Persecuted, but not Forsaken

A repressive communist regime has been seeking to stamp out Christianity in Vietnam for decades. As in China, however, persecution has not succeeded in thwarting the growth of zealous, witnessing churches.

Even though the country was closed to foreign missions in 1975, men and women are coming to faith in remarkable numbers today. Indigenous missionaries assisted by Christian Aid are teaching and shepherding hundreds of gatherings of Vietnamese tribal people. They do so with conviction, courage and at great personal cost.

A pastor and his congregation of over 500 cut their own lumber and built a beautiful meeting hall. But communist authorities tore it down. Within three days the church congregation put up a simple bamboo structure in its place, but authorities have threatened to destroy it, as well.

After spending seven years in prison for preaching Christ, a tribal pastor was finally released. Instead of retreating into the safety of seclusion and anonymity, he chose to reenter a Bible training center to be strengthened. Such training centers supported by Christian Aid, are giving pastors the tools and knowledge they need to fortify Vietnamese Christians to stand firm and share their faith. They are living out what Paul described to the Corinthians: They ". . . are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed," knowing that their affliction is preparing them for an "eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4: 8-9, 17).