MY HANOI HOSTS
Originally posted at: http://samsusa.org/2018/10/16/my-hanoi-hosts/
My hosts in Vietnam were the Reverend Jacob Vu aka Pastor Thai and his wife, Rebecca Pham, principal of the ABBA English Centre school, rcently known as the Abba International Academy. After the end of the Vietnam War, at Rebcca’s insistence the family, including sons Sam and Joshua, and dauvhter Sarah, became “boat people” and went to Hong Kong. They kived there in a refugee camp for some years, where the family were convertd to Christianity by missionaries who visited the camp.
Jacob was trained and worked as an engineer and Rebecca, at age 27, had been the orincipal of a large school. When they returned to Hanoi in the mid-1990s they resumed these professions. They began attending an evangelical church, where particularly Jacob became active in local mission work. To my question of how he heard a call to ministry, he said he hadn’t. But because of his involvement in local church work, over the course of years he was often asked whether he had ever considered ordained ministry, which he had not. Then he did begin to feel a calling and went to Singapore where he attended an Anglican seminary for three years. (The diocese of Singapore oversees Anglican entities in Vietnam, among other Asian countries.). Upon return to Hanoi he founded a small charismatic church, and then ten years ago started The Church of the True Light with seven members. The congregation now numbers over fifty, many of whom are parents of AIA students, since the school comes under ghe auspices of this church.
Jacob’s usually hour-long sermons are delivered in Vietnamese, for the benefit of his non-English speaking parishioners, but every Sunday he provided me with either an electronic device whereby I could hear a simultaneous translation in English or, three times, an English soeaker who sat beside me and translated. It was not very hard to follow his gist once I knew the Bible references upon which he based his sermons.
This coiple was generous to me both in providing transportation, meals and encouragement during my two-month sojourn in Hanoi. Both sons have been or are about to be students at American law schools and daughter Sarah is currently attending college near St. Louis. I have invited her to stay with me over the Christmas holidays, at the same time as her brother Joshua will be living in Falls Church sith Christine Jines and her family while attending law school. If they accept it will be small payback for the generosity shown me by their parents.