VIETNAM: CHRISTIANS DENIED PUBLIC SERVICES, TOLD “LET YOUR GOD SAVE YOU!”
81-year-old Sister ‘D’ (name withheld for security purposes) lives alone in a tiny hut on a remote mountain field in Tuyen Quang province in northern Vietnam. She previously lived with her family in a nearby village. But last summer when she became a Christian, she was rejected by her family, forced out of their home, and driven out of the village. Now, she has to rely on fellow Christians to remember her. Some travel to her hut to give her rice, vegetables, and firewood. She uses the provisions to prepare congee.
According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, Sister ‘D’ is one of 45 Christian individuals or families living in four different areas in Vietnam who Voice of the Martyrs has pledged to help with emergency aid due to ongoing persecution resulting from their faith.
“When people in our country hear the word ‘persecution’, they think of Christians being tortured or sent to prison. But one of the harshest and most common forms of persecution faced by Christians is being denied basic services, by the government, by neighbors, and even by families,” says Representative Foley. “In a Communist country like Vietnam, certain goods and services are available only through the government. Several Christians report that as they are denied these things, officials and villagers have taunted them by saying, ‘Let your god save you!’ or ‘Ask your pastor for help’.”
Representative Foley noted the case of Brother ‘C’, who became a Christian in 2019. He currently serves as an evangelist in an ethnic minority community in the Vietnamese highlands. “In February, he was leading a gathering at which three new Christian families were present. Local police officers and community leaders tried to force the three families to renounce their faith,” says Representative Foley. “Brother ‘C’ and two sisters in the church stood up to protect the new families but were physically beaten. Ultimately the community leaders demanded that the Christians be responsible for any death or loss anywhere in the community, claiming that the new faith would badly impact the whole community.” Representative Foley says that Brother ‘C’ was forced out of his home and has had to move in with a nearby pastor until the situation improves. Presently, Brother ‘C’’s church is unable to meet.
Brother H had his motorbike confiscated by local authorities in Vietnam because he would not renounce his faith. Voice of the Martyrs has pledged emergency aid to 45 individuals or families in 4 areas in Vietnam who have recently experienced persecution.
Representative Foley says that even when Christians try to provide for themselves independently of the Communist government, they face obstacles. “In one recent case, Brother ‘D’ had been working hard in the cultivation of cassava; he finally harvested his crop and was on the way to the local market to sell it. Before he arrived, his truck was stopped by the authorities who told him that he would only be allowed to proceed if he signed a written document renouncing his faith. He refused. As a result, his truck was confiscated and was not released back to him until the cassava had spoiled. Nothing was salvageable.”
In another case noted by Representative Foley, authorities seized a motorbike belonging to Brother ‘H’. “They took away his driver’s license, insurance, and ownership papers and warned him and his wife that their belongings would not be returned to them unless they renounced their faith,” says Representative Foley. “Brother H and his wife refused, so the authorities forced Brother H’s non-Christian mother-in-law to expel them from her home.”
Representative Foley says Vietnamese Christians typically become family to each other when they are shut out of their own birth families, villages, and government distributions. “In the case of Brother ‘H’ and his wife, they and their two children had to leave their home empty-handed. But a fellow believer, Brother ‘D’ allowed Brother ‘H’’s family to stay with him.” Brother ‘D’ is no stranger to persecution, according to Representative Foley. He himself was recently discharged from the hospital after being beaten by the authorities.
“Brother ‘D’ has a small piece of land next to his house,” says Representative Foley. “He is giving it to Brother ‘H’ to build a house on. Voice of the Martyrs is planning to provide the funds for building materials, as the Lord permits.” Representative Foley says that Voice of the Martyrs’ goal is to assist all 45 Christians who have been verified by the ministry as recently experiencing persecution.
Brother C, an evangelist reaching an ethnic minority population in the Vietnamese highlands, was told by authorities that he and his church members must accept responsibility for any death or suffering in their village.
Persecution for Vietnamese Christians now takes the form of expulsion from their homes and villages and being cut off from government-provided goods and services. They are told, “Let your god save you!”
“The Vietnamese authorities taunt the Christians, ‘Let your god save you’. We believe that God is indeed saving these Vietnamese brothers and sisters who refuse to renounce his name. God is moving the heart of Vietnamese Christians to care for them. And as members of one body in Christ, Christians in our country should join in this care by providing emergency aid for them in this time of persecution.”
Representative Foley says that donations given to Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s “Communism is Not Dead” (CIND) fund in April will be designated for emergency persecution relief in Vietnam. Interested individuals can give at www.vomkorea.com/en/donation or via electronic transfer to
국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303
예금주 (Account Holder): (사)순교자의소리
Please include the name “CIND” on the donation.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea classifies Vietnam as one of five remaining Communist nations in the world, including also China, North Korea, Laos, and Cuba. “Each of these nations, including Vietnam, maintains strict laws against religion,” says Representative Foley. “Christian persecution is not a thing of the past in the Communist world.”