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3. Wandering in the Wilderness

Chapter 3

Wandering In The Wilderness

From the Hong Kong refugee camp soaring up into the sky and flying towards Canada

The Hong Kong police put us in an old military camp, the so-called “closed refugee camp” which was guarded by policemen as if it were a prison, since we were not allowed to go out. Living in the “closed refugee camp” were many refugees who had arrived earlier than we. They told us that after staying here for some time, refugees would be transferred to the “open camp” where they would finally be free to go out. Therefore we must never do anything that may annoy the police, and must obey their regul­at­ions if we wish to be transferred. The people from our two boats were put in different rooms. At day time, all the refugees would come to the public square to chat. Everyone’s heart was heavy because we didn’t know what the future held for us.


After staying in the closed refugee camp for around two months, in May 1979 we were transferred to the “open refugee camp” on Lai Chi Kok Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. The Hong Kong government issued a “refugee card” to each of us. It was our temporary ID card. The United Nations would give every recognized refugee a weekly sum of money as living allowance, and the Hong Kong government allowed us to get a job to earn extra money.


At that time many foreign electronics companies set up factories in Hong Kong. Because there were so many factories, they couldn’t hire enough workers. Meanwhile, the refugees were coming to Hong Kong one group after another, just at the right time to fill the job vacancies. These electronics companies even visited the refugee camp to recruit workers. After only two or three days, I got a job at the Philips electronics company as an assembly line worker. I worked five and half days a week and was paid thirty-two Hong Kong dollars a day. Every morning the company would send ten big buses to the refugee camp to pick us up and send us to work. We would have our lunch at the company cafeteria, and after work the bus would take us back to the refugee camp. Life was busy but simple. After going through four years of suffering and hardship, I felt that this life was so wonderful!

那时候很多外国的电子公司纷纷在香港设立工厂,因为工厂太多,甚至请不到足够的工人来工作。当时一批又一批的难民来到,正好填满那些空虚的工作岗位。那些电子公司甚至派人员到难民营来聘请工人。两、三天后,我就在 “Philips” 电子公司找到一份电子装配员的工作,每周工作五天半,每天工资三十二块港币。早上公司派十辆大巴士(公车)到难民营来接我们去上班,午饭在工厂里吃,下班后又送我们回难民营,生活简单而忙碌。我在饱经四年的忧患之后,这样的生活对我来说是太美好了!

Shortly after we had arrived at the open refugee camp, the United Nations gave each of us an applica­tion form. We were to specify which countries we were applying to for residence, and were allowed to name three countries. I chose the United States, Canada, and Australia, all of which are English-speaking countries. When I was in Vietnam, I studied at a Vietnamese school, so my first foreign language was French, and my second was English. I knew very little English; most of my knowledge of English came from self study. I studied English grammar and English vocabulary, but my listening comprehension and speaking ability were almost non-existent. On top of that, I didn’t have any relatives or friends in the United States, Canada, or Australia, so I feared that these three countries may reject my application. In that case, I would have to go through another round of application and start afresh, queuing behind the others. I didn’t know how long I will have to wait before I could be granted residence that would allow me to rebuild my future.


But Yahweh, the only true God, has abundant grace and compassion. The more lowly a person, the greater is God’s care and concern for him or her. Two or three weeks after I had submitted my application, I came back from work one day, and as usual went to the notice board to look for any new announcements. There I saw my name. The Canadian government wanted to interview me on a specific day the following week. Many of those who travelled on the boat with me were wealthier than I, and had better qualifications, yet so far none had received a notice of interview. Aunt Q had several children in the United States who were sponsoring her, yet she still hadn’t had an interview. It had never occurred to me that a nobody like me would be the first to have an interview!

真神雅伟有丰盛的怜悯慈爱,越卑微的人,祂就越加关心照顾。我递上申请表格后,过了两、三周,一天我下班回来,就去难民营的告示板看看有没有新的通告。忽然我看到我的名字在告示板上,原来是加拿大政府要找我去面试了,面试的日期是下周!那些与我同船的人当中,比我富有、条件比我好的人多得很,他们还没接到面试的通知。 Q姨有儿女在美国担保她,她还没去面试。万万想不到我这么卑微的人却是第一个得到面试的机会!

The countries which were accepting refugees had set up offices in the refugee camp. On the day of the interview, early in the morning, I waited at the Canadian government office. All the notices on the wall were in English. I could read some of them but I couldn’t understand the English spoken by the staff. My heart was very nervous, wondering how I could ever pass the interview.


