"It is truly Good Friday. ChinaAid welcomes the persecuted 'Mayflower Church', freedom in the United States of America - welcome to Texas!"
After more than three years of exile in South Korea and then in Thailand, the 63 Christians of the Mayflower Church who had fled the persecution suffered in China, finally find a happy outcome. All have been granted humanitarian parole status and have been since April 7 in Texas, United States.
“It really is Good Friday,” said Pastor Bob Fu, founder and president of ChinaAid, Daily Caller News Foundation. "ChinaAid welcomes the persecuted 'Mayflower Church', freedom in the United States of America - welcome to Texas!"
The latter shared on Twitter the photos of their trip "to freedom".
Mayflower is on the way to freedom!五月花号正在驶往美国的航程 pic.twitter.com/5pzQv0Noan— Bob Fu 傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) April 7, 2023
Upon arrival in Texas, members of the Mayflower Church asked Bob Fu, "Is it okay to tell our family members in China that we are SAFE now?". Deploring the terror inflicted by the Chinese Communist Party, the chairman of ChinaAid said, "It will take time to adjust to a new life without fear."
Having landed in #USA TX soil for 8 hrs most #MayflowerChurch members still ask me “is it fine to tell our family members in China we're SAFE now?” #CCP terror makes all of them live in fear for too long. Takes time to adjust new life free from fear! Welcome again. @IRF_Ambassador pic.twitter.com/QxMf1YX5so— Bob Fu 傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) April 8, 2023
Upon their arrival in the United States, Chinese Christians sang the Psalm 126, verse 6. He who walks weeping with a sack of seed will come back with joy carrying his sheaves.
Welcome to #Texas #USA #MayflowerChurch blood诗篇(Psalm) 126:6 那带种流泪出去的，必要欢欢乐乐地带禾捆回来。— Bob Fu 傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) April 8, 2023
126:6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him
The Christians from the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church had left China in November 2019. After facing repeated threats and interrogations from Chinese police, they had fled to Jeju Island, South Korea, then to Bangkok, Thailand, where they had applied for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. On March 30, Thai immigration arrested and detained them. They then risked deportation to China. But gaining humanitarian parole status allowed them to find freedom in Texas. Parole allows a person who cannot otherwise be admitted to the United States to be admitted there for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons.
Speaking about their arrival in the United States, Bob Fu noted the role of "partners, members of Congress and US government personnel".
"None of this would have been possible without the help of partners, members of Congress, and U.S. government personnel who worked countless hours to bring the Mayflower Church to safety. Now they can fully live their faith without fear of persecution!”
A human rights activist familiar with the situation told the Daily Caller News Foundation:
“I can say that it was a great advocacy campaign that moved the needle. Once it was clear that the group was in imminent danger, partner NGOs, members of Congress and their staff and employees from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok intervened to bring the group to safety."
For more information, also read:
Mayflower Church Chinese Christians sponsored by American Christians
Politicians call for action for persecuted Mayflower Christians and rekindle hope
Exiled to Thailand, Chinese Christians 'in imminent danger' stand firm in their faith
Heartbreaking declaration of faith from the pastor of the Mayflower Church
Church members who fled China have 15 days to claim UN refugee status