Up and Over the Mountain

At six in the morning, he leaves his house and hikes up and over two mountains, across a valley, and then through a jungle before arriving at his first church 10 hours later.

The hardworking pastors in the country of Vietnam sacrifice daily for the sake of the Gospel. They are committed to reaching lost souls no matter what the cost. These men and women of God give themselves entirely to the work of building the Lord’s Kingdom.

Mark is a pastor in Vietnam. His parents raised him in a loving Christian home and at the age of 10, Mark accepted Jesus as his Savior and never looked back. At 18 years old, he was asked to be the choir director at his church, and then at 19, he became a deacon. Mark is now 25 years old, and he oversees eight churches with more than 1400 believers. Mark is devoted to visiting each church in his care at least once a week. Six out of the eight congregations are near his home, but the other two are very far away. The distance doesn’t stop him from traveling there and back regularly. But there are significant difficulties and dangers involved. During the dry season, Mark walks the entire way. At six in the morning, he leaves his house and hikes up and over two mountains, across a valley, and then through a jungle before arriving at his first church 10 hours later. During the rainy season, however, Mark begins his travels on foot but then alters his route to avoid the massive clouds of insects in the jungle. He uses a boat to navigate the river instead, and while it saves on time, riding downriver is even more dangerous than hiking through the jungle. The boat is owned by a godly couple who wished to help Mark reach his churches, however, the communist authorities have spies watching the boat and strict instructions to inform them if it is used by Mark or any other Christian. Each time he steps into the boat he risks his life and his freedom. Once Mark arrives at the remote villages, the believers gather and enjoy a time of fellowship, prayer, and teaching. Mark endures the 10-hour journey home the next morning. He knows the risk of being caught by the police is very real. They would put him in jail and try to force him to sign documents renouncing Christ. But his hope is in the Lord and his eyes are on the Father who calls him to serve.

Hebrews 12:1 – 2 says: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Each time he steps into the boat he risks his life and his freedom.

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