Ros’s brother, Robert, together with his wife Akasya and their young son Cem (pronounced Gem) left Port Said a few days ago to take over an equivalent post managing the huge shipping port of Ho Chi Minh City. We thought this would be a good excuse to provide a prayerful nation profile!
The situation he leaves behind in Egypt remains highly volatile. The attempt by the new president to award himself much greater powers led to an enormous outcry from a very large number of people who are concerned that the door is being opened to Sharia law, and who have learnt how to protest.
The following link was released a few hours ago indicating that the protesters have caused the president to partially climb down from his bid to assume ‘Pharaoh’ like powers, but whether this is anything like enough remains an extremely moot point. See for example: uk.news.yahoo.com
Much less well reported is the truly wonderful news of astonishing moves of the Holy Spirit. See for example breakingchristiannews.com
Vietnam: A spiritual Profile
You will be familiar with the saying, ‘prayer is caught as well as taught’. It often takes some personal connection to kindle people’s interest, and with it our willingness to pray, for a place or profession. Please see the map at the top of the continuing page to remind yourself of where Vietnam is.
You might find it helpful to start by watching this three minute video as an introduction to this country that is one of the few purely Communist countries still around. There is currently increasing tension in the region as the result of who controls the oil and gas rich South China Sea led to rare demonstrations in Vietnamese city recently against China. See for example: mb.com and english.sina.com
A Testimony from a friend
I have been going to Vietnam for 17 years on an annual basis with IEM, which has around 16000 members in 210 churches in Vietnam, not to mention 50 churches in Cambodia. They are part of VEF which (the equivalent of the Evangelical Alliance, and which represents the unregistered churches.
When I first visited, the church in Vietnam was totally underground, but the situation has become more fluid these days. IEM and the other 30 affiliated groups in VEF are still technically illegal, but their size means they can’t be easily ignored.
The authorities have come to accept that such groups exist and do their best to limit their activity in the big cities, such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. They know, however, that if they do much more than being merely awkward that their activity will find its way onto the Internet, which they are anxious to avoid, because, as a member of WTO, (The World Trade Organisation) Vietnam signed up to principles of religious freedom. Some European governments actually state that Vietnam has religious freedom!
The reality in rural areas, and where the church is really growing, is very different. Here there is persecution of an extreme nature, as the authorities seek to prevent further growth. I have met many believers who have suffered in such areas.
I am particularly encouraged by God’s work amongst the Hmong tribe in Northern Vietnam. I sense that the Holy Spirit is doing a precious work amongst this precious people group.
However, new legislation comes into effect on Jan 1st that will further strengthen the State’s arm in such repression.
Bearing in mind that Vietnam is one of the few remaining communist regimes, and that the government exercises control over every aspect of national life, this is something to pray about urgently.
Continuing a Strategy for Prayer: