A Vietnamese mother rebuilds her life again after being banished from her village

Published 21 August 2020  |  
(Photo: Open Doors UK)
Despite everything Y Bi has suffered, she still praises God.

Each day this week Christian Today is sharing stories of persecuted Christian women who have leant on Christ and been strengthened in order to pull through the incredible hardships they have faced. Today we tell the story of Y Bi, a Vietnamese woman who was rejected when she needed her family and community the most:

When Y Bi's* young son died her life in a remote Vietnamese village fell apart.

But it was not only her anguish which she had to contend with - Y Bi's grief exposed her as a Christian, which her community took as a direct betrayal of them.

It saw her ultimately banished from the people she called most dear - her family and community.

Y Bi is one of the women which anti-persecution charity Open Doors UK & Ireland is honouring by celebrating the way they have faced persecution with courage.

Like most of her Sedang tribe in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Y Bi grew up practicing ancestor worship but several years ago, she decided to put her trust in Jesus Christ.

"My husband's brother is a Christian, so he first shared the gospel with me," said Y Bi. "At first, I didn't believe but when I saw the life of Christians is very different from other people, I decided to follow Christ."

But when her son tragically died Y Bi's secret faith was brought to light.

"By the time I buried my son, I already believed in Christ deeply and secretly in my heart," she said. "The villagers and my husband realised that I was following Christ.

"So the people from the village came into our house and took the furniture out so they could demolish it.

"They said they did it because I followed Christ and because when I followed Christ, I was different than the other people, so they cast me out.

"The village gave me money to move but I refused so they pulled my hair and they dragged me out of the village. My daughter was crying - they took her so she could not see me.

"I told police my husband and child were in the village and I didn't want to leave. But because I refused to leave the police tied my legs up and put me on the back of a motorbike and drove me out of the village. I jumped off the bike.

"The police told me I would be killed and should wait for them to solve the problem, but they've not done anything."

But about a year later and just before the Coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown, Y Bi was able to get her daughter back.

She had mustered up the courage to go back to her old village and ask her community if she could return.

"I went back to my old village and asked the village's permission for me to live there again but still continue with my newfound faith," said Y Bi. "If they had said yes, I would also share the gospel with them and invite them to become Christians.

"But they said no. I said: 'Then let my daughter come and stay with me. If not, I will stay here even if you are going to beat me, even if you are going to do something against me.'"

Y Bi was unrelenting with the options she gave her husband and the villagers. Either they accept her back in the village or she would leave together with her child.

"Finally, my husband told me to talk to our daughter and she now stays with me," said Y Bi. "It's hard to say how I feel but it feels wonderful, and I praise God for it.

"When I moved to this new place, life was hard but, in a way, it was better than my old village.

"It's especially much better now because my daughter and mother live with me. And I am surrounded by other Christians.

"I am so grateful because in this new place, the people around me, my brothers and sisters in Christ pray, encourage and help me follow Jesus."

*Name changed for security reasons

As part of Open Doors' Rise with Courage week, celebrating Christian women who have courageously faced persecution, the charity is hosting author, speaker and president of the Girl's Brigade, Rachel Gardner in an Instagram Live event on Wednesday, August 19 at 1pm. Follow @opendoorsuk

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