2016 Vietnam – Hyejoo Lee

God’s Love for Vietnam

Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:9, 11

I originally didn’t want to go on missions this year. December is always a busy month, training would take a lot of time, and I didn’t feel like I had enough energy left in 2015 to be excited for missions. Whereas last year a zealous and slightly naïve me had immediately said yes, a slightly more drained me this year said no. But on the Sunday of the missions orientation, I was getting especially blessed during the praise set. I wouldn’t say it was some divine call or whatever, but I felt like God was nudging me to change my mind. My response in my head was, “Ughhhh God, why?” to “Okay, fine… I’ll at least apply.” So apply I did. And before I knew it, God began revealing to me His heart for Vietnam: a pure, Father’s love, which overwhelmed me throughout the trip and continues to do so, even at this moment.

As my team and I started to pray for Vietnam, I began to sense an immense love for and over the country- a love which was definitely not my own. I would describe it like this: God loves all nations equally, but somehow Vietnam was one of His favorites. I then read a little more about the history of Vietnam- its countless years under colonial rule, war, and the aftermath of it all. The context of Vietnam for many is in U.S. history books, overlooked and misunderstood by many. Then one day as I was meditating on Isaiah 61, God seemed to be saying that He has not forgotten about Vietnam. He has not overlooked this nation. The chapter struck me in a new light, as if talking directly about the nation. It will be too long to describe what I realized, but basically, it was God saying that He loves Vietnam. It was God promising to restore the land. God telling me that it is time for Vietnam to be blessed, and for all who see the Vietnamese people to acknowledge them (Isaiah 61:9).

Once we were in Vietnam, God’s love was undeniable. Myself and many other team members would cry as we praised and ministered, feeling God’s love burn for them, through us. There were so many moments like these, but one in particular I will share. For Sunday service, we were worshiping and ministering with a house church near Danang (a city 1 hour away from Ho Chi Minh City by plane). Pastor Myunghwa preached on Luke 15 and how the Father’s love is not based on works. When the team started to pray for the congregation, I suddenly felt God’s overwhelming love for the people. I watched a native pastor get on his knees to receive prayer from our team, and I started to cry uncontrollably as I felt God’s pleasure welcoming him back with open arms. Over the young girls I prayed for protection and God’s keeping power over them, which I realized was truly the Father’s heart. I was overwhelmed by God’s love for the congregation, to the point where I felt so unworthy to be even feeling it. Who am I, a young student and stranger from Korea, to lay hands on and pray for these precious, favored people of God, and simply be a witness to God’s utterly pure and perfect love? At once I was struck aware of my unworthiness, but also of the immense honor I felt to be there at that moment, beholding God’s love in this nation, in which over just five days had revealed to me more of God’s love than I had ever imagined. I eventually stopped sobbing by the end of service as my team members comforted me.

All to say, God is doing a new thing in Vietnam. My team and I saw this both physically and spiritually. The staunch Communist government is allowing more room for commercialism and developers. Even in the architecture of Ho Chi Minh City there are European-style buildings from the colonial years right alongside new buildings in modern Korean and Western styles. The team ministered to the youth of Vietnam and saw their already burning and passionate hearts for not just God but for things eternal—they are truly the new generation that will change and guide this nation. I sincerely believe this. On our last day in Danang, the team stopped by a household who had recently become Christian and helped to literally take down and destroy their old idols and altars. I am so thankful for all the wonders I saw and felt during my ten days in Vietnam. If anything, I was able to take part in a transitional time for this nation. If in ten years Vietnam is a godly nation prospering in all ways, I will not be surprised and will proudly say that I had been a witness to God’s wondrous plans and love to bless the nation.

I am so blessed to have shared a glimpse of God’s heart for Vietnam with you. Please finish my testimony with me in prayer! Here are three points I personally hold dear:

  1. Pray for Brother Sang Ho, our native contact in Ho Chi Minh City. I do not even know how to begin describing him. He is an amazing visionary of God whom our team recognizes as a Joseph of this nation. Brother Sang does not pastor a church but runs a visa-sponsorship business to fund his ministries. Please pray for prosperity, blessing, and wisdom over his business and over his marriage to Sister Esther, who works alongside him.
  2. Pray for protection over Brother Sang and his network. Our team had immense grace to not be caught, but churches and ministries in Vietnam can and have been stopped by the government even during their worship services. Pray for God’s protection over the churches and people connected to Brother Sang.
  3. Pray for the young generation of Vietnam. Students and young adults my age have and will continue to experience revival, but please pray for stewardship of that fire. They are amazing young men and women of God who have so much to offer to the world with their faith and talents. May they continue to be set apart for the Lord.