Counting The CostBy Stephanie Gondra, Interviewed by Judy Aitken
In a country where religious oppression is common, a lay pastor tells the story of, Lin Thoun*, a 50-year-old Vietnamese woman who has chosen God and her passion for Him above all else. Lin was not only an officer for the local government, but her husband was the local chief. Within this communist government, each city is divided into small areas. As chief, her husband was put in charge of one of these areas.
Despite her job title and her husband’s social standing, Lin continued to search for the real profound truth, a church which she felt she was meant to be a part of. She attended Sunday churches but just could not find the passion she was looking for. It was not until she met a member of the underground church that her passion was satisfied. This person gave Lin a DVD. As soon as she watched the DVD she fell in love with it. She says that the sermon and word of God touched her heart. She then contacted a pastor of the underground church, asking for Bible studies. Four months later she was baptized.
Before long Lin’s husband and local government began pressuring her about her faith, but she did more than just stand strong; she began spreading the word. She gave the DVD sermons to everyone she worked with. Local officers tried to pressure her to stop, but she continued to hand them out. After a while the government finally agreed to respect her religion, but on condition that she stop distributing the DVDs. Unfortunately, her husband could not show the same respect. He accused Lin of forgetting her husband, traditions, and their old religion. He just could not understand why she could not just attend the church recognized by the government. Lin responded by saying that in this church she found the truth, the right teachings from the Bible. Even the pastor of her church tried to advise her to calm down and maybe even work a little less at spreading the word persecution would be less severe. Her response was, “Every time I watch the sermon, the word of God tells me that I have to share. I cannot do less. . . My husband may divorce me, my family may kick me out, but I accept that, and I will not deny my faith and my God.”
Through the blessings of God, Lin continues to spread the word, and despite her husband’s objections her family has chosen to accept God’s truth. She made sure to show the life-changing DVDs to her 19 and 25-year-old sons. The eldest one does not oppose her and wants to find out what his mother is so excited about and the younger son has made the decision to follow his mother. Afraid of their conversion, their father sent them to another province to live with their uncle, but distance is nothing in the hearts of true believers. Their mother continues to send them the DVDs in hopes that their uncle’s family will also find the truth.
Regardless of the persecution, regardless of all she lost and all she still may lose, her faith is as strong as ever. Every Sabbath she goes to worship and every Monday and Wednesday night she goes to Bible studies. Her passion continues to burn for God’s truth.
*Name has been changed for the safety of God’s servant.
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