Though this story takes place in Vietnam, the family pressure this girls faces is very a common story with many across Asia. This is a quick look into the Asian mindset to help us understand the situation a little better and walk the tough road with them in prayer.
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?
Think & Pray
- "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." In this girl's life, did the "planter" and "waterer" ever meet? Reflect on God's power and grace! How would it feel to faithfully "plant" without seeing fruit for your efforts?
- God gives us families to love and nurture us. For this girl, in what way might "forgetting" her uncle feel like betraying her family? What consequences might she fear. for her future? .for her family? What would a godly relationship to her elders look like?
- Seeing answered prayers can encourage greater trust in the Lord, but this may not be the experience of every Christian all the time. What else helps us to trust and love God more?
- Christianity is far less socially acceptable in rural areas than in the cities. On hearing of her daughter's faith, one mother replied "It would be better if you had never been born." What other responses could parents potentially give when told that their children have become Christians?
- Think of three specific "winsome" behaviours that Christian children can display to reflect Christ and to honour their parents.
At this time, the Holy Spirit has done a wonderful work in this girl's life, giving her great joy in studying the Word and in prayer. However, she has still not told her parents. Pray for her and her parents at this time, that God will touch the hearts of them all.
This update was received through the Pray for Vietnam website.