God Was Not Finished

By and

In 1911, Alliance missionaries first brought the gospel to Vietnam. Over the next six decades, Alliance members gave generously to support workers throughout the country, from the streets of Hanoi to remote villages. We were privileged to have had a part in it, bringing the good news to highland tribespeople, first to the Hre and then the Bunong (Mnong).

Our memories are mostly of the highlands. Banmethuot was where we had lived with our four children. Then, in the Tet Offensive of 1968 the mission compound was destroyed, and eight of our colleagues were killed. Our family was away at the time. For years I struggled with the question, “Why were our lives saved when theirs were taken?”

Back in Banmethuot after the compound was rebuilt, we lived in the “pink” house. Our days were full. We had devised an alphabet and primers to teach reading. Our translation team had worked hard, producing portions of the New Testament, which the Bible Society printed separately. We had also published a hymnal (160 songs, 40 responsive readings). Periodically, Richard flew into Bunong country to teach.

But it all ended in March 1975. There was a huge battle, and Banmethuot was overrun. We were taken captive and held for close to eight months. We never had a time of closure with our Mnong people. Would we ever see them again? Would we be reunited with our four children, who were away at Dalat School? What happened to the Bunong Scriptures? Our own manuscripts were confiscated and never returned. Vietnam was closed to foreign missionary work, and we were reassigned to West Africa.

Years later, after we retired, Bunong refugees began coming to North Carolina. To our amazement we learned that our translation helper, Nkem, along with several other men, had continued working on the Scriptures. The New Testament was finished; we held a copy in our hands! And someone had found a way to reprint the hymnbook. They had preserved the books by hiding them in the ground or in the hollows of trees. In time, the entire Bunong Old Testament also was finished!

Even through the years of difficulty, the church had grown tremendously—and we celebrate all God has done!

In 1975 there were 60,000 believers in Vietnam. Today there are 1.2 million, most of whom are part of the Tin Lanh (Alliance) Church.

1 response to God Was Not Finished

  1. Great testimony, they were great colleagues in West Africa and a pleasure to work with

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