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Vietnam Rebels-Laos and Rosemary Watson

June 19, 2009

The following story happened a couple weeks before the Vietnam rebels took over the area where I lived in Laos.  It amazes me what I did back in April 1961.  It was only by God’s mercy and grace.

What is real courage?  Being willing to obey God in a difficult situation.  The first step of courage is to believe what God has said in His Word and to live by it.  Although the world may ridicule us and will never understand, God will give us the courage to stand for Him.  This will be needed more and more in this generation as society turns against God’s revelation.

God gave me the courage to believe Him when He called me to overseas service.  It didn’t look like I had the health and stamina for this, but I was convinced God would enable me to obey Him.  It was a joy to realize that He could use my life for an eternal purpose.

When I arrived in Laos, I needed courage to persevere in learning the Laotian language. This tonal language was not easy for me, as I had a slight hearing problem I had struggled with since childhood. In January 1959 I was assigned to an outpost near the Vietnam border with Ursula, an experienced worker from England.  The day we set out on a trek to a remote area was a great fulfillment for me of God’s promises.

I was able to hike all day on a steep mountain path, carrying a backpack most of the time.  Although I had had back trouble and leg aches in my youth, here I was striding up the mountain, feeling great.  By the end of the day, 25 miles later, my legs felt like numb stumps attached to my hips, but I was thrilled to be where God wanted me.  It didn’t feel like courage; it felt like victory over physical limitations.  God had enabled me to triumph over the doubts and fears that Satan wanted to put in my life. I remember thinking, “This is what God gave me my body for — to use it for Him.”

Several years later I lived in Feen, a different village on a hot, flat plain where there were few hills around.  One day in April 1961 I felt strongly led to visit some villages to the east even though they were near the area held by rebel troops. Some people had come to our house to hear the story of Jesus, and I wanted to share the Gospel with their whole village. I knew our time was limited to stay in that eastern part of Laos. My young partner Rienie didn’t want to go that far, but I got permission to go from the commandant of the local army post across the road.  According to my diary, the next morning I set off at 5:45 on my bike.  Taking time to eat some cold rice along the way, I arrived at Hia Sa Ngom village by 7 a.m.

Then I played the Gospel records at La Tup village.  They sent a guide with me and it was a hot two-hour walk to Keng La Teng.  Both villages showed good interest.  At the last village I saw men in black clothing sitting in the background as I chatted in the headman’s house.  They were probably rebels looking me over.  I felt a chill of anxiety but pushed it away by faith that God had led me there.

One man in black asked what I thought about the war.  I told him honestly that I was not on either side because my main responsibility was to teach people about Jesus.  I ate the rice they served me and didn’t stay long.  I had traveled 46 kilometers that day, walking 20 after the bike ride.

I was very tired on the last stretch.  My stomach was a bit upset with diarrhea and nausea when I got home, so I ate only a light supper and went to bed  immediately.  I noted in my diary that I felt my chest cold returning, but I had a satisfied feeling from being  in God’s will.

The next day our house helper, Somjit, received Jesus into his heart, praying in Laotian very sincerely.  He was our first tribal convert in that area!  I shouted Hallelujah in my heart.  That day several people came to see me from the two villages I had visited the day before.  It seemed that God was working in their lives, but I never knew if any began following the Lord.  I don’t remember their names and no one has been able to visit that area since the communists took over at the end of April 1961.

Many years later I heard that believers from the Bru tribe in Vietnam had crossed over the mountains into Laos in the 80s to avoid persecution in their homeland.  They had the N.T. in their language and were vibrant witnesses for Jesus.  Churches were established in the Feen area, also in Nong and Sepon where I had previously worked.  I had sowed the seed, but God had brought in the harvest.

It is never wasted effort when we do something God tells us to do.

Rosemary Watson

2 Comments leave one →
  1. eastwoodtulsa permalink*
    June 19, 2009 1:17 pm


  2. Julia permalink
    June 22, 2009 12:54 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is simply amazing. Praise God!

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