UNDERGROUND UNIVERSITY (UU) CHINA
To enable the church in China to remain one body with the church around the world today and the church throughout history, at a time when the Chinese government is trying to sever both types of connections.
JOY IN THE DIFFICULT TIMES – THE MAYFLOWER CHURCH
The Chinese congregation known as the Mayflower Church have been in JeJu for over two years now. The Chinese government’s increased pressure on Pastor Pan and his congregation prompted 60 of the church members to all come to JeJu Island.
Pastor Pan was not the only one feeling increased pressure from the government . . . Pastor Wang Yi was as well. That is what Pastor Wang Yi and Pastor Pan talked about in July of 2018 over dinner. Pastor Wang Yi shared that it was likely he would end up in jail very soon and that he was prepared to do just that. He then challenged Pastor Pan to prepare himself for jail.
The very next month Pastor Wang Yi released A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith and Pastor Pan was a part of the “third-round” of pastoral signatures a few months later. In December of 2018, Pastor Wang Yi was arrested and jailed. Pastor Wang Yi was eventually sentenced to nine years in jail and he remains imprisoned to this day.
Pastor Pan and the Mayflower congregation left China the following year.
Congregation members truly enjoy each other’s company (Pastor Pan is in the middle)
Their asylum claim has been denied, so now they are in a “limbo state” whereby they don’t have official status in Korea. This means they don’t have access to things such as health care or further education for their older children. For the most part only hard-labor jobs are available to some of the adults and most are unable to make enough money to fully support their families.
These three pregnant women from the Mayflower Church all share a laugh together.
And in the meantime, the Chinese government continues to threaten them and their family members who are left behind in China. And the overall situation for Christians in China continues to get worse.
There are real struggles for the church members – physical, emotional and spiritual.
Despite this, the Mayflower Church members are joyful. They daily operate in the reality of God’s abiding joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances. And this, at least in part, has been learned by the congregation over the last two years in JeJu.
Pastor Pan shared that the congregation has grown in the Lord during their time in JeJu . . . even more than when they were in China. Ever since coming to JeJu, they have learned how to pray, how to obey God’s word and even how to have joy in the midst of difficulty.
Pastor Pan credits the UU China trainings as a great help in their spiritual growth. Through our visits he said that they are reminded that “God is with us and will never forsake us.”
So . . . are their lives better since moving to JeJu? In some ways yes and in some ways no. One thing is for sure, life in JeJu has not turned out like they were expecting it!
But the truth is that the Lord is rarely concerned with the same things we are concerned about. “God’s good” is often vastly different than what we consider good.
The congregation shares a large garden plot where all members work together to provide vegetables for their families.
For the Mayflower congregation, “God’s good” has meant that they have grown in the Lord in the midst of the difficult times – not that the difficult times disappeared or even got easier. “God’s good” has meant that He las led them to trust Him, even in the situations that have no foreseeable solutions.
And the evidence of the Lord’s work in their lives was seen in the joy in the Lord that was visible to us . . . during the worship service, during their garden chores, during our family apartment visits and during the impromptu photo time at the end of the day.
They are a living reminder that true joy doesn’t come from one’s present circumstances, but rather from God of hope (Romans 15:13)!
The way the young girl clings to the Book of Psalms typifies the importance and reliance the Mayflower Church has on the Word of God.
Please Pray With Us For The Following Requests:
이 사역을 위해 기도해주시기 바랍니다.
- Continue to pray for Chinese Pastor Pan and his congregation on JeJu island. They have been seeking asylum in South Korea for the past two years, but they were denied for a second. Their future remains very uncertain as they could face repatriation back to China if another opportunity doesn’t open up for them.
- Pray for Brother Dai Zhichao and the ERCC small group that he leads. Their group and children’s school classes has been targeted with intensified persecution lately. They have been forced to move several times lately by landlords and other residents.