Duc* was full of joy when he placed his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But that joy was quickly accompanied by confusion and sadness when he began facing significant opposition. While some of his friends had also chosen to believe, other friends now shunned him or even openly opposed him. After a couple of times having friends to his small, rented room to worship and study the Bible, his landlord told him that if he continued such gatherings, he would kick him out. Most difficult of all, when he told his parents about his new faith, they got angry, yelling at him and forbidding him to believe in what they call a ‘western religion.’ Duc is a traditional and loyal son. He loves his family and has never openly defied his parents. But he knows in his heart that his faith in Jesus is real and true, and so he told his parents he could not stop. His parents in turn told Duc that he could not return home.
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Persecution against Believers in Viet Nam continues to be high, evidenced by the country being ranked as 19th globally for such persecution on the 2022 World Watch List, compiled by Open Doors. That persecution is not the same everywhere throughout the country and can be somewhat complex. The full Viet Nam country report by Open Doors research department published in December 2021 is included below. That report identifies several factors or sources of persecution found within the country including “Communist and post-Communist oppression, dictatorial paranoia, organized corruption and crime, and clan oppression.” Clan oppression is persecution that comes from family and community, often based on Christianity being seen as opposed to traditional culture and beliefs. This is the kind of persecution seen in Duc’s story above.
Generally, persecution is most prevalent in rural areas of central and northern Viet Nam and most often directed at minority groups who may have higher instances of Christianity. But clan oppression, persecution from family and friends is seen everywhere throughout the country including urban areas. Control and restrictions placed on registered churches is also common throughout the country. Pray for the Believers of Viet Nam to be strengthened in faith in the face of persecution and opposition. Pray that God will be glorified and grow His Kingdom in Viet Nam in spite of such opposition.
Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12
*names changed for security