Long Chung: My Story of Faith in America is an Example of Why We Must Welcome the Stranger

Long Chung and his family at the graduation of his son from the University of California, Berkley, 2018. | Long Chung

My story is one that begins and ends in faith. I was born in Vietnam in the 1950s to a family of believers. My father was a missionary to the Kho, an ethnic minority group in Vietnam. He worked alongside American missionaries to spread the Gospel.

When the war began to escalate, three of my brothers joined the Vietnamese army and trained in America. Because of our connections to America and our faith, we were discriminated against in almost every aspect of our lives.

During the war, my sister was working at a Christian radio station in the Philippines, broadcasting the Gospel over the radio into Vietnam. After the collapse of Saigon, she and one of my brothers escaped to the U.S. The Communists noticed this and put the members of my family who remained in Vietnam on their blacklist.

The first time the rest of us tried to escape was in 1980. We were caught and thrown in prison for nine months. I attempted to escape again in 1982 and was again unsuccessful. After that, I didn’t think of trying to escape again for another six years.

I’ll never forget my time in the Communist re-education camps. We rose at dawn to work in the fields and didn’t return until dusk. In the evening, we were forced into an assembly where we listened to Communist propaganda and sang songs in praise of the government. It was as dehumanizing as it was absurd.

During those six years before my next attempt, I became involved in the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. I also met a woman who became my wife. It was a risky decision to get married at that time, but somehow I knew even then that the Lord would see us through.

In 1988, I decided to escape again. After days of hiking across the border and through Cambodia with 5 others, sustained only by prayer and a few brief hours of sleep on the ground, I joined 41 other people on a tiny boat leaving the coast. We set sail for Malaysia, spending a total of 5 days and 5 nights on the boat before we arrived.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Long Chung