2017 Vietnam – Joanna Oh

God in the Midst

It was a huge privilege to be sent to Vietnam this summer as a missionary. Missions has always been a special part of my heart and I knew God was sending me to Vietnam for a purpose. But even as I prayed, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what God wanted to do. I felt like I was staring at a white piece of paper. The fine details of our daily ministry schedule and who we were going to meet was still being determined. Thus our team had to completely trust in God’s leading.

I’ve been on many missions trips in the past, but this is the one where I laughed and cried the most (in a good way). God is moving mightily through His people in Vietnam and we got to partner with Him. Every day God showed me how much He loves His people in this nation. He allowed me to love people well through His love. I felt like God was filling up the white piece of paper with beautiful drawings and the colours of His heart for Vietnam.

The first glimpse of God’s presence on this trip was through meeting our local ministry contact, Brother Sang. He is a seminary-trained young businessman who works with his wife Esther, while doing ministry through the resources he earns from his business. He has a big heart for the poor and the broken, and is committed to building God’s kingdom in Vietnam. Through Brother Sang, we were able to connect and minister to so many different people from youth ministries to ethnic tribal groups to young men in a drug rehab centre to a Nigerian expat community. Who would have imagined through only one man, God would open doors for our team to minister to so many! It was clear that God was already moving in Vietnam, raising up believers like Brother Sang to build networks and expand His kingdom.

Through Brother Sang’s ministry, our team ministered to two minority ethnic tribal groups up north from Ho Chi Minh City. Because of the long history of political tension between the government and tribal groups, many of them live far away from the major cities, pushed to the mountains or countryside, excluded from the rest of society. Due to this, many churches are poor and the Christians struggle to grow. Our team had to be extra careful because these areas were known to be dangerous and doing any Christian activity was considered illegal.

One ethnic group we visited were called the Stieng tribal group and just before leaving HCM City on a 5 hour van ride, I was told that I was going to preach at their service. A month before leaving for Vietnam, God gave me a word while I was praying and I knew this was what God wanted me to preach on. As I was preparing my sermon in the van ride, I felt my heart break for the Stieng tribe. I couldn’t stop the tears flowing from my eyes as I felt the extent of God’s love for them. His love was so much bigger then I could comprehend, and I was filled with His love for the people I was about to meet. At the service, our team member Ujin shared her testimony about how God set her free from generational curses. I then followed by preaching about generational blessing. I spoke on how God promised to bless Abraham and his generations, and the same promise is given to us when we believe in Jesus Christ. I shared how God saved me and my family from a generational curse of depression and suicide, and turned it around into a generational blessing. I opened up the altar for those who wanted to receive prayer of generational blessing and almost everyone responded. As the team prayed for each person, there was such a hunger in people’s hearts. Many tears flowed as God’s presence ministered deeply. Even after the service, we had an extended time of praying for those who wanted to receive prayer for physical and inner healing. Many people came and asked prayer for their unbelieving family members and children as well. As I prayed for each person, young and old, children to mothers to grandparents, God reminded me of the verse He gave me when I first prayed for Vietnam:

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” – Joel 2:28

Everywhere we went, I saw God’s Spirit working in the midst of His people. I saw His sons and daughters filled with His Spirit, worshipping Him powerfully in youth services. I saw young men in the drug rehab centre testify of how God had set them free from drugs. I saw them sing praises with so much passion. I saw a group of elders in a small countryside church refreshed and filled with His love again. I saw a new generation set apart for Him in the marketplace, like Brother Sang, to dream big for His glory.

I’m so thankful to witness what God is doing in Vietnam and I’m excited to see how God will continue to grow the seeds that were sown on this trip. I’m glad I was given this opportunity to love with His love. Thank you for praying for our team and for the people God loves so much. His love is changing Vietnam one by one. God is truly in the midst of His people.