The population of Vietnam is about 97 million. One of the few Communist nations in the 21stCentury, Vietnam faces many challenges. The effects of war are still evident and drug addiction, AIDS, prostitution, and exploitation of children are all too common. Vietnam was united as one country in 1976, with the capital being Hanoi. Interestingly, we have found that leadership in most walks of Vietnamese life, including ministry, comes from the North.
45% of the Vietnamese adhere to indigenous religions, 16% to Buddhism, and 8% to Christianity. However, the deepest spiritual allegiance in Vietnam is the veneration and worship of ancestors, a belief system that runs deep across most religious practices. The state’s official position on religion is that all citizens are free to practice their beliefs, and that all religions are equal before the law. Nevertheless, only government-approved religious organizations are allowed. Accordingly, there is always the possibility of governmental interference or even persecution. The need of the hour in Vietnam is to sponsor the next 75 church planters who will be entrusted with planting 3 churches each in the near term.
Vietnam is a ripe harvest field. Our focus is on doing exactly what we set out to do from the very beginning across our ministry venues: share the gospel, train future leaders and plant churches. As a key part of that strategy, we are planning training centers for 100 workers in Hanoi in the north, Da Nang in the center and Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) in the south.
We have met with the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship and presented a plan to plant 1200 churches. Their leaders were thrilled and a bit shocked. They said they had never heard of anything so ambitious, yet they embraced the vision enthusiastically as the Lord’s will and an answer to their prayers. To date, we have planted 260 churches and are well on our way in implementing our overall plan to plant 1200 churches.
The Vietnamese people have recently expressed their compassion for those in need by sending several metric tons of rice to Cuba. Their generosity is abundant and God-led. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in mind in this country with such a difficult history.
Please pray that WLM may be a force leading the Vietnamese to faith and out of dark practices such as ancestor worship. And please consider supporting a church planter for $80/month.