The mood in the vehicle is one of mixed emotions as we sit quietly, waiting for the lights to change so we can begin our journey. I can feel the tension and the anxiety of the driver and his partner.
It is over 15 years since I have been involved in a trip like this because of the great risks. Tonight, I want to remember the experiences I had when I was younger and part of this ministry of Bible distribution in Vietnam. I know these men have done this hundreds of times before, carrying thousands of Bibles over the years; but for every trip they always face a new challenge. For them, it is a work of faith; to not fear but be totally reliant upon God.
During the day the traffic is extremely busy with motorcycles and vehicles rushing everywhere. But now, in the early hours of the morning, the only traffic we encounter is heavy trucks heading into the mountains near the China border. Fortunately, the daytime checkpoints are closed, but there is still a mobile operation in place. At any time we could be stopped and our load checked.
Each time I see the shadow of a police car my heart races a little faster. I know if they stop us the consequences could be terrible. We carry items that are under a national ban. If we are discovered, we could all be sent to jail, I don’t know for how many years.
A dangerous priority
Why do these men do such a dangerous job? They are willing to sacrifice a lot if they are caught. They may go to prison; they may be tortured; they may lose all their freedom. Yet, because of the great love they have in their hearts for the Gospel, they willingly take these risks to bring God’s Word to the people of Vietnam.
They are not strangers to the testimonies of others who have been caught. Our newsletters have reported times when pastors have been arrested for having only 10 Bibles and a few hymn books with them. They have been beaten and imprisoned, some for over two years. Their sentence depends on the evil whim of local authorities.
The cost can be great but they faithfully continue this important work to bring God’s Word to the nation.
As we climb higher up the mountains, the deserted road is extremely dark. We have travelled over 200km. The road zigzags sharply and makes me dizzy but the driver has driven this road many times. We continue to encourage each other in the Lord.
At times we are crawling at 5km per hour. We cross several small streams where our wheels are half deep in water, but the driver safely navigates this dangerous road until he sees house lights of a village in the distance. I pray to the Lord in my heart, “Lord, help us bring these Bibles safely to the believers waiting for us.”
It happens so fast
At 1:09am the driver pulls to the side of the road and turns his engine off. Instantly, I can count 20 motorcycles rushing forward from hiding places. Within 10 minutes the 1000 Bibles we carried are loaded onto the motorcycles’ back seats and are gone. It all happens so fast but I remember that these men are well experienced. I am privileged to witness their courage in doing this distribution. The danger is not over yet as we are still high in the mountains, over 50km from the main highway, and we still have to drive back home.
If one motorcycle is caught carrying these Bibles, the police could call all the local police stations to set up roadblocks and be on the lookout for others. We could experience even more trouble than we bargained for. I keep looking at my watch as we slowly weave our way down the mountain. My hands are still sweating from the tension but the driver and his companion remain vigilant and at peace.
I am reminded of Joshua 1:9, which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” I believe the Lord watched every step of our journey. He knows our innermost worries but reassures us with His promise: “I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” Isaiah 46:4.
It is a night I’ll never forget. It’s now 3am; we have finally reached the highway and feel safe once again. We pull onto the roadside and bow our heads in thanks to God for another safe delivery of His Word.
Editor’s note: We hope this story has helped you share in the courier’s experience, bringing the Word of God to God’s people. Our field workers take great risks for the sake of the Gospel, often on a weekly basis. They truly are courageous and we respect their faith in action. Please pray for these believers who are committed to distributing God’s Word in Vietnam today.