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Monday, January 25, 2010

preacher in Vietnam

MY DEAR FRIENDS...,
 
You know around here we are experiencing hardships, but we thank the Lord He is comforting us and caring for us in every way.  When we experience misfortune, adversity, distress and hardship, only then do we see the real blessing of the Lord poured down on us in such a way that we cannot contain it.
 
We have been obliged recently to leave our modest apartment and for over two months have been living on a balcony.  The rain has been beating down and soaking us.  Sometimes in the middle of the night we are forced to gather our blankets and run to seek refuge in a stairwell. 
 
Do you know what I do then?  I laugh and praise the Lord, because we can still take shelter in the stairwell.  I think of how many people are experiencing much worse hardships than I am.  Then I remember the words of Scripture, "To the poor, O Lord, You are a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat" (Isaiah 25:4), and I am greatly comforted. 
 
Our Father is the One who according to the Scriptures does not break the bruised reed nor put out the flickering lamp.  He is the One who looks after the orphan and the widow.  He is the One who brings blessings and peace to numberless people.
 
I do not know what words to use in order to describe the love that the Lord has shown our family.  I only can bow the knee and my heart and offer to the Lord words of deepest thanks and praise.  Although we have lost our house and possessions, we have not lost the Lord, and He is enough.  With the Lord I have everything.  The only thing I would fear losing is His blessing!
 
Could I ask you and our friends in the church to continue to pray for me that I will faithfully follow the Lord and serve Him regardless of what the circumstances may be?
 
As far as my husband is concerned, I wass able to visit hiim this past summer.  We had a 20-minute conversation that brought us great joy...
 
I greet you with my love.
Mrs. Nguyen Thi An (Letter found in "Margin," by Richard A. Swenson)
 
(Note: Mrs. An's husband was a preacher in Vietnam.  Their church was closed by police, he was thrown in prison.  Without official papers, she and her children were forced to live on a balcony outside an apartment.)  THOUGHT: Could you pray Mrs. An's prayer?  Do you have her faith?  Could you be content in her circumstances?
 
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."  Philippians 4:11
 
--Mike Benson

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