…the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jn. 1:4
This truth was no more apparent than in communist Vietnam this Christmas past! Some of my students led the charge below.
For the last two years authorities in Vietnam surprisingly allowed churches to hold some large public Christmas and Easter celebrations. When these were parlayed into effective evangelistic events, the authorities developed second thoughts. Christians, on the other hand, wanted bigger events. In Saigon they asked for the use of a 30,000-seat stadium. This was denied; a 3,000 seat venue a distance from the city was offered instead. Leaders declined this and were verbally promised a venue for 12,000. But the government refused to give written permission.
Determined Christians found a huge vacant field in the city and continued to press for authorisation. The government did all it could to discourage the house church Christians from going ahead, but finally relented 48 hours before the December 11 event, giving permission for only 3,000 people to gather.
In that short time Herculean efforts by hundreds of Christians turned the vacant field into a virtual stadium. They built a stage large enough to accommodate a choir of 1,000. Fifteen-foot-high letters spelled JESUS on the backdrop. By opening time 40,000 people had filled the venue to overflowing. Christians accustomed to meeting quietly by handfuls in small homes, exulted in a blaze of joyful, mass celebration in song, excellent music by special artists and drama. In response to a powerful Christmas message some 8,000 people indicated a desire to follow Christ. Nothing of this magnitude has happened before in Vietnam!
Nine days later, on December 20, it was Hanoi’s turn. Participants said “Fire fell from heaven” on the huge city square outside the national stadium in the heart of communist Vietnam’s capital! The requested government permission never was granted, only a last-minute verbal police promise saying “We won’t interfere.”
Many of the 12,000 who came sat on backless, plastic stools for hours in the Hanoi winter chill. When the time came they were treated to outstanding presentations by top artists of drama and dance, and joyful congregational singing. Some 2,000 people responded to a Christmas Gospel message! Tears flowed when a huge map of Vietnam with a cross imposed was displayed as several pastors prayed for their nation, their government and for revival to fall on all of Vietnam. One woman reported, “The loud sound of crying, of praise, of prayer were blended as one, beseeching Almighty God for spiritual renewal in Vietnam.” Light shone! Darkness could not overcome it!
(from a missionary friend newsletter)
Read HERE more on the Christmas celebration in Hanoi and other places in Vietnam.