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Dr. Foley teaching the ''Mayflower Church.'' - Photo: Do the Word
Dr. Foley teaches the "Mayflower Church"
how to Biblically respond to persecution.
Photo: Do the Word

After enduring years of persecution in China, most members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, led by Pastor Pan Yongguang, fled the country in 2019 and sought refuge on JeJu Island in South Korea. These 60 Christians (consisting of 28 adults and 32 children) have been supporting themselves by doing menial labour during the asylum process. Human rights advocates have dubbed this group of believers as the "Mayflower Church" for their similarity to the pilgrims who fled England in 1620 due to persecution.

During the past two years, The Voice of the Martyrs Korea has been involved in the training of these mentioned church members, teaching them how to effectively respond to persecution in the event that they are forced to return to China. Advocates believe that, if the Christians are repatriated, they will likely face extreme punishments – including imprisonment, forced disappearances and torture. Chinese agents have already interrogated members of the church who have chosen to remain in the country. Commenting on the present situation of his group of Christian refugees, Pastor Pan lamented, "There's no way back for us."

Despite various appeals, the asylum seekers' application for protection in South Korea has been repeatedly denied. The church recently discovered that their second appeal has been turned down, prompting concerns that they may well be forced to return to China. There have been various calls on the American government to grant refuge to the group of believers and, according to Dr. Bob Fu from ChinaAid, several churches in Texas have announced their willingness to receive the congregation if the resettlement is approved.

As the Christian refugees and their concerned advocates around the world now await a decision, Dr. Fu remains hopeful: "We quietly await God's great deeds." For more information on the persecution facing Christians in China, go to our country report.

Pray that our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters who are seeking asylum will be granted a safe place to raise their children in the ways of Christ, all the while experiencing His divine provision, protection and peace. May the Lord also mightily intervene within the hearts and minds of the governing leaders involved, moving them to respond with compassion to the plight facing these believers so that the best decision will be made in their favour. Additionally, prayerfully uphold organizations such as VOM Korea and ChinaAid that are advocating on their behalf, as they faithfully continue working to both encourage this church group and seek a resolution. May these advocates receive wisdom and guidance through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit as well.

Current Ministry Projects

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada continues to help distribute Bibles to Christians in the country, making it possible for them to have their own printed version of God's Word. Additionally, VOMC works with various mission partners to facilitate a Biblical understanding of persecution and discipleship, while presenting ways to effectively respond and minister within the context of hostility.

Project Funds: Bibles, Equipping the Saints, Underground Church

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,394,015,977 (July 2020 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Han Chinese (91.6), Zhuang (1.3), Other (7.1)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (18.2), Christianity (5.1), Islam (1.8), folk religion (21.9), Hinduism (<0.1), Judaism (<0.1), other (0.7), unaffiliated (52.2)

Leader
President Xi Jinping (2013)

Government type
Communist party-led state

Legal system
Based on civil law system; influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems

Sources: CIA World Factbook

Pray for China

Pray that the Gospel will be proclaimed throughout China without government interference so many more names can be added to the Lamb's "Book of Life." May there also be a spirit of unity demonstrated among the country's growing churches, further strengthening existing believers and spurring them on in their ministry service and evangelistic outreach within the country's numerous communities.

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