Today I just want to tell you a story that I heard tonight. This is not my own, and I am paraphrasing what I heard, so I might mess up some of the details. I apologize in advance if I do.
I heard this from Ron VanderGriend, who was teaching a Bible class at my church tonight.
Apparently, Ron was in Vietnam in 1994 or 1995 doing mission work. While there, was the he was arrested for something. He didn’t say what, but I imagine it was for the mission work as that fits in with the rest of the story. While being held for eight days in a Vietnamese detention center, he met an unnamed young woman. While chatting to pass the time, he asked her why she was being held and this is the story that she told him.
She was also in Vietnam doing mission work. One day she was in the middle of some teaching when the police were spotted approaching. Apparently they had been tipped off about her activities and where coming to arrest her. She immediately gave her Bible to a young man who was known to be a fast runner and he took off at a sprint. If she had been found with the Bible she would have been locked up. She was arrested anyway and charged with the crime of evangilizing which is/was illegal in Vietnam.
At her trial the judge asked the police what she had done.
“She was preaching Christianity” the officer replied.
The judge looked at her and asked the officer, “was there a Bible found on her?”
“No there was not”, answered the officer.
“Did you hear her preaching?” the judge continued.
The officer said “no, I did not.”
I can see the judges head shaking as he asked “well are there any witnesses of her teaching Christianity?”
“No, there is no one who will testify”, the officer conceded.
“Well then you must let her go, you have no evidence” the judge said, and he was about to dismiss the case. Just then the woman stood up and addressed the judge.
“Are you a religious man your honor?”
The judge scoffed, “of course not!”
The young woman looked at the ground and then directly at the judge and said, “well then, let me tell you about Jesus Christ.”
She went on to tell the whole courtroom about salvation through belief in Jesus Christ and gave her life’s testimony. For this she received two years in prison. She was not afraid of what that judge or anyone in that courtroom could do to her or what they thought of her. She knew who her savior was and that she had been called to tell others about him. Some might say she should have kept her mouth shut. But I like to think that by speaking up she inspired everyone who has heard her story, I know she inspired me.
Sometimes I am uncomfortable talking to an acquaintance about my faith, especially if I don’t know them that well. And I have nothing to lose other than someone might laugh at me.
“Lord, give me the strength to speak out for you. Help me to overcome whatever petty fears I might have. Grant me courage and strength to be an effective witness for you and let my life be lived in a way that brings glory to you?”