Three tribal men in Vietnam had been friends for decades, helping each other through financial hardships, family struggles and illnesses by means of one great, shared love – marijuana.
Illegal and condemned by the government since they were teenagers in the 1960s, marijuana seemed to be the only constant in their frequently unpredictable lives. Through a street dealer who had become fast friends with one of the men, Binh*, they enjoyed a steady supply of cannabis that became a stable presence when all else – relationships, income, health – crumbled.
By the time the three friends were in their 40s, each one planned his days with the sole goal of carving out a time when they could gather at one private place or another to roll some weed before going to bed.
Each one planned his days with the sole goal of carving out a time when they could gather at one private place or another to roll some weed before going to bed.
They weren’t into heroin or cocaine, but some of their children were, and as they grew older the three men required greater and greater amounts of weed to escape the devastating setbacks in their lives – kids lost to street life or drugs, hollowed-out marriages. The memory and mood of the three friends stood in a pot-addled shambles when a native missionary who had befriended one of them, Giang*, explained the gospel to him.
Giang felt a faint light breaking through the fog, and after visiting the missionary’s church, he invited Binh and the other friend, Danh, to join him. They were in their late 60s.
As they learned about God while attending worship services at the 300-member church in the communist country, they also sensed the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – without knowing it, they were breathing it in. Unlike the other two, Danh’s wife had not yet left him, and she joined them at the services.
The preacher seemed to be against smoking, much less using illegal substances. The three aging men felt drawn to the services but remained at arms’ length from Jesus. When a native ministry leader arrived as a guest preacher one Sunday, however, their missionary friend introduced them to him afterward. The ministry leader asked them what was standing between them and accepting Christ.
“We have been smoking hash all our lives,” Binh told him. “We can’t give it up.”
When he asked them if they believed that Christ could heal them, and could they believe with all their soul that He could help them, Giang chimed in: “Yes – we can either believe or die smoking hash.”
The ministry leader prayed for them.
“When I returned three months later,” he said, “all three of them were no longer smoking hash. They had put their trust in Christ and were testifying to others how He had changed their lives.”
The gospel is bringing fresh hope to hurting people throughout Vietnam through the work of such native missionaries. Please consider a gift today to send this light into the dark corners of people’s hearts and homes.
*Names changed for security reasons