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