Skip Navigation

Days of Wandering at the Hsiaolin Riverbed

In 1980, the Kuomintang (KMT) regime plundered Mount Zion and ejected her inhabitants, scattering them all over Taiwan. On December 13, 1980, the three families of Tan and Liu, whose registered permanent residency was on Mount Zion, planned to return for the annual census. However, they were barred entrance at the Hsiaolin Police Checkpoint, and had no choice but to temporarily pitch up tents and live at the nearby Hsiaolin Riverbed—the only “refugee camp” in Taiwan—“free China.” The Hsiaolin Riverbed was a sandbar in the middle of a river. It was not a place for people to live. Whenever it rained, the river would turn murky, cutting off their only source of water. Poisonous snakes and insects would often frequent the riverbed. There, the people of Zion had to endure the scorching heat of the day, the bitter cold of the night, and even killer flash floods. To make matters worse, the KMT purposely built a dike upstream, directing the floodwaters to their tents. Living at the Hsiaolin Riverbed was perilous and full of afflictions.

In June 1981, Prophet of All Nations Elijah Hong and the Grace of Jesus Christ Crusade determined to live at the Hsiaolin Riverbed with the people of Zion to partake in their sufferings. Upon seeing this, New Testament Church Christians from around the world were also motivated up to come and visit the people of Zion at the riverbed. Christians from Tahiti, Canada, North America, England, France, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia made special trips by plane and fought together for their return to Zion. At that time, God used a historical film, Exodus, to reveal to us that the spiritual M.V. Exodus (also known as the “Motor Vessel Exodus”) of the 80s had appeared at the Hsiaolin Riverbed. This film was based on a true story about the Jews’ return to Palestine, the Promise Land, in the 1940s. Inspired by the film, the people of Zion erected an iron frame symbolizing the smokestack of the spiritual ship, and hoisted up a banner which read, “M.V. Exodus to Zion.” This was a proclamation that those aboard this ship were all warriors who vowed to return to Zion.

The KMT was uneasy upon seeing the determination of the people of Zion in returning to Mount Zion, their home. Therefore, they employed more brutal tactics to drive the people of Zion out of the riverbed. During the wee hours of August 26, 1982, hundreds of armed policemen suddenly stormed into the riverbed, barging into the tents of the tent-dwellers, and dragged them out for interrogation. On August 31, they forced their way into the riverbed once again and razed all the tents to the ground. Nevertheless, the Tan and Liu families refused to yield to their atrocities and continued to stay at the riverbed with sunshades as their shelter. However, the KMT went as far as to tear down these sun umbrellas, accusing them to be “illegal structures.” Notwithstanding the attacks, the people of Zion fearlessly proclaimed to the KMT, “You may behead us and shed our blood, but we will never give up returning to Zion!” Moreover, they lifted up a banner, which declared, “Not For Fame, Nor For Gain, But For Truth and Righteousness.” For the sake of returning to Zion, the people of Zion disregarded their lives. In like manner, groups of saints throughout Taiwan and from around the world came to the riverbed every Sunday to fight this battle together.

Finally, the KMT made up groundless charges against the Tan and Liu families, accusing them of “unlawfully occupying the riverbed.” They imprisoned the heads of the three families for six months, and consecutively locked up seven family members for the next six months. Group after group was thrown into prison until the remaining six family members were also given six-month sentences. At this point, apart for two little children, all the members of the Tan and Liu families were imprisoned. The people of Zion truly fought against the evil regime to the very end, using up every available soldier. Finally, after all the imprisonment, on April 1, 1985, the Holy Spirit led the Tan and Liu families to take this case to the streets, holding up banners, and demanded for justice to be executed. They vowed to never give in and fought despotism to death. With such head-on determination, in the following year, the New Testament Church prevailed over the KMT and returned to Zion in victory!