Triangular hats bob up and down in platform rice fields that look like giant steps up the mountainside. Children chase chickens and stray dogs around the poles of stilted bamboo houses while their parents, mostly the women, do back-breaking work in fields to try to scrape up enough food for the day.
Just miles away, a giant city covered in a blanket of smog is bustling, roads covered with cars and motorbikes that flow in organized chaos. Millions of people, over half of them younger than 30, walk on the sidewalks or whiz through the streets doubled or even tripled up on their bikes. Street vendors sell everything from spring rolls to cigarettes from two baskets slung on bamboo poles over their shoulders.
Vietnam is a country of great diversity. Large urban areas. Vast rural country sides. Cities overflowing with people. Tiny villages with a handful of members. Recent years have seen a dramatic decrease in poverty in urban areas, yet people in rural areas still struggle to make ends meet.
In a country typically categorized by war and unrest, few recognize Vietnam for its cultural heritage that is one of the most diverse in the world. Though the Kinh people make up the majority, scattered throughout the country, mostly in rural areas, are dramatically different people groups with their own languages, cultures, and beliefs.
Yet with all its differences, two things in Vietnam seem to be universal—ancestral worship and communist restrictions on Christianity. From bamboo houses in villages to high-rise apartments in major cities, nearly every home in Vietnam has an altar dedicated to worshipping the dead. Whether Vietnamese people identify as Buddhist or non-religious, typically most of them honor their ancestors through prayer and worship and are in bondage to superstitions and spirits.
Because Vietnam is a communist country, Christians are constantly under strict surveillance and regulations. In cities, some Christians have experienced more freedoms—even being allowed to register more churches and train leaders. Still, they are heavily watched and undergo routine interrogations by local authorities. Villagers have an even tougher time as local authorities have been known to interrogate, seize property, deny permits, and even beat Christians who try to spread their faith. Often Christians hear their names broadcasted over loud speakers in warnings for other villagers not to associate with them or believe their “lies” about Jesus.
In a country of diversity, Christians from village to city face similar challenges. Vietnamese people from north to south spend their days in bondage to the same darkness, often never having the chance to hear about a Savior who died for them.
PrayForVietnam was created to call the global church to pray for the Peoples of Vietnam to find true joy and salvation in Jesus Christ. Will you join us in praying for Vietnam? Will you be an advocate for Vietnamese people to journey from darkness into light?
How you can pray:
- Pray for Vietnamese people to leave ancestral worship to worship the One True God who alone can take away their sins and give them eternal life.
- Pray for the gospel to be communicated clearly and not be seen as an “American” or “Western” religion to be avoided for fear of the authorities.
- Pray for communist leaders of Vietnam to hear and respond to the gospel.
- Pray for Christians who face persecution in Vietnam to continue to share the gospel with faith and boldness.