Pastor Michael (not his real name) tells us of how his brother was martyred, beaten to death by the authorities overseeing his town in North Vietnam.
Many of these villages in the north are finding Christ. Whole communities are accepting the Lord in what one of our hosts, Pastor James (not his real name), calls a "power movement" of the Spirit.
The communist governance of these areas doesn’t like the progressive nature of these new Christian populations. They actively try to force the people back to spiritualism and ancestor worship. Atheists promoting a return to tribal religions, superstitions and sacrifice. "A house divided," I thought to myself.
James also has firsthand accounts of the persecution. He was incarcerated for almost a decade, including stints of hard labor and years of solitary confinement. For long periods, he only received one peanut each day for sustenance. He now views the time of imprisonment as a gift from the Lord for spiritual reflection and development.
Michael came to a large town to take a ministry course offered by James and to report of the orphan situation in his area to us. The last time he returned to his village after receiving some theological instruction, he was told by the authorities that he would be killed if he ever did it again.
After Michael left our meeting, I wondered aloud what will happen when the local communist leaders figure out that he has defied them and has indeed left for more equipping.
"How will Michael explain his absence?" I asked James.
"He will tell the truth," our host replied.
"Even though it quite possibly means death?"
Would I have attended any of my classes at Dallas Seminary if I knew it could have resulted in my murder?
Could I participate in Willow Creek and Saddleback conferences if it meant the possible orphaning of my own children?
...I don’t know.
Pastor Michael has a wife and children. Please pray for him and the other persecuted believers here in Vietnam.