Welcome to Pray for Vietnam!
This site is dedicated to providing information to help you pray individually, or in groups, for the country and people of Vietnam.
It is also the site to go to for the International Day of Prayer for Vietnam, which is the first Sunday in May each year.
We look forward to hearing any comments or suggestions you may have about this website. Please send any ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
On this site you will find a section called Prayer News. This is the place to go for various short prayer news bulletins.
The Articles about Vietnam section contains background information on various aspects of the people and country of Vietnam. At present, there are three categories of articles dealing with the country, the people, and their beliefs and values.
Finally, we have a Download section that will contain various prayer resources and information about Vietnam for you to use for yourself, or with churches and prayer groups.
If you would like to receive regular prayer news by email, send an email to email@example.com.
Over 50 children live in the Bo De pagoda in Hanoi. All are orphans, many abandoned as babies by teenage, drug-addicted or divorced mothers. Kieu Thu Huong was one such baby and, at 18, is 'mother' to the other children in the pagoda where she has lived her entire life. Some parents in extreme poverty ask the pagoda to care for their children and maintain regular contact. However, most children never see their parents again. In nearly 20 years, only one mother has returned for her child. Life in the pagoda is frugal. Money raised from Buddhist followers barely covers school fees and food. Even donations of second-hand clothes are insufficient for all the children.
Cat tien duyen. Haven't you heard? Everyone's talking about it - the latest solution for independent career women too busy to find a husband. -Or for their male counterparts, who just can't find a nice girl to settle down with. Anxious mammas are more than happy to dole out the fee of 500,000-3 million VND ($30-200) to experienced fortune-tellers, though results are not guaranteed. During the ceremony, the prowling spirit of a deep and passionate lover in a previous life is offered paper money, paper houses, paper concubines, etc, and then is entreated to relinquish his or her hold on the bachelor/ette. 'The most important thing is to believe in what you're begging for, otherwise your wish won't come true,' says the fortune-teller. 'Your faith represents the desire and resolution inside your heart. God helps when you believe in him.'
Dak Nong (VNA) – The number of Protestants in the central highlands province of Dak Nong is on the rise, reaching close to 40,000 to date.
"Protestantism is growing fast, especially in ethnic minority groups," said Pastor Y Djen, Head of the Dak Nong Protestant Representative Board.
He stressed, "The provincial authorities have always created every favourable condition for Protestant followers to practise their faith."
Three years ago, there were only 1,000 Protestant followers and one pastor, who belonged to a Protestant chapter in Dak Nong province.
To date, there are 15 Protestant chapters, and 95 followers’ groups operating throughout the province. They are instructed by 15 pastors and hundreds of missionaries.
Dak Nong province has done more than facilitating Protestant followers’ execution of the rights to religious freedom.
Socio-economic development programmes worth billions of VND to improve Protestant followers’ lives have been implemented, giving funding for the building and repair of 4,000 houses, and providing land and loans to thousands of Protestants to help them develop household-based economy.
Thanks to these programmes, the poverty rate in Protestant followers was reduced significantly to below 30 percent from 70 percent.-
A dire shortage of pastors has lead to incredible workloads. Scores of rural churches still have no pastor, a city church may have one pastor – for over 2000 members. One such pastor preaches on average five times a week, on top of a full time administrative job and poor health. Is it any surprise, then, that the tendency is to write a topical sermon, whipping it up in a third of the time it takes to prepare one in a more expositional style? Despite their personal preferences and the needs of their congregations for solid expository Bible teaching, many pastors just don’t have the time! This, in turn, may hinder the church’s outreach to highly educated, deep thinkers, who find such sermons simplistic and repetitive.
Commit to the Lord those currently in Bible college, as well as those who have recently graduated, or returned from overseas theological education. May God also raise up more pastors, as well as lay people able to share the load in churches. Ask that all who teach would be both equipped and passionate to delve deeply into the riches of God’s Word, and to effectively communicate these riches to their congregations.
It all started about ten years ago, when she found a small book about creation in a friend’s home. This young Vietnamese girl lived in a province just south of Ho Chi Minh City. She grew up visiting the pagoda regularly with her family, who were strongly influenced by her uncle, a famous monk in that area. He was much loved and respected, and when he passed away, continued to be revered in family worship. So, surely, wasn’t it his influence in the spirit world that lead to his niece being accepted into a prestigious university in Ho Chi Minh City?
While studying in the city, a desire to improve her spoken English skills brought this girl into contact with foreigners, one of whom knew of this “Creator” mentioned in the booklet she’d read many years ago. This new friend explained the difference between Buddha and the Creator of the world, and also told her about the Creator’s Son. After careful consideration, the girl decided that she believed in this Creator and His Son.
Instinctively, she knew that it would not be right to keep visiting the pagoda with her family. Her parents were fairly casual about it anyway, so it would be easy to make excuses. But to forget her uncle and to cease praying to him …? Would total commitment to the Creator God really cost her this?
She enjoyed her first visit to church, in particular, the story from the man at the front. But she was confused – a Vietnamese lady at the church said that she prayed and prayed to this Creator God, but that He didn’t seem to hear her. So was this new religion really any different from going to the pagoda?
And in general discussions about religion, this Creator drew scathing criticism from her very best friend. Could she confess her own desire to follow this “despised” Creator God? And how, oh how, could she ever tell her parents?
Vietnam officially authorised two Protestant churches to operate freely in a
symbolic gesture towards greater religious freedom, officials said Monday.
The Vietnam Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Vietnam Grace Baptist Church
received Saturday in Ho Chi Minh City "certificates of religious practice",
said an official at the government's committee for religious affairs.
"After one year, if their operations are stable and meet all criterias of the
ordinance on religious activities, they will be given the full legal status,"
"The two were established in Vietnam before 1975 and they operated normally
after, although they did not have legal status."
The US State Department in November took Vietnam off the list of countries
oppressing religions, saying all religious prisoners had been released, laws
restricting religious activities lifted and numerous churches reopened.
Vietnam was added in 2004 to the US blacklist for its repression of religious
groups, mainly Protestants.
The state-controlled Vietnam News Agency said the two churches would be allowed
to perform religious ceremonies, print prayer books, build or upgrade worship
places and organize religious events.
Government's figures say there are about 60 "Protestant sects" in Vietnam.
"Two of them were fully acknowledged in 1958 and 2001. One was given a similar
certificate in September 2006 in (central) Danang," the official said.
Established in 1929, the Vietnam Seventh-Day Adventist Church currently has
almost 13,000 followers, VNA said. The Vietnam Grace Baptist Church started in
1962 and claims 2,592 followers, mostly in the south.
The situation for Protestants is however still difficult in Vietnam's central
highlands, where authorities broke up large-scale demonstrations in 2001 and
2004 against religious persecution and confiscation of ancestral lands.
The violence triggered mass exodus to Cambodia and tension is still present in
the troubled region.
VNA said that during Christmas celebrations, Communist Party leaders "expressed
hopes" that Protestants in central highlands' Dak Nong province would "prevent
plots and schemes aimed at shattering unity."
Source: Agence France Presse
Date: Dec 25 2006
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