A Chinese congregation that escaped persecution has found asylum in America.
After suffering from religious persecution in the People’s Republic of China, 63 members of the Mayflower Church congregation escaped and fled to South Korea in 2019 and then to Thailand in 2022. Stranded there while hoping for UN refugee status, all hope seemed lost when Thai immigration police arrested all 63 members for expired visas.
Pastor Yongguang Pan, head of the Mayflower Church, told CBN News, “I was worried about what might happen. I saw the Thai police is different from the Chinese police. If we were caught by the Chinese police, they will beat us. But sometimes, I felt desperate because if we were sent back to China, it will be a lot worse for all of us.”
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Pastor Tim Conkling of China Ministries International assisted the congregation in Thailand. He worried about Chinese operatives possibly abducting them if they had been released from the detention center after paying the fine.
He said, “What we have is a situation that the Thai government and the police are not able to prevent these kidnappings and abduction and them being held for ransom. They will be in a very, very tenuous and dangerous situation. But God heard our prayers.”
“Even something horrible like the group being arrested and thrown into the immigration detention center was still used of the Lord to highlight the difficult situation. It moved the U.S. government to make a quicker decision to resettle them,” he explained.
Pastor Pan said he was stunned with God’s miraculous intervention.
“I was surprised when the Americans said they already bought the tickets and we are to leave right away. It was sort of impossible! I am reminded of the verse in Job that says ‘I have heard about you but now I see you.’ When I got on the plane and leave, I felt like I was dreaming. It reminds me that God is the God who is at work and He will do what He has promised.”
Mayflower Church Pastor Pan and his wife en route to Dallas airport. (Photos courtesy: Freedom Seekers Int’l and ChristianAid Association)
The Mayflower church members received a warm welcome after landing in Dallas.
China Aid, Freedom Seekers Int’l. and other human rights organizations helped them gain religious freedom and asylum in the U.S.
Pastor Pan’s son, Paul, and the rest of the members of the Mayflower Church are grateful for the new life they now have in Tyler, Texas.
He said, “This is a place where people believe in God and they have the freedom of worship and freedom of faith. The freedom I enjoy the most is I can finally go to an official school. I thank God for everything He has done for all of us. He has taken us out of the detention center and brought us safely here to America. And He will let us live in peace and freedom in America.”
Mayflower Church members arrived at Dallas airport. (Photos courtesy: Freedom Seekers Int’l and ChristianAid Association)