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The idea of a unified house church movement frightened the Chinese government, and an all-out effort to arrest the house church leaders was launched. They did not understand that this was not a political movement, but perhaps they did understand that no government can long stand when the vast majority of its people are outside of its mind-control. In March of 1997 a meeting was planned with eleven of the house church leaders in Zhengzhou City, the capital of Henan Province.
When Brother Yun and others arrived, they were met by police with guns. Brother Yun backed up toward a window, opened it quickly, and jumped from the second story. He injured his feet badly when he landed, and there were police waiting below the window. He was beaten and kicked, and the police stamped on his legs and chest with their boots. He was pistol-whipped and shocked with electric batons until he lost consciousness.
He awoke in a holding cell at police headquarters. All of the arrested house church leaders were tied together and beaten with sticks and batons, and they expected to be taken out and executed immediately. But they were instead brought to trial.
At Yun's court hearing the judge asked him if he would try to escape if he had the opportunity to do so. Yun truthfully acknowledged his call to preach the gospel to China and that he would try to escape if he could.
"The judge, court officials, and guards were all furious at my answer. The judge snarled, 'How dare you, you delinquent! I'm going to break your legs permanently so you'll never escape again!'
I was taken to an interrogation room where several guards forced me to the floor and made me sit with my legs apart. I begged them not to beat my fractured legs, but one sinister-looking man hardened his heart and pulled out his baton. To ensure that I would never be able to escape, he struck my legs between my knees and feet repeatedly. He destroyed my legs until I could stand the pain no longer. . . . My legs below my knees turned completely black, and there was no feeling in them at all. My entire body ached and was bruised from head to toe." (The Heavenly Man, p. 244)
From then on the guards called him by two nicknames: crazy and cripple. He had no Bible, but he meditated on the word that he had already memorized and sang loudly day and night.
"Because I couldn't walk, three different Christian prisoners, including Brother Xu, were given the job of carrying me between my cell, the torture room, and the toilet. I was in a separate cell from the other leaders, so we eagerly longed for these brief moments of fellowship." (p. 246)
A prisoner-spy, who pretended to be a Christian, was put in the cell with Brother Xu. One day the spy became very sick. Brother Yun told the guard of his experience as a masseur and asked for five minutes with him.
"The guard had me carried into the cell. When I entered, Brother Xu looked at me with eyes of fire. He nodded his head and started to pray. I prayed for the sick man in the name of Jesus and laid my hands on his head. After a few moments he exclaimed, 'I feel a hot breeze inside me!'
"A few minutes later the guard returned. He asked, 'How is the massage going?'
"The sick man replied, 'It's going well. I've almost recovered.'
"The Lord totally healed that man. To show his gratitude, he used some of his money and influence to give me good food. After this incident even some of the prison guards asked me to massage their bodies when they were in pain, so they started to treat me better." (p. 247, 248)
Even so, this was the low point in Brother Yun's life. His legs were crushed, he was in constant pain, and in order to sleep at night, he had to prop up his legs against the wall until they became numb.
The situation was very serious, because the order to arrest the house church leaders had come from the central government in Beijing. Brother Xu began to suggest that Brother Yun should try to escape. That was, of course, quite laughable. "Your legs are fine," he told Brother Xu, "Why don't you escape?"
On the morning of May 5, 1997, Brother Yun received a vision of his wife sitting beside him. "Have you been released?" he asked her. (She had also been imprisoned.) Her reply was, "Why don't you open the iron door?" The vision ended.
The Lord then spoke to Yun, "This is the hour of your salvation." Brother Yun called the guard to go to the toilet. The guard brought Brother Xu to carry him. As soon as Xu came, he whispered, "You must escape!"
"I prayed, 'Lord, you have shown me that I must try to leave this prison. I will obey you now and will try to escape. But when the guards shoot me, please receive my soul into your heavenly dwelling'." (p. 255)
"It was just before eight o'clock in the morning of 5 May 1997. To the natural mind, this time of day was the worst possible time to try to escape! There was normally so much activity throughout the prison, with all the guards at their posts.
"I shuffled out of my cell and walked towards the locked iron gate in the hallway. My mind was solely focused on obeying God. I looked straight ahead and prayed beneath my breath with every step I took.
"A guard who pushed a button when he wanted the gate to open and close sat at the top of the third-story stairwell. . . At the exact moment I reached the gate, another servant of the Lord, Brother Musheng, was returning to his cell and the gate was opened for him. That morning he had been ordered to sweep the prison courtyard. As Musheng passed me, I told him, 'Wait! Don't close the gate.' I walked through without even breaking my stride! The Lord's timing was perfect! . . .
"There had been a guard accompanying Musheng back to his cell, but at the exact moment he opened the gate for Musheng, a telephone rang in an office down the hallway, and the guard turned and ran to answer it.
"I noticed a broom leaning against the wall in the stairwell. I picked it up and continued walking with it down the stairs to the second floor. An armed guard was positioned at his desk facing the second iron gate. . . Somehow the Lord seemed to blind that guard. He was staring directly at me, yet his eyes didn't acknowledge my presence at all. . .
"I continued past him and didn't look back. . . I continued walking down the stairs, but nobody stopped me and none of the guards said a word to me!
"When I arrived at the main iron gate leading out to the courtyard, I discovered it was already open! This was strange, as it was usually the most secure gate of all. . . I discarded the broom I had carried with me from the third floor and walked out into the courtyard. . . I walked past several guards in the yard but nobody said a word to me. I then strolled through the main gate of the prison, which for some strange reason was also standing ajar! . . .
"Immediately a small yellow taxi-van pulled up next to me, and the driver--a man in his 20s--opened the passenger door. He asked, 'Where are you heading?'
I got in and replied, 'I need to go to my office as quickly as possible, so please drive fast.' I gave the driver the address of a Christian family I knew in Zhengzhou and we drove away from the prison." (pp. 255-257)
Upon arriving at his destination, he discovered that the church had been praying and fasting for a week for his release and that the Lord had told them, "I will release Yun and the first place he will stop will be your home."
Only then did he realize that his legs had been completely healed and that he had walked out of the prison with no help from anyone.