Best-selling author and Christian teacher Francis Chan has revealed he and his family are moving to Hong Kong in early 2020.
The California-based pastor shared the revelation just a few days after he spoke at a chapel service at Azusa Pacific University, where he said he and his wife, Lisa, would be moving to Asia to serve as international missionaries.
“Nine years ago, while we were in Hong Kong, Lisa and I both felt God was calling us to move there,” the “Crazy Love” author wrote in an update posted to his website. “At that time, I had no desire to return to the U.S. None of us did. It’s not that we didn’t love living in the U.S., but we were really enjoying our dependence on God in unfamiliar, uncomfortable places.”
Before he could move overseas permanently, Chan explained, he felt God telling him he needed to learn a different way of pursuing church and marriage, so he returned to the United States.
Chan earned quite a bit of attention in 2010, when he announced to the congregation at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, the church he and Lisa founded in 1994, the same year they were married, that he would be resigning his post. Soon after, Chan founded We Are Church, which is based in Northern California and is a model for small house churches comprising no more than 10 to 20 congregants.
While Chan said he still plans to minister in the U.S., he explained he and his wife will be “based in Asia for this next season of life.”
“Our current plan is to move to Hong Kong in February,” he wrote. “A lot can change between now and then, but we are heading this direction unless the Lord redirects us. I have no idea how long I will stay in Hong Kong. I had no idea I was going to live in San Francisco for nine years. We will just try to discern the Spirit’s leading daily.”
Chan’s announcement about moving comes as Hong Kong is embroiled in intense and violent protesting and rioting over fights to maintain the former British colony’s autonomy. In 1997, Great Britain returned Hong Kong to China with the understanding it would operate under a “one country, two systems” arrangement.
Protests, though, broke out in April, after the passage of an extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China in some circumstances, a law that would call into question Hong Kong’s ability to operate as a free and open democracy.
The bill in question was withdrawn in September, but concerns about independence in Hong Kong have not gone away, and as a result, protests and demonstrations have continued aggressively.