The Kids of Courage, a part of Voice of the Martyrs, recently took a trip to Vietnam. This is taken from their website:
Kids of Courage Go Underground in Vietnam
“I’m afraid of getting kidnapped,” said Shannon, a high school basketball player. Shannon and seven other youth—an Oklahoma “cowboy,” two Australians, a future movie director from Florida, a chocolate-loving cross country runner, a football player, and a Maine college student—were chosen to participate in a Christian reality video to be filmed in Vietnam.
The youth were talking about their concerns while packing and preparing to leave the country. They were very excited about the trip and eager to get started. But none of them had been told details about what to expect in communist Vietnam, a country not known for friendliness toward outsiders who come to share the gospel.
The travelers had some close calls with police on their 10-day trip, but thankfully no one was kidnapped! Their adventures began when they landed at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The group’s first task was to smuggle Bibles and Christian books into the country. The books were written in the Hmong language. Vietnamese officials allow Bibles in Vietnam only if they are printed by the government. But the government prints no Bibles in the language of the Hmong people or other tribal groups in Vietnam.
Officials at the airport check visitors’ luggage for forbidden materials. The youth were prepared for the worst but prayed for the best. To their great relief, they were not stopped. “We just waltzed right through,” said Bethany, the cross country runner.
Not everything about the trip was a “waltz,” however. Twice the group had to run from the police. Their translator was bitten by fire ants in the jungle and had a serious allergic reaction. At times they had to change their plans when they realized they were being watched and followed.
But all eight kids stuck it out and allowed God to use them in places they never expected to go. They encouraged teens at a secret Christian youth camp, and they prayed and played with children at a home for lepers. They visited underground (secret) church services and an illegal Bible school.
And everywhere they went they found something they would not have expected: joy. “These people go through the worst things ever and they have real joy,” said Bethany.
Bryant (the football player), Daniel (the “cowboy”), and Brad and Taani (the Australians) experienced that “real joy” on what Brad called “our 30-hour adventure.”
Brad: We left at 6:30 in the morning. Most of the trip [in a van] was made with the curtains closed and blinds up. We wanted to take every precaution to meet up with these Christians.
Bryant: After 12 hours of driving, we arrived at the house church.
Brad: We arrived at about 7:30 under cover of darkness and we had to sneak in.
Bryant: It was pitch black and we were instructed to practically run straight to the church, without saying a word. Once we got to the door and removed our shoes, we were absolutely mobbed by 300 people.
Daniel: The church was as small as our living room and there were about 300 people in it. They were so happy to see us.
Taani: Everyone was just screaming, “Hallelujah” and reaching out to grab our hands.
Brad: We shared in singing to our God and then we went up to the front to lead them in three songs.
Bryant: We didn’t sound all that great, but no one cared.
Taani: After we sang, we knelt down in a group with them and prayed.
Brad: We were forced to leave after 30 minutes because the police were coming. It is such a reality that police may come any moment to break up a meeting and arrest believers. The thing that blew me away was just how much of an encouragement we were to them. Our presence was something they are going to remember forever. These people had never had a Westerner come to visit them, and we came with Bibles. Only through God’s power and Spirit was it possible to be an encouragement to these people. Seeing how much of an encouragement we were has convicted me to devote my life to serving God’s people.
The kids’ adventures in Vietnam were filmed as part of a reality show called Underground Reality: Vietnam™ released by VOM in the Spring of 2007.
"Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."
~ 1 Corinthians 16:13~
Sometimes when I am in church, I think about what the underground church is like--compared to our church. We don't have to be worried about the police coming, yet we don't have the same passion for God and His Word. Does the Bible really have to be banned for it to become highly desired?