Vietnam - 2006

Our dear Friends,

Nice to be home again after a very nice visit to Vietnam. So nice to see the new converts and also the older ones continuing on and growing in spiritual maturity.

Went first to Hanoi, where they just finished their two day convention. The visiting workers were still there, saw Myrtle Kaunds, Wallace Mackay and Elaine Liew before they left to go back to their land. Dellas Linaman came from Hong Kong, who is to be with Morris for a month as Darrel is away for a home visit, and Chau is to go to Canada also as soon as he can get his visa so Hoa is in Hanoi with Mike and Morris and Dellas in HCM.

Then the rest of the local Vietnam workers were in Hanoi for a few days so we had some meals at various homes so we could hear about some of the experiences as they see the work of God opening up.

After a very good week in Hanoi, I flew down to HCM where I stayed with Dominique and Mireille Mille. Nice to see our friends that we have known so well in the past. On Tuesday, had some visits with Chau and lunch with Dominic and Mireille to meet their youngest staff member who has just made a start which is so nice.

Wednesday morning Dellas, Chau, Ryan and Marina Tarvis from Canada and myself went up country to have some visits with the various friends. We headed for Di Linh first where we were greeted by our good friends there who grow coffee on a farm. This family has 6 children. 3 sons have all built a new home and want them to be used just for the workers and for the kingdom, so there are now 4 homes there that are used in this way. I stayed the night with one of the Sons. In his lounge room the only pictures on the wall are of workers and friends, all lead a very simple life and just love this kingdom and live for it. So after lunch, they wanted to have a meeting. Dellas spoke to them all. There were 15 gathered, among them a local teacher who has not long professed. She was in Hospital as well as the man of the home, all in a large ward. She noticed him reading his bible and so said to him that there is no God. Our friend asked her had she ever read the bible. She said, "No, and I don’t want to." So he asked, "Why?" She replied, "If there is a God, why has he punished me so much? For 6 years ago, my husband died. 4 years ago, my son died in an accident. 2 years ago, my daughter died of sickness. Why does God punish me like this, if there is a God?" Our friend said, "Maybe this experience is all for the one purpose, that you would feel your need of Him." She softened in time, and started to read the bible and so then went further and in time made her choice. Now, she is so happy that she just took time off work so she could be with us to hear the word of God. After the last meeting, she said to Dellas, "I could just sit here and listen to this forever." She has such a smile on her face, and her testimony is that God has brought joy into her heart of sadness.

Dellas told them his elephant story first off, when he was in India, "I saw some elephants that were trained, and the way they correct them there is to discipline them, they hit them to correct them. We rode them into the jungle and the handler just rode at the back of the head and moved the elephant with his feet under the ears, and they were very obedient. He was told that the way they train them is by forcing them to obey from infancy. You are never too old to learn obedience, and if there is no obedience then you suffer the pain. They would punish them if there was no obedience. What a pleasure to see them working for no reward, just have been broken and learned to obey." They also told him that African elephants cannot be trained to obey, so he believed that. However, two years ago, he was in Africa and went to a game park where they have elephants and so saw how they worked there. He also rode on the back of the elephant and saw that the elephant stopped and picked up a stone and put it up in front of the handler, and then the handler rewarded him with some nuts. Then a little further along he stopped again and picked up a branch and put it up in front of the handler, again received a reward of nuts. So the way they train them here is by rewarding them, and they say they cannot do anything with them unless they are rewarded. So he mentioned that this is not the way God works. We do not obey because of a reward, we obey because we have learned that we are punished if we don’t and later we learn that we want to obey gladly because of love.

