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Steven’s Amazing Adventures,
(A Story about the End Times
with Messages from God)
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PART 38: ◼ “The Underground Base” //
- Vietnam -
In Chapter 37, Yong Tang, a young Chinese soldier, and a platoon of imperial Chinese PLA soldiers were searching for Christians in a jungle-covered region of Vietnam. Their goal was to either capture or kill them. Already, they had killed an old Vietnamese man, who had been martyred for his faith in Jesus.
(Read about this in Chapter 37. Right click link and select "Open link in new tab.")
[* PLA stands for the People’s Liberation Army, which serves the Chinese government.]
A few miles from the platoon of imperial Chinese PLA soldiers, Hu Zheng, and his three friends were walking down a wispy footpath through a dense region of the jungle. Quang, a 44-year-old Vietnamese man, led the way at the head of the group of Christians. Cheng Yuan, a 42-year-old Chinese man, followed him, chatting about various things such as the weather and people from the Bible. Each of them carried rucksacks with attached sleeping bags, except for Sheng, a former Chinese soldier, who had just recently become a Christian.
|(A jungle. Pixabay. Free images.)|
At the rear of the small column, the two youngest members of the group conversed with each other. Sheng, was telling Hu Zheng, another young Chinese man, about his life as a civilian while attending High School in Shanghai. Both Hu and Sheng were 24 and got along well with one another.
Quang suddenly turned around and said with a look of excitement, “Brothers, I believe I have found a trail that leads to a ‘safe house.’ So, be on the lookout for anything that seems suspicious or that stands out to you.”
“What are we looking for?” Sheng said, curious.
They were walking along a hill which had a gentle slope. Dense foliage and thickly-clustered trees covered its slopes, making it impossible to tell whether or not someone was watching them from behind a screen of dense, jungle foliage.
“There is a cave system under our feet,” Quang said. “And, there are several secret entrances into it near this hill or in this hill. Now, they may not be so secret anymore, but they are tricky to locate. So, step carefully and keep your eyes open to look for anything that seems unusual, such as a trap door, or a cluster of rocks, or an earthen mound.”
“You mentioned a trap door. Who concealed the cave system and how?” Hu said.
A grey-headed parakeet ruffled its feathers and chirped loudly from a branch midway up a Kapok tree, causing Hu to look up toward the bird. Then, he quickly returned his attention to Quang.
|(Underground tunnels in Vietnam. Click for source.)|
“Long ago, Vietnamese communist forces, called the Vietcong, built underground tunnels and supply networks in the jungles of Vietnam,” Quang said. “They found a cave system and filled the entrances with rocks and dirt. Over the years trees and vegetation have grown up in the piles of dirt they used to conceal the natural cave entrances. The only way into the cave system now is by way of tunnels that the Vietcong have dug. These tunnels emerge from the subterranean complex in a number of concealed entrances. So, we need to look out for these entrances.”
“That is very interesting. How did you know about this underground cave system?” Sheng said.
“When I was helping Christians escape from China, and from Laos, and from other countries,” Quang said, “God spoke to me and led me to a temporary place of safety located deep in the jungle away from where most Vietnamese ever go. It is completely hidden from the Chinese and their communist puppet states, who now control all of Southeast Asia.”
“So, are you the only one who knows of this place?” Hu said.
“No. I met other Christians hiding in the underground network, but none of them remained there for more than a month because it is a temporary place of safety. God has provided cities of refuge in the jungle, which are entirely safe, and no enemy soldiers or hardened non-Christians can go there, for these cities are protected supernaturally by God’s angels.”
“When were these cities built?” Sheng said.
“A couple years ago,” Quang said, “some Christians from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand were led into the jungle where they met a group of thirty men who appeared to be of Vietnamese ethnicity, but the Christians believe they were angels in disguise. These thirty men aided the Christians in building a town and assisted them in clearing some trees so that buildings could go up. Then, these thirty men came in with some strange technology and began constructing sewage systems and separate water systems for a city.”
“You said that these men were angels?” Sheng said, perplexed. “How can angels appear as humans? Weren’t those men just other Christians?”
