Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Church growing in the face of persecution
35 years after the end of the Vietnam War, Vietnam is still a Communist country and ranks number 6 on Mission Researchers’ list of countries with the most persecution of Christians. I.N. Network supports 25 Vietnamese church planters who often face interrogation, arrest, and possible torture.Vietnam’s constitutional provisions protecting religious freedom are meaningless.In reality, only government-approved churches have religious freedom, and other churches are illegal.Essentially, Vietnam’s government controls all the religious activity. More than half of all Vietnamese Protestants attend illegal, unregistered house churches.Christian converts often face disinheritance and the loss of their families when they refuse to worship their ancestors. Church planters travel miles by foot every day and receive only the equivalent of $75 per month at best. However, I.N. Network reports that their dedication is bearing fruit, and thousands of Vietnamese are trusting in Jesus Christ.I.N. Network also supports 75 evangelistic teams sent out by local Vietnamese churches. One team visited seven leprosy camps, where 57 people became Christians. Christians also bring food and medicine to patients in hospitals and make follow-up visits with the patients when they are released from the hospitals.I.N. Network supports indigenous, “home-grown” ministries, managed and staffed by the country’s nationals. This works well in Vietnam, where the government prohibits its citizens from having contact with overseas Christians. I.N. Network allows Christians in free countries to sponsor Vietnamese church planters.
As in the days of Noah....