Maybe it was a rip tide, but Sister Mei felt – and saw in an apparent vision – that it was a hand pulling her out to sea.
As she was enjoying the beach in Southern China for the first time in her life, she was daydreaming worriedly about her hardships and prospect-less future. She was divorced, abandoned by the father of her daughter. And she was on vacation at Sanya beach with her boyfriend, who was a married man.
“I had never seen the ocean before,” said Mei, whose videoed testimony from 2013 at the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, CA, is on YouTube. “For some reason, I felt that if I could see the ocean, a lot of my questions could be answered.”
As she was in the water, Mei, whose other name was not given, began to forget about her romantic liaison and began to ponder the meaning of life when the hand grabbed her ankle. Having grown up in a village on the Yangtze River, she was able swimmer, but she was not prepared for rip tides – or the hand, whatever it was.
“My husband left me after I gave birth. On the third day, he came to the hospital for the last time. He just disappeared. It really hurt me,” she said. “That’s how I started to take my life in the wrong direction.”
With “no future, no job, no money, no dignity and no identity,” she hooked up with a married man and agreed to go to the beach with him. She left her daughter at home with her parents. As she brooded over her “totally, totally hopeless” situation in the water, she lost track of the shore and was drifting out to the deep.
“From the bottom of my heart, my mind, my soul, I cried out, Who can help me?,’” she said.
Then she began to be hauled seaward.
“There was a hand holding my ankle dragging me down into the water. I was frightened,” Mei said. “I did everything I could to swim to the shore, but I couldn’t.”
She tried calling for help. That’s when she felt the hand around her throat choking back the words. A man on her right turned his back to her, oblivious to her peril. Another on the left also turned his back to her.
“I could not make any noise.,” Mei said. “My mouth was moving. I was asking for help, but no noise came out from my mouth. The hand was holding me tighter and tighter.”
Now in deeper water, her body began swirling in the torrent. A wave formed over her head. At the top of the wave in the vision was a horrible face.
“The minute I saw that face, I knew it was the devil. I never was taught about the devil, but I knew it was the devil,” she said. “It was huge. It was coming on the top of the wave. It came to me and it said, ‘I’m going to kill you today.’ When I saw that, I knew I was finished. There was no hope. I was dying.”
When the wave crashed on her face, she choked salty water. She was tossed by waves and kicked and paddled trying in vain to reach the shore. She thought of her parents and daughter, Weiwei.
“Mom, Dad, Weiwei, I’m sorry,” she said, beginning to resign herself to death. “They didn’t even know where I was. I never told them where I was, so if I died that day, they would be very disappointed.”
But if the devil had ahold of her, God was on the move also because she had cried out for help.
“Two words came out of my mouth. I had no understanding of what I was saying,” she recalled. “I said: ‘My God.’”
Immediately, the heavens opened and a large dove descended. With no prior knowledge of such things, what came to her mind was that this was the Holy Spirit.
Next, she beheld a vision of a tall man in a robe with an aura of light. He motioned with one hand, through which a ray of light penetrated, drawing a semi circle. With the motion, her entire life was played before her eyes like a video, and the words “deadly sin” appeared when she committed a sin.
“I could not believe I was such a filthy sinful person,” she remembered. Her immediate reaction was she deserved death by drowning, but then she heard of voice of compassion.
“My child you have come back at last,” the voice said. “I have been waiting for you so long.”
In her vision, she was now on dry land, and now out of the man’s heart poured water and blood. She understood this was for her sin.
“I had broken His heart. All the sins had hurt him and had been hurting Him always,” Mei said. “My depravity, debauchery, immorality, my ignorance, stubbornness, rebellion, stubbornness Never for a moment had I stopped. Every sin I had committed was like a sharp knife that injured Him deeply.
“Then I saw the pure love from his eyes just pouring out in my direction,” she said. “Is that for me? The words came to me, ‘Yes, it is for you. I love you and never expect anything back from you.’ I had never experienced such an unconditional love. I burst into tears. Why do you love me? I’m lonely and in pain. Love kept coming to me like waves.”
It was just a vision. She was still in the water in danger of drowning. Then she heard a voice from Heaven again: “Go, help her!” And a man appeared out of no where and dragger her to shore. Once on solid ground, she was trembling and exhausted. She lay down on the sand and slept, asking herself: Who was the man of the vision? How did he know her whole life? How did she get pulled ashore? What was the light?
“That night I met the God I never knew,” she said.
Though she had encountered God, still she didn’t know concretely anything about Him. When she returned to her village, she found and church and asked for a Bible. At the time in China, Bibles were scarce, and so she had to wait some months.
When she finally got a Bible, she read it avidly, beginning in Genesis. Everything seemed foreign, and she didn’t understand. She began attending an English class taught by “Doug,” who included messages of the gospel in his teaching. The genealogy of Jesus and the Trinity were particularly difficult to understand.
After a year, the Bible resonated with her when she finally got to the part of the Gospel of John where Jesus told Thomas to stick his thumb in his nail hole. She remembered the ray of light that shot through hand of the robed man in the vision at the beach.
She finally received Jesus into her heart.
Seven years later, Mei had the opportunity to come to the United States. She currently resides in Los and and works in a missions organization for Africa. She married, and her husband works for the government, she said. Based on the information provided in the video, she is approximately 40 years old.
This article first appeared on God Reports.