“And your usual iced Hong Kong milk tea?”
“Yeah, please.” Grabbing 18 RMB out of my wallet and giving it to the server, I picked up my tray with my mocha coffee roll on it and headed for the corner table.
“It’ll be right up,” said the server as he began working on mixing the milk tea.
I took my laptop out of my bag, plopped it on the table, and fired up my VPN so I could access American websites.
While waiting for the VPN to establish a connection, I took my smart phone out of my pocket and checked the time then left my phone on the table next to my computer.
Within seconds the VPN was connected and I was checking my emails.
It was my phone. Picking it up and tilting it slightly toward me, the name “Rabbit” appeared in bold characters. Hey, XiaJun… read the message preview.
Without unlocking my phone I dropped it on the table and leaned back into my chair with a sigh.
It had been about a month since I had last talked to him and about two weeks since his Eastern Lightning cohorts had come by my apartment to “fellowship”. I hadn’t heard from either of them in the interim and was glad for it. I had recounted that evening to Tam and another friend from church and they had each warned me to stay away from all of them. Not that I needed a warning – I had had more than enough of an encounter with them to let me know they were trouble.
Hesitantly, I finally picked up my phone again and began unlocking it. I was dreading what the message might say.
Would he want to come by my apartment? threaten me with blackmail?
Clicking the message app icon, I saw the message that simply read, “Hey, XiaJun, let’s hang out again sometime soon.”
As innocent as it may have seemed, I knew that XiaoHong and XiaoZhang must have filled Rabbit in on our “fellowship” at my apartment a couple of weeks previous. He seemed to be testing the waters to see whether or not I had connected the dots and realized he was a part of their cult too.
Taking a second to mull over what to say, I decided a forthright reply would be best. Chinese people aren’t direct, afterall, and being in a similar position would feel embarrassed to not agree to hang out. I needed to take a cue from the American playbook and “nip it in the bud” Barney Fife style.
“Rabbit, I know who you are. Don’t contact me again. I can and will call the police.”
Muttering a prayer, I hit the “send” button and set the phone back on the table.
“Hong Kong milk tea,” the server had finished my order and set it on the table behind my laptop.
“Thanks.” Taking a sip of my iced milk tea, it would be a long while before I would realize that it worked. Rabbit, his wife, XiaoHong, and XiaoZhang never contacted me again.
The cult known as “Eastern Lightning” or “The Church of the Almighty God” is alive and, from what I can tell, prevalent in China. Though in existence for quite some time, it was thrown into the spotlight in China in 2014 when an adherent used a metal mop handle to beat a woman to death in a McDonald’s located in China’s Shandong province. Readers can follow this link to an article CNN wrote about the group and the McDonald’s incident a few years back.
Please pray for China. Please pray for believers in China to have discernment as they encounter others that claim to be saved. Pray that despite oppression from either the government or cults, the gospel would continue to advance so that more and more of China’s billions can be saved.
This is part five in a series of posts about Eastern Lightning, also known as The Church of the Almighty God, which is a cult in China that stands in opposition to true believers there.
Posts in this series: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |