Vietnam

VIETNAM – Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Asia

Long, narrow country occupying the entire eastern and southern coastline of Indochina with the area of 331,653sq. km. Population is 89,028,741 with the capital Hanoi.

Decades of war followed by Marxist economics, then the loss of Soviet-bloc financial backing which left the economy in complete shambles. Reforms begun in 1986 have modernised the economy, tamed inflation somewhat and seen the emergence of a young middle class. Joining ASEAN Free Trade Area and WTO has also made a significant difference. There remains a large gap between urbanites and the rural poor. Poverty reduction, job creation and foreign investment remain economic priorities.Vietnam is the world’s 2nd largest rice exporter, and seafood product exports are likewise crucial.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

One of the few Communist nations in the 21st Century, Vietnam faces new challenges. Repression of all types of freedom continues, but at the same time, social ills are on the rise. Drug addiction, AIDS, prostitution and exploitation of children are all too common. The land has seen great violence. Division and mistrust have been effective tools in the enemy’s hands in recent generations. Pray that the ideological and moral darkness over this nation might be banished by the light of the gospel.

The deepest spiritual allegiance in Vietnam is not to Communism, nor to the amalgam of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism traditionally practiced by Vietnamese. It is the veneration and worship of ancestors that runs deepest and across most religious practices. Its impact is usually underestimated. Christians face hard questions in dealing with this issue biblically. Pray for the gospel to be wisely contextualised into this reality even while generational bonds that run counter to Christ are broken.

The country is increasingly opening up as economic progress continues. Most of the population was born after the Vietnam War and are more interested in capital gain and the outside world than Communist propaganda. They are proving responsive to the gospel – for reasons good and bad. At the same time, newfound prosperity has opened the door to rampant materialism and other competing ideologies. Pray that the Truth might be clearly and effectively proclaimed, particularly among the growing masses of young professionals.

Protestant missionary work. Pray that Vietnam may become fully open to Christian workers, and that many committed and prepared workers may respond.

Suffering and persecution has characterised the story of Christianity in Vietnam, as well as great faith and perseverance. The situation since 2005 has seen some marked improvement, yet government harassment, duplicity, discrimination and outright persecution continues to affect Catholics and Protestants today. Praise God that, through it all, the Church has persevered and grown. Pray for:
Those in prison for their faith. They were convicted in sham trials for anti- government activity. Most have endured imprisonment in grim conditions. Pray for them – many prisoners have come to faith through such witness. Pray also for the families of those imprisoned, that all their needs might be met.
Registration of churches. Registration is requirement of governmental operation in Vietnam but it remains a difficult and divisive issue for the Church. Registered churches battle government pressure to compromise and conform to strict regulations. Unregistered churches are harassed by the police, with meetings sometimes still broken up and leaders detained and questioned. There are tensions among church leaders in both groups. Open evangelism and itinerant ministry is forbidden and contact with foreign Christians restricted. Pray for a solution to this issue that best unifies and builds the Church of Vietnam.
Meeting places. Appropriate locations for church meetings are difficult to find. Even registered churches find permits to build difficult to acquire. Pray that God will provide for both registered and unregistered churches the right place according to His will.

Christians. Pray for unity since in one sense, the persecution has drawn Christians together, the somewhat chaotic situation also serves to divide. Pray for the essential unity of the Church and that the enemy might not drive a wedge between believers. Another problem which the Christians are facing is the imported divisions, materialistic motivations and dependency on the foreign denominations and ministries proclaiming follow God. Pray for integrity and accountability to be practiced by all. Pray for unbiblical agendas to be broken and God’s glory to be paramount.

Leaders’ development and theological training are the most urgent needs of the Vietnamese church. As numbers increase, so does the potential for false teaching and error. Opportunities for training are still highly restricted and piecemeal. The Catholics have reopened several seminaries, all monitored by the government. There is only one legal Protestant training institute run where registered churches are allowed to train their pastors. Thankfully many pastors are already responsible for multiple congregations and have no time or money for full-time training. Pray for creative, sustainable and effective means of developing a new generation of Christian leaders.

Pray for the less-reached. Present church growth is not evenly distributed – two-thirds of evangelicals are from the ethnic minority groups which comprise at most 13% of the overall population. Many other groups remain scarcely touched by the gospel, but over 12 groups have seen churches planted in the last 10 years where there were previously no believers at all. These include the northern Vietnamese group, the Muslim Cham and Buddhist Khmer of the Mekong Delta, the northern minority peoples., the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religionists strongly resisted Communism. Together they may number as many as six million, but these religions are not growing. Pray that Christians might familiarise themselves with these unique beliefs and cultures and reach the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao with the gospel.

Communist party members, government officials and military personnel. These are the three pillars ofVietnamese society, but Christians are sorely under-represented in all of them.

PROJECTS IN VIETNAM

please contact Zuzana

LIST OF USED LINKS AND BOOKS

Jason Mandryk; Operation World, The definitive prayer guide to every nations; Printed in the United States of America; 2010; 978p.