Gospel travels through friends from Va. to Vietnam
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (BP) -- The jet lag was wearing off for Jerry and Mary Logan and they were ready to explore the unknown territory of Ho Chi Minh City with their friends, Chum and Coi Truong.
Since fleeing Vietnam as refugees in 1979, the Truongs have made numerous trips back. But the trip from Fredericksburg, Va., to Vietnam in July 2015 was different. Not only were their American friends joining them, but this was their first time to return as believers in Jesus Christ.
Before leaving on the trip, Chum said he didn't know how his family would react to the news that he and Coi had become Christians. He said it might take some time for them to consider the Gospel, but the uncertainty didn't stop him from speaking boldly to family members and neighbors in two villages.
"I want you to know that I have read the Bible and I believe that it is true," Chum told family who gathered to hear him. "I know that there is only one way to heaven and that's through Jesus."For the Logans, listening to Chum and Coi share their newfound faith with their family in Vietnam was an answer to many prayers.
The beginning of friendship
Though they recently went to Vietnam, Mary points out that this journey really began 35 years ago when the church she attended at the time helped the Truongs, who were refugees, relocate to the U.S.
"That's when Coi, Chum and I became friends," said Mary, who now is a member of Spotswood Baptist Church with her husband. "Our children were close to the same age and they were able to play together. Coi would come to my house and make egg rolls, which we loved. We just developed a great relationship."
When Coi opened a beauty salon, Mary started going regularly. To Mary, this was one more way to stay involved in Coi's life, and their friendship grew. Today they enjoy the easy kind of relationship where Coi can pick the onions off Mary's salad or tease her because she doesn't like hairspray.
When someone says that they are good friends, Coi is quick to correct, "We are best friends."
For many years, Mary assumed that Coi and Chum were believers because they often came to church. But when Coi said they weren't Christians, Mary became burdened for her friends.
"From then on, my goal was to reach out to my friend and her husband with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ," Mary said.
So she started praying, asking God to do something great for His Kingdom and let her be a part of it. And that's what He chose to do, Mary shared.
A new church
Mary read a couple of books that encouraged her -- one was "Radical" by International Mission Board President David Platt. Wanting to best know how to witness in the Vietnamese community of Fredericksburg, she called IMB.
Minh Ha Nguyen, a manager in IMB's research department, suggested Mary start a Bible study group among Vietnamese in a home -- which was proving to be an effective way to multiply the Gospel among unreached people in the U.S. When Mary asked Coi if she would be interested in studying the Bible, she immediately agreed, and they made plans to meet weekly in Coi's home.
"About that time, some friends walk in that she knew who were Christians, other Vietnamese friends," Mary noted. "I asked [them] if they would like to join our group if we started a Bible study, and they agreed."
So the group began with the Logans and two Vietnamese couples. In time it grew as Coi and Chum invited their friends. Vietnamese teenagers who were Christians interpreted Bible stories told by Jerry and Mary.
"Our hearts knew this was God's will, and that He would accomplish His purposes through our obedience. We had no idea what to do or how to do it but trusted God to do through us what we could not do on our own," Mary said.
Both Truongs were interested in reading the Bible but were hesitant to make a decision to surrender to Christ. The faithful witness of friends led Coi to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in March 2014.
"She was just a brand new creature in Christ," Mary recalled. "She wanted to share her faith, she was so bold and she would just tell people."
Chum took longer to accept the Gospel, though he would stay up at night reading through the books of the Bible. He said he wanted to know for sure that it was truth. He had read the Bible for himself, studied it in a group where he could discuss it in Vietnamese and spent time with Christian friends. In February 2015, Chum declared he is changed and knows that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
The Gospel reaches Vietnam
Soon after making their decisions to follow Christ, Coi and Chum began to share with family and friends in Vietnam. Over a video cellphone call after Bible study one night, Coi helped lead her brother to the Lord. Already they witnessed the Gospel reaching their home country.
As summer 2015 approached, Chum and Coi invited the Logans to travel with them to Vietnam. Jerry and Mary immediately encouraged them to make plans to share their faith with family and agreed they would be a part of that.
Mary found clips from "The JESUS Film" in Vietnamese that she downloaded to a computer. They practiced sharing the Gospel and coached Chum and Coi in how to share their testimonies. For them, this trip was about watching God move in the lives of their friends and spread His Word to unreached peoples of Southeast Asia.
For Mary, this was another answer to her continued prayer for God to do something great in His Kingdom.
"If we pray fervently and consistently for God to give us direction that many might come to know Him through us, He will make our path clear," Mary said. "He shows His power as we step into the unknown with only faith to uphold us. We then experience the working of the Holy Spirit in us. To God be the glory!"