My name is Chinh. I was born into a
Buddhist family in Vietnam. My parents had to struggle to make a
living. We were poor. We shared the poverty of a nation deeply
involved in lengthy wars. My parents wanted to make sure that all of
their children would get good education despite of all kinds of
difficulties. They did not have many physical gifts to give us.
However, they gave us a rich spiritual background. Each one of us
was taught to live a good life at home, in school, and in the
society. We loved and obeyed our parents and teachers. We respected
and appreciated our relatives and friends.
Like my brothers and sisters, I
tried hard. However, the more I tried the more I recognized that I
was far from being perfect. I failed in many ways. I made highest
grades in my high school years in almost every subject except in
physical education. The frivolous success in learning was harmful
for me. On the outside I appeared to be humble. But deep inside I
knew I was a proud person. I examined my life regularly and I
thought I was living the way a good person should live.
Being a young achiever, I did not
feel the need to correct myself. I believed that I could change my
destiny by way of righteous living. So, often I thought I could
depend on myself to earn my own salvation, but I was wrong. I knew I
needed God so I began to ask the missionaries to tell me about God.
They taught me about Jesus and encouraged me to study the Bible.
I kept refusing Jesus Christ. I had
no peace, no joy, no hope. I felt empty. I began to know about Jesus
at age 15, in 1965. It took almost 5 years before I really knew the
meaning of Jesus' life and teachings. On a beautiful Spring day in
1969 Jesus spoke to my heart as I was reading my Bible in John 14:6
"Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one can
come unto the Father but by Me." The Holy Spirit convicted me
of my sins. Then He taught me the way of salvation by accepting the
redemptive work of Jesus.
What joy I had afterwards! God has
never failed me since I had faith in Him as the Savior and Lord of
my life. Since the time I gave my life to Him, He continues to bless
me in a way you can't imagine. I am unworthy of his forgiveness and
his love. But He has determined to forgive and to love me anyway
even before I came to know him personally. In 1970, when I was 20, I
dedicated my life to become God's servant. I felt satisfied when I
taught about Jesus. I decided I wanted to help people know Jesus. My
people have many problems that Jesus can help. So I became a
minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I studied at the Vietnam
Baptist Theological Seminary for four years. Right after graduation
I was allowed to teach at the same seminary.
When the Communists took over South
Vietnam in 1975, all formal religious teaching and training were not
allowed. I had to leave the seminary in the central city. And not
too long after that I also had to leave the nearby local church.
Going back to my home town I tried to gather the flock to worship
and to study the Scripture together. However, we could only meet for
a short time with temporary monthly permits. We had to leave for two
reasons: (1) the local police wanted to shut down all Baptist
activities, and (2) they wanted to confiscate the facility.
After three and one half years
living under the Communist regime, we left Vietnam in a boat. We
traveled across the ocean in a 4 by 5 by 20 foot river boat). The
Lord was with us every moment of the trip. He watched over us. He
provided for us. He protected us. And He brought us to safe haven.
We landed in Songkhla, in Southern Thailand.
About the second week we were there
we started a Bible class in Vietnamese with a handful of Christians.
In a month, we began to worship in our own language too. In two
months our group became a church. We studied the Bible and we
proclaimed the Good News daily. God added more and more to his
church. Within six months, there were 12 Sunday School classes and
church membership of more than 120 with 100 percent attendance most
of the time.
My wife and I, and our
five-year-old daughter, came to the States in 1978. In September
1978 we joined a Baptist Church and formed a Vietnamese Sunday
School class with two other families. In 1980 I began to serve as
associate pastor of that church and as pastor of Vietnamese Baptist
Church in Atlanta. From 1990 to 1992, I served as Secretary of the
National Fellowship of Vietnamese Baptist Ministers in America. And
from 1992 to 1994, I served as President of that Fellowship. During
this time, it became the National Fellowship of Vietnamese Baptist
Churches in America.
In 1995, I decided to go back to
the seminary to be better equipped for the ministries in the future.
I would like to become a more effective communicator of God's Word
for my people who desperately need the Gospel. With your prayers, I
know that God will give me the clear understanding of His Word, the
strong desire to share it, and the great joy in serving God and each
individual whom He loves so dearly and puts in my path.
If you have never accepted Jesus I
urge you to do so.