By Editorial Staff
Published December 22, 2007
PHOENIX, AZ (EP) – America is headed back into Vietnam. But this time it will be with medical help and Bibles. Vietnam’s increasing openness is giving Christian ministries a chance to help heal the wounds of war, not only in Vietnam, but also in the U.S.
“A great division has existed all these years in the U.S., with the right on one side, the left on the other, and bewildered masses in between,” explains Dr. Larry Ward, who is coordinating private aid to Vietnam and working as a volunteer with NEED, a Phoenix-based ministry focusing on Vietnam. “There’s nothing that will close the gap for the American people except doing something together. Rhetoric won’t do it. We can do something positive to help.
Foreign missions work in Vietnam came to a halt in 1975 when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Ward escorted some 1300 people out of Vietnam and helped them find new lives in America. He also ran a rescue operation for Vietnam’s “boat people” who fled the country after the fall.
When he returned to Vietnam in 1979, it was with apprehension. “I expected hostility,” he admits. “It had been over four years since I had left Vietnam in the big wild rush with the others. When I went back I confess to wondering, ‘How will the people respond – the people left behind?’ My very first experience was this: I walked around a corner and there were 30 or 40 guys sitting outside what used to be the Bank of America, in an outside cafe drinking beer and coffee. I stopped in front of them and said ‘Good morning, how are you?’”
The men asked Ward where he was from, and he told them he hailed from the United States. “They started clapping, because I was from the United States of America. The only dirty looks I ever had in 31 trips since August of 1979 were when they thought I was a Russian. Especially on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, people are very friendly and will come up and say ‘Thank you.’”
The church in Vietnam has grown under oppression, says Ward. “I don’t think the pressure on the church has let up. It’s estimated that the church may be three times bigger than when we left it in April of 1975. People like myself helped much of the leadership escape, but we’re grateful for the ones who stayed behind with incredible courage.”
The communist government of Vietnam has only recently released South Vietnamese military chaplains, who were held in “re-education” camps for 13 years. The chief of chaplains is still being held. “I think in the minds of the Vietnamese this was the real enemy,” explains Ward. “Here were the guys whose faith – even in the prison camps – helped people find the Lord.”
The Vietnamese government welcomes the private aid provided by Christian organizations but turns its back on the religious goals of the relief workers. “We identify ourselves as Christians,” explains Ward. “We don’t play games. It appears the government is just going to close their eyes to that. It’s carefully ignored in all of the official discussions, but we’ve been totally upfront.”
A war fought with bombs, grenades and landmines left behind an estimated 60,000 amputees, including perhaps 16,000 crippled children. Many of the groups whose efforts Ward coordinates are providing wheelchairs, crutches, and artificial limbs.
“It is a beautiful significance in that we’re coming full circle,” observes Ward. “What became great evangelistic opportunities in Vietnam began in the late ’60s when an Alliance missionary begged for help for the disabled. I was World Vision’s overseas director then and began sending in wheelchairs and crutches. That opened the door, the church earned the right to be heard. We saw incredible things happen in evangelism during the dark days of the war. Thousands were won for Christ.”
Those kind of evangelistic opportunities may be opening up again, but Ward’s advice is to go slow. “The phone rings every day with people who want to go, but cautions need to be sounded for people going in. We have been totally upfront in announcing ourselves as Christians. We always check with churches to be sure we will not put them in danger by attending their services.
“One thing people have to be awfully careful about is taking official permission to see church leaders and then taking in Bibles without permission. When we were there in December the screws were being tightened. Someone had come in and brought hundreds of Bibles, bringing the church under new scrutiny. This is still a communist regime that sets people against other people. I tell people to exercise great caution; we come and go but the church has to stay there.”
The lack of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Vietnam makes official government aid impossible, so the private sector aid which Ward is coordinating (with the government’s encouragement) is vital. A number of Christian organizations are beginning work in Vietnam, though none have established a full-time presence there.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » World Events
Your comments are welcome!
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)