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Mayflower Church experiences a life greater than they dreamed

Pastor Pan Yongguang (center) of the Mayflower Church and his son Paul (left) talk with Randel Everett, founding president of 21Wilberforce. (Photo / Ken Camp)

FORT WORTH (BP) — Pastor Pan Yongguang prayed for his flock throughout their more than three-year ordeal, when he and members of his persecuted church feared deportation back to China.

Today, he echoes the Apostle Paul’s testimony to the Ephesian church that God is able to do “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.”

“We never dreamed of such a beautiful place,” he said, describing his church’s new home in East Texas.

More than 60 members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church—nicknamed the “Mayflower Church” for their pursuit of religious freedom—fled persecution and harassment in China.

Initially, they moved to South Korea but were denied asylum there. They relocated to Thailand on tourist visas, but when those visas expired, the Thai government would not renew them unless members of the church reported to the Chinese Embassy.

After a deportation hearing, Mayflower Church members were fined and detained in Thailand six days.

‘A Good Friday miracle’

Following extensive behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. Department of State, the international community and several Christian human rights organizations, including Freedom Seekers International, ChinaAid and 21Wilberforce, Pastor Pan learned he and his church members would be resettled in the United States.

Rushad Hussain, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom with the State Department, and Randel Everett, founding president of 21Wilberforce, were among the welcoming party when the Mayflower Church landed April 7 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

 “It was a Good Friday miracle,” Everett told a 21Wilberforce luncheon crowd in Temple June 15 when he introduced Pastor Pan.

    About the Author

  • Ken Camp