In December, we asked you to pray and encourage the Mayflower Church.
These Christian families – over 60 members – escaped China together. Like the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, they left everything in search of a place to freely follow Jesus.
When I met them in October, they were living in hiding. Denied asylum in Korea, they had gone to Thailand in hopes of getting resettled to another country. Chinese communist agents were pursuing them to force them to return, filming church leaders when they met with UN officials and harassing their families in China.
You and others prayed, donated, and wrote notes to the Mayflower Church, and to other Christian children whose families are in our safe houses. Your gifts helped to pay for them to survive (with living expenses) and multiply (with the birth of twins).
In February, your notes were hand delivered to the Mayflower Christians in their hiding place in Thailand.
Then, in March, we got an urgent message. “All 63 members, adults and children, were picked up in an early morning raid on March 30.” Thai police had arrested the Christian families. They could be forcibly returned to China, where they faced severe persecution.
You prayed for this very crisis. As our December letter said, “at any moment the situation may change. They may be captured and returned to China. Or – God willing – they will get asylum in a free country.”
God answered – with a dramatic rescue!
Top officials intervened. U.S. senators and congressmen, State Department officials, and many Christians jumped into action.
One week later – on Good Friday – the Mayflower Church landed in America. They celebrated Easter in freedom.
Thank you! This could only have happened with God. Your prayers and support sustained the Mayflower Church throughout their incredible ordeal – and played a part in an amazing plan orchestrated by God.
This astonishing victory keeps us going.
Few other persecuted Christians will ever get this level of attention. But the Mayflower Church awakens people to the dire threat that Christians in hostile countries face for following Jesus.
The same week the Mayflower Church was rescued:
• Burma bombed villages near our school for persecuted Christians. Our staff and students rushed aid to the fleeing refugees. Will you pray for courage and strength in this unending conflict?
• A Christian accused of blasphemy was released on bail after nine excruciating months in jail. He was reunited with his family in our safe house, but lost his job, and they cannot return home for fear of mobs. Will you pray for success in his case, and a future for these Christian converts?
• Afghan Christians who were left behind are still hiding, cannot work, and are trying to get to safe countries. Will you pray that aid will get to them, and they will get to freedom?
• Christians in Nigeria were mercilessly attacked by Islamists. More survivors are without family members, homes, or means to live. Will you pray for our partners’ overwhelming work to provide healing and skills to survive?
Thank you. Your care for persecuted Christians is saving lives.
God bless you,
P.S. By the time you read this, the Mayflower Church will be settling into life in America. Their example will inspire others – and your encouragement will help other Christians as they endure persecution. Thank you!
China’s Mayflower Church: A Brief Timeline
“We left China at God’s leading, for religious freedom and the education of our children,” Pastor Pan said. “We do not want our children taught atheism.”
Pastor Pan’s church was regularly visited by police as China escalates its persecution of Christians. After Pastor Pan signed a Declaration pledging allegiance to Jesus Christ, officials raided their church and destroyed their school.
In 2019, church members felt compelled to leave China quickly. Two months later, “Covid changed the world.”
The church tried to get asylum in South Korea, then Thailand.
Chinese agents stalked church leaders and harassed church members and their families in China. American Christians, led by Bob Fu of China Aid, worked to get them to freedom.
In an early morning raid on March 30, Thai police arrested the 28 adults and 35 children. Placed on buses to Bangkok, fear spread when an officer said they were headed to the airport to be deported. If returned to China, they would face severe persecution.
The Christians became upset, and Thai police pulled the buses off the road. They wept and clung to their children on the side of the road.
U.S. senators and congressmen, State Department officials, and Christian advocates jumped into action to rescue them.
In Bangkok, the men were taken to a detention center, separate from the women and children. The men shared the gospel with 17 men. “2 souls renewed.”
U.S. officials negotiated with the Thai government. One week later, on Good Friday, the Mayflower Church flew to the U.S. They landed in Texas where churches are ready to resettle them.
Photo from @BobFu4China (Twitter)
“Let us and our children and grand-children in our earthly sojourn not dream the American dream, much less the Chinese dream, but be a heavenly sojourner!”
— Pastor Pan