“We are heavy with the pain, mourning and lack of food of our brothers and sisters,” a Vietnamese church leader told Barnabas Fund earlier this week, pleading for food aid for 9,327 hungry Christian families.
Since April, Vietnam has been wrestling with its fourth wave of Covid-19. Lockdowns have prevented people from cultivating their fields, jobs in the cities have disappeared, and people are desperately short of necessities, even rice.
In the Evangelical Church of Vietnam, at least 200 congregations across the country have had sickness or deaths, and 3,371 believers are currently affected, including 33 pastors. These figures are significant in a country where Christians are poor and, in some areas, persecuted.
Some of the most Covid-affected areas are the Highlands and Central Region, where many ethnic minorities live, including many Christians who often suffer discrimination and harassment because of their faith. On top of this, evangelicals in Ho Chi Minh City were blamed for creating an outbreak of Covid there and were facing a criminal investigation. In a call for prayer, the Vietnam Evangelical Alliance wrote, “… evangelical Christians in Vietnam are severely misunderstood, discriminated against and deeply hurt.”
In the words of Godfrey Yogarajah, the World Evangelical Alliance’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Vietnamese Christians were facing “discrimination, hate speech, disinformation [and] scapegoating ... for the spread of the virus”.
A food parcel to last a family one month containing 20kg rice, 1 litre of fish sauce, 1 litre of soya sauce and 1 litre of cooking oil costs $22.
Will you help us feed desperate Christians in Vietnam?