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Vietnam: Finding Happiness in Prison

Prison cell in Asia

The following story is from the Kids of Courage archives.

Silas was in prison. His cell was about 66 feet long and about 16 feet wide. Fifty-six other men lived in the cell with Silas.

“We slept on cement platforms,” said Silas. “In the morning we ate nothing. At midday and in the evening we ate rice. This rice was cooked from moldy, rotten rice. The bowls were never full, and after a few mouthfuls it was gone.”

Silas was arrested because he took part in a protest to bring attention to the problems of some ethnic groups in Vietnam. In free countries, it is legal to protest in public. But Vietnam is a communist country. Government officials can have people arrested for protesting in public.

The ethnic groups want the freedom to worship the God of the Bible. Vietnamese leaders do not want Christianity to grow among the groups. They also do not want the people in the groups to be able to read the Bible in their own language.

God’s Word in Jail
Silas is a Christian. He used to visit other believers and encourage them in their faith. Then he was arrested. He went to prison for five years. But the work of the Lord did not stop.

“While I was in prison, thoughts of my wife and daughter were a comfort to me,” said Silas. “They continued to serve the Lord in the church. This encouraged me to look to the Lord for help.

“During the first year, the prisoners were scared to talk to each other. By the second year, we started to share with one another. What a joy when we found a fellow believer!

“We did not have a Bible, but we shared God’s Word by the verses each one of us had memorized. I had memorized Psalm 1, James 1:2, and other Scriptures.

“We used whatever we could to write them down: old newspapers, magazines, and cardboard from instant noodle boxes. We were then able to read the Word.

“Through learning and praying, we hoped for the day when we would be back home to continue to serve God. During all the hardships, suffering, and hunger, I found happiness in God’s Word.”

Healing
Silas is out of prison now. He still needs medical care because of the harsh conditions he endured in prison.

Silas is one of many Christians who went to prison for five to 15 years after the protests. Each of the others and their families also endured their own struggles.

To Do
Read James 1:2. Why would that verse have been helpful to Silas and the other Christian prisoners?


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