Religious persecution by China’s communist party has reached well-known evangelist and author Francis Chan after authorities in Hong Kong rejected his visa.
Chan and his family relocated to Hong Kong last year to become international missionaries. He was preparing to plant three churches with his sons-in-law when they were forced to leave the country, according to ChinaAid.
He shared the sad news in a video sent to friends and fellow pastors on Jan. 5.
“Last week, after Hong Kong officials rejected our visas, we (sons-in-law Justin and Peter and I) had to leave the country,” Chan said. “We are now back in the U.S. and appealing the decision, however. We want to be in Hong Kong and hopefully, we can return there.”
“Before we had to leave Hong Kong, Justin, Peter, and I had seen the Lord plant three churches (house gatherings) with approximately 15-20 people attending each. We had each been leading one church in each of our homes, but then, suddenly we learned that we had to leave the country.”
Chan revealed that he is most concerned that the new church leaders and members can gather in a secure place, China Aid reports.
Prior to leaving Hong Kong, Chan informed the young men they worked with that Justin, Peter, and he had to leave and asked them, “Are you guys ready?”
And they replied, “No, we are not ready.”
He explained to members of his house church that when the Apostle Paul traveled to a city, he stayed for weeks to serve those who were unaware of “Jesus”, but then had to leave.
The evangelist recalled that the church members in the New Testament had no Bibles or resources, but they were able to plant a powerful church through the Holy Spirit.
Chan presented several questions to his house church members:
- Are you really not prepared well enough?
- Some of you guys have been Christians for years, and you’ve been discipled, and you have your Bible, and yet you don’t feel like you’re ready?
- Is the reality that you don’t have enough information, or you don’t have enough faith?
“I have faith in you,” he emphasized. “I have peace in my heart because I know that the Holy Spirit will be working. Although I believe God is having me go back to the U.S., I think this a great season for you to be pushed and stretched. And so, I’m going to go with the power of the Spirit. We’ve got this. I’ve got more sources for equipping than the early church did. I have so many resources online, so much knowledge available. I have the Scriptures right before me, a huge advantage.”
Additionally, Chan is uncertain if Hong Kong’s current government, which is heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party, will permit his return.
He told church members, “I (and you) just need the faith believers had back in Paul’s time – demonstrated in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Chan caused quite a stir in 2010 when he announced to his congregation at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California that he was resigning as lead pastor of the church he and his wife founded.
They then founded the house church movement called We Are Church, which is based in Northern California. Chan has also authored books such as Crazy Love, Letters to the Church, Forgotten God, and You and Me Forever.