When you visit his church, you will meet a pastor who is missing one leg. Yet he greets everyone with a smile that stretches across his entire face. Years ago he lost a leg during the “American War” (as the Vietnamese refer to what we call the Vietnam War). While recovering in a U.S. military hospital, Truong (not his real name) heard about Jesus and chose to follow him for the rest of his life.
That life has not been easy. In 1980 he settled in a village and became an evangelist and church planter. Early in his ministry there, he was thrilled to have two other church planters at his side. All was going well until both of them became ill and died, one leaving behind a young daughter. Truong and his wife, childless despite many years of marriage, took the girl into their home and formally adopted her.
The family has survived severe persecution, even a hand grenade attack once as they fished near their home. The reality of persecution remains strong, but dozens of new Vietnamese Christians attend services in the latest church Truong built. That gathering is growing steadily. In Vietnam, churches are intentionally built close to each other so people can reach them easily. Also, keeping each congregation relatively small lowers the risk of their becoming a target of hostilities.
What is missing for these budding fellowships is teaching materials. On a survey trip last month, David C Cook program officer Brad Quicksall found these believers had great passion and courage, but no other resources to grow their faith. Pastor Truong himself has nothing other than his Bible. Now is an urgent time to get discipleship materials to Vietnamese who are hungry for them.
David C Cook has a long history of supporting the growing Church in Vietnam, but the need is urgent now to step up these activities. Over the past decade, Cook provided valuable resources to 367,000 Vietnamese believers and seekers. Truong and his congregation are literate and desire to grow in Christ. But they are very poor, living a subsistence existence in a rural area with no transportation other than narrow waterways.
As with all our work, we have a trusted local ministry ally in Vietnam. We cannot name them for security reasons, but this is an outstanding, proven ministry group that is, fortunately, able to reach the most rural churches.
Right now we are mounting another campaign to supply more Vietnamese churches. Between now and April we are raising the final funds required to provide the resources the Vietnamese are requesting. This includes thousands of Bible commentaries, along with books on leadership, counseling and parenting. They will be delivered at no cost.
So far, a restaurant owner in the Minneapolis area and Vietnamese Christians have provided most of the money needed for this next shipment of materials. We remain short $17,500. Will you give so we can go to press? Just note that your gift is designated for Vietnam. There are few places where your giving will go further.
Pastor Truong has strong desire to reach the many small villages in his area. This next wave of materials we are sending includes 100,000 copies of the Vietnamese version of The Story of Jesus. The attractive art and clear Gospel message captures the attention of children and adults alike. Vietnamese Christians are enthusiastic about these booklets for outreach, after seeing samples, and tell us they will use them all by the end of this year and be ready for more next year.