In Vietnam, some Christians are being denied official aid when it is distributed by local authorities.
9 June 2020
Thanks to your prayers and support, vulnerable Christians in Vietnam have received food aid from Open Doors partners.
This distribution didn't happen without risk, though.
To avoid a mass gathering, and attention from persecutors, local Open Doors partners asked a representative from the 18 families mentioned in the original story (below) to meet at a church member's house and collect their rations. Shortly after this began, local authorities interrupted. They demanded that the food distribution stop, and wanted to know the source of the food.
Pastor Foom*, one of Open Doors partners, told them: “Our church donated these sacks of rice to help them in this difficult time. Since you could not provide food for them, and discriminated against them because they are Christians, our church decided to help them. Why are you stopping us from helping them?”
One of the officers answered, “Because they are Christians and they are rich! There’s no need to help them.”
Pastor Foom replied, “How could you say they are rich? Their children have no food to eat.”
But the local authorities demanded that our partners pack up and leave the village immediately. Officers took their photos, to identify them if they returned. Open Doors partners went to a different village, where a believer courageously stored the sacks of rice. Then the representatives of the 18 families were able to go and get their shae, one at a time. Through a video message sent by Pastor Foom, after all the families have safely collected their rations, one of the recipients expressed his gratitude towards those who helped them. “I would like to say thank you so much to our brothers and sisters. Thank you for supporting us in this difficult time. We have received the rice and it will helps our families to have food in the next days. May God bless your hearts.”
2 June 2020
Christians in Vietnam are being denied official food and aid when it’s distributed. A number of families from a district of northern Vietnam reported being turned down point blank when they asked for food. In total 107 individuals, from 18 families, were refused aid by local authorities because of their faith. They were told: “You are Christians and your God will take care of your family! The government is not responsible for your families!"
Illustrative image of Vietnam
“These families are poor,” says Chau*, one of Open Doors partners in Vietnam, who are providing essential food and aid to those being overlooked. “When they learned that the government's support is coming to their district, they were so happy but only to find out that they were not on the list because they are Christians."
These 18 families had lost their income, due to restrictions relating to the pandemic, and had very little to survive. Though the local authorities meant their cry as a taunt, God really did take care of them – using your gifts and support.
Although Vietnam has already lifted its nationwide lockdown on April 23, and some Vietnamese people have already began to go back to their normal lives, the government and several charitable organisations are still providing countrywide support - especially to those on low incomes or who have lost their jobs during the lockdown.
The latest report, appears to be the tip of a much larger iceberg of aid discrimination, not only in Vietnam but around the world, where Christians are a minority. We’re hearing similar stories from many countries across Asia and Africa, where Christians are either denied aid or given less than people of other faiths.
Thanks to your support, Open Doors partners are working with many families to provide vital food and aid, often facing risk of persecution themselves.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.