A chirping sound drew Hu’s attention to another tree, which was across from the Kapok tree where he saw the grey-headed parakeet. As Hu gazed up this other tree, he spotted a small bird ‒ a little bronze cuckoo ‒ lodged in one of the branches. Hu didn’t know the bird by sight, but it’s chirping sound gave the jungle a more pleasant quality.
“The elders of this city of refuge told me that those men were unusually strong,” Quang said as he flexed his right arm, dramatically. “They could lift a 200 pound rock as if it weighed only 20 pounds. Yet, these men did not look especially strong. They didn’t look like weight-lifters. And, these strange men were exceptionally smart. They could conduct many complex mathematical equations in their heads, without the use of computers or calculators. And, all of them had those unique abilities. Plus, none of them told the elders where they came from, except that they were sent by God to help the Christians build a city.”
“That’s strange,” Sheng said.
“Later, more men began showing up from the jungle to assist the original thirty in their construction of a city that would hold up to 2 million people.”
“Two million people? That seems too large for being concealed in a jungle,” Sheng said, bewildered.
“I know, but I will explain about that later. So, when the elders of this city of refuge told me these things, at first, I found it hard to believe that angels actually assisted in constructing the city, but as I observed the level of technology in the city and saw how it was neatly arranged, I began to realize that the Christians didn’t have the training to build such an elaborate and technologically advanced city. Some might have such skills, but the men from the jungle, who would not tell us what country they came from, certainly knew what they were doing.”
“Is this real?” Sheng said, skeptically.
“It certainly is. I saw it with my own eyes,” Quang said as he looked at Sheng’s face. “Once the sewage and utility systems came in, thousands of men entered the town from the jungles and began constructing intricately-arranged stone streets. Then, houses, shops, and five-story apartment buildings began popping up in an orderly fashion along the new streets. That is what the elders of the city told me.”
“Where did all the building materials come from?” Cheng said.
“The men from the jungle brought neatly cut timber, stone blocks, and other materials from somewhere in the jungle,” Quang said. “We don’t know how they obtained those materials.”
Suddenly, a dense stand of bushes rustled violently, and the four men turned toward the sound. A bush to the right of their faint jungle trail was concealing something behind it. Fear attacked Sheng and he began to wish he had brought his machine gun with him. Suddenly, a dark shape emerged from the bushes. As it came into the light, Sheng saw that it was a black-crested gibbon, a type of ape. He breathed a sigh of relief. The creature was fairly small and harmless.
Seeing the humans, the gibbon darted off into the bushes and scurried up into a Kapok tree. The men looked at each other and chuckled.
“Let’s keep moving now,” Quang said as he started to walk down the faint trail.
The others followed and continued walking for thirty minutes, covering a distance of one and a half miles, before Cheng said, “Hey, I see something in the trees that is rather odd.”
Hu walked up to him and tried to spot what Cheng had noticed.
Cheng pointed toward a pile of three rocks. The largest was at the bottom of the stack and the smallest was at the top.
|(A dense jungle. Pixabay. Free images.)|
“Could a monkey have done this?” Sheng said.
“No,” Cheng chuckled. “Apes, monkeys, and other animals are not known to have ever neatly stacked rocks with a clear purpose in mind. No, this is man-made.”
On seeing the stack, Quang had left the trail and had hurried toward the rocks. He was crouching down near the ground and feeling over it with his hands. Then, Quang looked up at the group and said with excitement, “Brothers, I found an entrance to the underground network. Come over here.”
The Vietnamese man reached toward the ground and pulled a dirt-covered object from the soil with a grunt. Clumps of sediment sprinkled to the grass as Quang lifted a square hatch cover and peered toward the ground where he found it.
Hu hurried over and saw a square hole in the ground with descending steps cut into the dirt. The descending steps had been packed down hard until the steps were almost as tough as concrete. They continued down into the earth and were swallowed up in pitch darkness.
“Who made this? The Vietcong?” Sheng said as he approached the descending steps.
“I believe it was the Vietcong,” Quang said as he stood close to the hole and peered down into the darkness.
