November 27, 2003 (Missions Insider) -- Ma Van Bay, a missionary to the Hmong tribe, was arrested recently and is being held in a jail in southern Vietnam, according to a report received by Christian Aid.
Bay is originally from Ha Giang Province next to the China border. The police there searched his house and found money from the offering of the church that meets in his house. They then accused him of using religion to take money from the people and said he was abusing religious freedom. They gave him a three to 12-year prison term. The exact date of his arrest was not specified.
However, someone helped him escape and he fled to Binh Phuoc Province in southern Vietnam. There he was again caught and imprisoned.
A contact for the Vietnamese churches said if he is returned to the police in the North, he will be severely beaten; if he remains in the South, he will simply be imprisoned. In either case, believers around the world are asked to pray that he regain his freedom. The Vietnam constitution stipulates freedom of religion.
Ma Van Bay came to the Lord in 1990 by listening to FEBC radio. He took gospel training in Hanoi and returned to his community, where his ministry spurred the growth of the local church. This caught the attention of local authorities, who began to persecute Bay and the other believers. Bay was persecuted several times and once given a 3 to 12-year prison sentence.
In 1997, out of fear of torture or arrest, he left his family and fled to the South. Later he was reunited with his family and was instrumental in translating Biblical materials from Vietnamese into the Hmong language. Those materials have been greatly appreciated by Hmong believers.
Vietnamese Christian workers are continually badgered to compromise their faith by godless Communist community leaders. Pray for Bay and all Christian workers in Vietnam. There are now approximately 400 pastors imprisoned for their faith in Vietnam.