War Zone D was the location of fierce battles in the Vietnam War and an area where Christians, along with anti-communist forces, were exiled by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) following the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. War Zone D was also targeted by the herbicidal war program (Agent Orange) that defoliated leaves, killed the root systems of most plants, and destroyed the agricultural productivity of the lush region. Following the war, all that remained of War Zone D was barren land, exiles of the NVA, and the remaining tribal people living in the territory.
Barren regions and lands have not and will not, however, prohibit or prevent God from producing spiritual awakening and renewal! In fact, the inception of spiritual transformation always occurs where natural productivity is beyond hope:
“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water.” (Isaiah 41:18)
In light of God’s grace and purpose manifest even in wastelands, HeartCry Missionary Society was given the opportunity and privilege to fund the publication and distribution of Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith: Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barackman in Vietnamese—in the area known as War Zone D! The majority of the local pastors with whom HeartCry shared Barackman’s book do not own a theological library; in fact, most of the men do not possess a theological work besides the Bible. Therefore, providing the ministers with a systematic theology in Vietnamese, though a colossal undertaking, was also an incalculable blessing.
The translation of the thick volume, consisting of almost 1,000 pages, was performed by the arduous labors of Pastor “John.” Pastor “John” and his family were among those exiled to War Zone D. They were taken from their home and dropped off at the edge of the aforementioned area; the clothes they were wearing were their only possessions. Pastor “John” came to Christ while in the jungle and has served the Lord for four decades. This devoted servant has a network of pastors that he has discipled and mentored during these forty years and to whom books are being distributed. One thousand copies of Barackman’s book were printed and are being placed into the possession of Vietnamese pastors throughout Vietnam and Cambodia.
The pastors we visited in War Zone D suffered horrendously in the decades following the Vietnam War. Starvation, exposure to the elements, sickness, wild beasts, and persecution for their faith in Christ were always present in the life they lived and experienced. In this location, however, faith germinated and survived; and we were able to meet with and encourage (and be encouraged by) men who survived the dreadful ordeal. In fact, not only did they survive, but God also brought them to faith, and they are now pastoring churches in the “land of exile.” The men were delighted to receive a copy of the book and left with gratitude for the resource that was provided to them.
Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith is also being distributed in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with a population (including the urban area) of approximately ten million people. The city’s population, much like the rest of the nation, is largely lost and unreached. The streets of Ho Chi Minh City are filled with motorbikes and choked by traffic. Many tourists converge on the city to sightsee and, sadly, to indulge in the immoral activities of the profligate nightlife that is associated with Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.
In order to be inconspicuous, we met briefly with small groups and distributed the books. Even though the Vietnamese government sanctions churches and permits them to meet, the sanctioned churches are often prevented from teaching the whole counsel of God. The men with whom we met operate “underground” and have suffered for their faith in Christ. However, they have the freedom of conscience to preach the gospel and proclaim the word of God.
The pastors in War Zone D and in Ho Chi Minh City labor for Christ in a nation where spiritual darkness is prevalent. HeartCry is thankful that we have been given the opportunity to encourage and assist the pastors in their understanding, so that healthy churches might grow and flourish. HeartCry also would like to thank all of you who contribute to this ministry in order to provide us the opportunity to minister to local pastors in many regions and nations throughout the world.