Urgent Prayer for This Persecuted Church!
Update, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022: A close relative in China of the pastor of the Mayflower church received a visit from the state police over the weekend. They escorted her to their version of the NSA. There, they urged her to encourage the church members to return “voluntarily” to China. They told her that Thailand will do whatever China says, that the U.S. will not intervene, and that South Korea is not going to assist the church. So, intimidation tactics are being escalated in China, while operatives who oppose this church are still at work in Thailand, as had been happening previously when the church members were in South Korea.
“Prayer and Jesus are the priorities. Blinken is the conduit for accountability from Thailand.”
Please post your prayer in the comments!
Please pray about a critical and time-sensitive issue for a persecuted Chinese Church currently in Bangkok, Thailand. There are 16 families facing the threat of being sent back to China over the next 30 days. Thai immigration authorities are requiring each church family to go to the Chinese Embassy for a letter of approval before the government will renew any of their Thai visas. This is problematic and will result in each family’s being sent back to China for imprisonment, apart from U.S. intervention. We need people to pray that God would move this immigration mountain. We need leaders who can reach out to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken soon, as this is a crisis giving us very little recourse after Oct. 5.
- Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church (SHRC), also known as Mayflower Church, fled mainland China in late 2019 for Jeju Island, South Korea. They fled after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forced the closure of their church and school, and detained and interrogated the lead pastor. They also witnessed the leader of their church network, Wang Yi, be sentenced to nine years in a Chinese prison for leading unregistered churches.
- The 16 families lived for 2.5 years on Jeju Island. The U.S. State Department was aware of and updated on their case during those years, but no action was ever taken. The church received weekly threats — 33 documented threats occurred from April through July of 2022 — and relatives remaining in China were detained. All refugee applications submitted to South Korea were denied, and there was forfeiture of an estimated $1,500 per person.
- In August 2022, the families took the calculated risk of moving to Thailand with hopes of receiving UNHCR refugee status. The urgency for U.S. resettlement increased as Chinese operatives in Thailand were documented following, harassing, and intimidating the families. These Chinese operatives interfered during an Associated Press interview, and AP reporters shared this with the U.S. Embassy. An urgent request for the U.S. State Department to intervene was submitted and is still in discussion in September. A serious security threat has remained, based on previously documented cases of the Chinese Communist Party’s kidnapping Chinese refugees from Thailand.
- On Sept. 27, 2022, the Mayflower Church learned from Thai immigration authorities that the families will not be permitted to renew their Thai visas without a visit to the Chinese Embassy. The first Mayflower family that arrived in Thailand now have a 2-week-old baby. That same family learned that their Thai visa, which expires Oct. 5, will not be renewed without a Chinese letter of approval. Any visit to the Chinese Embassy will result in each family’s being arrested and sent back to China. An expired Thai visa will result in their being arrested by Thai authorities, placed in immigration prison, and sent back to China.
We need leaders connected to Secretary Blinken and the U.S. State Department who could be of help as we urgently seek intervention and request humanitarian parole for the persecuted Mayflower Church. We are working in partnership with Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, and others. Even beyond those who are already involved, the situation is so critical that there is need of someone to communicate directly with Secretary Blinken.
Share your prayers for this congregation below.
(Photo Credit: Aaron Burden on Unsplash)
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