Before Christmas we were saddened to learn that Christians in Vietnam were denied the opportunity to openly worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The central government’s Bureau of Religious Affairs (BRA) in Hanoi in early December gave verbal permission for an outdoor event to be held. But by 11 a.m. on Christmas Day the required permission papers had not yet been granted. By 5 p.m., they received a verbal go-ahead but the next morning – the Sunday of the planned event – authorities informed organizers that the permission was only to provide a place where the buses and people could come so organizers could explain, apologize and send them home, sources said.
Unfazed a church leader then went to the BRA office seeking the required permit…and just five hours before the event was scheduled to start, the BRA issued written permission for a gathering of 5,000 people. Permission at last in hand, organizers called and text-messaged volunteers standing by. Too late to set up properly they did only what was absolutely necessary bringing in 14,000 chairs on flatbed trucks, and one of the trucks served as the stage. House church leaders quickly turned an empty field into a rudimentary stadium and welcomed some 20,000 people for worship on Sunday (Dec. 26). Organizers estimated 2,000 people indicated a first-time decision to follow Christ at the event. Praise God!!!
We praise you, Father, for the worship that took place in Vietnam on December 26 to celebrate your incarnation into the world. We especially praise you for the hearts that were turned toward you in saving faith. Clearly your Spirit is present with them and moving across this land. May You bring about revival that there will be a mighty voice proclaiming Your praise in the country of Vietnam.
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