A Church In Vietnam (image used for illustrative purposes)
The political situation is getting more and more complicated. The internal fighting in the party persists affecting social affairs, especially religious ones. An updated version of Decree 92, a religious law, is almost complete and is most likely to be implemented on January 2018. This law might be used to confine, control, and create problems for the church. Pray that the Lord’s wisdom be upon our brethren especially church leaders in their plans and decision-makings for this matter.
Heretic teachings continue to spread in the northern part of the country and two of which are prominent – (1) The teaching on eternal salvation and (2) Mother God Theology. A pastor, who is also an OD partner, shared that he has seen churches being persecuted and stood firm but when these teachings came, the church members were quick to abandon their fundamental faith. He added that two churches under the Evangelical Church of Vietnam were influenced by these teachings. The authorities think that these heretic groups are difficult to handle for they are beyond their control. Pray that these churches may discern the truth and that they may be set free.
Persecution is most rigid in the north western area of Vietnam. Authorities formed teams to persecute churches, forcing them to write down the names of every church member. An evangelist assigned in the area told an OD partner that the landlord was ordered by the authorities to kick them out of the house (used as a church) they were renting.
Despite these situations and the authority’s restrictions, praise the Lord for the churches who still welcome the persecuted in this area! In April, authorities seized the farm of Luam*, 30, for believing in Jesus. Authorities forced his relatives to make him rebuild his altar but Luam refused to do so. His relatives were commanded to hardly beat him which made him ran away. Luam has then twice attempted to return to his village but in his every attempt, his relatives would beat him. On his third attempt, he has safely gotten back to his village without his relatives throwing punches at him. In every attempt Luam made, the church in his village has always given him warm welcome and comfort.
Pray for the organizers of a church outreach event, that they may not be discouraged to push through the event despite being given false hopes by the authorities allowing them to hold a 3-night event with 40,000 expected comers and was suddenly changed to a 1-night event in a venue that could only accommodate 3,000 people.
Praise the Lord for his goodness to Hanoi Bible School (HBS)! A local church made an initiative to raise funds for the construction of a students’ dorm outside the school campus. Two batches of students live at this dorm and one batch stay inside the campus. Pray for HBS as the school prepares for the 35th General Conference of the Assembly and as it processes necessary matters for the recognition of 300 pastors and evangelists.
*Name changed for security reasons