Hanoi, Vietnam. Wasn’t that the capital of North Vietnam—the capital of communist aggression during the Sixties and Seventies? What’s it like now? Are the reports of persecuting Christians true? These are just a sample of the many questions that have crossed my mind in the last week or so. Here’s why…
Many of you recall Sharon and I serve as teachers for an internet program called World English Institute (WEI). Worldwide, WEI teachers help those who have limited English skills to improve their writing, grammar, word selection and spelling. The wonderful aspect of the program is that it uses the Bible as the textbook. The program is designed to build faith while teaching English. WEI (actually, the Gospel!) has made disciples all over the world.
My policy is to only teach Cambodian males. One of my students is on scholarship, studying agriculture. He has completed much of the online WEI instruction including the lessons on baptism. That’s when I received this message from him, “teacher! I would to answer your question that you asked me last week. I please inform you that I not be baptize yet. I really want to be batized so what should I do? could help me to be baptized? Sincerely, your student” And then later, “Hi teacher! I am really appriciate thank to you that you can help me to be baptized in the name of father, son and the holly spirite. I am awaiting for this can happy to me. Sincerely, your student”
My student lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. So okay, now what should I do? He won’t be coming back through Phnom Penh until school is over next spring. After inquiring a bit, I didn’t find anyone who knew of a Christian in Hanoi. Quickly, it became obvious I needed to fly to Hanoi, study with him and then baptize him. I am so grateful to every one of you who confirmed this need and prayed.
When I arrived, I was not surprised to find Hanoi very similar to Phnom Penh except bigger and with much better roads. What did surprise me was how comfortable this made me feel. It took away the edge of the anxiety with which I had stepped onto the airplane. Although already dark, because the university is about an hour from the airport, I got a flavor of the landscape and conditions in-route.
My student met me at the entry to his dorm. He suggested I stay in his room so that we would have more time to study. This was a welcome invitation as I was still a bit nervous. From the time I arrived on Saturday evening, until Sunday at lunch, we studied the cost of discipleship. When we both were convinced he understood what Jesus is asking of him, we set out in pursuit of water. At and near the university, the bodies of water are filthy. There are no fountains or pools; no tubs or containers large enough could be found. We journey by bus to the tourist section of the city and found a guest house that would allow us to use a room with a bathtub.
And a new baby boy was born! Happy Birthday! May God allow you to see the fruit of your light!
During the remainder of my stay in Hanoi, I studied with him about the church and about his personal relationship with God through Bible study, prayer, etc. Several of his classmates joined the studies and I am convinced they have growing faith. Please join me in prayer that he will grow to be a mature and mighty warrior in the kingdom of God. Please also pray for my efforts to continue to study with him (and many other students) via the internet and in person when the Lord allows.
The Lord has encouraged me greatly by this experience. I rest secure in the hand of our All-Powerful God!
May He be forever glorified!!!