A woman came out to make a roll call. We would take turns to walk into a small room for an interview. When my turn came, I too walked into the small room. A tall and big Canadian man was sitting there, greeting me warmly with a big genial smile without a trace of haughtiness. His assistant was a Hong Kong woman who spoke fluent Cantonese and translated for him and me. He asked me some basic questions pertaining to my family background, my education level, and so on. I didn’t dare ask his name, so to this day I still don’t know his name. The interview was over in less than ten minutes. He gave me an address and told me to go to this place for a medical checkup.


I went back to my room, and my roommates asked me how the interview went. I told them that the interviewer had asked me to go for a medical checkup, and that I didn’t know what would be next. All my roommates said, “It’s a good sign when he asks you to go for a medical checkup, because it means that he wants to accept you. If he didn’t want to accept you, he won’t have arranged a medical checkup.”


With the hospital address I went for a medical checkup (I forget which hospital). On the day of the checkup, I was coughing badly because I was recovering from a flu. I thought that this will ruin things for me, and I won’t pass the examination. The hospital staff told me that they will send the results directly to the Canadian consulate.


After one or two weeks, a notice was posted at the refugee camp’s notice board saying that the Canadian office wants to see me for a second interview. I didn’t know what the results of the medical checkup were like. But because anxiety doesn’t solve anything, I decided to let go of the anxiety and just focus on the interview. I saw that genial Canadian again. This time he didn’t ask me any questions, but started a casual conversation with me. He said he came from Ottawa, the capital of Canada, and that he might see me there in the future. I was at a loss, not understanding what the statement might mean. He laughed and said, “Congratulations! You are going to Ottawa, Canada, very soon!” I got a shock and couldn’t say a word. Things were happening too fast, too smoothly. “Is it for real? Am I dreaming?” He smiled and said, “You have to start packing now because you will be leaving very soon.” I was so happy that I forgot to thank him. At the end of the interview, he said goodbye to me with his heavily accented Cantonese; it turned out that he could speak some Cantonese after all.

大概过了一、两周,难民营的告示板上又有通告出来,加拿大的政府人员找我去作第二次面试。我不知道体检的结果是好是坏,反正担心也担心不来,倒不 如放开胸怀地去做面试吧!我又见到那个很和气的加拿大人,这次他不问我问题,他跟我聊天。他说他是从加拿大首都渥太华来的,将来他可能会在渥太华再碰到我。我不明白这句话是什么意思,我有点不知所措。他笑着说:“恭喜妳了,妳快要去加拿大的渥太华了!”我被吓了一跳,目瞪口呆地说不出话来。事情来得太快,太顺利了,这是不是真的?我是在做梦吗?他微笑对我说:“妳要收拾行李了,妳很快就要走了。”我高兴得什么都忘记了,连感谢都没说一声。面试结束前,他用生硬的广东话跟我说再见,原来他懂一点点广东话!

I started packing my things, yet I was still working for the electronics company. Then I saw my sister, my brother-in-law, and their son at the refugee camp. They had arrived in Hong Kong much earlier than I, but had been kept in the closed refugee camp for half a year, and was transferred to the open camp in Sham Shui Po only recently. I told them that I had been accepted by the Canadian government, and will be going to Canada soon.


A week after that second interview, there was a statement on the notice board telling me to prepare to fly to Canada the coming Friday. I felt I was in a dream, yet going to Canada was now no longer an illusion. I was the first of all the people in our two boats to leave Hong Kong. The next day I went to my company to resign from my job. I had been working there for about two months, and had saved up some money with which I bought a suitcase, clothing, and some articles for daily use.


The Canadian government sent a Canadian Air Force airplane that had flown into Hong Kong from Ottawa to pick us up. On July 27th 1979 early in the morning, the Canadian who interviewed me came to the refugee camp with several assistants. They collected our refugee cards, and we all got on a big bus to go to Hong Kong’s military airport.

加拿大政府派了一辆加拿大空军飞机从渥太华飞到香港来接我们。1979年7月27 日清早,那位给我面试的加拿大人和几个助手来到难民营,他们收回我们的难民证,然后我们登上一辆大巴士(公车)前去香港的军事飞机场。

In total I had stayed in Hong Kong for slightly more than five months. Yahweh, the gracious True God, allowed me to stay here to recuperate from physical and mental exhaustion. Then the time came for me to go on yet another journey, this time flying to Canada to rebuild my future.


