Perspectives on the harvest field
IN AUGUST, I had the opportunity to attend a 3-day training seminar for about 60 Vietnamese young people in Ho Chih Min City. I came away feeling very encouraged by what I saw there.
Vietnam is a communist country where there are still significant restrictions in terms of the freedom to worship. For example, churches are usually limited in size to not more than 50 people each. The church pastors as well as the leaders are regularly subjected to questioning of their activities by the local police or authorities.
The first thing that encouraged me was seeing with my own eyes what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples in Matt 9:37, “The harvest is plentiful…” On the first evening, I attended an outreach event held at a cafe owned by a Christian. Out of the 40-50 young people who attended, nine came forward to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour at the end of the event. The youth in Vietnam are very open to the Gospel. During the training sessions, the participants were hungry to learn what was presented and I observed that they greatly appreciated the training and teaching being given.
The second thing that touched me was the realisation that many of these young people in Vietnam are actually desirous and prepared to go to their own peoples with the Gospel. My sense was that they just do not know how and what are the best ways to go about it. I met several young people ready to go into full-time ministry. One young man I met, who has just finished four years at Bible School in Manila, told me God had called him as a missionary to Vietnam. Another young lady who is currently attending a Bible school said, “Someone prophesied over me that I would take the Gospel in Vietnam where nobody had taken it before”.
I attended a youth leader’s meeting held the evening before I left and met a group of young leaders from various regions in Vietnam. The nature of their prayer requests and petitions were for help in training and finances. Some were organising monthly outreaches to the youth in the region and were praying for someone to help with organisation, worship training and with financial expenses to run these events.
My predominant feeling about the whole trip to Vietnam was that there is a situation where there are workers prepared to go to the harvest field but they lack the right tools and the support to go ahead and heed God’s call on their lives. Many of the young people there are ready to commit to serve full-time among the Least Reached People groups in their own country but the local church there is not yet in a position to adequately support these young people to go.
As Vietnam is still a developing country, the cost of living is relatively low in comparison to the developed world. To support these local young people takes just a fraction of what is needed to support a missionary from the developed world.
May the Lord grant us the wisdom to learn and know the best ways to help these young people realise God’s call on their lives and reap the ripe harvest in Vietnam. Glory to God for what He is doing in that nation!