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Have you ever considered what it cost you to turn to Christ? For some, this decision comes with a lifestyle change away from past sins. For others, it may lead to growing apart from old friends. But for others, it can cost them their livelihood, well-being, and family. 

This was the case for Chao Vang, who forfeited nearly everything to pursue Jesus.

After choosing to follow Christ in August 2018, Chao Vang and his wife’s lives were turned upside down in Vietnam. He was soon taken by village leaders and forced to recant his faith several times. After he repeatedly refused, a shaman was brought to his house and he was asked to perform Hmong traditional worship rituals. Yet, he still refused to comply. 

Seeing his persistence, sev­eral villagers came to his house and tied him up. The village elder hit him repeatedly and ordered someone to burn chili peppers and blow the spicy smoke towards Chao Vang’s eyes. Another villager said that if Chao Vang wanted to worship Christ, he should be kicked out of the village.

Although he was eventually set free, he con­tinued to face harassment from his family. His brothers and cousins, who disapproved of his new faith, took his family’s possessions. Unable to endure the abuse any longer, Chao Vang fled the village with his wife and young child. 

Since his relatives took all of his property, he was left penniless. With only a few sacks of rice to sell, Chao Vang scraped together just enough money to escape.

However, without any money left, they struggled to put food on the table in their new community. ICC teamed up with local partners to purchase farmland to ensure that this family will not go hungry. They will be able to either grow their own food on this plot of land, or grow crops to sell as a source of income.

Chao Vang told ICC, “I would like to thank you, ICC, and wish you all… peace and happiness, that you succeed in all your work.”

One reason I love to work with the persecuted is that they continually challenge me and show me biblical Christianity in real life and in real time. 

Jesus taught us about faith and the cost to gain (or retain) the kingdom in the parable of the treasure in a field. When a man found the hidden treasure, he sold everything in great joy so that he could purchase the land.

Chao Vang is paying everything to live in his “field” in Vietnam. He knows that no amount of material possessions, financial security, or community respect, compares to the treasure he found. 

He already sold everything he had to own this treasure. 

And even though the “mortgage” he pays every month to the world to hold this land is costly, he can never go back to his old home in the world.  

Chao Vang and all his persecuted brothers and sisters keep teaching me and bringing me back to what it means to be a Christian. 

For that, I am eternally grateful! Thank you for helping us support so many “Chao Vangs” throughout the world.

International Christian Concern

Photo: flickr