Earlier we shared with you about Su who became a Christian outside of Vietnam and then brought the gospel back to her home village, facing persecution from the government and her community.
This is a fictional story based off of real life events. It is not a true depiction of one person’s life, but intended to be an example of the types of persecution that Vietnamese people face in their home villages.
Su’s husband, Te, sits quietly in the back of the group as Su begins their meeting with prayer. For over a month now, their small group of believers has been meeting in Su’s home to study the Bible and praise God together.
Su smiles at her husband reassuringly. She is delighted that he consented to come to the group and says he believes in Jesus. Yet, something in her still doesn’t quite believe that Te’s heart has changed.
As women’s voices lift up praises to God quietly so the neighbors can’t hear, Te looks around, stands up, and walks out the door. Su’s heart sinks as she looks in the direction Te is walking.
About five minutes later, men in uniforms order everyone out of Su’s house. As the little group disperses, Su whispers for them to stay strong and come back next week. She sees Te cowering behind the authorities.
They are nicer to her today, only warning her that her secret Christian meetings are against the law. If she continues to hold them without being registered, she and everyone in the meetings will be punished.
One of the officers holds up a piece of paper, and Su notices Te’s handwriting. As she comes out of her astonishment, the officer is saying, “…all the names here…we’ll keep track. We are warning you.”
They make a quick exit, loudly warning Su again so that neighbors peeking out their windows know for sure why Su is in trouble.
As Su watches them go, she hears, “I will divorce you if you do not stop following this Jesus.”
Shocked, she turns to see a resolute Te, ready for an argument. The truth of his lack of faith in Jesus now bellows at her as he yells about how the authorities blame him for what she is doing. They will not leave him alone. She must stop or she will lose him, so he says.
Calmly, Su says a silent prayer as she takes Te by the hand and says, “I love you very much, but I can not and will not turn my back on Jesus who died for me and is my Lord and Savior. I am sorry.”
With that Te storms out of the house, and Su knows he will return after enough rice wine has made him forget. She feels two hands grab hers, and turns to see her children standing beside her.
Soon they hear footsteps and whispers getting closer, and Su cannot believe what she sees—all the women walking back, quietly singing praises to God. What’s more amazing is that other people, even men too, creep out of their houses to ask the ladies where they are going. When they tell them they are going to learn about God, some people decide to come along.
Su’s house starts filling up again, this time with men, women, and children. As Su and the other women begin telling the newcomers about Jesus, Su prays a prayer of thankfulness.
In the weeks and months that follow, more and more people become interested in what is going on at Su’s house. Despite continued resistance from Te, the gospel continues to spread, taking root in hearts throughout the tiny village.
Su and the other believers continually pray that God would form among them a local church complete with pastoral leadership. They also pray that they would be able to officially register with the government and avoid the current hassle of local officials interrupting their meetings with threats. Su knows, perhaps better than anyone, that this is a tall order. It could take a few tries to before they are recognized as a legitimate church by government authorities, and it may never happen. But thinking back over God’s faithfulness since returning to her home as a Christ follower, Su is hopeful and unafraid.
This is where we will stop with Su’s story. Though this is a fictional story, it represents the struggles that many Vietnamese church leaders face in their villages. Community and family pressure is the strongest persecution that Christians face today, with persecution beginning within 24 hours after people believe in Christ.
Some persecutions are more severe than what is represented with Su here, with Christians being thrown out of families and disowned or not being allowed to find work in their communities. Other forms of persecution come from the government, including pressures on community members, interrogations, refusal of permits, and sometimes even beatings.
As you pray for the peoples of Vietnam, remember stories like Su’s. Pray for Christians in Vietnam, especially church leaders, to stand strong despite persecution and to look for God’s faithfulness during their hardships.