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Police Corruption Drives Missionaries From Bolivia

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Names in this article have been altered to protect identities.

A wave of unrest that accompanied Bolivia President Evo Morales’ political ascent engulfed many expatriates there who had hoped to advance the cause of civic improvement. A marked feature of the Morales regime — staunch anti-Americanism — has made U.S. citizens working in the South American country targets of its notoriously corrupt law enforcement and judicial systems. Read More

Why Christians Should Be At The Forefront Of Humanitarian Activity

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Three years ago, I travelled to Papua New Guinea (developing nation in the Pacific) on a medical mission trip with a Christian nonprofit. This ministry delivers health care and the Gospel to otherwise deprived people who can only be reached by watercraft. I wasn’t part of the medical team myself. I was merely there as a journalist to document and report the plight of the local people in order to help raise awareness among those who might consider volunteering in the future. The things I witnessed during that 10-week trip were inspiring. Read More

Together we can Reach the World!

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Mt 9:37
The Great Commission is not an “optional assignment” for the Church. Yet 93% of church members never share the Gospel or pray for others. GO 2020is a special edition of Global Outreach Day which has been taking place every last Saturday of May since 2012 aiming to turn those numbers upside down. On this day every year, believers worldwide have stepped out together to share the Good News. 25 million believers already participated in Global Outreach Day. See what God has done: Global Outreach Day testimonies. Read More

Persecutors Fail To Extinguish Christianity In Vietnam

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Names in this article have been altered to protect identities.

There were meetings I’ll never forget with disciples of Jesus who have had to muster more courage in a year than I’ll likely have to gather my entire lifetime. One of those meetings was with a minister at a hostel in Ho Chi Minh City (named after the Vietnam War revolutionary and politician) where my team and I lived during a mission trip in 2013. Pastor Thanh has had to cope with constant threats, damage to ministry property and violence to his congregants at the hands of governing authorities (or at least, he suspects, instigated by them) for the last two decades, he told me.

In 2000, Pastor Thanh started his church in Vũng Tàu, a city of more than 500,000 residents, in southern Vietnam. Thanh was encouraged by the spiritual influence his ministry seemed to be having during its first two years as dozens of people made first-time professions of faith in Jesus. But those results caught the attention of local police ⁠— who are governed by an overarching Communist system that regards all religions as an ideological threat to its supremacy.

Thanh (who is in his late 40s and is married with two children) says that in the summer of 2005, he was confronted by a group numbering 70 police officers who questioned the lawfulness of his evangelistic activities, he recalled during our meeting. In addition to the physical intimidation, they produced 21 documents detailing alleged illegal religious practices. He resisted repeated attempts by the police to force confessions to the charges. But within months, police harassment became so overbearing that he left the city. He then moved to Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam’s largest city, with more than 8 million residents) where he again experienced persecution ⁠— which largely subsided there when local police realized Christianity teaches respect for authority and good citizenship.

Thanh is also involved in church planting in the Central Highlands region, where his trainees (of whom there are hundreds) have experienced beatings and had their homes destroyed by hostile neighbors. Thanh believes these civilians were provoked (and perhaps bribed financially) by police to instigate conflict.

Ngoc Nouyen, an evangelist in her late 60s who I met during my time in Vietnam, has also had frequent conflicts with police. She has been repeatedly confronted and warned to stop passing out pamphlets about Jesus around Ho Chi Minh City in the previous decade. Nouyen recalled one memorable exchange with police in 2011.

“They said I’m not allowed to share my faith outside of the church. I challenged them that if I share my faith, their jobs would be easier because there would be less sin in the world,” said Nouyen, who often preaches at hospitals and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Vietnam with her American husband.

Despite official regulations that should protect them, Thanh and Nouyen’s experiences continue to be common for Christians and other religious communities viewed with suspicion by the Communist government. Not long after I met these Christians, Vietnam adopted a new constitution that ostensibly protects religious freedom. According to an English translation of the document, Article 24 states that “Everyone shall enjoy freedom of belief and religion; he or she can follow any religion or follow none.” Article 25 decrees that “citizen shall enjoy the right to freedom of opinion and speech.” However, the nation passed a law earlier this year that created obstacles to religious practices (including evangelism) by requiring certain religious activities to be registered and approved governmentally before being carried out.

And according to a human rights report on Vietnam issued by the U.S. Department of State earlier this year, “Authorities subjected many religious and political activists to varying degrees of arbitrary detention in their residences, in vehicles, at local police stations, at ‘social protection centers,’ or at local government offices.” A separate report published in June by the department said that “authorities continued to cite general security concerns, such as political destabilization or potential conflict” between religious and ethnic groups as a reason for denying permission to evangelize or other displays of open religiosity.

