No, it’s not. That is the norm. The book of Acts was put out there not to be a story that amazes us, it’s supposed to be a pattern for what is possible. There is the difference with the book of Acts. The Acts of the Apostles. Actually, the acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles really is what it was.

Joy- So it’s an example to us.

Ron- Totally.

Ron- Okay, well that was great! I love Stories From the Field!” It’s so exciting! Thank you, Ron and Charis.

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