Dearly Beloved Brethren,

Thank God for a fruitful mission trip in Vietnam that we conducted a 3-day Vacation Bible Class (VBS) for about 100 children and youth from 14-16 July 2011. God is good to teach us many spiritual lessons in this trip. As we strive to be a blessing to the children and youth at the VBS, we have also received many blessings from God in this trip. In this weekly, I would like to share 2 lessons that I learned in attending the 2 Churches in Vietnam on 2 Sundays.

Worship Service in Hanoi Vietnam Protestant Church

We attended the Sunday worship service in Hanoi on 10 July 2011 in the Vietnam Protestant Church. Thank God to be able to find the Church and providing a young lady to be our interpreter. What I like to share with you is that this Church has a ministry for the deaf. They attend the same service as all of us and there is someone standing in front of them to interpret to them with sign languages throughout the entire worship service. Even the hymns are interpreted with sign languages and all the deaf people can join in “singing” with the congregation. I can see their joy and delight in singing the hymns through their sign languages.

My heart greatly rejoices in the Lord for this ministry that the deaf people can worship together in the Church and can learn the Word of God. It must be a burden someone has and willing to learn the sign languages to preach the Gospel to the deaf. The deaf must have been saved and they are brought to Church to learn God’s Word with a ministry started for them.

My thoughts went back to my youthful days when I wanted to learn sign language to preach the Gospel to the deaf. Alas, it was only a desire that has no fruits. A wish that did not come to pass. Why? Because I did not commit myself to the task to learn the sign language and was not willing to sacrifice the time and effort to acquire this skill for the Lord. May I encourage our young people to be diligent in God’s service and acquire as much skills as you can while you are young with youthful energy. You will never know how God will use your skills and talents for His Kingdom and His Word can be made known to many people through you. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” Ecclesiastes 9:10a.

Worship Service in Ho Chi Ming (Saigon) Vietnam Protestant Church

On 17 July Sunday, before we depart back to Singapore, we attended the worship service in the Ho Chi Minh Protestant Church. There was a big signboard in front of the sanctuary that tells us the Church celebrates the 100th year since the Gospel came to Vietnam in 1911. I was very excited to see the signboard with the Vietnamese map that points to the city at Da Nang that the Gospel first came to Vietnam. Da Nang is in the middle of Vietnam with the North at Hanoi and the south at Ho Chi Minh. I was very encouraged that there must be Christians with the love and burden and willing to sacrifice everything to journey to this unknown and poor country for the people to hear the Gospel.

In 1911, a team of three Alliance international workers, led by Robert A. Jaffray, entered Vietnam, then known as French Indochina, with the purpose of establishing the country’s first evangelical church. This church was formed in 1927 and by 1940 was comprised of 100 self-supporting churches. Even though the communist took control of Vietnam in 1975 and stopped the preaching of the Gospel and Christian training programme, it cannot stop the true believers from holding firm to their faith in Jesus Christ despite persecution. What 3 believers had done in Vietnam in 1911 in preaching the Gospel has built a strong community of believers today. I do not think they foresee or know the fruits it has born today. But these 3 believers certainly know what it means to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and their calling and willing to give everything for the Lord.

Today, how about us living in a comfortable and prospering Singapore? What are we doing for the Lord? Are we willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ? “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36.

May our lives count for our Saviour Jesus Christ!

Elder John Leong