The Cow Bank project in Vietnam has been running since 2016 and has transformed hundreds of lives! Here are just a few ways in which your gifts and prayers have made a huge difference for persecuted Hmong Christians… (All names in this article have been changed for security reasons.)
Pounds. Dollars. Euros. Cows. What do these things have in common?
They are all found in banks! Cow Banks are run by Open Doors local partners in Vietnam: a family receives a pregnant cow, and the loan is repaid with the first offspring the cow produces. After that, the family keep any other calves and can trade and sell any dairy produce. This aid allows persecuted, vulnerable Christians to live independent lives and continue to witness.
Thanks to your prayers and support, houses are being repaired and school fees are being paid through the Cow Bank
In 2019, we shared the story of Mai, a courageous Christian from a remote Hmong village in Vietnam. A widow with two children, she was persecuted for her faith by her community and due to much poverty and hardship ran into enormous debt. But then she received a pregnant cow from a Cow Bank supported by Open Doors partners, and it changed her life. Her in-laws even became Christians as a result!
Recently, Open Doors local partner Isaac revisited Mai’s village. Although he didn’t get the chance to meet with Mai again, he was able to visit other persecuted believers who are part of the Cow Bank project. One believer shared, “In 2016, 35 cows were given to two churches in this area. Our church is one of the two. We were among the first beneficiaries of the project when it started.”
“It was a miracle and a blessing from God... Now, my dream of serving my people has been fulfilled.”Vang
While this part of Vietnam is full of beautiful landscapes and rich natural resources, its rugged terrain and the effects of climate change, such as flooding and landslides, make the area almost inaccessible – which makes the inhabitants’ lives much harder. Because of this, the area is deprived of modern developments and is considered one of the poorest regions in the country.
Keej, a local pastor who manages the project in his church, says, “This project is very meaningful to this ethnic group who are traditionally cattle raisers. When they receive the cows from the project, they take good care of them, so that they grow and breed well. I have seen many lives improved because of this project.”
Isaac also met Vang, his wife and their three children. After the family converted to Christianity several years ago, Vang went to a Bible college in Hanoi, expecting to go back to his village and serve the Lord. However, he had to give up his studies and come back to his village to work and provide for his family.
In 2018, Vang’s family received a cow from the Cow Bank project through his local church and started to raise the cows well. Vang’s herd has since grown from one cow to seven!
“One cow was given back to the Cow Bank, four were sold to buy the materials for our new house, and we’re still raising the other two,” Vang shares. “It was a miracle and a blessing from God. My family’s economic situation has improved a lot. Now, my dream of serving my people has been fulfilled. I can now serve God through this project.”
Vang’s story is one of many – there are lots of other families, including non-believers, who can testify to the blessings that the project brings to their lives.
Nhia, another believer, says, “Every year, the mother cow gives birth to a calf. Since I received the mother cow, I now have three. By raising this small herd, my family was able to gain money and use it to repair our house and send my children to school. Everyone in my household also gets to work together because of the project. I thank God for this programme, and my family is very grateful.”
To date, 247 cows have been distributed since the project began in 2016 and almost 700 individuals from different tribal villages in North Vietnam have already benefited from it. The Cow Bank project is a long-term solution, helping families to build their own houses, invest in a farm, send their children to school, put food on their tables and give tithes in their church. And none of it would be possible without your ongoing prayers and support. Thank you!
“The Cow Bank project also helps the believers to dream bigger and take more risks.”Isaac
And it’s not just physical changes that Isaac witnessed in these believers’ lives – he’s noticed a shift in their mindset. “They no longer feel helpless,” he says. “The Cow Bank project also helps the believers to dream bigger and take more risks.”
In Vietnam, the most intense persecution is reserved for converts from indigenous religions, especially in the remote areas of central and northern Vietnam. The majority belong to the country’s ethnic minorities, like the Hmong, and face social exclusion, discrimination and attacks.
But even levels of persecution in these remote places are changing. While the project primarily serves Christians, it also extends to non-believers who are in need – and, as a result, the community who used to oppress these Christians are now more accepting towards them. Praise God for how He is moving in their lives!
You can equip your MP to help call for change. By inviting them to attend the World Watch List 2022 parliamentary launch on 19 January, you are amplifying the voices of your brothers and sisters in Vietnam and around the world.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.