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.
Sources: VOM Korea, ChinaAid, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
During the past two years, The Voice of the Martyrs Korea has been involved in the training of these 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.
Let us pray.
- Ask the Lord for His divine provision, protection and favour on behalf of these church members.
- Pray they will not fear but trust in the Lord and His purposes.
- Prayerfully uphold organisations 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.