Introduction / History The Vietnamese are an ethnic group that originated in Northern Vietnam and Southern China. It is said that the earliest peoples migrated from Indonesia. The Vietnamese are among the first to practice agriculture. They lived as family groups in small areas.
In 1887 Vietnam became part of French Indochina. After WWII the Vietnamese declared freedom from France but France rule continued until Communist Ho Chi Min overthrew them in 1954. The Geneva Accord of 1954 split the country into North and South Vietnam. The US gave aid to South Vietnam but withdrew from the country in 1973. Two years later the Communist North overtook the South and "re-united" the country. Today the government controls the country with small minority groups sometimes leading in protests.
Where are they located? Vietnam is located on the eastern Indochina Peninsula. It covers a total area of approximately 331,210 km, making it almost the size of Germany. Vietnam's land is mostly hilly and densely forested, with level land covering no more than 20%. Mountains account for 40% of the country's land area, and tropical forests cover around 42%.
What are their lives like? Traditionally, Vietnamese life has revolved around family, fields and faith, the rhythm of rural existence continuing for centuries at the same pace. For the majority of the population still living in the countryside, these constants have remained unchanged, with several generations sharing the same roof, the same rice and the same religion. Extended family is important to the Vietnamese and that includes second or third cousins. Vietnamese women work alongside men in many jobs and play a major role in raising children and managing family finances. When possible, the Vietnamese prefer to work from early morning until early evening, with an extended rest period in the heat of midday.
What are their beliefs? The earliest form of Vietnamese worship was animism and a form of ancestor cult. The Vietnamese worshiped the sun, soil, and water. The Vietnamese believed that Spirits dwelt in the mountains, rivers, rocks, and other forms of nature. These spirits were the departed spirits of the deceased and were the channel through which the Vietnamese communicated with the higher forms of nature. Later Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianism thought made their way to Vietnam. These beliefs were incorporated into the Vietnamese form of animism and ancestor cult. Today Vietnam is a communist state, but many people still practice the old forms of worship.
What are their needs? * Unity and reconciliation. The bitter divisions of the war years still linger in many hearts of Vietnamese people.
* Vietnam is a third world country that struggles with sufficient food, clean water, sanitation to prevent disease, decent shelter, enough fuel and minimal health care.
Prayer Points * Vietnam has increased repression of indigenous minority Christians in the country's Central Highlands, closing small informal churches, compelling public renunciations of faith and arresting worshipers. Pray for these believers to remain strong in their faith. Pray for the persecutors to know Christ.
* Vietnam's economy has been growing but with this expansion, there is a greater division between the Vietnam natives and foreign investors/tourist. Pray for unity in general.