Each month, we’ve been delighted to introduce a new country where General Baptist Ministries partners to send missionaries. This month, we are highlighting Vietnam, a beautiful country rich in traditions passed down from ancient roots. 

Vietnam’s impressive history and diverse population are reflected in unique art forms. Many ethnic groups make their own traditional clothing in bold, contrasting colors. Vietnam is also famous for floating water puppet shows and satirical theater called Cheo. The popularity of their pho (noodle soup) has reached all over the western world. 

Vietnamese cultural identity goes deeper than just experiences, though. Deeply-held beliefs include a strong emphasis on family. Multiple generations usually live under one roof. Children are seen as a joyful blessing. Elders are deeply honored for their wisdom and experience. Ancestor worship has come down from ancient folk religion partly because the family functions as the essential unit of society.

On paper, Vietnam is an atheist state, but the reality is that most people do have religious beliefs. Buddhism is the most practiced religion, but it is often combined with Confucianism and Daoism to form a blend called Tam Giao.  Compared to these long-held traditions, Christianity (especially Protestant Christianity) is a very new idea. The first protestant missionary didn’t arrive from Canada until 1911. And while just over 10% of the population is considered “Christian adherent,” only 2.16% is Evangelical. Sixty-eight people groups in Vietnam are unreached with the gospel. That’s over nine million people.

The day-to-day lives of these millions are run on a system of superstitions and taboos meant to control events. These traditions originated with ancient folk religion and have been passed down through generations and incorporated into modern beliefs. Altars to ancestors can be found in almost every home. This worship is to prevent their dishonored dead from interfering with their plans. People sometimes postpone business if the first person they see on their way is a woman, as this doesn’t bode well for the outcome of the meeting. Parents are careful not to praise their children too highly, fearing that devils might steal them if they appear too desirable. Every action is significant down to the position of the pictures on the walls to bring good luck.

Vietnamese people strive hard to control their world, fearing what might happen if they fail to satisfy ancestors and spirits. They don’t yet know that the King of the World, the only one who really has control, is also their loving Father. They need to hear that He has given everything so that they can lay down their burden and rest in his love. 

Will you come with us to tell them? 

Reach out to Mark Powell (VP of Global Missions) to find out more.