To one side of the square opening lay a corrugated square of metal covered with a thick layer of dirt, which sprouted grass. Once the piece of corrugated metal had been placed over the hatch, it would be very hard to locate. Someone had been there often because the grass around the hatch was somewhat sparse, due to much use. And, the marker stones were only three feet from the underground entrance, making it fairly easy to see.
“Would you like to see the tunnel system?” Quang asked, glancing from one face to another. Quang’s rucksack was on the ground now and the top flap was open.
“I guess so,” Hu said, feeling a little unsure about entering an unknown area deep in the earth. But, he removed his rucksack and opened a side pocket. Searching inside, he found an LED flashlight and drew it out.
Quang reached into his pack and pulled out two LED flashlights and offered one to Cheng, who took it.
|(Black-crested gibbon. Click for source.)|
Then, the Vietnamese man grunted as he put on his rucksack and entered the hole first, followed by Cheng and Sheng. While his friends descended into the unknown, Hu put his rucksack back on. Then, he walked over to the stone stack and selected the two top stones. One at a time, he tossed both top stones into the bushes a short distance away.
The fact that the grass near the hatch was somewhat sparse bothered Hu. It might be easy to tell that human feet had frequented that ground, and the sparse grass might draw the attention of communist soldiers or informants. So, he began searching around for sticks and leaves to toss on the ground near the hatch. Once he was satisfied that the worn ground was harder to see, he hurried back toward the hole.
Then, when he had descended the steps into the ground, and was more than three quarters of the way beneath the surface of the earth, Hu grabbed the corrugated hatch cover and pulled it over his head, shutting the daylight out of the tunnel. Now, no one would be able to spot the tunnel entrance that easily. The grass-fill earth on the cover was good, natural camouflage.
Now in the darkness of the narrow tunnel, Hu pressed the power button and the LED flashlight shot forth a beam of blue light. He couldn’t see his friends on the stair steps. ‘They must have gone around a bend at the bottom of the stairs,’ Hu thought.
|(Earthen steps. Click for source.)|
The earthen stairs descended into the ground for eighty steps. Wooden support beams stood on either side of the staircase at intervals of eight feet and were covered with dusty spider webs containing bits of leaves and dead insects. After descending a few more steps, Hu could tell that the air was significantly cooler than the outside air. The coolness was refreshing, but the air bore a musty smell.
The last step brought Hu into a tunnel that ran perpendicular to the direction of the stairway. In this tunnel appeared small doorways, which led who knows where. Along its length stood more support beams. Hu glanced to the right and left and noticed some flashlight beams to the left, down the tunnel. The beams were shining against the wall of a new tunnel that formed a T-intersection with the tunnel Hu had just entered after descending the last few steps.
Hu hurried off jogging down the earthen tunnel, to the left, leaving the steps behind. The doorways on the right side rushed past him, so he couldn’t tell what lay within those entrances, but at the moment, he didn’t care. His feet were bringing him closer to the T-intersection with each stride, and closer to his friends. As he jogged, his flashlight beam jumped about the walls of the tunnel, and the rucksack on his back thumped up and down, causing him to slow his pace a little. When he reached the T-intersection, he glanced to the right and left and finally spotted his friends down the intersecting tunnel, to the left.
“Hey, guys, wait up for me,” Hu said, breathing a little harder than before.
The others turned and looked his way. Sheng walked back toward him. “I didn’t know you were so far behind us, Hu. I thought you were directly behind us. Sorry to leave you behind. I guess we were genuinely curious about this place.”
The others apologized, expressing their regret that they hadn’t paid attention to what was happening behind them and hadn’t noticed that Hu wasn’t with them.
“That’s okay,” Hu said, breathing a little deeper than normal. “I was just concealing the entrance better and closing the hatch.”
|(Sterling Hill Mine Tunnel. Click for source.)|
On the right side of this tunnel were a few entrances which appeared to lead into small rooms. Hu turned toward the closest one and shined his flashlight in. The room was empty except for a few spiders and insects, which skittered across the floor and walls as he approached. Seeing the insects, he quickly stepped out of the room and back into the tunnel. That sure didn’t look like a place he would like to spend the night.
