Tuesday, July 3
220th General Assembly (2012)
Religious persecution in Vietnam is ostensibly a thing of the past. The official line is that when persecution of Christians does occur, it is usually in remote regions of the country where the policies regarding religious liberties are not well known. The reality is more complex.
About 8 percent of the country is Catholic and about 1.5 percent is Protestant. Yet, the underground house church movement is widespread and represented by the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship, led by the head of the United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam.
An open-air Christmas celebration was planned for Sunday, December 26, 2010, in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite timely requests, the government gave oral permission for the event only the day before. The next morning the government reversed its decision. With the event scheduled for 6:00 that evening, the government finally gave permission at 1:00 p.m. In a flurry of activity, chairs and a stage were set up, buses arrived with thousands of people from the provinces, and the event began at 6:30 with 20,000 people in attendance.
During the pastor's message to the crowd, the electricity was cut and the lights went out. For some reason, however, the electricity to the sound system still worked. So he continued his evangelistic appeal as thousands in the crowd used their cell phones to provide light. Organizers said that about 2,000 people came forward to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Rev. Dr. Michael Parker, coordinator for International Evangelism, General Assembly Mission Council
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) People in Mission
Rev. Paul Friesen, regional liaison, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, International Evangelism Office, World Mission
Evangelical Church of Vietnam * United Presbyterian Church of Vietnam * Church World Service-Vietnam
Let us pray
Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for the courageous and faithful example of your people in Vietnam. Protect, guide, and embolden them as they continue to seek ways to proclaim your message of good news in Jesus Christ. May the people receive this message with joy and thanksgiving. Amen.