Human and religious rights changes in Vietnam open doors

By August 13, 2007

(MNN)– The U.S. House may be considering the "Vietnam Human Rights Act of
2007," after the bill survived the
Foreign Affairs Committee. It focuses on Vietnam's suppression of religious
freedom and human rights. 

Although the constitution provides for religious freedom, the
Communist regime tries to keep religion under strict control with a system of
obligatory registrations. Many churches have chosen to remain unregistered
because of the restrictions the government imposes on registered churches and believers.

Even as the church struggles, persecuted believers appreciate the support
of the body of Christ. World Serve's
David Hunt translated the thanks of a pastor who is evangelizing in North Vietnam. (translation) "We know that you're with
us and praying for us, and just a few minutes ago, he asked for
strength." This pastor, known as
Pastor Tirehands, has already served time in a hard labor camp separating tires
into components. The labor ruined his
hands but never stopped him from sharing his hope.

Upon his release, he's back in North Vietnam, ministering once
again. To men like Pastor Tirehands, a
Bible is an incredible gift. In the
past, the scarcity of such resources caused many believers to share the same
Bible, painstakingly hand-copying its pages. 

Hunt says an incredible door has opened into the country,
and they want to move fast. Their team has been granted
formal permission to print 100,000 Bibles in Vietnam. This is the largest single
printing of God's Word there since the Communist regime gained power in 1975.

"By the end of this month, the first 10,000 copies
will be printed. It is the most historic
single printing, in my view, that we've ever had in Vietnam because this is a Communist
nation, [and] a church that is not recognized is being given the ability to
both print and distribute Bibles. They are going to be distributed from the end
of this month on to believers all over the country."

Vietnamese Christian leaders are
reporting that the country is seeing unprecedented religious freedom from North
to South. People are responding to the
hope of the Gospel making the need for training church leaders vital.
World Serve already has plans to help build a training center. If you can help provide funding or support,
click here.

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