From the McNerney's latest update...
The Lord has encouraged my heart in recent weeks through opportunities to meet one-on-one with local brothers in the Lord. One young man, Phong, came to Christ just a year ago through a Korean-American short- term missionary and desires to grow in his knowledge of God and understanding of the Scriptures. We meet weekly for Bible study discussion and he checks me on my Bible memory verses.
I have also been traveling weekly to a protestant seminary campus in the city to study English Bible with a few pastors-in-training there. We meet in a coffee shop near their campus and do Bible study discussion in English and Scripture memory. Lately the first two students have had time conflicts, but the third student, Vinh, who joined us in progress just a few weeks back, shows great commitment and is memorizing Bible verses in both Vietnamese and English. Vinh told me that he enjoys the discipline of writing out the memory verses on flashcards--a new idea to him. He puts Vietnamese on one side and English on the other. I planned to give Vinh some blank starter cards, but the following week he beat me to it and had cut out a huge stack of colorful blank cards! I am excited to see him dig in so quickly and take pleasure in memorizing and meditating on God's word. At about 15 years old Vinh was kicked out of the house by his parents when he refused to forsake his faith in Christ. Though his parents later relented, Vinh's faith had been tested to the glory of God. It's a privilege to get to know and work with such men.
Who opens and no one will shut...
I continue to visit English Park regularly and delight in the witnessing opportunities which the Lord provides. This past Monday I met a young man named Thanh for the first time. After getting to know Thanh a bit through general life questions I was looking to segue to the gospel. Turns out that Thanh had read some of the Old Testament laws regarding money and commerce for a research project related to his major of finance and banking! God is so creative in connecting people to himself. And this was just the beginning... as we were talking a young man named Chien whom I had met before multiple times in the park approached us. “Are you talking about the Bible?” he asked. “Yes, indeed!” Chien asked me if I knew about [members of a Protestant denomination]. I said yes. He said he had met some of them who were doing an outreach at his school this summer. They had given him a bracelet version of the “Wordless Book” with colors: black (man's sin and consequent death), red (God's love and the blood of His Son Jesus), white (forgiveness and cleansing from sin through faith in Jesus), green (new resurrection life and growth), gold (eternal life in the presence of God).
In this way God busted open a door for the gospel, and Chien and I, referring to his newly acquired gospel bracelet, teamed up to explain the good news to Thanh and two other students who had gathered by this time. This is perhaps a more extreme example, yet this is the kind of thing I see God doing over and over again at English Park. Again and again, if I can just get out there and in my weakness look to God by faith, he is faithful and kind to show up in all his riches!
Update (June 6th)--On Thursday I returned to the park and after speaking about the gospel with a bunch of students I noticed a familiar face in the crowd. It was Ly, a young woman with whom I remembered conversing at English Park last year before Ruth was born. I don't recall Ly expressing a desire to learn more about Jesus at that time. So imagine my surprise when Ly - in front of a bunch of other students – asked for advice about what “we” can do to strengthen “our” faith! It turns out Ly's sister is studying abroad in Singapore and has believed in Jesus through a church there. What is more, that Singaporean church has a church-plant in Ho Chi Minh City where Ly has been attending since sometime after her sister's conversion. Ly says she believes in God, but recognizes she doesn't understand much. She asked for prayer for herself as a Buddhist-background individual who is now trying to read the Bible and learn more about God. I told her that Minh Loan and I would pray for her. I invite you to join us in praying for Ly. Praise the Lord for his powerful handiwork!
B people group update
My brother-in-law Vu (a younger brother of Minh Loan) asked me to forward to you an update on the work among the B people group in the central highlands of Vietnam. Read an be encouraged! God is at work all over the place. I have not yet visited the home of the B people in person in part due to concerns over foreigner presence in such sensitive areas. However I did get to meet a couple of them last year when they traveled to Ho Chi Minh City for a training program. I am attaching my brother's update in a separate PDF file.
The Lord recently sobered me with the following verse and I am committing it to memory. Please pray for me that God would use his word to guard my heart, and that I would not be stupid, but wise:
“For the shepherds have become stupid And have not sought the Lord; Therefore they have not prospered, And all their flock is scattered.” Jeremiah 10:21 (NASB)
Thank you for your interest in our lives and God's work here, and all your prayers on our behalf!
In Christ, Robbie & Minh Loan McNerney Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam