Two boys in a rural village in Vietnam, 16-year old Giang* and 15-year old Huy*, were beaten and disowned by their families as the result of their decisions to follow Christ at the invitation of a local evangelist supported by Voice of the Martyrs.
One year ago, Evangelist Thao* traveled to the boys’ village to share the gospel. According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, Evangelist Thao met Giang and Huy and led them to Christ.
“Giang’s parents beat him several times in the hope that he would renounce his new faith,” says Representative Foley. “But Giang remained committed to Christ. So his parents chased him out of the house and forbade him from returning.”
According to Representative Foley, Giang then built a small hut to live in and began to care for himself.
“Upon hearing this story, Pastor Makaio*, another VOM-supported pastor in Vietnam, went and brought Giang home to live with his own family,” says Representative Foley.
15-year-old Huy was living with his grandparents before he became a Christian. According to Representative Foley, Huy’s grandfather practiced witchcraft, and Huy was frequently harassed and beaten by his two uncles after accepting Christ. “Huy’s family burnt all of his belongings, including his clothes, books and notebooks,” says Representative Foley. Recently, Huy was forced to leave home and was also taken in by Pastor Makaio’s family.
“Thanks to Voice of the Martyrs supporters, Pastor Makaio was able to buy bicycles, clothes, and other necessities for the two boys,” says Representative Foley.
Giang (left) and Huy (right) after being taken in by Pastor Makaio.
According to Representative Foley, Pastor Makaio went to speak with Giang and Huy’s families, hoping they would consider taking the boys back. “Thankfully, Huy’s grandparents have agreed to allow him to return home on the condition that he demonstrates to them that Christianity is a good religion,” says Representative Foley. “They said that until now, they have only ever heard bad things about Christianity, but that they will consider following Christ if they see good things coming from Huy’s decision.”
She added, “Unfortunately, Giang’s parents rejected Pastor Makaio’s request. They have refused to allow their son to return unless he agrees to stop following Christ. They also told Pastor Makaio that they will hold him responsible if Giang becomes a bad person.”
According to Representative Foley, Pastor Makaio has arranged for Giang to live with a church member whose home is close enough to Giang’s school to enable him to keep attending there.
Voice of the Martyrs Korea is asking for special prayers for the boys, their families, and the VOM-sponsored local workers in Vietnam.
“Pray for Huy’s grandparents, who are open to following Christ if they see positive change in Huy’s life,” says Representative Foley. “Pray for Giang’s parents, that their hearts would soften towards their son and that they would be open to hearing from him about Jesus. Pray for the blessing and protection of pastors and evangelists in Vietnam. Pray that they would be continually encouraged and strengthened as they seek to spread the gospel and build up other believers.”
The United States Department of State designates Vietnam as one of ten “Countries of Particular Concern” under the terms of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 due to what it regards as “severe violations of religious freedom”. The other countries on the State Department’s list are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
More information on Christian persecution in Vietnam is available at https://vomkorea.com/en/country-profile/VIETNAM/.
*All names have been changed to protect the believers’ identities.