Pilgrim’s Progress: “Longing for my brother”

Children of the Mayflower Church
(Photo: Pastor Pan)

(ChinaAid—March 10, 2022) Two young members of the Mayflower Church sent letters to a fellow believer in mainland China, Joshua Wang.  


Yesterday was Joshua Wang’s 15th birthday. Joshua is the son of Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church who currently serves a nine-year sentence. Wang Yi’s family has been subject to 24-hour surveillance. Joshua previously attended a Christian school, but now authorities escort him to public school every day.  


The Mayflower Church and Early Rain have a direct connection. Not only do the pastors know each other well, but Pastor Pan Yonggang signed his name onto Wang Yi’s “A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” along with over 400 Chinese house church leaders in 2018. Wang Yi was arrested less than four months later. 


Pastor Pan and his congregation garnered attention for their involvement with Early Rain, resulting in their eventual escape to Jeju Island, South Korea. 


Tian Rong, the son of Pastor Pan, wrote a letter for Joshua’s 12th birthday when Tian was still in China. His most recent letter comes from realizing their situations may look similar in the near future:



Brother Joshua,  


Today is your 15th birthday. My dad reminded me to write a letter to you, and I wanted to talk to you too. 


For more than three years, all of us have not heard from you, and the less we know the more we miss you. How has your life been?  


Brother Joshua,  We still haven’t met, and I don’t know when we will. I pray that the day we meet will arrive soon, I don’t want to wait another 6 years until your dad is released. 


Brother Shu Ya, last semester I took a course called “History of Chinese House Churches” with my classmates. My dad asked us to listen to your dad’s video as learning material, and we were asked to write a report for each lesson. Speaking of my current academics, I am especially sad about your current schooling situation—it is unimaginable. We know of you and your mother’s current daily living. You are being escorted to school by the police every day, and you both have no freedom and no contact with the outside world. Can you read the scriptures, worship with music, and pray? Do you have access to spiritual information? Can you talk about God with your teachers and classmates around you? Maybe you can only meditate in your heart. Thinking of all this, I dare not think further. Our classmates had a discussion about what you would do in school. Some say that you will deliberately go against the teacher; some say that you will leave questions blank during exams; I think you will endure silently and resist silently. But, if I were you, I don’t know what I would do. 


Brother Joshua, it has been more than two years since our church left Shenzhen and went to Korea, so the school still needs to be preserved. During this period, I heard that we may not be able to stay any longer and might have to return to China. My father said that our situation may become the same as yours if we have to go back. Will I be sent to be brainwashed through education like you? I’m scared and don’t know how to face it. But the thought that you have endured it for the past three years gives me hope.  


Brother Joshua, in “The History of Chinese House Churches,” your father said that when the church was in turmoil in the year 1900, God saved the seeds for the Chinese church. This time, will God save our little seeds to sprout? I am reminded of Joseph in the Bible. God first sent Joseph down to Egypt in order to save Jacob’s family from famine. I pray to the Lord: Let you and your dad meet with all of us the same way Joseph was able to meet his father. I pray even more fervently to the Lord: For you who is being brainwashed in school like how Joseph was imprisoned at Potiphar’s house, to also be accompanied by God’s presence, and that everything will go smoothly for you. Amen!  


A fellow son of a pastor, and a brother in solidarity: Tian Rong 


In Christ: March 9, 2022  


Another young believer named Ms. Feng Yili wrote an encouraging letter as well: 



Brother Joshua Wang: 


I just learned today is your 15th birthday. I was surprised our birthdays are so close. My 17th birthday was two days ago. 


I’m reading the book “History of Chinese House Church” written by your father. When I was reading chapter two, my mother told me today is your birthday and she hoped I could write a letter to you. Then the thought came to my mind: you could be God’s gift to the Chinese house church. 


I want to offer you the following words of encouragement: 


“The heavenly Gardener prunes all living branches. Do you still think you know what is best for you? The Lord may lead you into affliction in order to show you your true need for God. Gold must be purified because it is gold.”Frans Bakker 


“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39 


“All the people God love experience adversities. 


Happy birthday! I wish you grow more mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ! 


Your sister in Christ: Feng Yili 


March 9, 2022 

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