Ever since Thuy* and her husband became Christians, they have been facing a lot of harassment and discrimination from their Vietnamese neighbours. This persecution escalated recently in a harsh attack, which left Thuy in hospital.
The local authorities spread lies and malicious rumours about Christianity, so Christians are seen as untrustworthy.
“Authorities tell the villagers that Christianity is from the West – an American belief, a religion from the enemy which is not good for them.” Athan*, a local Open Doors partner adds, “And if a Christian helps others to convert to Christianity, they are paid a lot of money – so the false rumour goes. This is why Thuy and her family were persecuted.”
Vietnam is number 25 on the Open Doors World Watch List, and persecution is particularly rife among rural communities where ethnicity and traditional beliefs are closely intertwined, and leaving an indigenous faith to choose to follow Jesus is considered a betrayal of the community.
This tension came to a head earlier in the year. When Thuy’s husband was away at work, one of her neighbours wouldn’t stop insulting her, demanding that she either give up her Christian faith or leave the community. “If the local government does not do anything to stop you, I will!” the neighbour shouted.
Thuy asked her to stop, but the neighbour became even angrier. She grabbed a stick and started attacking Thuy – her injuries were so bad, she was in hospital for two weeks.
Her case was reported to the district police after she was discharged. The local police decided that the neighbour had to compensate Thuy’s medical expenses and the wages she’s lost. But Thuy’s neighbour is very poor, and wouldn’t have been able to afford this.
Thuy’s local pastor encouraged her to extend forgiveness and love – and Thuy didn’t hesitate. She has prioritised forgiveness and trying to have a good relationship with her neighbour, even after the attack, and has only asked for her to share the expenses of her medication (7,000,000 VND, about £245).
After the incident, an Open Doors local partner tried to visit Thuy to pray for her and her family, but the local government did not allow him. They told him that they do not allow the practice of religion in their community.
This partner says: “They don’t know why we’re doing this (visiting and praying) as Christians. Praying for one another is our way of life. I told to them that there is no law in Vietnam that prohibits Christians from praying for one another, but they were adamant. The local government is just making things difficult for the Christians in that area.” He plans to take the issue to higher authorities, so he can get permission to support Thuy and her family.
Meanwhile, as Thuy is still recovering and on medication, Open Doors partners will be providing financial help to support her family until she is fully recovered and is able to get back to work. Athan is also in touch with Thuy’s local pastor – he is able to pass on the news that many people around the world are praying with her, and that she is not alone.
For Thuy’s family to receive God’s strength and resilience as they face many kinds of persecution
For Open Doors local partners to be equipped to support local Christians, and be given permission to meet and pray with them.
For believers in their district to stand firm and continue to share the gospel, and for the example of forgiveness to shine the light of Christ
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