The Vietnamese People
The Vietnamese people (also known as the Viet Kinh) remain one of the most unreached people groups of East Asia. Numbering almost 75 million (85% of the population) in Vietnam, very few have a relationship with the living God. In fact the majority of evangelical believers in the country are from minority people groups living in rural areas.
But the evangelical church is maturing and growing in numbers, and in 2011 celebrated its 100th anniversary. And yet, even in the more open south, evangelical Christians still represent only 0.6% of the Vietnamese population, and a mere 0.05 % in the north. There are particularly few believers amongst the educated and young professionals. The Vietnamese mainly live in urban concentrations or in coastal or lowland/delta areas throughout Vietnam. In the southern areas the highest population density is in Ho Chi Minh City and in the north of the country in the capital, Hanoi.
They are family and community orientated, friendly, accepting of strangers, prone to fear and superstition. Confucian influences mean that there is a male led traditional hierarchical family life, though in reality women are the quiet matriarchs. But the very young population (the majority are under 30) is influenced by Marxist teaching; most would say they believe there is no God, and they have generally lost interest in Buddhism or, in fact, the folk Buddhism practiced by older generations. Paradoxically most do participate in ancestor worship ritual out of family commitment rather than actual belief in its powerful spiritual influence, however superstition and belief in ghosts is widespread. As a result there is usually a gulf between feeling a need for a spiritual side to life but having no developed belief system to explain this, as a result there is a desire for truth and a way to fit these disconnected pieces together.
Since the early 90s there has been huge economic development, re-engagement with the West and the effects of globalization. Education is seen as a priority and there is great interest and desire to go overseas, often with plan to return as greater opportunities exist for those with overseas education and ability to speak English. There is a common desire to improve materially, usually to the benefit of extended family rather than the individual, but the increasing influence of postmodernism on those under 30 is shown in individualism and a move away from traditional family values and responsibilities- materialism is rapidly becoming the new god.
- The Viet Kinh are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world, pray that they would become a people known as followers of Jesus.
- The false gods of materialism and individualism are rapidly taking over Vietnamese society, pray that the true Living God would reign.