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Vietnamese house church leaders plead for prayer

By October 20, 2004

Vietnam (Open Doors) — House church leaders and Open Doors, USA are requesting urgent prayer for Christians in Vietnam as a new restrictive law on religion is due to take effect on Nov. 15. That day follows the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on Nov. 14 when thousands of Christians around the world pray for suffering Christians.

An Open Doors contact reports: “We were visited by a dear pastor from one of these house churches and he broke down in tears as the emotions of his deep concern for his people and leaders in Vietnam washed over him as he began to share. Please join us in praying for Vietnam.”

A statement by the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship (VEF) says of the new law: “It will create many problems and disadvantages for the church, especially for our gatherings for worship. At the same time, it is likely to permanently outlaw our house church organizations, none of which have been recognized since 1975. Many articles in this ordinance will also provide a legal basis for local authorities to hinder and persecute the church.”

This statement also asks for prayer that the government of Vietnam will withdraw the new law issued on June 18 and to stop all forms of persecution and hindrances to church activities.

This new law purportedly guarantees religious freedom in one article but uses most of the remaining 40 articles for detailing a long series of complicated regulations to insure close state management of religious activity.

According to Compass Direct, in addition to the call for prayer, pastors and leaders from more than 50 house churches and indigenous mission organizations signed a petition delivered in Hanoi on Sept. 27 appealing to Vietnam’s Communist Party leadership to allow greater religious freedom in Vietnam and re-think the new religious law.

“We are people who have put our whole trust in the living God,” the document states. “It is because of this true faith in God that millions of Vietnamese lives have been transformed for the better, and have contributed significantly to the social and spiritual life of our homeland.”

Dr. Carl Moeller, President of Open Doors USA, says: “We need to pray for church leaders in Vietnam. The new law would have a negative impact on the lives of thousands of Christians in Vietnam. Vietnam already is ranked No. 4 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where persecution is the worst.”

Open Doors USA is committed to helping your church learn about and pray for persecuted Christians – in places like Vietnam, Iraq, Nigeria and Colombia – on IDOP Sunday, Nov. 14, by offering a free kit for pastors. The kit will provide materials which can be used throughout the year. Request your 2004 IDOP Pastor’s Kit by contacting Open Doors USA at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (524-2535). Or order your kit at www.odusa.org (then click on IDOP on the left side of the front page).

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