Vietnamese Authorities Hire Gangsters to Harass Christians
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On July 2012, a group of local thugs threatened and then beat Vinh, a young pastor who started a church in Central Vietnam. Using a lead pipe, the leader of the gang struck Vinh repeatedly on his knees and jaw, hospitalizing him for several weeks. The incident took place just two days after pastor Vinh attended an Open Doors pastoral training program. “He was one of the promising students in the class,” explained by Vinh’s spiritual mentor. “He was very passionate to share God’s word and had a deep love for Jesus.” You can send a letter of encouragement to this young pastor as he prepares to go back to the field share the gospel message.
“Kneel! Kneel!” shouted a village thug. Unfazed by the threats, Pastor Vinh* stood his ground. In Vinh’s culture, kneeling is seen as an admission of guilt. Although authorities prohibited planting of new churches, Vinh would not allow their threats to stop him from spreading the gospel message.
The leader of the gang began battering Vinh’s knee with a lead pipe in an attempt to force the pastor to his knees. The tall and well-built, 24-year-old Bible school student endured the series of blows and still refused to kneel. Seething with anger that the young man remained standing, the gang leader violently struck Vinh twice on the jaw with the lead pipe. As the lead pipe connected with Vinh’s jaw in a sickening crack, the pastor pitched forward, falling face forward into a gutter.
Vinh had come under the scrutiny of watchful eyes earlier this year when the church that he planted had grown to a hundred believers in just six months! The police-who often perceive organized meetings as a threat to national security-began to take notice and mark Vinh’s movements. Authorities in Vietnam’s tribal villages often hire local gangsters to harass and discourage Christian pastors as a way to prevent new churches from mushrooming. Vinh had become a prime target for such attacks.
Vinh’s jaw was broken in four parts in the July 2012 incident. Unable to eat solid food for a several weeks, he had to eat his meals through a straw. According to an Open Doors worker, after spending weeks in the hospital, “He is on the road recovery. He has begun preparing to head back to the church he started and to continue his ministry.”
Please consider sending a letter of encouragement to this young pastor as he heals form his injuries and prepares to go back to the field share the gospel message.
*His real name has been changed to protect his identity.