SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Congressman Nathaniel Moran gave an East Texas welcome to the group of 60 Christians from the Mayflower Church out of China today.

The welcome event was held at the South Spring Baptist Church in Tyler. Pastor Chris Legg opened the event with a prayer before welcoming Moran to the stage.

“It is a blessing to be here today and this is the most important thing I think we’re going to see happen in East Texas today, this week, possibly this month and year,” Moran said.

Here’s the full video of the welcome event:

After sharing scripture from the Bible, Moran wanted to leave the attendees of the event with three thoughts.

“First, all of the glory belongs to Jesus Christ for the miraculous deliverance of the Mayflower Church that’s where we should start, and we should not forget who gets the credit for this. Number two, we are grateful, though, for those who chose to actively participate in Gods plan with their prayer, their time, their money, their talent and so much more in the currency oftentimes in sweat and tears,” Moran said. “Third, this is not the end of the Mayflower Church’s story, it is just the beginning of a new chapter. One where this victory makes possible new opportunity. Opportunity to help serve others in physical and spiritual bondage around this world.”

Moran introduced Pastor Pan to the stage to lead the members of the Mayflower Church in a song.

“Today everyone can see that God has done great things for us,” Pastor Pan said.

After the song, Founder and CEO of Freedom Seekers International Deana Brown spoke on the challenges she and her team faced in their weeks of trying to help get the members of the Mayflower Church over to East Texas.

“A week ago today, Stacy and I were in a Thai prison with the Mayflower and we would spend the next 40 hours with them not knowing exactly what was going to happen. There were a lot of fearful times, a lot of difficult times, from sleeping on the floor one night with 30 kids in the room,” Brown said. “What we did not realize, there were thousands praying, there were dozens and dozens of U.S. personnel battling for us. Just to encourage you, wherever walk you are, just remember this, He is faithful. You may not see it or hear it, but He is.”

Dr. Bob Fu, the Founder and President of the China Aid Association, closed the event with some final words on his excitement over this monumental moment.

“Isn’t this a joyful season, it is God and God alone who delivered the oppressed for freedom,” Fu said. “Within 48 hours, from refugee status to humanitarian parole. All of the sudden, they were expelled from prison directly to the land of the free, the home of the brave.”

The group left China in 2019 fleeing from persecution, interrogations and imprisonment by the Chinese government because of their beliefs. After almost four years of uncertainty, the group landed in Texas last week and made their way to East Texas where they will stay.

“This church has been an inspiration to me from the tiniest baby to the oldest individual,” Stacy Nichols, medical ambassador for Freedom Seekers said. “It should be an inspiration to any Christian that God’s always got your back, he’s never gonna leave you on your own. He’s gonna see it to completion.”

With the help from the people of Tyler, the group is being fed, housed and clothed.

For more about Mayflower Church and how to support them visit Freedom Seekers online.