Then, at 5:00 that evening before dinner, we had another meeting. Dellas spoke of the need of patience as we read in Hebrews 12. In Chinese, the character for patience is the point of a knife stuck in your heart, showing that we have to have pain to learn patience. Hebrews 12 tells of God being a consuming fire. In South Africa, he stayed with a man who is a gold miner. After supper we went outside to his workshop, as he said we are going to do some cooking. He gave me a plastic bag with some black and some grey stones in it, all different sizes and all different colors. The man then made a brick fire. When it was hot, he poured the contents of all these stones into the hole in the brick and then something wonderful happened: all these various pieces came to a golden color. They were all made one, the fire consumed all the other material and all that was left was pure gold. We all need to be made one in Christ; it is the fiery trials that remove the dross so we need these trials to remove the dross to make us one in Christ. To run this race with patience, we need to throw off all that is going to hinder us in running. Many are running this race carrying a lot of unnecessary things. If you saw a person running a race with an overcoat on, you would say that person is not wanting to win. These are not sins but they are weights. In a race, we heard of there were some fat ones who could not run and some older ones, who were parents of the children, so they wanted to quit the race. The man said, "Don’t quit, for there is a prize for everyone." This is the kind of race that we are in; there is a prize for all who continue. We also need to get rid of sins, for we can be hindered by the little things that we keep hidden. There was one lady who had an idol in her cupboard. It was handed down from her ancestors, but she came to the place when she got rid of it. Now, what a peace and happiness when she was rid of it! She said, "Why didn’t I do it years ago?" We could have things hidden in our closets, and think that no one knows but God knows and it hinders us. Good to deal with these things and just look to Jesus, for this is what we need to do. When we listened to this gospel over 60 years ago now, we did not hear of any names mentioned, but the only name we heard was Jesus. Since then we have heard of some saying that this fellowship was started by some man in Ireland, but this did not hinder us because we believed in Jesus and not in some man. God gave us Jesus to look to and there is joy in following him, joy in speaking about him, joy in suffering for him. This joy is set before us, we need to consider him. Sometimes we hear people saying, "Poor me, so conscious of ourselves." There is no encouragement in that, but strength comes when we consider Jesus and all the faithful are doing this. The reason is that we get weary in our soul. All can think of times when we are weary and discouraged, and you find this was a time that you did not consider Jesus. You have not yet resisted unto blood. We need to look lightly on what we have to suffer. Sometimes when we are mistreated, we hurt our own souls because, when we consider Jesus, this heals all our sorrows. We also need to be corrected, to be chastened for this is when the blessing comes, the Lord loves those whom he chastens. It is good to remember that this is a proof of his love to us. A Mother had two daughters. The one was perfect, never needed to be spanked. The other one was so mischievous and needed a lot of correction. The perfect little girl began to cry one day so the Mother said, "What is wrong?" She replied, "You don’t love me." The mother assured her of her love, and then she replied, "You only correct my sister and you don’t correct me." We all need lots of correction. God is willing and able to do it, nice to be easily corrected. When I was young, I wished that I had been born in a different family but now spiritually we could not be born into a better family where we are corrected so that we can live. Eternal life comes by being corrected. Here it tells us that this correction is for our profit. Holiness comes via obedience so that we can be partakers of His holiness. There is an emptiness that we all need to know, empty of self so that we can be in his presence and have fullness of joy. The correction from God has to do with the emptying of self. All self is carnal, the correction of God has to do with the flesh. We need eternal values, for afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. For all of us there is an afterwards. We will have the fruit, not of fear, but of love, mercy and joy. Then it speaks of strengthening the weak hands. Many people think that Jesus died and did it all, and we don’t have to do anything. There is lots for us to do. When we do our best, it is not enough as it takes the grace of God to do it. This is the only way. We need to pursue peace and holiness, for without it we will never see the Lord. This seeking to be pure; if we do not have a revelation of the Lord then things will pollute us, things that hinder us from getting a revelation. Esau sold his birthright, he was hungry, and when Satan tempted Jesus, it was when He was hungry. When he tempts you, it is when you are hungry and that is the time you should fast. Later Esau wanted to inherit the blessing, but his father could not repent. Esau was sorry but it was too late. We cannot take any chances. Then it tells us that we have not come to the mount that might not be touched, but we have come to Mt. Zion. There is a difference in the old and the new Testament. This what we have today is not a physical thing, not carnal but spiritual. We have come to Mt. Zion, something different. This is heavenly, we have come to the church of the Firstborn, to the spirits of just men made perfect. Jesus is the Mediator of this new covenant, the guarantor. Jesus is the one responsible to us and responsible for us. He is the one we dwell in and the one we consider and meditate upon. As we go up this mountain of Jesus, we hear Him speak and we do not want to refuse Him. As we begin to listen to the voice of Jesus, we begin to change, we begin leaving where we once were. In Ephesians, we read of what those people once were and then tells us where they are now, and then tells us where they are going. This is the mountain that we are climbing. There were multitudes that followed Jesus up the mount. On the mount, He spoke of what we read in Matthew 5,6, and 7. It takes effort to get up on the mountain and it takes waiting for Jesus for He wants us to hear. What Jesus spoke on the mountain will be in the final test, so I hope we will not refuse Him that is speaking to us today. Jesus is not silent. He says, "My sheep hear my voice and they follow." This is the only way that we can reach the end safely. Once a Professor was talking to his class and coming to the time of examination. One of the students asked him a question about their subject. The professor said, "That is a good question to consider but it is not in the test." There are so many subjects people get involved in wanting to know about this or that, but many of these things are not going to be in the final test. What we need to be concerned about is Matthew 5, 6, and 7, as these will be in the final test.

We then had evening dinner which was so nice. These people give us of their best and all have a part. Then we had another meeting. Some gave their testimonies, which were so nice and encouraging.

Then off to bed in the various homes. Had to be up early as these folk always have a bible study each morning at 6.00 AM before they go to work and school. We were invited to join in, and the subject was Ephesians 1. Chau spoke first and quoted verse 3 and mentioned that for years when he was in a false religion he prayed church prayers. They were all for natural blessings. When he professed, he was still thinking this way until a Sister Worker called Una Hedderman came and spoke of this verse. It dawned on him that day that God has given us spiritual blessings, the blessing of joy, peace, and rest of spirit. So from that day, he was so happy that he had found the real treasure.