“Our batteries will not last forever,” Sheng said. “Why don’t we only have one flashlight on and let that man lead the group through the tunnels.”
“That’s a good idea,” Hu said.
“There is no need to worry, friends,” Quang said. “God will take care of us. Even if we ran out of battery power, God will light our way. One of my friends told me about seeing supernatural light, which had no apparent source. He was walking through tunnels in another former Vietcong base and his batteries ran out of power. Well, he prayed to God and asked for light. He needed the light to safely see his way around and tunnels. In a few minutes, something awesome happened. The flashlight suddenly turned back on as if the batteries were fully recharged. I believe --”
Quang paused and felt something stir his spirit. “I feel something that troubles me, but I know that God is the Author of peace. Father God, what would you show me?”
“My son, Quang, I am with you,” God’s loving voice spoke to his soul and spirit. “Communist soldiers are hunting for Christians only a few miles from you. I want you to take your friends deeper into this system and pray. There, you will meet other Christians who I will lead you in ministering to. Keep your ears open to My voice, and I will bless you. And, I the Lord your God and Abba Father have spoken.”
“Thank you, Father God for sharing that with me,” Quang said. Then, he turned to his friends and relayed the information God had shared with him.
After he had informed them, Sheng swallowed hard and said, “I am concerned about what God told you. I know that the PLA is aware that Christians might be hiding out in underground tunnels in Vietnam. So, they keep a sharp eye out for any trace of underground existence, such as smoke from cooking fires emerging from vent holes beneath bushes or freshly upturned earth where waste might be buried beneath.”
“Thanks for the tip, Sheng, but we know that God will keep us safe,” Quang said. “Of course, we will need to be alert and just look to God to guide us.”
“But, aren’t you concerned at all?” Sheng said.
Quang turned toward the former soldier and said, “I sometimes feel afraid, but I give it to God, and focus on who He is, and on what His Holy Scriptures say, and He helps me to receive His peace.”
“That is amazing,” Sheng said. “I wish I had peace like that.”
“You can,” Quang said as he pat the younger man on the shoulder.
Then, he turned and led the group down the tunnel, past the abandoned rooms on the right side.
“I hope we don’t have to sleep in one of those rooms,” Hu said as they walked.
“Don’t worry,” Quang said. “The insects will leave the room if we scare them out and God will protect us from them because Genesis 1:26-28, speaks of how God gave mankind, or the human race, dominion over all life forms on this planet. That dominion was restored to us through Jesus Christ, who paid for our sins with His precious blood, and who offers us eternal life.”
“Wow,” Sheng said. “So, we Christians are given dominion over animals. What exactly does that mean?”
“It means that if a dangerous animal is seeking to kill or pester you,” Quang said, “then, you can claim God’s protection from it and rebuke it in Jesus Christ’s name.”
“What happens then?” Sheng asked.
“It will leave you alone,” Quang said. “I have done that many times, and God protected me every time. One time Chinese soldiers sent an attack dog to kill me, but I rebuked it in Jesus Christ’s name, and gave my fears to God. The vicious dog stopped just ten feet away and calmed down. When it approached me, it did so slowly. I was able to pet it on the head and rub its chin.”
“That’s amazing,” Cheng Yuan said. “God is keeping you safe because you are very important to His Kingdom.”
“Every Christian is important to Father God’s Kingdom. He has no favorites. Romans 2:11 says that there is no respect of persons with God,” Quang said gently to Cheng Yuan.
The Christians soon reached the end of the tunnel. Around a 90-degree corner, to the right, appeared a staircase which descended deeper into the ground. It was surrounded by dirt walls and reinforced with wooden support beams like the first staircase they had descended. The earthen steps, which lay beyond the reach of their flashlight beams, vanished into darkness.
“Where does that lead?” Sheng said, glancing at Quang.
“This is a large base, Sheng,” Quang said. “It was expanded by the Vietcong years after the Vietnam-American war took place. I don’t know exactly where this stairway leads, but I have a general idea of the layout of many of the tunnels in this base. Would you like to go this way?”
