When God opens the way

Photos courtesy of Methodist Missions Society

God opened the way for the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) to operate a place of worship in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in July 2010. International Christian Fellowship (ICF) – HCMC was born after almost two decades of laboring in love to build relationships and earn the trust of the Vietnamese authorities.

Since the 1990s, pediatric medicine and education (especially training English language teachers) have been the focus of MMS-Vietnam’s ministry under an NGO framework. Its earliest projects included refurbishing the 40-bed Children’s Wing of the HCMC Cancer Hospital, establishing the Love Child Charity Clinic to provide free medical aid to street children, and supporting orphanages such as The Banyan Tree Project and 15 May Love School.

ICF-HCMC’s diverse congregation of about 85 worshippers hail from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Nigeria, Australia, the US, and Canada, among others. Despite congregation members’ frequent travels and job deployments, the Lord has blessed ICF with volunteers to serve in its ministries ranging from Sunday School to Nursery, Youths, cell groups, ladies’ Bible study, the Worship team, and prayer meetings.

God also brought Mr Albert Low to Vietnam as a businessman and ICF-HCMC’s inaugurating pastor. A long-time MMS Project Coordinator, Albert leads a small Working Ministry Committee overseeing the running of ICF activities.

PRAY with us that
* the authorities will allow more speakers to share the pulpit.
Currently, only Albert has a license to preach.
* God’s strength and grace be upon Albert as he single-handedly helms the pulpit ministry and preaches His word.

Dr Raquel and Emerson Espiritu share their experience of worshipping and serving in ICF-HCMC together with their children Jeisza and Jervis.

“Before coming to Vietnam, we worshipped at a United Methodist Church in the Philippines, where only our kids were actively involved through the children’s choir and Sunday School.

Having few friends and hopping from one small group to another, we hungered for good spiritual food. Our kids, who were seven and nine then, prompted us to have our own ‘prayer meeting’ as a family and this turned into our nightly family devotion. Spiritual nourishment from reading Our Daily Bread sufficed for a time but we soon felt we needed more.

The small groups we attended could not provide what we really needed – biblical teaching, fellowship and communion that a church would provide. As we prayed and looked for such a church, God answered our prayers and led us to ICF. We were delighted to find that it is a Methodist church. God indeed provides.

We joined a cell group, met other families and experienced the warm fellowship and acceptance we had been longing for. Our family became involved in the church ministries. Raquel is in the Ladies’ Bible Study group, Jeisza and Jerviz serve in Sunday School and Emerson serves as a greeter.

As a family, we continue to grow spiritually. Pastor Albert Low’s anointed preaching has touched our hearts as we, by the grace of God, continue to search the Scriptures through our family devotions. The kids can now clearly declare their salvation in Christ alone. Emerson is actively involved in church. These indicators are proof that we are not only being fed in ICF but that we, along with the other ICF members who have become like family to us, are growing.

We believe we were drawn to ICF by God’s grace as the spiritual hunger He placed in our hearts would not be satisfied without fellowship and worship. Besides, our prayer life has been enriched as we learn to pray for one another and for our pastor, with him as our prayer model.

We do not know how long the Lord will have us stay in Vietnam, but we can simply and joyfully declare that He has not only met our physical and financial needs in this foreign land; He has also given us such a lovely ICF family to enrich our faith and be our source of comfort.”

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Loh Han Chew is a Methodist Missions Society Coordinator in Vietnam and a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church.