So last night was the best night. About thirty students from the LEC (Lighthouse Evangelical Church) met us at our hotel at 10pm. We had an incredible night of ministry ahead of us.Forty of us got on twenty scooters, laden down with bags of food, and broke up into four groups. Our goal was simple – to take food and the Gospel to the homeless in Ho Chi Minh City. We just drove around until we spotted them.
Our group had 120 bags of food to give away, which means we presented the gospel at least 120 times last night. And when I say homeless, I mean Vietnam homeless. The degree of poverty is incomprehensible. These folks have a bicycle, one set of clothes, and nothing else. Most of them gather plastic bottles, cups and containers all day (literally, for 12-14 hours a day) to sell at the end of the day just so they can make enough money to fill their stomachs.
We all rode on scooters. And let me tell you – driving here is a whole other ball game. There are really no road rules, just suggestions. People drive down one way streets the wrong way, drive right in the middle of traffic, people are zig-zagging all over the place…. It’s wild stuff. And we were burning some serious rubber. I literally saw 6 people on one scooter today. It was crazy, and very impressive.
But it was when we stopped the scooters that the best part of the night began. It was truly amazing to watch these students walk right up to these homeless guys who were asleep in hammocks attached to trees, or sleeping in their rickshaws, or just sleeping on a thin blanket on the concrete. These young Vietnamese believers would speak with these homeless, talk to them about Jesus, hug them, encourage them, love them, and give them food. They prayed for illnesses, handicaps, pains, loss of jobs…everything. These guys have obviously not been touched in a loving way in a long time, because the minute we shook their hands or touched their shoulders or just laid our hands on them and prayed, they lit up. They changed. Their guards and walls fell down.
Three of the thirty homeless we spoke to accepted Jesus! They got down on their knees, prayed the sinners prayer, and got connected to the local LEC church. Nothing, and I mean nothing, energizes the soul like seeing people come to know and love Jesus. It’s life-changing, literally. Their lives will never be the same, and their eternal lives are secure in Jesus Christ. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
After all the groups got back to the hotel, we compared notes and the other 3 groups saw 3 or 4 each come to accept Jesus as well! What a wonderful night.
What I am learning is the power and impact of simple obedience. What if we just obeyed Jesus? What if I just loved the widow and orphan, fed the homeless, clothed the naked, helped the prisoner go free? These Christians with the LEC just preach the Gospel, love people, and give until it hurts. John and Christina simply live near the slums, take in orphans, feed them, educate them. And the lives they touch are forever changed.
“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”