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Brother Yun's bold escape from the prison greatly embarrassed the Chinese authorities, and they launched a huge manhunt to find him. From this point on, Yun's ministry in China was finished, because few people dared to house him or to help him in any way, for fear that they would suffer severe consequences if discovered by the authorities.
The Lord soon spoke to Yun, telling him, "Leave China. Do not delay. Your witness for me in China is complete. The people will not accept your ministry among them any longer, for they are too frightened." (The Heavenly Man, p. 267)
The next day, a friend called to confirm this word, that God had prepared a new ministry for him in fulfillment of the word he had been given many years earlier as a young man, "Go west and south and preach the gospel."
But Yun had a problem with leaving the country, because he had no passport. Shortly afterward, another Christian brother who was a businessman felt prompted to give Yun his own passport.
"When we looked at the passport, we noticed another problem. The picture of this brother looked absolutely nothing like me! He was balding and wore glasses. I had shaggy hair and completely different features. This brother was also much older than me!
"Believing the Lord had told me to preach his gospel among the nations of the world, a time was set for me to leave China, and a ticket was purchased from Beijing to Frankfurt with AirChina on 28 September 1997." (p. 268)
Early that morning, after many had spent the night in prayer for his protection, Yun received a word through Proverbs 10:19, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." The Lord spoke to Yun, "When you enter the customs hall at the airport, say only what I instruct you to say."
"I waited in line for my documents to be checked. Finally, I reached the front of the line. I handed over the passport and boarding pass. The officer looked at the picture and then at me, and started to laugh. 'Ha! This photo isn't you! It looks nothing like you at all!" Then he held the passport up for the officers in the other booths to see. They too laughed contemptuously." (p. 270)
The line of passengers grew longer behind Yun as the situation delayed the flow. "It's obvious this passport doesn't belong to you. But even if I let you go, there's no way you will get permission to enter Germany. They'll place you on the next flight back!"
"Incredibly, he stamped my passport and said, 'Go!'
"There was no human reason for the officer to do this. All I can say is that the Lord was in control of the situation, influencing the officer to do His will." (p. 271)
"About ten hours later my plane touched down in Frankfurt, Germany, and I proceeded to the immigration desk.
"When I got to the front of the line, the German officer looked at my passport. Immediately he raised his eyebrows and a stern look came across his face. He spoke to me, but I couldn't understand, so I just stood there and smiled. He motioned for me to stand to the side.
"Three other officers came to inspect my passport. They knew it wasn't mine. They shook their heads and said in threatening voices, "No! No!"
At that moment a Scripture came into my mind, 'The righteous are as bold as a lion.' Proverbs 28:1. With the fire of God in my heart, I stared at the main officer with a look of judgment in my eyes. The officer looked at me, stamped my passport, handed it back, and motioned for me to go!
"It was only by the grace of God.
"I was in Germany! As I sat in a vehicle taking me to a pastor's house, the Holy Spirit powerfully spoke these words to my heart, 'In the same way that I brought you out of prison, and out of China, I will bring one hundred thousand of my children out of China to be my witnesses throughout Asia." (p. 272)
Two years later, at a meeting in Finland, a Christian businessman heard Yun's story. . .
"The Finnish brother said, 'I work for a certain telecommuncations security company. Several years ago we won the contract to install state-of-the-art voice recognition software at various border points around China, including the Beijing Airport.
"Using hidden microphones, these programmes allow officials to quickly match the voice of suspicious passengers against a computerized database containing the voice patterns of wanted criminals. You can be certain your voice was in their database, because so many recordings have been made of you preaching.
"If you had opened your mouth that day in Beijing Airport and said anything, you would surely have been arrested on the spot.
"I thanked the Lord for his wisdom and mercy, when he told me, 'When you enter the customs hall at the airport, say only what I instruct you to say.' He hadn't prompted me to say anything to the officials, so I didn't say a word.
"It always pays to obey the Lord!" (p. 275, 276)
Meanwhile, Brother Xu remained in prison for a few years after watching Yun escape through the front iron gate. Miraculously, after enduring much torture, his sentence was reduced from ten years to three, and he was released in May of 2000. Brother Yun called him on a co-worker's cell phone
"This is your old cell mate, Brother Yun! I'm calling you from America. God has taken me out of China by His mighty hand!
"Brother Xu, with overwhelming joy in his voice, shouted, 'Hallelujah! God has sent you out of China so the Chinese and Western churches can cooperate for the gospel. You will be a witness of the Lord's mighty work in China'!" (p. 277)
Perhaps he was a bit too optimistic. In the year 2000 Yun began to experience persecution "Western Style," this time not from the secular authorities, but from Christians. (Welcome to Saul's Kingdom, brother David Yun!) A Christian journalist in California wrote an article sent around the world, quoting an unnamed "Chinese informant," who said:
"He said my miraculous escape from prison in 1997 was a lie, that my claims of fasting 74 days without food or water in prison were fabricated, that my legs had never been smashed, and that I was not a representative or elder of the Sinim Fellowship." (p. 307)
"In China I had been used to beatings, torture with electric batons, and all kinds of humiliation. I guess that deep in my heart I had presumed that now I was in the West, my days of persecution had ended.
"I couldn't understand how someone who had never met me could write such a nasty article. I complained to my Christian friends, 'Why don't these people call us and read the documents? Why don't they find the truth out for themselves? It's right here for them to see!
"My translator told me, 'Brother Yun, these people don't want to know the truth. That's why they're not calling you or wanting to meet you. In China, Christians are persecuted with beatings and imprisonment. In the West, Christians are persecuted by the words of other Christians." (p. 308, 309)
So what's new, brother? Carnality is carnality, whether in Chinese form or American. Not many of us in America have experienced the outright torture that is found in China and other places. At least not yet. But we have all experienced the sword from the mouths of fellow Christians. Either way, we are called to overcome evil with good. The Overcomer Training Grounds in China and America are different, but no less difficult to overcome.