Thursday, August 7
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Ho Chi Minh—a city many still know as Saigon—is a place of bustling activity, with motorcycles flooding every intersection like bees swarming a hive.
But the church in Vietnam is buzzing as well. It’s not in grand cathedrals that one will see this activity of the Spirit but in a network of house churches tucked away in small neighborhoods and out-of-the-way places.
These house churches—some 120 compared with only nine formal church buildings—have grown into the 7,500 members of the United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam (UPCV). Its largest church has more than 200 members; the smallest, close to 20. There are 24 ordained pastors, 33 evangelists, and 16 elders.
Because Vietnam is historically and traditionally a Buddhist country—and currently a Communist country—many are surprised to find that the Christian church is taking root here.
Though government persecution has lessened, it remains a live issue for the UPCV, limiting the size of gatherings, dictating that events such as weddings and ordinations be held in hotel ballrooms so as not to arouse suspicion, and creating a need for caution when bringing visitors into some of the more remote churches.
But this does not stop the UPCV, which continues to seek ways to plant new churches and to reach out to indigenous tribal groups as well as university students studying in cities away from home.
For the United Presbyterian Church in Vietnam, the harvest has been fraught with trials but is beginning to bear much fruit.
—Erin Dunigan, tentmaking designated evangelist, Presbytery of Los Ranchos
Let us join in prayer for:
Church World Service–Vietnam
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Lord of the harvest, be with your laborers, so that their faithfulness may bear much fruit. Amen.