Some people question what God is doing through the suffering of the COVID-19 pandemic. But no matter what the circumstance, God can and does continue to change hearts and lives, says Pastor David Christian.

God is at work … even in a pandemic 

by David Christian

God works wonderfully and mysteriously.

In the 1960s, I feared I might be called to kill people in Vietnam. Fifty years later I was among LCA pastors called to teach and preach eternal life to people there through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Vietnam.

Before COVID, through five visits I have met amazing Christians – pastors, interpreters and students who are hungry to be taught the gospel. Among them are Esther and Mai Duong. Both were drawn to Christ, out of Buddhism.

Mai Duong was unhappy and unwell. About seven years ago she was led to a church, heard the good news of Jesus, and in desperation became a reluctant believer. Within a week she was healed and began to tell others about Jesus’ love.

Every week she writes to tell how she has led people to Christ, seen them healed in answer to prayer, and followed up to teach them and gather them into Bible study groups.

She is poor, and when COVID struck, she fasted so she would have food to share. As she gave people food, she told them about Jesus, and many were saved. Mai Duong does not know her birthday but knows she will be 50 in 2022. She also knows the day of her birth into God’s kingdom and the day she chose my wife, Joy, and me to be her ‘parents’.

In Esther’s case, while at university, a fellow student noticed how unhappy she was and said, ‘I will take you to the place of joy’. That place was a church. There she heard the gospel and was saved. Esther is an interpreter when we teach and preach in Vietnam. She has also chosen Joy and me to be her ‘parents’.

When COVID-19 came, Esther continued to share food with hungry people and tell them about Jesus. Each week she wrote of people she cared for and led to Christ. In preparation in the event she had to go into a quarantine centre, she bought food and Christian tracts. Then she caught COVID. And every day in quarantine she led people to faith.

‘I shared that Jesus was born into this world, he was crucified, and he rose again, she explained. ‘I said that God loves them, and I asked them to pray to receive eternal life.

‘There were about 136 people in the quarantine centre. I told all of them about Jesus and 118 of the 136 people accepted Jesus.’

She has since followed up with people by phone, visiting them and leading them to nearby churches. This has led to more people accepting Christ.

What a privilege and blessing it is to teach, encourage and pray for this Lutheran church every day. Nothing has inspired me so much as seeing and being part of what God is doing in Vietnam. Glory be to him.

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