Pilgrim’s Progress: My two years of exile

Mayflower family studies the Bible
(Photo: Sheng Ti He)

(Jeju
Island, South Korea—April 26, 2022) The 60 Christians of the Shenzhen Holy
Reformed, also known as the Mayflower Church, continue to wait for updates
regarding their legal status in Jeju. Until then, they regularly send updates to
ChinaAid, recounting stories of their transition to South Korean life and the
new freedom they have found.

 

This
latest update from Sheng Ti He recounts the culture shock and adjustments many
of the members faced for two years.

 

ChinaAid
encourages readers to message the exiled church at their email: [email protected]

 

To
read previous Pilgrim’s Progress entries, click here.

 

 

My two years of exile

 

Thank God for leading our Holy Word Church from China to the land
of Jeju Island, South Korea in November 2019. “You have kept count of my
tossings; put my tears in your bottle.” (Psalm 56:8 ESV)

     

From the initial uncertainty of living on Jeju Island when I first
arrived, I was unfamiliar with the place, the language, the living habits, and
various factors. For example, I complained about throwing out the garbage
because I didn’t know how to classify garbage, and I was used to putting
everything together in my country and throwing it into the garbage bin, but in
foreign countries, garbage classification is very detailed, and there are fines
for not handling it well. Especially in the face of work, this uncertainty is
an overwhelming and difficult thing because we just can only do some
agricultural manual work without understanding the language. The work is very
intense, long, and dirty, and I have never done such a tiring job in my country
since I was a child. Here I must do the work in the field, and I must leave
early and return late. Rain or shine. When I return from a day’s work, my back
is sore, my fingers are swollen, and I can’t sleep at night because of the
pain. Farm work here is not much easier than in China. There are many kinds of
work in the field, such as pulling radishes, pulling garlic, cutting oranges,
cutting soybeans, etc. I have done all of it, and none of the jobs are easy—they
all take 12 hours. The best part is that we can receive our payment after work
on the same day. Our work is exhausting, but we are also happy because we can
receive payment, which is not available in China. The people who hire us are
usually old folks with rich working experience, and they are more competent
than us young people. They do the same work as I do, and are more tired than I
am, and always come the earliest and leave last. What is especially nice is
that they are polite and respectful to us. At noon, we were taken to a
restaurant to eat a hearty lunch. We arrived, filthy from work, but we were
warmly received. This society does not discriminate, respects everyone, and
respects even the lowest level of labor. This is unimaginable in this country!
All people are made in the image of God and have dignity. Manual labor is also
honorable and valuable, which overturned my perceptions of my country. Most of
my adult brothers and sisters spent more than a year in this state, just like
me.

        

In April 2021, God showed special mercy to us. Through the help of
other churches and charitable organizations, we were moved to the Hebron Hotel.
Every family has changed a lot. First, the church and the school were settled,
and we didn’t have to wander around and borrow other people’s places to meet
and go to school as before, and we had a secure place to live. Each family has
its own set of rooms and independent space, unlike the time when two families
shared a house, which was crowded and inconvenient and caused a lot of
conflicts and hardships. Now each family does not interfere with the life of
others, the children can go to school happily every day, and it is so good and
beautiful for each family to live together in harmony! Most of the brothers and
sisters have been introduced by the local church charity organization (Naomi
Center) and have found suitable and regular jobs. They have a regular job and
income and are no longer worried about whether they will have a job tomorrow
like they were when they first arrived. Instead, as the Bible says, you must
work six days to do all your work and rest on the seventh day, which is
pleasing to God.

      

Sheng Ti He and his family
(Photo: Sheng Ti He)

Looking back on the past two years of life in a foreign country, I
can see that there are good and bad things. The hardest part was that we all
suffered from missing our loved ones at home, some of whom were sick or passed
away and could not go back to visit, and some of whom got married and had
children and could not go back to give blessings.

     

The most thankful thing is that God led our church to leave China
together and come to Korea where we are free in our faith. During the pandemic,
we were free to worship God and our children were free to go to school. Now
with the suppression and persecution of religion in China, if we were still in
China these free powers would have been taken away.

     

Here we are a church with a pastor and elders, and a group of
brothers and sisters who have been friends for many years and can be trusted
completely. We worship and study together, we can help each other in life, and
the children can learn and play together. We don’t know how long we will stay
here, but we know that we are visitors, and we will return to our home
in heaven! For more than two years, “God crowned the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11 ESV) Ask God to lead
us, His people of the flock, to the Promised Land to witness the glorification
of His holy name. Amen! 



Sheng Ti
He 

Sunday,
April 17, 2022

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