In Vietnam right now, around 1.5 million abortions are carried out annually – around 4000 per day. On average, that means every woman has had 2.5 abortions. In the face of these staggering numbers, Church leaders are unsure what to do. But one pro-life group is having a profound impact, through an approach that empowers people to teach one another.
Robin Johnson is the founder and director of Beyond Here International, which has been working with Pro-life Vietnam recently. Talking to Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty, he explained that the group was originally started by a young couple who wanted to see a change, but now it’s growing exponentially without their help. In the last few months rates of attendance at their training increased from 3 to 5 thousand.
One of the reasons for the high abortion rate is that for a long time Vietnam had experimented with limiting the numbers of children couples could have, similarly to China’s infamous one child policy. “The other major player that’s happening in Vietnam is young people, because to get pregnant out of marriage in Vietnam is a shameful thing in their culture.”
“It comes back to the whole philosophy of life that dominates these nations,” Johnson said. “There’s no value to human life. Unfortunately in our world, we’re going the same way. We’re adopting moral philosophies that are atrocious, and we see it the same way. Human life is being devalued day by day.”
Pro-life Vietnam uses training sessions in local Churches to discuss abortion in a way which acknowledges the messages young people have received and offers kinder ones in their place. “They’re seeing an amazing success rate in training ordinary men and women in the Churches of Vietnam of how to speak into their culture, how to speak into their friends’ lives, and discuss abortion in a non-threatening way, and a very loving and caring way.”
“And they have thousands now trained, and they’re seeing babies saved. They have testimonies of women on their way to have an abortion being taken to one of the training sessions for Pro-life Vietnam, changing her mind and keeping the baby.”
The movement now boasts more than 35 thousand people, travelling to villages throughout the country, spreading a positive message. “It was initiated by this couple, but they’ve trained the workers, and the workers are just going out there, and workers are training workers. It’s the same Kingdom principle. Each one teach one. So very exciting to watch.”
It seems like God has paved the way for this movement to take off. On a visit to a coastal town years ago, abortion came up in conversation. “I began to share our views,” Johnson said. “I began to share our involvement, of nearly 30 years, in Australia in the pro-life movement. And a number of old ladies in the room, they were becoming agitated.”
“I thought, oh dear. Maybe this is not the subject I should be talking about. But I misunderstood. They weren’t agitated. They were getting excited. And through an interpreter, they said to me thank you, thank you, thank you. Tell these girls. Tell these young people. Listen to this man.”
Another key to Pro-life Vietnam’s success is that all involved are approaching their mission with complete compassion. They understand that their role isn’t to accuse anyone, but to save babies, and mothers from the lifelong trauma of living without them. “The Bible is 100 per cent right,” Johnson said. “If you speak the truth in love, then it has a result, and the result is good.”
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.