Teresa and I (and the kids) just came back from a Michael Card concert.
It was sponsored by WorldServe, and featured Pastor Elisha, the leader of something like 2000 house churches in Vietnam.
It’s illegal to for Christians to evangelize in Vietnam, so Pastor Elisha has spent many years in prison – 4 prisons, actually – which has resulted in most of the prison population accepting Christ. It’s also the reason for the house churches. The Vietnam government closed down their church years ago, forcing Pastor Elisha to adopt a small-groups approach, which he actually based on how the apostle Paul evangelized in Asia Minor in the days of the early church.
Very enjoyable concert, and a fascinating evening. Eye-opening, too.
Many Christians are being persecuted in Vietnam, with beatings, imprisonment, and harrassment all common, even for children. Elisha told the story of a 12-year-old Christian girl being almost drowned by an army brute … but she refused to renounce Jesus, and was left for dead. The church members revived her, and she brought many others to God.
The church is exploding in Vietnam, with something like 1.2 million members – up from 55.000 in 1975, after the Vietnam War.
Pastor Elisha spoke through an interpreter – he does not speak any English.
When Aidan (our 2-year old) first heard him speak, he laughed loudly and said “silly man.” He’s probably never heard anyone speak quite like that before, and thought it was quite hilarious.