“I guess so. Sure,” Sheng said, trying to hide his claustrophobia from the group. He didn’t like narrow passageways underground, even if they had support beams to insure that they were safe. The thought of being trapped underground was unnerving to him.
Quang began descending the steps, and the rest of the group followed, shining their flashlights around. As they descended, a few spiders scurried off to avoid their presence and cobwebs hanging from wooden beams began to cling to their hair. Sheng brushed them away from his head, wishing that the spiders would find somewhere else to build their silky flytraps.
After descending 50 steps, the group entered a tunnel which had three doorways in the left side. The tunnel continued for a length of about 70 feet before it reached a bend, which turned to the right. But, Hu was curious about the doorways to the left. He walked up to the closest entrance and shined his flashlight inside. In the bluish LED light, Hu could see some furniture and other items one might use for an extended stay. The others stopped, seeing Hu walk toward the door.
Hu stepped into the chamber to get a better look. His wandering flashlight beam lit up a crude, wooden desk and stool; a small, metal chest of drawers; a rucksack in one corner; a wooden bed with a rolled up sleeping bag resting on top of several blankets; a medium-sized cooking pot hanging from a bedpost; and some bags of rice poking out of a large, metal bucket. Hu estimated that the room was about 3 meters wide and 3.66 meters deep.* [* Or, 9.84 feet and 12 feet, respectively.]
Wooden planks, forming the top of the desk, had been nailed to a rectangular, wooden frame and sanded down to form a fairly smooth surface. Then, a saw had been used to cut square-sided legs, which were fastened to the wooden frame by some long screws. The desk legs were further strengthened by triangular bracing. A wooden stool, built in a similar fashion, rested beside the desk. As if they were waiting to be used, two sharpened pencils and a metal pencil sharpener rested on the desk beside a scattering of pencil shavings. Hu picked one up and felt the tip. It seemed it had been sharpened recently.
Oddly, a small, metal chest of drawers rested against the dirt wall just a couple feet from the desk and a spiral-bound notebook sat on top. Just as Hu was reaching for it, he heard a voice come from behind him.
“What did you find, Hu?” Cheng Yuan asked as he entered the room.
“It looks like someone’s living quarters,” Hu said.
“Whoever owns this must still be around this base,” Cheng Yuan said as he gazed about the room. “The guy has a bed, some rice, a cooking pot… He’s all set to live here for a while.”
“People live here throughout the year,” Quang said from the entrance behind them.
“Is there a place for us to stay here?” Hu said, turning back toward the entrance where the Vietnamese man stood.
“We can certainly stay here,” Quang said. “But, come, let’s go further down the tunnels.”
While Hu was still curious about the room, he was also interested in what else the base had to offer. The group of four continued down the tunnel, with Quang in the lead, and followed the bend to the right into a new tunnel. Like the tunnel they had just left, this tunnel also contained rooms, but the group of four walked past them without bothering to peek inside.
One quarter of the way from the end of the tunnel, it went from dirt to limestone and became slightly narrower and a several inches shorter. Now, the tunnel wound through the rock in a path that wasn’t perfectly straight. Someone had painstakingly cut through the rock with pickaxes, drills, and dynamite. Hu guessed it was the Vietcong or people like that who had constructed this tunnel years ago.
Then, as they neared the end of this limestone tunnel, Quang turned back toward the group and grinned.
“We have reached the cavern system,” he said with some excitement.
Quang stepped through the end of the tunnel and turned to the right. As he did, Cheng Yuan gasped and said, “This is impressive.”
“What is it?” Sheng said from behind Cheng Yuan. He couldn’t see what Cheng Yuan was seeing.
|(Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Click for source.)|
Cheng Yuan then passed through the entrance and, as the opening was now unobstructed, Sheng’s mouth opened with awe. Before him, through the limestone entrance, a magnificent sight appeared. A fairly large cavern spread out before his eyes. Stalactites dotted the cavern ceiling which was covered in glowing, blue dots. It looked like a field of blue stars in a clear night sky, but it was all underground.
