This month we’ll take a glimpse into the communist country of Vietnam.
Currently, Vietnam is approximately 54% Buddhist, 22% non-religious, and 8% Christian. The government officially recognizes one Buddhist organization, the South Evangelical Church of Vietnam, the Roman Catholic Church and two Protestant organizations, which are The Christian Missionary Alliance and the Evangelical Church of Vietnam.
The government bans all unregistered groups, and it doesn’t allow anyone who belongs to an unauthorized religious group to speak publicly about their faith; likewise, foreign missionaries are prohibited from sharing their faith.
The churches that remain unregistered do so because of the extreme restrictions that are put on those that are registered. Known Christians are routinely harassed, arrested, imprisoned and tortured.
Underground Christians have to baptize at night in streams and will walk for days to acquire a bible or to hand them out. Despite the persecution, many are following Christ and there is a need for trained teachers and leaders.
The following is but one of the prisoner profiles listed on the website The Voice of the Martyrs. It is a story of Le Thi Cong Nhan, a Christian woman who is currently imprisoned for her Christian faith, and has been for the past two and a half years. It reads as follows:
“In May 2007, Le Thi Cong Nhan, a Vietnamese Christian and lawyer, was sentenced to four years in prison followed by three years of house arrest. Nhan was arrested and sentenced alongside Nguyen Van Dai, a Protestant church leader and lawyer. They are accused of a wide range of crimes; such as “conspiring with terrorists, in their efforts to promote human rights efforts, including religious rights and democracy.” They are also accused of compiling “evidence of Vietnam’s suppression of the Protestant religion and providing it to the U.S.-based Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam and the U.S. embassy.” Following Nhan and Dai’s sentencing, the Vietnamese state news agency accused the lawyers of “posting information on the internet … [and] painting biased and distorted pictures of the country and its internal affairs.”
To me, this speaks loud and clear about the fear that the government has about being revealed as a corrupt government who then turns that fear on its citizens by treating them in an absolutely malicious manner. Shoot, why would anyone want to promote human rights, for Pete’s sake, especially when they are religious rights and, heaven forbid, democracy? There is, to be sure, an evil force behind the persecution these brothers and sisters are facing.
You can find information on Prisoner Alert about others who are currently imprisoned in Vietnam for their faith, and there are addresses where you can write to each one.
Please keep this woman and the others in your prayers, that God will give them the strength to endure and to hold onto their faith no matter what.
"Remember the prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves are in the body also." Hebrews 13:3