BANGKOK, THAILAND – Three years in the past, 62 members of the China’s Shenzhen Reformed Holy Church, often known as the Mayflower Church, fled to South Korea to flee persecution from the Communist authorities. They requested political asylum in South Korea, however have been denied.
The church is now in Thailand, the place members hope to realize refugee standing, and finally resettle in america. Till then, they face many challenges, together with potential arrest by Thailand immigration police and being despatched again to China.
14-year-old Paul Pan is the son of Mayflower Church’s chief, Pastor Yongguang Pan. He can nonetheless vividly bear in mind how Chinese language police barged into their home church and harassed his mom when he was solely six.
“They took a number of brothers – took them away. I bear in mind my mother, three policemen caught her and attempt to throw her away. She attempt to cease them. They seen she did not wish to transfer in order that they catch her toes and carry her away,” Paul advised CBN Information.
Paul says he was not afraid then as a result of he knew his mother and father could be launched in just a few hours. As he grew older, nonetheless, worry started to creep in.
“I’ve that worry that sometime they is likely to be taken away and me and my sister will go to a different household’s home,” he stated.
Paul is now extra involved about his father, Pastor Youngguang Pan. Pastor Pan led the Shenzhen congregation out of China in 2019, taking them to South Korea in pursuit of spiritual freedom.
They left China due to rising threats towards the church by the communist authorities. In 2018, the communist authorities imposed revised rules that included limiting the appointed place of worship, who may function chief, and the place Christians may legally evangelize.
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Pastor Pan advised CBN Information, “Authorities authorities got here and threatened my landlord. They ordered him to not prolong our lease and compelled us to go away. They posted police proper exterior our residence and I used to be being adopted. Police stopped us in the midst of worship and ordered us to cease assembly.”
Guangbo You, an elder of the church, stated, “The police took me, Pastor Pan and a brother in Christ whom the police beat up. Police persecution was changing into extra severe and we felt the area the place we will stay was changing into smaller. Our solely hope is that our household can stay in a spot the place we will worship God and train this to our kids. For them to freely worship God their complete life.”
After two and a half years, nonetheless, the South Korean authorities denied the Mayflower households’ request for asylum. They then fled to Thailand, the place they’re in search of refugee standing so as apply for political asylum within the U.S.
The Mayflower Church believes that they’re just like the Israelites in Exodus who God introduced out of Egypt. Most Christian church buildings within the Western world assist this concept, however the Christian church buildings inside China suppose in any other case.
Pastor Tim Conkling of China Ministries Worldwide defined the contradictory views.
“The Chinese language home church Christians have a self-identity of being a patriotic martyr. They’re keen to endure and be martyred for his or her religion. So when a bunch decides to go away persecution and martyrdom, that creates some pressure in what has grow to be a cultural and non secular id of your complete home church Protestant motion in China.
Conkling identified, nonetheless, that in the event you examine the e book of Acts within the Bible, the Apostle Paul fled persecution as properly.
“American Christians who’ve a convention and historical past of spiritual freedom and an understanding of the rules upon which their nation was based. They perceive why the Mayflower pilgrims left and got here to america and they are going to be in assist of people that would depart their nation due to non secular persecution to attempt to discover a nation the place they will expertise non secular freedom,” he stated.
Whereas church members nonetheless face restrictions and potential deportation, they benefit from the freedom they must worship.
“I battle with many uncertainties in my coronary heart like most of my congregation. However we discover power each time we expertise how God has been faithfully offering for our every day wants and the way He’s continually defending us from the evil males who wish to hurt us,” Pastor Pan stated.
“Whether or not we go stay within the US or are taken again to China, we’ll regard this expertise as listening to God’s name and persevering with to be a vibrant testimony of His goodness and faithfulness.”