They were on a rocky slope above the floor of the cavern. In his flashlight beam, Sheng saw Cheng Yuan and Quang slowly walking down the slope toward a small river or a large stream, which rushed through a riverbed in the cavern floor, and dashed around stalagmites, which shot up toward corresponding stalactites in the ceiling. Some large, narrow, jagged boulders rested here and there and made Sheng think of stone trees in a strange forest. Others were wide and flat and resembled tree stumps. Sheng began walking down the slope, but stopped and turned back toward the opening he had come through.
He had heard a sound of a small rock clattering and bouncing as it tumbling down the slope.
|(A cavern. Click for source.)|
“Sheng, what is this place?” Hu said while a small rock he had accidentally dislodged tumbled past Sheng.
“It’s some kind of cavern,” Sheng said.
“What are those?” Hu said, pointing at the glowing blue dots on the ceiling.
“I have no idea,” Sheng said.
Walking halfway down the slope, Quang turned toward the younger men and said, “Those glowing dots are the bioluminescent larvae of fungus gnats. They produce chemicals which create the bluish light that you see.”
“That is amazing,” Hu said. “What an awesome Creator God is.”
“He surely is,” Cheng Yuan said.
“Let’s keep going,” Quang said as he led the way through a course that wound through stalagmites a few yards from the gurgling underground river.
Their flashlights swept across the mineral formations and darted about the cavern as the explorers beheld the marvels which God had created.
After a few minutes had passed, they arrived at a narrow opening in the side of the cavern. It was only large enough to squeeze through, but one had to stoop down to enter. Quang entered and the others squeezed in to follow him. Sheng stood back, and hesitated as his three friends passed through the natural tunnel. He felt somewhat claustrophobic earlier, but now his fear of tight or enclosed spaces became stronger. He backed up and swallowed.
“Sheng, are you okay?” Hu said from within the tunnel as he looked back toward his friend.
“I’m okay. I just feel a little claustrophobic,” Sheng said.
“That’s too bad,” Hu said. “But, if you come this way, you will soon be through. I can see a large cavern on the other side.”
“I’m not sure about that,” Sheng said.
“You will be perfectly fine,” Hu said.
At last, Sheng sighed and said, “Okay, but I want to get out of this cave soon. I don’t like caves or narrow tunnels.”
He stepped into the tunnel and squeezed through and ducked his head to avoid uneven lumps in the tunnel ceiling. In a short time, Sheng emerged into another cavern, which was enormous, and saw that it was occupied by people other than his small group. Spread around the large cavern in all directions were tents of all shapes and sizes, which were all illuminated by a light that had no apparent source. Seeing the light, Sheng and the rest of the group turned off their flashlights to save on their batteries.
Dozens of Asian men and women appeared in his view. Some were attending pots of food cooking over small fires. Others were repairing tools. A few children played a game of tag in a large open area not far from an unused fire pit, which was surrounded by wooden benches.
“What is this place?” Sheng said as he gazed at the sight.
Here and there were a few stalagmites rising up from among the tents. Corresponding stalactites pointed down toward the conical mineral deposits on the cavern floor. Sheng imagined them as being teeth in a giant’s mouth.
As Sheng was taking in the surroundings, a 70-year-old man, wearing a dark green changshan tunic, approached Quang and gave him a slight bow, in greeting. Quang returned the bow and smiled at him. Then, the older man placed a hand on Quang’s shoulder and said, “It is good to see you, Quang, my friend. You brought some friends with you, I see.”
“I have by God’s divine protection and blessing,” Quang said. “If it wasn’t for God’s protection, we wouldn’t be alive.”
Then, the older gentleman looked at Sheng, startled. “You brought a Chinese soldier with you?”
Sheng was still wearing the PLA combat uniform he had on when he had first met Quang and his group. But, his gun, helmet, and grenades were all gone since he had disposed of them days ago.
“He is now a born-again believer in Jesus,” Quang said.
Sheng stepped forward and bowed slightly toward the Chinese elder. The older man returned the greeting.
“This is Sheng,” Quang said as he indicated Sheng with a hand gesture.
“And, Sheng, this is Guang Yan, an elder from a city of refuge in Asia,” Quang said, indicating the gentleman in the changshan. The long, green tunic ran down toward the ground and stopped just a couple feet above the rocky surface. Brown trouser legs appeared underneath, descending toward leather shoes.
