Vietnam (MNN) — Vietnamese
security forces quashed a rare protest of hundreds of ethnic Hmong Christians in
a remote mountain area calling for more religious freedom and land reforms.
The protest broke out several
days ago near the border with China and Laos. By May 5, the uprising had been controlled, but 28 died in that clash
and scores more are still missing.
By some accounts, the Hmong
Christian community is seen as an American or imperialist "import"
into the country and a threat to the Communist rule.
However, Jonathan Shibley with Global Advance says it's an amazing time for Vietnam,
both from the spiritual perspective and an economic perspective. "It'll be an interesting time because
there's a dynamic tension as Vietnam, as a whole, wants to continue to grow
economically and do business with the West and other nations. There'll be
continued political pressure for human rights, for religious freedom."
Vietnam's fast economic growth is
attracting the attention of other countries interested in opening marketplace
relationships. According to some economic reports, they have a potential to grow up to
around 70% of the size of the United Kingdom's economy by 2050. "It's really a nation that seems to be on the
rise, yet it still a very complicated situation from a human rights/religious
It's a study in contrasts and one in which the Gospel is thriving. The
church in Vietnam is growing and becoming stronger. Christians now make up
almost 10 percent of the population. But
scrutiny can make outreach difficult. Marketplace Missions brings the two worlds together. Shibley just held the business conference in
Vietnam because "you need to engage with people that are in the marketplace. I
know others that are even engaging with government to help them solve problems
and try to create solutions for some of the things that are happening."
Their teams taught biblically-sound business principles during the conference, where they were "able to connect with some wonderful First
Generation believers that are vibrant in their faith, that are making a
difference in the marketplace," says Shibley.
"Yet, at the same time," he continues, "I've met with many of
the house church leaders throughout the country and have heard their frustrations.
They still feel like they have a lack of freedom," a frustrating situation to be in since the
Bamboo Curtain seems to be swinging open. For example, Shibley shares, "I
had the privilege of sharing with the group just a very simple message of the
good news of the Gospel, and I watched people respond with fervency, with joy,
and with excitement to receive this Jesus."
As a result of attending a
marketplace leadership conference, national business leaders will be better
equipped to understand their role in the marketplace from a
Kingdom-perspective, do business with integrity and character, and better understand
both spiritual and technical aspects of doing business.
Shibley says, "Our prayer is that
over time, on all fronts, believers will be recognized by those
in authority that they add value to society and culture, and they're not the enemy
but they're actually the solution."
Pray that the Lord will protect these believers and give them the
strength they need to stay faithful and remain effective witnesses for Christ. There's more here.