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An Eternal Paradise

For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel as His special treasure ... Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightening for the rain; he brings the wind out of His treasuries. —Psalm 135:4-7

On September 2, 1986, Li-Man Hsieh was, as usual, sitting by her table studying the Buddhist scriptures, eager to be admitted to the Buddhist Academy.

Her faith in Buddhism could be traced back to her mother's influence during her childhood. After the death of her mother, Buddhist teachings became an even greater solace to her.

She had quit nursing that June to prepare for the admission examinations of a Buddhist convent. Having worked in mental hospitals as well as hospitals for lepers, she felt there was nothing worth a second glance in this tragic life.

"I looked up at the clock," she says. "Nine forty-seven. My heart was calm and filled with happiness. I knew I would soon be freed from the tortures of this mundane life. I would regain the spiritual paradise within me. But, all of a sudden, I felt a force coming from above, sweeping my Buddhist scriptures to the floor. I couldn't help but look up. Then I saw a shining cross with someone hanging on it. I began speaking in an unknown tongue and my whole body was sweating. Yet I remained perfectly conscious."

She did not understand what was happening. She even thought she was schizophrenic. She did not know the One hanging on the cross was the Jesus Christ people often talked about. She had never heard Jesus' gospel.

"Immediately after, I saw the words, 'TRUE JESUS CHURCH' written at the center of the cross. On the left was the word 'Vision' and on the right was 'Great Commission.' On the far left was a telephone number: 3964139."

She did not know what that meant. Yet a great force moved her to the telephone to dial the number. It turned out to be the number of the Taipei office of the True Jesus Church.

Another Kind of Beginning

The Taipei office church secretary Sister Hu answered the call. As Li-Man, confused, asked her questions, Sister Hu attempted to answer, and finally ended by saying, "One receives according to one's measure of faith." After the telephone conversation, Li-Man began to have doubts. But again, she was moved by the Holy Spirit to dial the number. This time, Brother Hsu answered and testified about his experience of receiving peace in Jesus Christ. They then arranged for her to attend service at Taipei church that very night.

"That night, I was in great distress and depression," she recalls. "I thought the right thing to do was to see a psychiatrist, not go to church!" When it was time for her to meet Brother Hsu, she remained in her chair, not intending to go. But the chair became so hot, it was impossible for her to continue sitting on it! "Grudgingly, I went down to meet Brother Hsu. The whole thing was just too ridiculous. Buddhism was so good, and now, a God popped out of nowhere." Trying to sound as hostile as she could, she asked Brother Hsu, "Can I wear slippers to your church?"

Brother Hsu merely smiled and urged her to go and get changed.

Upon recollection, Li-Man feels she had behaved childishly:

"I went to my room, flopped onto my bed and started reading the Buddhist scriptures, intending to ignore Brother Hsu's invitation. But almost instantly, the bed also became so hot that I could not lie on it."

She jumped out of bed, greatly shaken, not knowing what to do.

It was in this manner that Li-Man finally went to church. But the service had already ended by the time they arrived. Nevertheless, a preacher explained to her the vision and the wonderful calling of God.

"Everyone there was trying to persuade me to believe that Jesus was the Lord, to leave my erroneous beliefs," Li-Man says. "But I simply could not accept that in just a day." Instead, she snapped very loudly, "Whatever you may say, I'm still going to join the nunnery tomorrow!"

Back at home, Li-Man arranged to meet some Buddhist friends at the Taipei station at 8 a.m. the following day. They were to go to Fo-Guang Shan (Mountain of Buddha's Light). However, God intervened once again.

Most unusually, Li-Man slept till about 3 p.m. the next day. When she did not turn up at the station, her friends came to look for her. Although they had the keys to her apartment, God did not allow them to see Li-Man, who actually was sleeping soundly on her bed. They even waited until 2:30 p.m. for her to return. Just after they left, Li-Man woke up.

Realizing the time, she panicked. She wanted to telephone for help. Strangely, the telephone broke down. After that day, her Buddhist friends came to look for her several times, but each time she would be sound asleep.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10)

Li-Man remained adamant in becoming a Buddhist nun. Some days later, she set out on her own to buy the tickets to travel to Fo-Guang Shan. However, she sprained her ankle on the way.

By then, Li-Man was convinced that she was psychologically abnormal. She moved to a different house and sought the company of a few girlfriends.

"I moved mainly because I wanted to escape from the concern of the brothers and sisters in church. Little did I realize that instead of drawing closer to my Buddhist friends, my moving served to keep them from influencing me."

Li-Man's injured ankle became the means by which God brought her to church to hear the gospel. Treating the injury cost her all of the little savings she had and she could no longer afford to travel to Fo-Guang Shan. She even blurted out her new address and telephone number to Brother Hsu accidentally. With the concern, prayers, and encouragement of the brethren in church, Li-Man returned to church to search for the Truth.

Each visit to the church would be a battle between two great forces. There would always be a voice whispering in her ears, "Don't go! Don't go!" The Lord Jesus had chosen her that she might receive the peace and deliverance she had longed for. Yet the devil would not let go, and she felt tormented and confused.

This spiritual war reached its zenith when Li-Man was to undergo baptism.

The Lord God Is to Be Praised

In October, baptism would be held during the spiritual convocation. Li-Man was not fully able to submit to God and would not accept baptism. Miraculously, the Spirit of God moved her to agree, and a friend who accompanied her to hear the gospel signed up for her.

On the day of baptism, the devil was shouting in her ears, "Don't go! Don't go!" The noise in her ears gave her such an excruciating headache that she started vomiting and finally fainted. The brothers and sisters in church did not succumb to the hindrance of the devil. They prayed for her in one accord, standing by her throughout this spiritual battle.

Immediately after the baptism, she recovered from her faintness and was all right. The hair-raising voice that had tormented her was gone. She became as bubbly and cheerful as she used to be. Witnessig the change, many people praised the mercy and grace of God and were strengthening in their faith.

Li-Man continued to attend services and prayers, leading a life of spiritual nurture. Although the devil tried to disturb her peace, through the prayers and care of the brethren, she was able to remain victorious.

Today, Li-Man lives a fulfilled life, full of love and hope. She now recognizes that Buddhism cannot solve any problem, either for herself or her family. Only the love of Christ can truly deliver us from trouble and fear.

When she was first converted, she could not part with her Buddhist background or friends. She went through a period of struggle when her friends could not forgive her "betrayal." After days of prayers, God answered her through the mouth of a preacher who said, "Faith and friendship are two separate entities." With that, the remaining struggles within her were all removed. She was no longer doubtful or stubborn. She had found the true path in the light of Christ.

O Lord, keep me with Thee, Thy brightness to know
And Lord, keep Thy true light within me aglow
Lord, lead me onward, worldly cares I forsake
To Thee, O my Savior, this promise I'll make.

Publisher: True Jesus Church