Despite Government Restrictions, Vietnamese Churches Continue to Serve
Updates to a religious law in Vietnam are slated to be implemented in January 2018. It is thought that the updates to this law, Decree 92, might be intended to further confine, control, and create problems for the church. The political situation in Vietnam is becoming increasingly complex and internal fighting within the party persists, affecting social affairs, especially religious ones.
Persecution is most rigid in the northwestern area of Vietnam, but despite the authorities’ restrictions and the community pressures, praise the Lord for the churches that have remained faithful! Consider the following examples of faithfulness in the midst of persecution, as well as the importance of the local churches. And consider the importance of our prayers on their behalf.
Authorities have formed teams to persecute churches, forcing them to write down the names of every church member. An evangelist in the area reported that as a result, a landlord was ordered by the authorities to kick out the renters of a house being used as a church. Pray for them as they find ways to faithfully worship despite the obstacles placed before them.
In April, authorities seized the farm of Luam*, 30, for believing in Jesus. The authorities had forced his relatives to make him rebuild his Buddhist altar, but Luam refused to do so. His relatives were then commanded to severely beat him and he ran away. Luam attempted to return to his village, but again his relatives beat him. On his third attempt, he was able to safely return. During each attempt, the church was there to encourage and comfort. Give thanks for Luam’s faithfulness to Christ and for the support of the church in his life. Pray for his safety and for his witness to his family.
Despite obstacles the authorities have thrown at them, the organizers of a major church outreach event are moving ahead. The authorities originally implied they would allow them to hold a 3-night event with 40,000 expected to attend. And then, suddenly, the authorities changed it to a one-night event in a venue that could only accommodate 3,000 people. Give thanks for the church’s faithful persistence and pray that God will bring great fruit to this event despite the limitations placed on it.
Praise the Lord for his goodness to Hanoi Bible School (HBS)! A local church started a campaign to raise funds for the construction of an off-campus student dorm. God brought success to this campaign and now two groups of students live at this dorm and one group stays on campus.
Give thanks for the faithful work of the Hanoi Bible School and for the provision of student housing. Pray for them to remain faithful to God in all their plans and decision-making.
*Name changed for security.
Father, we give thanks for the faithfulness of believers in Vietnam despite the opposition to Christ and His church. The opposition is indeed great, but You are greater and we are thankful for the promise that You make all things work together for Your glory and for the good for those called according to Your purposes. Therefore, we pray that You will strengthen the believers to remain strong in their faith. Teach them to know Your Word in its fullness that they will not be swayed by false doctrine to fall away. Bring much fruit to their work that the gospel will go forth with great power and authority. Grant godly wisdom to the church leaders as they respond to the challenges set before Your church. Keep them in safety and provide the resources they need to accomplish all you call them to. And may Your glory be spread across the length and breadth of this nation. In the name of Jesus who rules above all earthly authorities, Amen.