This book called ‘Faith Love and Hope’ contains glorious stories of the work of the Holy Spirit in Vietnam.
The regime in Vietnam keeps a tight lid on any emerging Christian activity and for anyone involved in Christian work anonymity is extremely advisable.
The authorities in the communist country can be particularly harsh with ‘unregistered’ Christians and capital punishment is not uncommon.
One person who shall remain anonymous whom we’ll simply call ‘AJ’ has written a book about the underground mission work taking place in Vietnam.
AJ who’s been involved in ministry in Vietnam for several decades, said the work he undertakes began 25 years ago.
95 million people, the world’s 14th most populous country, Vietnam’s no small backwater.
“I felt the Holy Spirit drop Vietnam into my heart and a few years later we had the opportunity to go.”
“When we visited the nation we experienced a visitation of the Holy Spirit the first night we were there,” AJ recalled, saying they’ve since been returning, going back and forth for 23 years.
For Australians, Vietnam is nearby and is considered to be one of our neighbours – a nation where our influence has been both good and bad.
AJ said there’s a great opportunity for Australians to be really effective in missions in Vietnam.
As for the book, the stories describe the work of the Holy Spirit with the focus mainly on His intervention and safety activities.
“We’ve been doing this for 23 years and we’ve not ever had a serious incident. What I’m hoping for are people who read the book will hear the Holy Spirit calling them to the nations,” said AJ.
“I remember reading books like this when I was a young Christian 47 years ago. They defined the rest of my life. They gave me a dream and a vision to be involved in missions.”
AJ hopes the book will have an impact upon the next generation. To hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling them to the most exciting opportunity on planet earth, to reach nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” AJ declared.
Vietnam, with its Marxist dictatorship style government, has not been backward in cracking down on Christian believers outside the recognised government approved church.
AJ said there are some really sad stories in his book that cover the persecution and suffering of faithful saints.
But for AJ, he said they have been spared from persecution because of the grace opportunity the Lord has given.
“He’s just protected us, He’s covered us, He’s kept us invisible, even at times when the police have been looking for us.”
“There are incredible men and women serving in Vietnam and some of them have paid a terribly tragic price to simply love Jesus and be shepherds of the people of God,” observed AJ who compared the persecution in Vietnam to China’s.
“I have friends who have spent time in prison but these days there are many young pastors who still need to be very wise.”
“But those being arrested and put in prison for pastoring for what the government calls illegal and unregistered churches, is not the same as it was in the early days 15 years ago.”
Western nations have also been on Vietnam’s back, reminding its government about religious freedom.
“From the US, from Australia, from European nations, calls have come reminding the Vietnam government their Constitution says that they have religious freedom.”
“But it’s the way you interpret that religious freedom,’ AJ informed, saying there’s also quite a lot of severe persecution of minority and ethnic tribal groups in Vietnam.
Meantime despite all the setbacks, the church in Vietnam continues.
AJ said that last year the Evangelical Church of Vietnam celebrated 100 years.
“The approved church does exist. It’s an evangelical church but they’re controlled. They have restrictions as to what they can and can’t do as far as church planting is concerned,” AJ said.
The phenomena though is associated with the underground house church movement as it is in China.
“The reason why there are house churches in Vietnam is because in 1988 there was an outpouring of the Holy spirit.”
“Men and women were hungry for a touch from God. They were pleading for God to touch their nation and touch their lives,” AJ acknowledged, saying that was when the Holy Spirit began to fall in these meetings.
“The testimony to me was, we knew it was the Holy Spirit because we all spoke in tongues. It was a sovereign thing that happened.’
But not only on that occasion, AJ said these outpourings have continued right through to today.
It’s estimated there are around 10-thousand of these house churches in Vietnam.
“But be mindful this is a nation of 95-million people. We’ve only just scratched the surface. There are whole regions of Vietnam where there is no church.”
But reaching these ‘unreachable’ people groups depends on the degree of controls imposed by the local branches of the government. This can vary.
AJ said the laws are open to interpretation by the rural governors.
“These are unreached people groups with no churches in their communities”
“One governor can be harsh and another can be more lenient. It varies from place to place.’
“But the Vietnamese Christians are doing an amazing job. Church-planting and evangelism throughout Vietnam is through church-planting,” AJ highlighted, saying their job is to come alongside them in this process.
“We’re able to encourage, strengthen and minister to the leaders, facilitate these church-plantings and schools and help a strong leadership base rise up for further church-plantings.”
AJ also confirmed that Bibles in the Vietnamese language are still coming into the country.
“In most places Bibles are readily available. The challenge is in the ethnic tribal areas with Bible translators still working to reach these people groups.”
Bottom line, there’s still an enormous amount of work to be done in Vietnam.
In closing, AJ referred to his book ‘Faith, Love and Hope’ to say there are several stories of healings and miracles.
“I’ve got at least three documented stories of three people being raised from the dead.”
“But the signs, wonders and miracles are just a part of what is naturally supernatural among many of the house churches throughout the nation.”
This is such a great book. The unusual stories of extraordinary miracles and the move of God in Vietnam
needed to be told. I am so glad that this Pastor put pen to paper to share these powerful stories.
This is a firsthand account of revival in a nation that has been close to the writer’s heart for 22 years, involving great servants of God that the world may never have heard of, but that are well known in heaven. In this faith-filled book, the reader will also learn of a people hungry for God in a way that is not often seen in the West. Get ready to be challenged and inspired!
Luis Cabral, D.Min.
Australia for Christ Church
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