Vietnam (MNN) — Vietnam is one
of the most tightly controlled nations in the world. Although its constitution
grants freedom of worship, the reality for Vietnam's religious minorities
contradicts this right.
However, there are signs that stranglehold
grip around the throats of Christians may be loosening a little. Jonathon Shibley with Global Advance says since
his a visit three years ago, he's sensed a ripening harvest from the house
church they work with.
For example, he says in 2008,
believers were allowed to do an open air crusade in the Saigon, Ho Chi Minh
area for the first time since Communism. Thousands came, and the response to the Gospel was tremendous.
There's great hope for that to
continue. Shibley explains, "As Vietnam
as a nation is experiencing some economic growth and potential as well, I think
that we may see the government continue to loosen up a little bit on human
rights and religious freedom."
Frontline Shepherds got
encouragement and training, but it seems the real focus is on the Marketplace
Missions because it's a new field. "We've
also been able to connect with really a first generation of Christian
entrepreneurs and business professionals that are in the South region and we're
aware of a couple of different networks that have started amongst Christian
All of this helps to build a
foundation to the next bridge. Business
owners who participated in the Marketplace Missions are excited about the
future. "We're talking about reaching out to an orphanage that's in a rural area", Shibley explains, "and business professionals targeting that
orphanage to hire young children when they reach the age of 18. It's one
example of a bridge between urban and rural and the marketplace being a
The development is shaping up as
a huge growth movement where business and the Gospel are a two-pronged approach
to evangelism and discipleship. "One of
our pastor friends who oversees a large network of churches, recently asked us
for 100,000 evangelism tracts. I thought he was going to use it for a
crusade, but it's actually a personal discipleship evangelism movement that
they are helping create through their various house churches throughout the
Despite the persecution, the
church in Vietnam is growing and becoming stronger. Christians now make up
almost 10 percent of the population. Shibley says, "Let's pray for our brothers and sisters there. Let's pray
for the continued advance of the Gospel and the openness of people to receive the
message of Jesus."
Global Advance will continue its
work in resourcing new believers and the Church. Click here to explore more of their work.