(Apologies for so few posts over the last two weeks. We have been very busy teaching 3 classes of English 5 days a week, and teaching on Sunday in church.)

About two and a half years ago (late 2019), an entire church in China decided to escape the constant police harassment, increasing number of arrests, and intensified scrutiny by leaving China in search of religious freedom. They are as true pilgrims in 2022 as our own pilgrims who, in seeking religious liberty, landed on the shores of the New World in what is today’s Massachusetts in 1620. Except these pilgrims come with cell phones, ipads, laptops, and a host of modern conveniences that our American pilgrims did not possess. This group of 60+ Christians is also seeking to complete their search for freedom in the U.S. and is seeking asylum from the U.S. government.

Jeju, China, JapanFreedom Seekers International (FSI) is a Texas-based organization that helps persecuted Christians across the globe escape from religious oppression. In concert with a number of other rescue organizations, they became involved with this group of Chinese refugees in mid-2021. The church’s location was kept secret for security reasons because the Chinese government has continued their harassment and persecution with phone threats to individual members of the church, telling them if they don’t return, they will face charges of treason in China (and, in fact, this will happen even if they do return).

In order to communicate to various agencies and individuals about their situation, FSI gave the church the codename Mayflower Church so that their safety would not be compromised by various communications about them. For the last year, many people have known about their situation but did not have any details other than that they are called the Mayflower Church.

But the situation has changed. Somehow, the Chinese government located them in the residential hotel where they live on Jeju Island, South Korea, which sits 25 miles south of mainland South Korea. It is unclear exactly how this security breach occurred, but one thing is clear: the Chinese have recently increased their pressure on them to return, so much so, that according to the pastor’s records, the number of threats received between April to May, 2022, is equal in number to all the threats received in 2021. This includes personal harassment calls to members, police interrogation of family members back in China, etc.

Meade International was asked by FSI to go to Jeju Island for several reasons.

Teaching in S. KoreaFirst, it is hoped that if enough American, Japanese, European, Etc., Christians will go to Jeju for a brief time to show solidarity with the Mayflower Church, it will demonstrate to the Chinese that the world is interested in what happens to them. We are trying to bring international attention to the attempt by this courageous small church to gain religious freedom.

Second, we are here to teach English to the members of the church in preparation for their move to the U.S.

Third, we are here to offer orientation and counsel in preparation for moving to the U.S.

We arrived July 2 and will be here until July 30. An American videography team arrives on July 14 to interview the members of the church and record their experience for a possible documentary or news program. Other Americans and other nationalities are scheduled to stay in the hotel for a week here, two weeks there, etc., over the next few months. Jeju is the “Hawaii of S. Korea” and is a beautiful, tropical island with many fine beaches and interesting sites and tourist attractions. If we were not here to work, there would be plenty to keep us busy playing.