01 July 2014
Luis Palau finds open doors and challenges in Vietnam
(April 22, 2011) World evangelist and author Luis Palau joined with church leaders to help pave the way for historic Easter celebrations earlier this month in Vietnam. Joined by his son and fellow evangelist Andrew Palau, both had the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ openly on several occasions, focusing their efforts on Ho Chi Minh City (pop. 7.1 million) and Hanoi (pop. 6.5 million).
Although several of the events were met with resistance – requiring last-minute changes in Ho Chi Minh City as well as cancellation of events in Hanoi – tens of thousands of people still heard the Good News in person and several thousand more watched through live Internet streaming of the historic, two-day festival in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9 and 10. The executive committee reported that several thousand individuals made documented decisions for Jesus Christ as a result of the campaign. Each one was given a Vietnamese New Testament as a start to their discipleship process.
In addition to the evangelistic efforts, both Palau and his son Andrew had several opportunities to preach in local churches and address local pastors. Church leaders were tremendously encouraged by the visit. They see Palau's time in Vietnam as the beginning of a new day for unity in the Body of Christ and evangelism throughout the nation.
"Never have I seen the Church so unified," said one church leader in Hanoi. "There is no question Dr. Palau has played a vital role in our work here in Vietnam. His involvement has brought us together in a wonderful way and his impact will be felt for years to come."
Local leadership confirmed that this effort was the first time since the reunification of the nation that an international Christian leader has been welcomed by the Vietnamese government and allowed to openly preach the Good News. It also represented the first time that the four major sectors of the evangelical church of the north had come together in a unified effort.
Palau's visit marked the beginning of the 100-year celebration of the evangelical church in Vietnam, first established in 1911 by missionaries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Local leaders have been planning for the events for months, working diligently with the government to find approval. Celebration events are planned through June, led by the registered and unregistered churches.
"It has been a tremendous time here in Vietnam," said Palau. "In spite of the challenges and setbacks, the Lord accomplished a powerful work. We cannot forget what He has done. The Good News has been proclaimed, the church leaders have been encouraged, and by the grace of God, we have been used to bring a greater measure of unity throughout the Church."
"Invitations for further events are in hand," Palau went on to report. "We appeal to God's people worldwide to continue to pray for the Vietnamese people and their government leaders – that the Lord would bless them spiritually and economically."
Palau's involvement in Vietnam is not over. With a strong commitment to the Church and a desire to see the Good News proclaimed openly throughout the nation, he will do his part to continue to encourage local church leadership, foster goodwill with the government, and offer prayerful support.