Exclusive stories from the mission field
Two Christian women told a visiting leader of a native ministry in Vietnam that when they lay in bed at night, they suffered deep dread as they felt the devil’s power – a sensation of cold going from their feet to their heads, cold sweats and uncontrollable shaking. In a country where some tribal people walk on burning coals to demonstrate the power of supernatural evil, the women were desperate for deliverance from demonic attacks. “Please pray for us,” one of the women said. “We don’t know what this is.”
“Because she was so desperate, she wanted to commit suicide by drinking insecticide,” a ministry leader said of a schoolteacher in Vietnam. She had a handsome young husband, was raising two young children and was in so much pain that she wanted to kill herself. “When holding the bottle of insecticide intending to drink it,” the leader said, “her two children were holding her and hugging her and crying.”
Invited to a local missionary’s house for dinner with other Christians in Vietnam, Thuan was surprised when they were somehow warm, fun and friendly without the drinking or opium-smoking common in his village. “He had heard the gospel from the local missionary many times, but he didn’t like hearing it,” the leader of a native ministry said. Thuan could not know that accepting the dinner invitation would set him on a journey to prison.
For years a police officer in Vietnam had followed orders to infiltrate worship services in search of pretexts for arresting church leaders and shutting down churches.
In a Vietnamese village where everyone worships the gods, goddesses and spirits of their ancestors, the gospel seemed a rude intruder.
When a young man found Christ in another village and brought it back to his family, the God of his salvation message seemed to them a foreign imposter.
Then the Holy Spirit began to stir their hearts.
In northwest Vietnam, a new Christian was telling a fellow villager about Christ recently when a man came up and struck him with a machete. Most Christians, knowing such hostilities could erupt from hard-liners, are careful to speak of Christ much more privately. While officials harass and arrest Christians whose worship becomes too large or noticeable, pressures from tribe, family and clan present the greatest challenge.