January 13, 2017

Former missionary writes book about Vietnam Mennonite Church in wartime

Written by  Emily Jones
“A Vietnam Presence: Mennonites in Vietnam During the American War” by Luke S. Martin. “A Vietnam Presence: Mennonites in Vietnam During the American War” by Luke S. Martin. Photo provided by Luke Martin.

LITITZ, Pa. — Luke S. Martin, a former missionary to Vietnam, is releasing his new book “A Vietnam Presence: Mennonites in Vietnam During the American War.”

The 600-page book, which includes nearly 200 pictures, chronicles the development of the Vietnam Mennonite Church from the 1950s through the end of the Vietnam War and the involvement of Mennonite Central Committee and Eastern Mennonite Missions in Vietnam.

The book focuses on American relief workers and missionaries, like Martin himself, who served as pacifist carriers of the gospel even as their fellow countrymen waged war in Vietnam.

“The heart of the story is the challenge that North American Mennonites faced in proclaiming Jesus Christ’s gospel of peace in Vietnam during the era the United States of America engaged in a military conflict killing three million Vietnamese,” Martin writes.

Martin served in Vietnam with Eastern Mennonite Missions from 1962–1975. His personal collection of letters, pictures, and memories breathe life into his thoroughly researched account.

Martin has continued to serve Vietnamese people for most of his life, currently acting as a non-resident missionary to Vietnam with Eastern Mennonite Missions.

John A. Lapp writes in the foreword: “Readers will be inspired by this contemporary mission story. They will discover the profound commitments of missionaries, how they engaged Vietnamese people, and communicated the realities of living in a war zone to their North American friends and sponsors.” 

“A Vietnam Presence” is published by Masthof Press. It is available for purchase online at masthof.com.

The public is invited to a book release party celebrating the launch of “A Vietnam Presence.” The party will include remarks from the author and associated people, a book signing, the opportunity to ask questions, and light Vietnamese refreshments. Learn more about the book release.