Dellas took most of the meeting after some had spoken a few lines, and spoke so helpfully on this. He spoke of the 3rd verse, and said it was the key to the chapter as God has given us spiritual blessings. Spoke of a man who was going to sell his farm. He was discouraged with it and so he put it on the market. An assessor came to take an inventory of all that was on the farm. When the owner read the inventory he said, "I am not going to sell the farm now, I did not realize I had so much." This is also like ourselves. We get discouraged at times because we do not realize just how rich we are, how much we have in Christ. These are not natural blessings but they are spiritual blessings. The Devil wants to show us what we do not have and make us discontent. God wants to show us what we do have that will make us happy. There are so many adverts in the paper and in the world with the one purpose: to feed the covetousness that is in our nature, just wanting to make us discontent with what we have. As the Devil told Jesus, "All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me." That is how it is with our natures, we want it. In this way, we lose our own soul. Hebrews 13.5, ”Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.'” This is the contentment that brings great gain, for he that is content is very rich, for we are not missing anything. The key to the Ephesians is the unsearchable riches of Christ, and they are past finding out. Spiritual blessings are spiritual prosperity, the only thing that will enrich the soul. Colossians 1.21, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” All this is made possible to us if we continue. The most important thing we need to be concerned about is the now. We do not need to worry about the past. We do not need to be concerned about the future, but only with the now. Today as this is the important thing, to continue today and all this will be possible for us. We read here in this chapter of the spiritual blessings. They are firstly that we have been chosen by God, we have been adopted by God, we have been accepted by God, we have been redeemed by God. “Then having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” We try to work our will into his will and it just does not work. We must be completely submitted to His will in all things and this is true riches. Then we read of the Spirit of Christ we have received which is our guarantee which gives us peace. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” This is Christ in us revealed by His spirit; this is not Jesus on the sea of Galilee but Christ in you. Our Sunday morning meeting is a heavenly place within the plan of God. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we read about the seed that was to be sown. In Acts, we read of how the seed was sown. In Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, we see the church, the result of the seed sown. As we love the church, we will grow spiritually, as we will want to edify and feed it. There were two boys playing meetings. After they had sung a hymn, they both prayed and then sung another hymn. One boy got up and said that he did not have anything for the meeting but he was glad to be there. The second boy got up and said, "My thoughts have already been expressed." Where did those little boys get that kind of message? It was in the meeting. I hope that there is no one here who would talk like that, as it is our privilege to prepare and have something to share with our brethren on Sunday morning to edify and to build up the church. One lady said one time, "I love the church and I love to prepare for the church." One time the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He told the parable of the man who had a friend come to him and he had no bread to put before him. He went to his friend at midnight to ask him to lend him some bread. He said he would not arise to give him, but because his friend kept asking he got up and gave him what he needed. This is the way to pray, when we have nothing. This is a very good condition to be in, as then when we pray our Father will give us what we need from His storehouse. We will have something that will be a help in the meeting. There is a good message here 1 Corinthians 14:12, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” These are the true gifts to have to be able to edify the church.

We then left this group of friends and went driving for 4 hours to Son Ray where there are another group of friends. Again, we had lunch first and then all the local friends gathered. We had another meeting where Dellas shared much again, in 1 Peter this time, about adding to our faith virtue and all the other things to add. He mentioned that virtue is really a changed life. After we receive faith, God expects a change in our living. This is virtue that we add.

Here was a man with his 4 children in the meeting. He and his wife are so poor, they came from the middle of the country to this area and lived poorly. One day, he was cutting some grass on a vacant block of land not aware that it belonged to some of our friends. The lady came out and scolded him for doing this. He was so humble and apologized so much that this lady softened and then asked him about his position. This led to her asking him to come to the meetings. Now, both have professed and one of the children. They are such a joy to all there. They are so thankful for all they are rejoicing in now.

We then had to go as we had another 4 hours drive to get back to the City. Dellas had another gospel meeting that night, so a busy time for him. At age 83, he does so well. The next day, he and Morris came for breakfast. They were telling us of some meetings being arranged for the next week. Two young peoples' meetings where some gather in a home, perhaps 30. They have pizza for supper and then have a meeting where the young ones can put questions in a box. One by one, Dellas gives them the benefit of his experiences. He said that the last one there were all good questions and, apart from two questions, all will all be in the test. There are some meetings arranged for the elderly folk and also for the elders. Both are going to be very busy, but enjoying it all. Morris feels that the time in Vietnam right now is like it was in Ireland at the beginning of 1900 where there were not a lot of jobs. People are needy and want to hear about the God of Heaven and His true way on the earth.