Pastor - Vietnam
Chi is the pastor of a church in Hoc Mon District, Vietnam. He was converted through the witness of his mother who had become a Christian while Chi was in prison. He spent five years as an assistant pastor before he became pastor of his church in 2011.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in a family put our faith in Buddhism and ancestors worship. When Saigon, the capital city of South Vietnam, fell to the North Vietnamese forces on April 30, 1975, I left school to earn money to support my family. I worked as a deputy chairman in a People’s Committees in district 8. I used to combine forces to arrest religious organizations many times. In 1998, because of a property dispute, my mother had to sell her house. In 1990, I was found guilty on charges of irresponsibility, causing serious consequence while I was department manager of work. I was imprisoned for two years.
After that, I was moved to Chi Hoa Prison and Ham Tan Prison in Thuan Hai Province. When I was in jail, my family came to know Christ. Two years later, I was permitted to meet my family during my jail time. One day my mother slipped a paper, which is written Psalm 121 into my hand. She told me to learn it by heart and pray to God. Although I did not know who Christ was, I started to pray. I said in my heart, “Please forgive my sin because I ravaged Your Church. Please let me know who You are and deliver me from trouble. Lord Jesus, can You give my family a better place to live?” At that time, I was bitter toward those who harmed me. I thirsted for living to seek revenge.
At the end of the year 1992, I was sent to Chi Hoa Jail, and three days later, I was in Ham Tan jail. It was easier there for me to meet my family so I could read the Bible whenever my mother came. I saw my mom and my brothers had an incredible peace. Sometimes they were optimistic. My mother told me to pray for my enemies, stop cursing them but bless them and pray for those who abused me. Although I had not known about much about God, I lived by faith. He delivered me from evil devices of jailers and cruel prisoners. Their thoughts were against me for evil, and they had waited to take my life every day. I realized He is my stronghold in the time of trouble.
Thank God I was released about three months ahead of my deadline at the end of 1993. I recalled my past every day and came to realize with deep regret about my sinful life. It was a pity that I spent lots of time injuring others. I recognized that everything was vanity and my feeble efforts were nothing. Instead of living in bitterness, I asked God to break the vow of vengeance against my enemies.
At the beginning of the year 1994, I confessed of faith, learned the God’s Word, and went to the church faithfully. I also spent time writing letters of proclaiming my faith in Christ and my forgiveness for my enemies. By His grace, I got married in 1994. From the bottom of my heart, I promised to devote my life for Him.
Call to Ministry
At the beginning of 1994, I accepted the Christian statement of faith, learned the Bible, and went to a Church faithfully. In 1995, I came back to work as a human resources officer in a drug rehabilitation center. I found a way to preach about Jesus for detainee’s every day, but others always hampered it. The desire for preaching the Gospel was burdensome, and I was discouraged until the end of the year 2008; I heard about the Gospel, and a Pastor called my name to serve the Lord when I was in a church. I thought carefully, prayed, and I decided to leave my work in 2006. I became a member to support the senior pastor of Nhi Xuan Church. I began to join in theological classes. In March of the year 2011, the senior pastor laid his hand on me and prayed for me, and now I serve in that role in the church.
I developed a passion for reading the Bible and began to give my whole mind to study the Bible. How great is my Lord! He always make a way where there seems to be no way. I attempt to obey the Word of God; although I have been paying the price for that, I believe in that I am right because I trust in the Bible and it is the only way to be led in His truth. I ask God for His strength, faith, and the understanding about Him to guide His flock, which He gives to me.
Spouse's (Chau) Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in a multi-religious family. My father runs from Christian to Caodaism, my mother is Buddhism, and some of my nieces are Catholic. I had no constant faith in any religion. I believed whatever my parents told me about their God.
I got married to my husband in 1994. His family was Christian, and I accepted Christ as my Savior, learned the basic tenets of the Christian faith, and was baptized—sadly as a mere formality. For me, saving faith was merely acknowledging certain facts about Christ. As a teacher, my daily routines were teaching and taking care of my children. I went to church with my husband and my children every Sunday. I sang the anthem, replied the Bible, and listened to God’s Word for many years, but I had no experience in His presence personally.
At the beginning of 1998, I was ill. The doctor told me that I had to have an emergency operation or I would be in danger. Because of a lack of money, I tried to stand the stomachache attack. On Saturday evening of the April in 1998, I was in a recurring illness, and I said to my husband, “You will take children to worship on tomorrow morning, I can't.” After we had dinner, my husband said, “You should go to the church tomorrow, lie down in front of the church instead of sitting and you will be prayed at the end of the worship by the pastors. I believe that the Lord will heal you.” It was too painful for me to sleep and at midnight. It was the first time I prayed to God honestly. “Lord, have mercy on me! May You heal me so that I am well to worship on tomorrow.''
At 1 AM, after an unbearable pain, blood was bleeding profusely from many parts of my body until at 3 AM the attack disappeared. I took a shower and looked forward to the worship the next morning. That was the first time I urged my husband and my children to go to church. That was the first time I gave testimony and cried in Binh Hung Church. That was the first time I knew that He was real and He loved me so much. Since that day, I read the Bible very hard, learn the Word of God, and listened to the gospel carefully.
There are many more miracles God has done in my life. The biggest miracle is God has changed my husband from an impatient man, heavy smoker, and intoxicated one to non-addicted to everything. He has given up wine, alcohol, and cigarettes.
Now I am just at home to do the housework, take care for my children; help my husband on God’s work. I have a sense of being a wife of God's servant that I have to change my life to glorify Him and to help my husband's ministry, set an example for my children and my family, and an excellent example to the church. My father passed away in late 2015. Thank God my father had trusted in the Christian statement of faith and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. “Lord, may You give me more strength, more knowledge for me to serve You, more ability for me to help my husband's ministry, and participate in building the local church.”
Note: For security reasons, a pen name is used for this missionary.