Last fall, I traveled on a maiden voyage to Hanoi, Vietnam through Harmony Outreach, a group that works in orphanages, serves churches, and does other ministry. Vietnam has been on my heart for over 25 years; look at what God can do! The Vietnamese people have an amazing spirit for life and are enthusiastic about their faith. Their passion to know the Holy Spirit is constant because they know about warfare, both naturally and spiritually.
It was fantastic to be able to work alongside pastors of the underground church in Hanoi. There are over 2,000 underground churches in Vietnam, yet Christianity only makes up 3% of the population. Although not literally underground, the term is used because Vietnam is still a communist country and churches must meet in homes, orphanages, or rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. What is especially amazing is that many of the current pastors have come out of drug addiction! In rehabilitation homes, the success rate is 90% and is ‘cold turkey,’ meaning no drugs to get off drugs.
The children in the orphanages I visited in were either Vietnamese or Hmong (Mong), who are from the poorer areas of Vietnam. They are well taken care of and the older ones participate in church ministry. While there is often a sadness in their eyes, there is always a cheerfulness in their hearts. We also visited a state supported home for the handicapped. Because of the affects of the war and agent orange, Vietnam has many handicapped people who work in centers or sell keepsakes to tourists.
I had the opportunity of ministering to some of the men in rehabilitation centers and women at the church. Each time, God gave me a word to share. I spoke from the place of a mother to the men, and shared with the women from the perspective of a fellow woman in ministry, a mother, and a business person. Afterwards, all the women wanted prayer. We also did ministry on a Vietnamese style cruise ship, which was amazing! While others on the boat were drinking and doing karaoke, we started to worship. Pretty soon, we noticed they had all joined us and they also joined us the next morning. We gave prophetic words, and I saw people from Switzerland, Argentina, and Canada transformed from a dark place to a place of renewal.
I say all of this to share that ministry in other countries is often not as formal as it is in the United States. People overseas are used to living from moment to moment and, whether they are Christian or not, seize every opportunity for a word of love, encouragement, or personal attention. I even gave one young girl (who wasn’t a Christian) City Central’s Immersion book, and I believe I will see her again as a free person! Harmony Outreach is a ministry that offers the opportunity to both minister and enjoy the country. It would be a wonderful chance for some of you to go on a missions trip and be able to express the things of Jesus to a people that are anxiously waiting for encouragement. In 2016, we are going to Phenom Phen, Cambodia and Saigon, and Vietnam. If anyone, is interested please let me know!
The Apostle Matthew said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46). “…Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:51). In this house, we have a treasure because the teachings are Kingdom centered. The Kingdom of heaven is our fine pearl! How precious it is to share truth and a Christian foundation with a people who have a history of idol worship, superstition, and war.