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Vietnam Mission Initiative

Vietnam is a socialist republic that has experienced more than its fair share of conflict. Colonized by France in the mid-19th century, it was occupied by Japan during World War II. After that war, a protracted war of liberation expelled the French. The country was divided into North and South, which engaged in protracted warfare involving other countries, including the United States on the side of the South, until 1975. Long isolated from the rest of the world, the united Vietnam became a part of the world economic system in the late 1980s, and the World Trade Organization in 2007.

United Methodist mission work in Vietnam began in 2002 with the placement of a missionary couple, who had left as refugees years earlier. Since then, the growth of our mission work in Vietnam has been phenomenal, with the main focus on the Mekong Delta region south of Ho Chi Minh City. The mission also extends into the central and northern regions.

Growth is attributable in part to a shift in the government’s attitude toward religion beginning in 2007. As it joined the World Trade Organization, the country became more open to religion, especially Protestant churches, in order to show the world that it respects human rights. A further development was the purchase of a building in 2010 to serve as a national office and training center.

Challenges: Church registration as a denomination in Vietnam continues to be a major challenge. The Vietnam United Methodist Church is an unrecognized church entity, and therefore it is not easy for foreign Christians to interact with local United Methodist churches and leaders in Vietnam.

In 2008, Global Ministries submitted an application for church registration to the Vietnamese government.

Assets: There is strong local leadership including the ordination of the first 12 Local Elders in Mission in January 2013. Many local pastors are highly educated; most have completed a college education before they became pastors. This high level of education along with the commitment to serve Christ’s church make them very effective in developing and expanding the mission work.
Along with congregational development, training programs for pastoral and lay leaders continues to be the strength. Each of the current nine districts has well-established training programs, with many locally led.

Goals: In 2013, the Vietnam Mission launched Vision 2020 with the aim of 800 new churches, 100 each year by 2020. Other future priorities include: expanded ministries with Agent Orange victims, training for lay evangelists, ministries with orphans, and registration of the church and of UMCOR.

There are currently 256 churches, 80 additional faith communities, and 248 pastors.

In Mission Together Coordinator:
Patrick Friday (Interim)

Regional Executive:
Rev. Myungim Kim

Assigned Bishop:
Bishop Bruce R. Ough

Learn More

Learn more about Mission Initiatives and how local churches in the US are partnering with these congregations through the In Mission Together program.

Related News

The Minnesota Annual Conference embarks on an IMT 50/50 covenant with Vietnam.
What We Came Here For!
The Minnesota Annual Conference embarks on an In Mission Together 50/50 Partnership Covenant with Vietnam.
Exploring the possibility of registering the UMC in Vietnam for future humanitarian and development activities.
Vietnam Delegation Meets with Mission Agency Officials
Exploring the possibility of registering the UMC in Vietnam for future humanitarian and development activities.
Two pastors are ordained as elders for service in Vietnam.
Local Elders in Mission Ordained for Service in Vietnam
Two pastors are ordained as elders for service in Vietnam.
A 2013 commencement ceremony of Bachelor of Arts graduates at Wesley Theological College in Vietnam.
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Twelve Local Leaders Ordained Local Elders in Mission in Vietnam
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Missionaries in Vietnam

Camarce, Helen de Leon
#13953Z - Helen de Leon Camarce is currently serving as treasurer of the agency's Cambodia and Southeast Asia Missions. The latter covers Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Nguyen, Quynh-Hoa
Quynh-Hoa Nguyen is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as director of leadership development of the United Methodist Mission in Vietnam.
To, Ut
#14175Z - The Rev. Ut To is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned to Vietnam as country director and mission superintendent.
Vo-To, Karen
#14174Z - The Rev. Karen Vo-To is serving in Vietnam as coordinator for the women's ministry.
                   Vietnam Mission Initiative, pdf 

Projects in Vietnam

Bibles for Vietnam
#3021647 - Raising funds for printing and distributing Bibles
Victims of Agent Orange
#3020525 - Helping Vietnam war victims of chemical warfare with housing, medicine and training
Vietnam Mission Initiative
#14932A - Supporting congregational development, pastors' salaries, orphanage ministry and building projects