This Sunday, November 1, 2015, is the International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted Church. Would you take time to pray for our brothers and sisters suffering for their faith? Go to these sites to inform yourself about the 50 most persecuted country in the world and learn how you can pray for them, how you can send messages, letters, or postcards to those who are currently in prison or is suffering under persecution.
How can a letter or a small postcard help a brother or sister in Christ?
This was the exact question I had when I got involved with the Voice of the Martyr (VOM) in 1992. I was in college and through divine encounters, I met a VOM field worker who was operating in Vietnam. She smuggled Bibles on her trips into Communist Vietnam and brought out news about pastors and Christians being imprisoned and persecuted so that VOM can publicize them and mobilize the world to pray and write to them. She solicited my help because I am a Vietnamese American who speaks both languages fluently. So I helped by translating letters and information that were smuggled out of Vietnam. At that time there was a pastor name L M Nguyen who was imprisoned for many years because of his faith. He was then moved to house arrest and placed in isolation. The community shunned him in fear of retribution from the authorities. He and his wife could barely support their family during those years.
VOM heard about his plight and sent workers in to get his story. I helped translated his letters and VOM published them in their magazine calling for Christian worldwide to write letters and postcard to encourage Pastor Nguyen. Letters began to pour into this man’s address from all over the world and it bewildered the authorities because they were censoring his mail and was astonished by all the letters he was receiving. They brought him in for questioning and plopped bundles of mail on the table demanding that he explain to them why the whole world knew of his situation. The government wanted to isolate and destroy, but through the prayer, letters, and postcards, God brought it into light.
For 15 years the government fought against God and His pen wielding faithful who kept writing encouraging letters. They finally gave up and expelled him out of Vietnam in 2006. He and his wife now live in San Diego, California.
However, the miracle did not end there. Back in the year 2000, while Nguyen was under house arrest, he read about John Wesley and the United Methodist Church and heard God calling him to start a United Methodist Church in his house, starting with his family. Acting on this conviction, he sent letters to a distant relative in the States, who is a UMC Elder, asked for help to start the first United Methodist Church in Vietnam. This was the start of something that only God could do. In 2002, the UMC sent it’s first missionary to Vietnam to help this church and today there are over 200 United Methodist churches in Vietnam. I was privileged to be present at the first ordination service for the first class of Vietnamese United Methodist pastors in 2013. Among those 12 ordained pastors, 7 were Pastor Nguyen’s children! He and his wife left Vietnam, but his children remained to continue his legacy and are now UMC pastors. How can a small letter or a postcard help? How can your short prayer help our brothers and sisters in bondage? Only God knows. No one in the 90’s who wrote letters to Pastor Nguyen could imagined that what they were doing was sowing seeds into a thriving denomination in Vietnam today. No one.
Will you sow seeds into the next God movement today and pray for our brothers and sisters in persecuting countries?
Submitted by Son To