“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Guang Yan said, smiling.
Quang then introduced Cheng Yuan and Hu Zheng to Guang Yan. After they had greeted each other and made a little small talk, Guang Yan said, “Come this way. I will give you a little tour of this cavern shelter.”
Guang Yan led the group down a path which had tents on either side. Many of the tents were thick, winter-style tents, which had rain tarps spread across the ground in front of the entranceways, where muddy shoes would be placed when the occupants enter their tents.
As Hu looked around at the encampment in this large cavern, he realized that the cavern was well lit up by some kind of light, but he could not identify the source. At first, he had thought that there were many large lanterns or spotlights in the encampment, but as he looked this way and that, he saw none. Somehow, the cavern appeared to be full of light and, strangely, there were no shadows. It was as if the very atmosphere of the cavern was made of light.
“This is the congregational meeting tent,” Guang Yan said as he motioned toward a large, blue, rectangular tent with metal folding chairs, which could seat about eighty.
They traveled eighty feet further and came to a tent nearly as large as the meeting tent. Guang Yan explained that it was a storage tent where backpacking gear and other equipment was kept in anticipation that people escaping from southeast Asian countries might need equipment for their journeys to cites of refuge.
“Excuse me,” Sheng said when Guang Yan had paused to watch a young Vietnamese boy pouring chicken feed from a burlap bag into a shallow container on the ground. Seven chickens were greedily pecking at the seeds with stiff, jerky movements.
“Yes,” Guang Yan said, turning to face the former Chinese soldier.
“I would like to see the sun again and get some fresh air,” Sheng said.
“We have fresh air coming into this cavern from several fissure-like tunnels that connect this cavern to the surface,” Guang Yan said.
“I feel like I need to get some sunlight, if you don’t mind,” Sheng said.
“Okay, but be aware of communist soldiers,” Guang Yan said. “I have seen them on patrols half a mile from some of the entrances to this base. I don’t think they know where this base is located, but they are not far off. But, God will keep you safe. If you run into trouble, just call on the name of Jesus Christ, and He will deliver you. He has delivered many of the people in this cavern from communist soldiers.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sheng said as he turned to walk back toward the narrow passage between this cavern and the first cavern he had entered.
Hu turned toward Sheng and said, “You will remember how to come back, right?”
“I have a good memory, Hu,” Sheng said. “I’ll remember.”
With that, Sheng turned and walked briskly back the way he had come. He avoided playing children and wandering chickens as he passed through the encampment. Soon, he arrived at the narrow passage, turned on his flashlight, and squeezed through, reentering the cavern with the glowworms. Their bioluminescence made the ceiling look like a blue field of stars. It certainly was breathtaking, but Sheng didn’t pay it much attention since he was thirsting for fresh air and daylight.
Scrambling up the slope of this cavern, he found the limestone tunnel and again squeezed through the narrow passage. At last, he was back in the earthen tunnel, which was supported by wooden beams. He jogged down the tunnel and his flashlight beam bobbed up and down with his footfalls. He turned the corner to the left, raced past the three doorways in the next tunnel, and scrambled up the fifty-step, earthen staircase. As he hurried up the steps, he began breathing a little harder.
At the top of the stairs, the tunnel turned to the left. Sheng hurried down this tunnel. After traveling 30 feet beyond the stairs, he passed an opening in the right wall of the tunnel, but he kept jogging for another fifty feet beyond the opening. The tunnel kept going straight, but the opening he had just passed looked familiar, so he turned around and hurried back to the opening, which was now to his left.
It was an entrance to the first tunnel he had entered after he had descended the staircase from the surface hatch into the ground. These two tunnels formed a T-intersection. Sheng slowed his pace as he entered this tunnel and began walking down part of its length. On his right hand side, 30 feet from the T-intersection of the two tunnels, Sheng saw the familiar staircase steps, which descended through a sloping tunnel from the surface. This was his way out of the “claustrophobic” confines of the underground base.
