Secret Bible School Trains Thousands in Vietnam

Secret Bible School Trains Thousands in Vietnam

Thirty years ago, Pastor Barnabas* set up a secret Bible school in Vietnam with the help of Open Doors partners. Since then, he’s helped to train thousands of Christians in Vietnam who have gone on to share the gospel in their communities!

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Pastor Barnabas* – name changed for security reasons

I don’t have any idea that I will become a pastor. You know, because I love God. I went to share the love of God to another. And slowly the church grew, you know, everywhere. And I have to take care of them, you know? And I can say that, you know, accidently I become a pastor when many people accepted Jesus under my care I became a pastor.

Narration: By 1988. Pastor Barnabas had been serving the church for many years in communist run Vietnam when revival came. Many were turning to Christ. But converts were becoming small group leaders without the biblical training they needed.

Pastor Barnabas

So I decided to gather them, you know, four days a month, give them the books to study. And when they go back, continue to study teach one another. There were 16 students. We conducted it in a secret room in my parents’ house

Narration: But Barnabas lacked resources and prayed for a way to continue his training ministry.

Pastor Barnabas:

I never forget November 4th of 1994. I met one person from Open Doors and he asked me about my burdeon and my vision, and I said to him everything. And I told him that I follow God to train more people. After he hear that, he said, I pray and I will support you 100%.


That was the beginning of a secret Bible school, which accepted 113 students in its first year and kept growing despite the dangers.

Pastor Barnabas

The Communists do not allow us to share the gospel to any people. So that is why we train the people in the word of God that is also illegal. So they can arrest us any time if they find we are teaching the Bible to another.


As the program grew, Barnabas would travel to conduct training closer to where the students lived. But villages in communist Vietnam would not always permit strangers to enter. So he tried going undercover.

Pastor Barnabas:

So one day I decided to find a police uniform in the market. You know, in the black market. So I bought one and they wore this and I ride a bicycle into the village. And we already had an appointment with the students in the house. But you know when I arrive there the house was  empty. There was no one there.

So I think maybe something is wrong, you know. Or they forget or I was wrong. You know I had forgotten exactly the day. So when I am about to leave, suddenly all of them appear. And they laughed and laughed. They thought police had come. So they had run away.

Narration: Another time, Barnabas had to rush to transport 300 Bibles on his motorbike before their hiding place was discovered.

Pastor Barnabas:

The Bible was very thick like that one one copy was 1kg  and 300 copies that means around 300 kg on the motorbike.

And suddenly, you know, the traffic police stopped me on the way. When I stopped I said: ‘Oh God help me.’

The police come and they checked there: ‘Why you carrying very heavy things?’.

I said, ‘Yeah, because, you know, I have to buy the book for my students and I am a teacher.’

‘And why did you not tie it carefully? Do you have any tie to tie it?

I said yes. And he took it he helped me two times.

And he said, ‘Drive carefully, don’t get in an accident.’

You know, at that time, my heart almost zoomed out. But thanks, God, you know, God still protected me in that case. If not, you know, if they found the Bible. That’s the Bible, inside. And illegal printing it would have been three years in the jail.

Narration: Thousands of students across Vietnam have been trained at the Secret Bible School. But for Barnabas, the work is not yet over.

Pastor Barnabas: The church will continue to grow and persecution will not stop. That is why we need to train more leaders for the church in the future. God called me to serve Him. If God still me keeps me alive. I will continue with my training.

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