“What Do You Want Me To Do For You?-
*Representative photo used to protect identity. Communism, deep spiritual allegiance and persecution are all challenges that Christians in Vietnam face. It is a mainly Buddhist country (52.48%), with a population of over 90 million people. Vietnam is ranked #18 on the Open Doors World Watch List, which is three spots up from its ranking in 2013. Though these challenges are difficult for Christians in this country, they are also opportunities for us to join together and pray for these believers. Jesus had a heart for listening to and learning about the problems that each person he encountered was facing. In Mark 10:51, Jesus asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus obviously knew that the man was blind, yet just like He does today, he waited for the man himself to declare his need to Jesus.Through this example, we know that we must learn to pray for specific needs on behalf of the persecuted, so that our prayers will rise like incense to God, and we will see change in the world. Here are two stories from Vietnam that we can pray for. Last January, local authorities refused to grant believers in South Vietnam a permit to hold Sunday worship. Their pastor, Hoan*, had been renting a house for their weekly fellowship for the past eight months. The officers claimed that there was no “red paper”-indicating it was for lease-attached to the said house. The religious pressure took its toll on Hoan’s health. “When Hoan learned about Tien’s case,” said a local source, “Hoan got sick.” In Central Vietnam, a police officer knocked down the door of another house church while it held its worship service on January 5. He demanded that believers write their names on a piece of paper. The youths, for fear of their names reaching their schools, rushed and hid in another room. The rest of the congregation, however, stood their ground and refused to give their names. The officer pressured the pastor to give the names, and that if he did, the house church would be allowed to continue their worship. The pastor refused and said that the religious regulations-referring to Decree 92-required churches to report only the number of the members, but not their names. God, we pray for these believers to continue in their boldness, and to not fold underneath the weight and pressure that these local authorities are putting on them. We thank you for their witness, and we pray that many people in their community want to know Jesus because of what these believers are doing. In Central Vietnam, a Christian student Thanh* was estranged from her mother, who had discovered a portrait of Jesus in her daughter’s closet. Thanh had just come home from a youth prayer meeting on January 17 when her mother confronted, mocked and cursed her about the portrait. She forced Thanh to recant her faith on paper, and to choose between Jesus and her family. “Thanh kept quiet,” said another local source. “So, her mother got even more infuriated, and told Thanh to leave the house, but she stayed.” The mother would not speak to Thanh since, and the 23 year old university student had to take on a job, so she could continue and finish college. Thanh became a follower of Jesus at the age of eight, and had always wanted to share the gospel to her family. We are so encouraged, God, by the stand that Thanh has already taken. We ask that you would continue to pour Your strength into her. We ask so boldly for You to soften Thanh’s mother’s heart, and that the gospel would begin to be so beautiful and unavoidable to her. *Names have been changed and certain details withheld for the believers’ protection.