Vietnamese Grandfather on Deaths Door finds Jesus

Joy- Welcome to our podcast series, Stories From the Field.” I’m your host Joy Kita and with me in the studio today is Ron Pearce.

Ron- Great to be back with you, Joy.

Joy- Great to be here today, Ron, I always love these stories and I hear today we are talking about Vietnam.

Ron- It is a time to go back to Vietnam and we’re going to an interview I did with a young pastor who was very, very famous in one region of Vietnam for his ability to walk into a situation at just the right time. He was a young fellow, he was very aggressive I remember, as a pastor, and when I say that, he was aggressive in the Lord, he was aggressive for the Gospel. He wasn’t a proud sort of individual, a little timid in fact, and in the interview it was a matter of we were trying to drag out details about him as a pastor but we were finding that we had to go to his friends to tell us more details about the pastor because he didn’t want to talk about himself. Anyway, here we go on and he tells us this story. He was out walking shall we say, from village to village and he come across this village situation. Here’s what was going on. He found that there was a man who was 65 years old and this older Vietnamese gentleman had had a stroke for the third time so he had had three strokes. He became mute and coughed up blood because of his most recent stroke. He was also unable to talk for the three years afterwards. So this guy really was in bad shape and he was dying. He was sent to the hospital but they just turned him around and said go home and die and they sent him home to be buried. When the pastor came onto the scene here he was in this village hut and 50 of his family members were in the hut and around the hut and they had all the Buddhist charms on him and incense was burning in the hut, there were little candles everywhere and he was covered with blankets because he was cold and they put all these charms on the blanket to sort of ward off the evil spirits.

<p>Buddhist charms</p>
When the pastor came onto the scene here he was in this village hut and 50 of his family members were in the hut and around the hut and they had all the Buddhist charms on him and incense was burning in the hut, there were little candles everywhere and he was covered with blankets because he was cold and they put all these charms on the blanket to sort of ward off the evil spirits.

Joy- So do you think they were there waiting for him to die?

Ron- Oh yeah, this was the death, this was the death bell, this was the last rights, I don’t even know what you would call it. But here he was in this situation and it happened that the pastor came to this village and he was pointed over to what was going on with the 50 people in and around this hut. So the guy just marches in as a Christian and looks at him and marches over and says, What’s happening?” And they said, Our father, uncle,” or whatever it is, he’s dying right now,” and they told him the story and he says, Can I pray for him?” So they sort of said, Yes,” and he goes in and he says he touched the older gentleman’s hand, put his hand on his hand, and then he starts to pray for him. The man, all of a sudden started to show some signs of renewed life so he told everybody, he says, Take off all this junk!” He told all the people so they took the blanket off, they took the charms off, they got rid of the incense and everything like that because he was showing signs by touching his hand and praying for him just a little bit of becoming healthy again. So here he is and he starts to pray for him and they took everything off, all this other paraphernalia, then he just started to get better and better and better all the time. Well, I guess the whole village at this point had gathered round and they were all crowding into the area and everything like that. Here he is and he goes all night praying for this person.

Joy- The pastor was praying?

Ron- The pastor was praying all night and the guy is getting better and better and better all the time and everybody is just in awe and amazement. The hospital sent him home to die and here he is just getting better. This happened all night long. Finally, in the morning he says he gets up, the older gentleman, he sits up in the bed and for the first time in three years he speaks and the first words he says were, God saves!” In other words, God has saved him. At this point, the entire family and probably most of the village dropped to their knees and they all accept the Lord and this guy started a church that day in that village.

Joy- That is a really interesting and amazing story because he just walked right in, like what’s going on here? My father is dying and then he just started praying. I wonder if the family were just too stunned to say no you can’t pray.

Ron- I would say so. I would say that there are two factors. One is that he went in boldly, with grace and kindness, and said, May I?” He didn’t just walk in and start praying, he asked permission and they said, Yes.” And so, surprise, surprise. And another part of it was what harm could it do? The guy was dying and there was no other place to turn. They were just waiting for the guy to die and honor him, take him and bury him, etcetera. So why not?

Joy- And the reaction of the villagers to start gathering to see, does that mean there probably wasn’t many Christians in the village?

Ron- From the way he was talking, there wasn’t anyone there that was a believer. This was the first contact and, therefore, he was taking this place by storm. Maybe they had heard about this because there may be a little bit of Christian religion in the villages and things like that at times from various sources, but this would be the first time they came across a power encounter.

Joy- A power encounter with God. That’s interesting.

Finally, in the morning he says he gets up, the older gentleman, he sits up in the bed and for the first time in three years he speaks and the first words he says were, God saves!”

Ron- Yes, in other words, they know the power of Satan, they know the power of darkness, they know the power of various spiritual forces but they don’t have a real power encounter with a God that loves them. And this is the first time probably that they have ever seen somebody being prayed for, now get this, in the name of Jesus. See that is totally new to them and then probably the next question is okay, who is this Jesus? Therefore, that opens the door as well, he just healed your father, grandfather, whoever, let me tell you who did this. It wasn’t me but it was God in heaven, etcetera. So he would probably, in the midst of this, and I have watched this in Vietnam repeatedly, when they pray for people, they pray the Gospel message and almost an invitation. Almost like at a Billy Graham crusade, just as I am playing in the background almost. You’re just waiting because they don’t just pray for that, they pray the Gospel with verses intertwined and all this sort of thing and, therefore, the Gospel seeps out in their praying so much so that I am almost positive that throughout the night he explained who Jesus was in the midst of the praying.

Joy- And I can just imagine the family members saying keep going, keep going, keep going.

Ron- Oh yeah, well he was getting better and better and what had taken years to devolve was all of a sudden coming to the surface and it was the power of God to raise him literally from the edge of death. He wasn’t dead but he was at the edge of death and God was bringing him back.

Joy- And for his first words to be God saves” that’s pretty incredible.

Ron- Well, and it’s because he was the one sensing that he was at the edge of death and now I’m feeling better than probably in years, and God saves.

Joy- Okay, so this might be a silly question but I didn’t realize there were many Buddhists in Vietnam.

Ron- Oh yes, there is, it’s all around.

Joy- That’s not the main religion though, is it?

Ron- Well, it depends on where you go. In the cities, it’s swept through there. Communism came in there and tried to wipe out everything but Buddhism is strong within the country, it’s traditional shall we say. But animism, the worship of the rocks and the trees, etcetera in the tribal regions throughout the years that has been the predominant religion. But everything within these parts of the world, Joy, we call it syncretism or a mixing together so you get little pieces of every religion and everything and you put it all together and that is what it is. So you’re walking into varying situations. Catholicism was strong there, Roman Catholicism was strong for many, many years when the French came in and brought it with them at that time. But overall, throughout the centuries, Buddhism would have been the strongest religion.

Joy- Okay, and you actually talked to the pastor?

Ron- Yes, because these stories are related firsthand, this isn’t a story about a story about a story. This is firsthand accounts and so this young pastor, he was the sort of type that was like I’m not really afraid to do anything. I remember the young man saying this, he says I just walk in and I will sit down with the family or any situation at all and I will talk about Jesus and in that I am not afraid.”

Joy- So he is definitely the kind of guy that is led by the Spirit as he goes through. Okay guys, there is another story from Stories From the Field with Ron Pearce,” as always, what a pleasure.

But everything within these parts of the world, Joy, we call it syncretism or a mixing together so you get little pieces of every religion and everything and you put it all together and that is what it is.

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