LIFE IN EXILE
CHAPTER 6 The Precious Words Of God
God Preserved My Precious Pocket Bible
When it came my turn to be searched, I became very nervous. My heart was beating very fast as I stood beside my bed, for I had a hidden Bible. I worried that if it was discovered, not only would my eight years of Labor Reform be wasted, but worse yet I would have no Bible to read. A cadre conducted a very thorough search, examining even the stack of toilet paper under my mat sheet by sheet.
My pocket Bible was my treasure. Though of the smallest print, it was still too big to be easily discovered. As a man of caution, I had earlier taken it apart into five booklets. I wrapped one of them with plastic paper to protect it from sweat and carried it in my pocket, reading it whenever the opportunity arose. I kept the other four booklets in the most inconspicuous spots in my luggage, and replaced the section that I had finished reading with one of them.
To make a long story short, the Lord had wonderfully guarded them so that none of the booklets was discovered. After the cadre had searched my bed, I let him search two large traveling bags with no Bible inside. The things that had been searched were placed on one side. One booklet was hidden inside a pair of socks in the small travel bag. When I noticed that the cadre was getting a bit tired and listless, I kicked the small bag to the side of the searched items. That way, I evaded one raid. Another booklet was hidden among the national food coupons which were given to me by an elderly neighbor in Shanghai, sister Gui-zhen Ni (sister of brother Watchman Nee). The cadre asked if I had any national food coupons, and I immediately answered, “Yes! Yes! Let me count them for you.” As I was counting, I secretly thrust the booklet into my pocket. Another booklet hidden in the interlayer of my wallet was not discovered – thank God for blindfolding him!
Reading the Bible in the Labor Camp was a very dangerous act that definitely required the Lord’s protection. There was little time for reading the Bible, only 15 minutes during the morning and afternoon breaks. When others whiled away the time, I stayed away from them as I read and memorized the verses of the Bible that I held in my palm. In the summer nights, I sat inside the mosquito net and, in the very dim electric light, read the Bible hidden in between the leaves of the books written by Marx and Lenin. In the winter, I read it in bed under a quilt with the help of a flashlight, limiting the reading time to only 15 minutes each night as I could ill afford to buy the batteries (a pair of batteries cost 52 cents and lasted only 14 hours). Occasionally I took the opportunity on night duty to study the Bible. One time I committed to memory the whole book of Jude. There were few opportunities other than these to read the Bible.