Bestselling author-turned-church planter Francis Chan has been forced to leave Hong Kong after authorities there denied his visa.
"Last week, after Hong Kong officials rejected our visas, we had to leave the country. 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," Chan said.
"Before we had to leave Hong Kong, [son-in-law] Justin, [son-in-law] Peter, and I had seen the Lord plant three churches 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 said that the young men they had been training feared they were unprepared to take control. The former California megachurch pastor said he offered encouragement by reminding the new believers that in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul would only stay and serve fledgling Christian gatherings for three weeks before leaving.
"I have faith in you," Chan stressed to the house gatherings. "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."
Almost a year ago, in February of 2020, Chan and his family moved from the United States to the neighborhood of Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong with the intent to plant churches. Although he hopes to return, he said he believes that the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the government of Hong Kong makes that uncertain at best.