“My father would be so pleased”, Tran declared at the official rededication of the family worship house. The house had become a virtual ruin since Tran’s family fled Vietnam in the 1960s, with only an elderly former servant keeping it from collapse. But Tran, now a successful businessman in the US, has funded the restoration of this house on the outskirts of the city of Hue in Vietnam’s central region. His great-grandfather was a mandarin in the court of Emperor Thanh Thai and built the house at the end of the 19th century as a display of family success. In fact, all around Hue many family worship houses are regaining their colourfully painted exteriors, protective dragons on the rooftops are being restored and long forgotten family mementoes are collected for personal history museums. At the centre of these houses are grandly carved wooden altars to generations of relatives, with their ashes in ancient lacquered vases.
The former royal city in Hue now bustles with tourists rather than grand parades of emperors and their mandarins, and in the old royal palace is an empty throne. In a display about the history of the city, the emperor is described as being “the supreme authority, the representative of heaven on earth.”
Like Hue, there are many places in Vietnam where there has been greater resistance to the good news. Has Hue’s history of ancestor worship and the power of earthly kingdoms played a part in this?
Will you pray for Vietnam?
- Pray that the people of Vietnam will know the true heavenly King and the hope of God’s Kingdom.
- Pray for wisdom for those who are messengers of the gospel in especially challenging spiritual environments.
- Pray that small seeds of the gospel, which are growing in the Hue area, would know the nurturing protection of Jesus Christ.