Sunday, May 18, 2008

God At Work In Vietnam

The first time I met Vietnamese pastor Rev. Dinh Thien Tu, “Pastor Elisha”, was about 3 years ago when he came to meet Joe Stowell at Moody Bible Institute. I bumped into David Hunt and Pastor Elisha that day and they instantly showed me a map of Vietnam which indicated that the place where the Vietnamese church was growing the fastest was in the same place where the persecution since 1975 had been the greatest. THAT got my attention.

Then, in April of 2007, I got to go to Vietnam with David, who grew up as a missionary kid there, and see Pastor Elisha on his home turf. It's an amazing church in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with over 2000 member churches all over the country and spreading into Laos and Cambodia. Miraculously in late 2007, the communist government of Vietnam officially recognized this underground church and gave it legal status. The church Pastor Elisha went to jail for following the communist takeover is now legally recognized and continues to grow without compromise, even printing Bibles with permission. A significant factor in this growth has been its children's evangelistic ministry. For more see Envoy Ministries.

Well, I spent all day Friday with Pastor Elisha and his family in Wheaton. They came to Chicago to attend their daughter's graduation from Moody (another miracle story). It was a full and rewarding day as we were invited to sit with the news editors of Christianity Today for an interview, escort Pastor Elisha to Tyndale Publishing where he spoke in an employee chapel, and finally to my studio where Joe Carlson produced a series of interviews on the topic of "A Theology of Suffering" for use on the Moody Broadcasting Network in the future.

This Vietnamese brother and his wife are choice servants of Christ. Someday, we'll know the full price they and countless others have paid on behalf the Gospel.

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