Vietnam: Food, Medical, and Transportation
Type: Human Needs
Funding Need: $25,000 USD annually
The Human Needs program in Vietnam largely takes the form of pastoral care of existing members. The Vietnamese Christadelphian demographic is poor: they are farmers and subsistence workers.
Over just the last year, our 380 brothers and sisters have suffered afflictions including: brain tumour, lung cancer and TB, heart failure, kidney failure and uterine infection. We have also helped with extra funds for difficult births and serious injuries. These conditions are no more serious than affect brothers and sisters elsewhere, however, since our brethren typically have no savings, they become life-threatening since there is no money for medical aid. Our second welfare need has been for help after hurricanes and floods, e.g. Nov 2011 where tens of Vietnamese were killed by flooding. If we had not intervened many of our brethren would have starved in the following months, since their crops were destroyed.
Another human needs cost arises from the Communist oppression in Vietnam. In 1975, in response to the Vietnam war, the authorities banned registration of any new religion. Existent religions, such as Catholics and Baptists, could register and remain. The first Christadelphian baptism was in 1995, which was too late.1 Preaching or practicing an unregistered religion in Vietnam is a felony punishable by up to two years imprisonment for citizens, and up to 22 years for foreigners. Offences are prosecuted and our members have been arrested, interrogated, beaten and imprisoned. In May 2011 one brother was beaten and suffers medical effects to this day. By God’s grace no-one has yet been imprisoned for more than a few days; but that is long enough to risk losing one’s job, and therefore income.
Another ecclesia is currently persecuted by their neighbours, who are reporting their illegal gathering to the authorities. As a human needs cost, WCF were able to supply a boat in 2014 to ferry them to their meeting place with much less chance of observation.
These human needs costs are hard to anticipate and almost unmanageably large for the normal resources of the brotherhood, especially in flood years. The bottom line figure we request for this annual need is $25 000; which is consistent with our annual expenditure.
Request authors: Bre Allan Bundesen (Brisbane, Aus) & John Pople (San Francisco, USA)
1 Christadelphians came close to registration in 2010 when government attitudes softened but, following the collapse of the Libyan and Egyptian regimes in 2011, attitudes once again hardened in Vietnam and our registration chances disappeared.