Despite these and other obstacles, Christianity in Vietnam remains steady. More than 8 percent of the nation’s population is Christian, according to a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, an organization that studies religious trends globally. That’s the best among the six territories of Indochina: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The church in Vietnam enjoys much greater numbers than in Cambodia and Thailand despite experiencing much greater political and social obstacles than those nations. That, in large measure, has to do with the resilience of Christians there, but is aided by help from brothers in the faith from overseas. Here in the U.S., for example, Desiring God ministries (based out of Minneapolis) has translated many of theologian John Piper’s articles, sermons and conference speeches into Vietnamese. In Touch Ministries (the organization founded by Georgia Pastor Charles Stanley) has reproduced many of its resources in Vietnamese. Voice Media is selling many of renowned late Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe’s books in Vietnamese as well. But, above all, Vietnamese Christians are being sustained by supernatural help, Nouyen said.

“Some of my missionary friends from abroad ask me how I last in Vietnam despite so much opposition against my work for the Lord. I say, ‘Only by the grace of God’” Nouyen told me.

By: Raymond Billy

*** If you would like to learn more about Raymond Billy and his ministry, Click Here.

Reaching The Chinese People One Panamanian At A Time

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In 2014 when I staffed a Discipleship Training School — a six-month program that includes 12 weeks of classroom instruction followed by a 60-day mission trip — in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, one of the trainees came to me privately in distress. She had initially chosen to join my group for an outreach to Panama, but was beginning to doubt she made the correct choice. As a Singaporean who is fluent in Mandarin, she was contemplating a switch to the team that was going to be ministering in China, where that language is also spoken. Read More

When Prayer and Missions Unite!

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Prayer movements and mission movements are converging! May 2019 through May 2020 is a previously unprecedented time of united, informed prayer for the largest gaps in work among the unreached around the world: YEAR OF THE FRONTIER! For thirteen months starting May 2019, prayer networks around the world will coordinate with the Alliance for the Unreached, the Ethné Movement, the 24:14 Coalition, Joshua Project’s “Unreached of the Day” (http://JoshuaProject.net/pray/unreachedoftheday) and Frontier Venture’s Global Prayer Digest as well as many others to pray for every one of the 400 Frontier People Groups (FPGs) with an in-country population over 500,000 as field efforts collaborate to see movements to Christ in every people and place. Read More

A Jewish Man’s Journey to Jesus

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This year an older Jewish man came to stay with us. He was an old family friend who heard we has made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) and wanted to see us and know how we were doing in our Jewish homeland. We talked of how our children were doing well in the Israeli Army, and moving on to establish settled lives in Israel. He was very pleased to hear all of this- a great Jewish “moving to Israel” success story.

Then we brought up Jesus. Read More

A New Song

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They sat there stuffed into a small room. So many of them leaned their heads back with their eyes closed. They all seemed tired and unenthused about the worship music we had practiced so hard for them. But then I heard God say so clearly…Descansa (rest). As I listened to God telling me that these people were resting, my focus changed. We continued singing and I watched as tears fell from the eyes of many. Few were singing, few were standing…all of them were resting in the Spirit. Read More

Thy Will Be Done, Thy Kingdom Come!

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Obedience. Obedience is a concept that we are all taught as children, meaning to do what is asked of us, even if we do not agree or willingly wish to do. Obedience is doing what is asked even if you fear the result, but oftentimes you fear the one asking even more. This summer I took a big step of obedience and shared my testimony with my teammates at our cheer camp. I was not a public speaker. I was not a vulnerable person. I was not an emotional person. I was just not qualified to lead a devotion, or so I thought. The Lord gave me a mandate and I could not ignore it; I knew in my heart I had this burning inside of me to fulfill what I had to do, not because I wanted to but because my father was telling me to. I had prepared and prepared so many topics I could speak on for weeks. The moment before I walked into the room to share I stopped and asked, Lord, what would you have me share? Holy Spirit would you help me? Would you speak through me to each person in that room? Lord I need your strength! Read More

A Third Edge I Failed to See

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Three years old and cute as a button in her lavender jumper she climbs the steep metal stairs for the exhilaration of a ride down the slide. She paused at the top. Her deep green eyes looked with sudden fear at the path ahead of her. Tender fingers gripped tightly to the handrails as she felt her heart urging her back, urging her away from the edge. She could not do it. She would not do it. This little girl turned around and chose the other edge: to return. One step, two steps, three steps, four st—she woke up with her face in the dirt and a wrist that was throbbing in pain. Read More

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