If the surface hatch were removed, he would certainly see daylight coming down the staircase, but the hatch was still on tight and no daylight penetrated into the earth. Using his flashlight still, Sheng climbed up the eighty steps until he reached the hatch cover. Then, he gently pushed it up and shoved it to the side, hoping that no one would be spying on him from the jungle. Daylight appeared, along with blue sky, which penetrated through the jungle canopy above. The sight refreshed him, but Sheng remembered what the older Chinese man, Guang Yan, had said about communist soldiers and informants seeking out Christians in the jungle just half a mile away.
|(A jungle. Click for source.)|
With his head a few feet out of the hole, Sheng looked around to make sure he wasn’t being watched. Guang Yan had said they were seen half a mile from an underground entrance, which was likely concealed. After a minute of watching for any signs of movement, Sheng shrugged his shoulders, and thought, ‘There is no way anyone could see this entrance. So, there is no reason to be concerned. Guang Yan must be mistaken.’ With more confidence, He climbed the last steps and set his feet on green grass.
Seeing the trees, jungle foliage, and nature around him gave him a sense of relief. The darkness in the tunnels, the musty smell, and the narrow confines were all unpleasant to him and were all reasons why he preferred to sleep below the trees rather than in underground quarters. He longed to be in a house of his own and to rest in his own bed.
Sheng carefully moved the grass-covered hatch cover back in place over the underground entrance. Then, he brushed his hands together to knock off some dust and crumbs of dirt, and began walking down the faint trail Quang had led them on earlier. He could hear birds chirping cheerfully in the trees as he walked, and the sound felt very relaxing and calming to his nerves. He heartbeat began to slow as he breathed more deeply of the invigorating, oxygen-rich, jungle air.
As Sheng walked, he thought about his girlfriend back in China. She was a non-Christian, as far as he knew, but he wondered if she had thought about Jesus Christ and making Him her Lord and Savior. Sheng had only gotten saved a short time ago and had decided to leave the PLA army for good. He was a wanted man now, or the Chinese government might believe he was dead, since all his comrades were killed in a miraculous defensive action from God.
He and several platoons had been tasked with arresting or killing Christians who had fled into the Yunnan jungle. The Christians were to be either sent to prison camps or killed on the spot. To protect His people and show His awesome power, God had come through and destroyed the soldiers, who were very hardened, by sending fire down from heaven,* because they had sought to kill and torture the Christians who had fled into the jungle. But God had spared Sheng because he was not as hardened as they. He had never actually killed anyone and had only served a short time in the PLA.
[* Read about these events in Chapter 18. Right click link and select "Open link in new tab."]
After seeing God’s power demonstrated, Sheng had wanted to know the God who brought fire down from heaven. And while he was in awe of God’s power, Sheng had realized that Almighty God would only destroy those who were so hardened against God that they would never repent from their wickedness. But, Sheng also wanted to know Abba Father God’s love because God had spared his life for a reason.
As he thought on these things, the time passed quickly and his feet brought him farther and farther away from the underground entrance, and further back in the direction he had come from with his three friends earlier. Before long, Sheng found himself at an intersection of three trails. He didn’t know which to take, but the one to his far right seemed fine, so he began walking down this new trail for some distance.
Suddenly, a bird, hidden by layers of jungle foliage, took off, beating its wings rapidly. Sheng couldn’t see it, but from the sounds, he could tell that the bird was somewhere in the jungle to the left of the faint trail. ‘That’s odd. Why was it startled so suddenly?’ Sheng thought. ‘It could have been startled by me, but I wasn’t making much noise, and I was not that close to it.’
Without warning, some bushes suddenly rustled and a man burst out of them. He was wearing a camouflage combat uniform, a helmet, and a rucksack. Sheng felt his heartbeat quicken. The soldier was aiming a Type 95 bullpup machine gun at Sheng’s chest.
“Raise your hands now!” the soldier said gruffly.
Right click link and select "Open link in new tab.")
[Footnote: The Chinese are not the enemy, neither are the Russians. Both are people just like you and me. But, God will use Russia and China to judge wicked nations, which will not repent from their rebellion against Him. And, the devil will seek to stir up men to persecute the Church. But, God will deliver all who seek Him and trust in Him.]