Secret Prison Church

Vietnam is a country that has suffered at the hands of communist leaders for many years. The Vietnamese people have seen decades of turmoil, during the war and afterward. In 1975, the country fell to communism, expelling virtually all foreigners, including western missionaries. This meant that the national believers were left to navigate their faith independently without western church leaders to stand beside them. This was not a setback, but rather God used this crisis to strengthen, mature, and empower His church under the guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit. Today the church is massive and it continues to explode in growth.

Mark is just one of the faithful young believers who worked diligently to preach the Gospel in the early days under communist rule. He was first imprisoned a few years into his ministry. During these three years in prison, he was forced to do hard labor. With 36 other prisoners in his cell, his living conditions were deplorable, especially with the lack of sanitation that plagued most prisons in Vietnam at that time. In fact, this prison was considered to be the worst in Vietnam, reserved for the vilest criminals. During his first week there, Mark led 19 to Christ and he continued to share the Gospel and pray for the sick throughout his imprisonment. He began to disciple these new believers, teaching them secretly at night, and his prison church grew. Even while Mark was still in prison, God was also moving in his village, where, by the time he was released, 300 people had accepted Christ and the Gospel had also spread to other surrounding villages. Today Mark oversees 500 churches. His wife works in children’s ministry and she has seen over 10,000 children come to Christ.

It can be difficult for us to understand why God allows his faithful servants to suffer. Mark may have wondered why he was tossed into prison, fearing his ministry would be halted. But God used that time, both in Mark’s life and in the lives of the villagers, with the result being that many souls were saved for the Kingdom. Think about Joseph’s reassuring words in Genesis 50:20 to his brothers who had sold him into slavery: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

God can use the obstacles we face to bring about great things according to His purposes.

With 36 other prisoners in his cell, his living conditions were deplorable, especially with the lack of sanitation that plagued most prisons in Vietnam at that time.

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