A Christian Sister's Testimony: How God Saved me from a Pyramid Scam
By Elsie Hu, February 10, 2017 02:02 AM
Good and evil, or light and dark, have fought to exist all through the ages. Even though the Chinese government has cracked down on pyramid scams through the "Prohibition of Pyramid Selling Regulations" introduced in 1998, such scams have not disappeared. Instead, they have simply changed their name and continued underground and secretly.
A Christian Sister "F" shared her experience on how an old classmate introduced her to a pyramid scam when she was struggling financially, causing her to fall into it and even move to another city.
The following is Sister F's testimony:
A phone call brought me to the den of evil far away from home
During winter 2007 in Beijing, I was struggling to pay my rent when I got a phone call from my old college classmate "L". Even though we had lost touch since graduation, she still truly cared about my situation over the phone. She told me about her working for a telecommunication firm in Shandong Province. The salary wasn't much, but it came with a good benefits package and the cost of living there was so low that one could easily save a few thousand a month. They were also hiring, so she was inviting me to join her.
I wasn't really thinking about settling down in Shandong, instead I was hoping to reconnect with an old classmate and relax, but as soon as I arrived I was no longer truly free.
After I waited a while at the train station, L arrived with two men to pick me up. She said they were her (and my future) colleagues, and that we should become acquainted. We returned to her dorm to rest after dinner.
I forced myself to pray after realizing it was pyramid scam
I was shocked when I saw L's so-called "dorm," a house sitting in a deep alley with many turns. It looked to be no more than ten square meters with more than ten men and women staying in it. L took my bag upstairs while I sat and waited in the hall. Over the next few hours, L and the other strangers chatted with me and asked if I wanted to play cards.
I realized that something was wrong during that chat, but the door was locked. I felt hopeless, and cried out in my heart to God, "Lord! Am I being dragged to a drug ring or pyramid scam? Lord! If you do exist, please save me!" I had only recently become a Christian and wasn't yet deeply convinced of God's existence, or faith. I had simply gone to church with friends for formality. However, I was helpless and alone there, and I prayed to God repeatedly in my heart.
I forced myself to calm down the entire time L was talking to me, but I was indeed in a pyramid scam ring. I had no choice but to be patient.
I didn't sleep until very late that night because I was afraid, but I forced myself to think about how to escape. At the time I continued to pray to God, asking him to help me escape that evil den.
Every day I was planning to escape, reading the Bible and praying.
The next day L let me "go out," since she could see I was not having trouble emotionally. Even though they let me out, I was still surrounded by 6 people the whole time, like a prisoner under guard or a lamb waiting to be butchered. After many turns and about half an hour, I was forced to walk to an even more remote residence.
I kept my head down along the way, pretending to be depressed, but I was studying the terrain. That day I was taken to another family in the pyramid scam for classes which unsurprisingly were to brainwash people. For the next few days, we would go to different houses for classes each morning, and return in the afternoon where we would remain "imprisoned" until the following day. Three to five people were usually playing cards in the afternoon, and they asked me to play with them, but I asked L to bring my Bible from my bag so that I could read next to them instead.
I began to have their attention after reading several times. At one point a man came over and said that he saw people believing in Christianity in his hometown, but had never paid any attention to them himself. I was reading the "Sermon on the Mount" at the time, so I read the verses from Matthew 6:25-34 to him, which says "Do not worry." After that another person came over and laughed at me, asking where would things like food and clothes come from if we didn't worry about them? I pointed to the Bible and said that our Heavenly Father would provide. He asked me crafty questions then, and with my shallow understanding of the faith I didn't know how to answer him, even if I had wanted to argue with his repetitive questions. When he saw that I couldn't answer, he got proud, and said, "Your belief is not so great after all! Why do you still believe if you can't even figure it out?"
I was enraged by that, so I prayed in my heart, "God! If you exist, please show these people that you are great!"
I saw how scary the pyramid scam is with the arrival of a "newcomer"
A few days later, I was reading the Bible at a corner when I heard them saying that a newcomer was coming. I guessed that it was another innocent person who had been tricked into coming, but when the person arrived towards evening I saw the scary side of the pyramid scam people for the first time.
Even though I was not free, everyone had been OK with me before. However, this person became furious after realizing a "good friend" had tricked him, and was beaten and thrown out the very next day.
L said that the noise might attract attention from the neighbors, so they had to evacuate to other houses to avoid trouble. She asked me to wash up and follow them out.
I thought to myself then that this was my opportunity! I prayed to God for help in escaping while I listened at the door. All I could do then was pray.
God delivered me from the evil den safely
I returned to the second floor quietly and pushed open a corner window. To my surprise it was loose, so I assumed it had been damaged by heavy wind, and had become deformed. Using my strength, I [pushed on it a few times, until it opened. I jumped out, but accidentally twisted my ankle because I was so nervous.
My first thought was that I was out, and I yelled "Hallelujah, thank God!" in my heart. Without even thinking of the noise behind me I ran limping from the alley. I went to another house, and the man there took me personally to a police station. After listening to my story, the police took me back to the alley to retrieve my belongings. The two-story house was empty by that time, both of people and anything that could be carried. They had also taken both my wallet and my phone from my backpack, but my Bible was still by the window at the corner of the stairs.
I returned to Beijing with my Bible. To this day nearly ten years later it still keeps me company. I feel scared every time I think about those times, yet I thank God. Many friends that hear my story say it was just a coincidence, and the lucky ones got out and unlucky ones just sank there, but I knew it was no coincidence. From that new person showing up and getting beaten, the neighbors realizing something was wrong, and the window breaking on its own, everything for my escape was safe and smooth. God had delivered me.
I later told this to a friend with faith and she said that I caused the incident myself. Though the process was bad, God's providence turned it to good. It became a turning point in my journey and faith, and I thank God for delivering me and enabling me to testify of His faithfulness and abilities, just like in Matthew 19:26, "For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible."
Translated by: Grace Hubl
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