INTERNATIONAL SITUATION REPORTS
GOOD NEWS - God is Still at Work (Vietnam)
from Ron Pearce
I grew up in a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. It was there that my walk with God was molded around their foundational teaching of the “fourfold Gospel”—Jesus as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. This understanding of the nature of God laid a firm foundation to launch me into ministry first as a pastor, and then secondly as the founder of Empower Ministries. Over the past three decades I have travelled the world widely, meeting thousands of national church leaders and believers who have a similar belief in a Living, Supernatural God, who cares for His children physically and spiritually, always providing for their daily needs. I have heard countless testimonies from believers in dozens of countries, affirming that God heals today. And, I have witnessed the proof of God’s love in my own life and in those around me.
I believe in Jehovah-Rapha: The God who Heals.
Over the years, I have also learned this: Every revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit around the world has a different “spiritual flavour.” Israeli believers are known for their powerful prayer life. Christians in China have a deep love for the Word of God, with a corresponding preoccupation for witnessing. In Ethiopia, God is using dreams and visions to change hearts because their militant antagonism towards the Gospel is so deeply embedded. Only by revealing His presence and message directly to the religious leaders in a supernatural manifestation will the people’s minds and hearts open to the Gospel.
This brings us to Vietnam—a country I will highlight today, as well as a national church that is experiencing an abundance of physical healings. Like nowhere on earth, this is a Church that stands firmly upon a verse found in Jeremiah 33:6 (NIV):
Believers in Vietnam will go to doctors and use modern medicine, but, above all else, they have learned that God is their primary source of health and healing. This understanding of God’s power to heal began at the end of the Vietnam War when the atheistic communist forces tried to crush the Church. They attempted to indoctrinate the population with the belief that there is no God. Spiritual darkness spread over the country for a few years as communist thought flourished. And then God broke forth in power, declaring to all that, “I Am Alive!” He supernaturally began to perform indisputable miracles and healings for His children throughout the country. National believers developed a firm assurance through “hard experience” that God is their source of life, health, and supply.
Possibly, the rest of the world is now learning this same lesson from “hard experience.” Based upon this historical overview, this is what is currently transpiring in the country.
Note: This synopsis of the situation was obtained through a recent call with the national leader of the second largest evangelical denomination in Vietnam. He has been a personal friend of mine for almost 30 years. He is also a recognized, leading authority on church planting and discipleship in Southeast Asia.
- At the time of writing, there are 121 known cases of coronavirus in Vietnam. Still, thousands of people are being monitored in medical hospitals or placed in isolation. Fear in the cities is rapidly increasing.
- The government is strictly controlling the situation. When someone is known to be infected, they are picked up and sent to a military hospital and detained there.
The Good News:
- Pastors and church planters are experiencing incredible opportunities to share the Gospel, which is reminiscent of a period around the year 1994 when a massive revival hit Vietnam, and many thousands turned to Christ. That revival coincided with people’s hearts turning away from communism.
- Currently, this national leader has over 1,000 churches in his denomination. In the last week alone, because so many are accepting Christ, they have established 20 new churches.
- As the government moves to eliminate the gathering of large groups of people, the churches are preparing to go online with services, new believer discipleship training, prayer meetings, and evangelistic messages. Church leaders are working to ensure that believers and unbelievers alike can contact the churches via social media/email with prayer requests.
- In one way, this crisis is proving to be a blessing as thousands of “cell groups” continue to pop up in cities, towns, and villages. Over the years, large churches replaced home meetings. Therefore, the re-establishment of cell groups means that elders/house church leaders are rising to the opportunity to witness and disciple on a smaller community basis. These cell leaders are growing stronger and bolder through online lessons, as they continually receive training to lead their groups of believers.
- The Body of believers itself is becoming much closer under the circumstances. It is looking more and more like Acts 4, where the Church became of “one heart and soul.”
- The government has closed all schools from kindergarten through to university; this means that sanctioned Bible Schools have also shut down. Therefore, they are now conducting training classes for eager pastors online through Zoom, a remote conferencing service, with 100 students per group. As the leader told me: “People cannot get enough of Bible teaching, and our pastors need classes to know what to share from God’s Word and how to share it.”
Ron’s Question to a Church leader: Are people scared?
Answer: “Non-believers—yes. In the Church—we trust in God. We continue to worship on Sunday and pray many nights of the week together. We will follow the government instructions about the size of meetings, but we will find a way to pray, no matter what. It is a good opportunity from the Lord to share the Gospel with non-Christians as people’s hearts are opening to the Lord out of fear. They realize that the government cannot protect them as God can. In some villages, we were unable to find a way to preach the Gospel because they were extreme communists. Now, online and over phone conversations, we can share about Jesus, and they are eager to listen.”
A Recent Story Revealing God’s Power to Heal
Three Vietnamese pastors recently set out to visit unreached villages in Central Vietnam. They preached the Gospel and prayed for the sick. In this region, there is virtually no government health care. The people depend upon witchcraft and potions for healing. The pastors prayed for many villagers who continually live in sickness. God healed hundreds on the spot or soon afterward. In total, almost 800 people turned to Christ and accepted Him as their Saviour over a period of one month. Now, previously unreached regions have 16 churches where these eager new believers are discipled in the Bible by our hard-working pastors.
This turning to God is the positive side of the coronavirus outbreak in Vietnam.
Thank you, Empower Family, for standing with these brothers and sisters in Christ. We are victorious in Him!