Costly Faith

March 19, 2014 by Open Doors in Stories of Persecution

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

1 John 1:5

Vietnam is a place of challenge, and of hope- ranking #18 on the World Watch List. Drug addiction, AIDS and prostitution are just a few examples of things that plague the country. Hundreds of Christians convicted in sham trials of anti-government activity are now in jail. Amongst this sea of darkness, Vietnam needs the light!

The gospel contains the hope this country is crying out for. Despite persecution, many are coming to faith through witnesses persecuted for their faith. There is also a growing church, especially among the tribal peoples. While the darkness seems to grab our attention, we know that God is working here. These two stories share the struggle believers are facing in Vietnam now, and we ask you to lift them before the Lord in order to see change take place.

Vietnam Tribal Believer Beaten Tau* came all the way from her remote, mountainous village to Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, seeking help. “Local authorities wanted her to deny her faith in Jesus Christ,” said a local source, unnamed due to security risks. “Tau used to practice ancestral worship. When she and her husband became followers of Christ, they got rid of their ancestral shrines and joined a church to grow in their newfound faith.” But the village officials learned about their faith in Jesus in December 2013. Tau’s husband then received a letter, summoning him to a meeting at the office of the People’s Committee, an executive body at the provincial level. Tau’s husband fled. “He fled because they threatened to torture him,” the same source said. “When the officials found out (about his escape), they called for Tau instead. They demanded the (ancestral) altars to be restored, and for Tau to return to her old religion.” “Tau defended her faith and her right to believe,” the source continued, “and for it, she was hit many times on her face and stomach.” Tau sought refuge at the home of a Christian friend in Hanoi. “She has not returned to her hometown since the beating,” said the local source. Church Gatherings Stopped, Believers Hit Open Doors also heard of house churches going through difficult times at the hands of the local police in North Vietnam between November and December 2013. “Last year, a local church organized a Christmas celebration,” said a local Christian worker. “But the policemen surrounded the house to prevent people from coming in. They also arrested the pastor, beat him and held him in jail for a day.” Vandalizing believers’ homes seems to be a common means that the local police use to prevent Christians from gathering together. “The police would stand outside the houses of Christians on Sunday mornings, according to a church leader in Vietnam, “to make sure that they do not go to church.” “They also speak ill about Christians to other Christians,” the church leader added. “Those working in offices are given a hard time by their bosses, who, in turn, are pressured by the authorities… So, most of the believers start their own businesses (instead of working for others).” Two other house churches in North Vietnam were raided during the same period. Their members were dispersed, the Bibles confiscated, and a pastor was beaten with bricks. At least 20 believers are struggling to gather every Sunday for worship. Since prayer is the #1 request we receive from our persecuted brothers and sisters, would you join with us in prayer for countries that face intense persecution, like Vietnam, and for people like Tau?

*Names are changed and other details withheld for security.