The plane took off at eight o’clock in the morning, and stopped at Japan and Alaska before landing in Vancouver, Canada. A group of refugees who were to settle in Vancouver got off the plane. After stopping for around half an hour, the plane took off again, reaching Toronto after flying around six hours. Everyone got off at the Toronto airport. The government of the city of Toronto had arranged to pick up those refugees who were to settle in Toronto, whereas the Immigration Department arranged for the rest of us, including myself, to stay at the airport hotel. It was eight o’clock in the evening, local time, July 27th 1979. After flying for 24 hours, we rested at the airport hotel for one night. The next morning, after getting up, we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. After that we were divided into two groups; one group flew to Ottawa, the other to Montreal.


Moving from Ottawa to Toronto

The flight from Toronto to Ottawa was very short, and in less than an hour we arrived at Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The government put us in a downtown hotel named Bytown, where I stayed at the top floor.

这一段从多伦多到渥太华的飞行很短,大概不到一小时我们就到达加拿大的首都渥太华了。政府安排我们住在市中心的一家名叫“Bytown” 的酒店里,我住在顶楼。

The government took very good care of us. Waiting for us in the hotel were several Vietnamese refugees who had arrived earlier than we. Since they could speak English, the Immigration Department had hired them to be our translators. They told us that Ms. Marion Dewar, the mayor of Ottawa, had started a project called “Project 4000,” to promote her plan to accept 4000 Vietnamese refugees into Ottawa. Many politicians in Canada opposed her project, saying that Ottawa was not a big commercial city like Toronto, and lacked the resources to absorb so many refugees. Many of Ms. Dewar’s political rivals made use of this incident to attack her. But she refused to back down, and met with community leaders and religious leaders to ask them to support the project. In the end, all these organiz­ations were willing to give their support and even their concrete help. Only then did Ms. Dewar’s political rivals stop attacking her. After hearing of this, I was very touched. I am grateful to Ms. Dewar, a loving, caring, capable, and respectable stateswoman. She had served as the mayor of Ottawa from 1978 to 1985, and passed away on September 16th 2008 at the age of 80. Project 4000 became a most successful project and was enthusiastically discussed by the people in Ottawa.

政府对我们照顾得很周到,在酒店里早已有几位比我们先到的越南难民等着。因为他们会说英语,所以移民局聘请他们当我们的翻译。他们说渥太华的市长Marion Dewar女士发起了一个“4000方案”,她打算收容4000名越南难民来渥太华。当时加拿大很多政界人士都反对她这个方案,他们认为渥太华并不是像多伦多那样的商业大城市,没有能力吸收那么多难民。当时Dewar女士的政敌们就借此来抨击她。但Dewar女士毫不气馁,她和各个社区团体和宗教组织的领导会晤商谈,请求他们拥护这个方案。结果各个团体都热烈支持并愿意提供帮助,后来Dewar女士的政敌们才缄默了。我听了这段话后,心里非常感动,我感谢Dewar女士,这位有爱心、有魄力、可敬的政治家。Dewar女士从1978 至1985年任渥太华市长,她在2008年9月16日去世,享年80岁。时至今日,“4000方案”成为渥太华市最成功、最为人津津乐道的方案。

The government gave each of us sixty dollars per week as living allowance. Every week there were new arrivals of refugees into Ottawa, but the government didn’t have enough manpower to take care of us. So they asked the Catholic church and the Protestant churches for people to help out with the work, with all expenses paid by the government.


The churches received from the government a list of the refugees, and they visited the hotels where the refugees were staying. One day several Christians knocked on my door, and gave me a lot of help. At that time I didn’t speak English. I could only say, “Hello, how are you? Fine, thank you.” Because I didn’t speak English, I had to rely on them for translation. They brought us to various places to look for an apartment to rent. After around one month, three other girls and I rented an apartment to share together.

各个教会向政府要了一份难民名单,他们来到难民居住的各酒店探访。一天有几位基督徒来敲我的房门,他们给了我很大的帮助。那时候我不懂英语,我只懂得说:“Hello, how are you? Fine, thank you.” 因为我不懂英语,我常常要倚靠他们替我翻译,他们带着我们到处去找房子。大概一个月后,我和另外三个女孩子一起合租了一间公寓。

The government arranged for us to take English lessons, while the Christian friends invited us to attend their church meetings. At that time I didn’t believe in either Yahweh God or the Lord Jesus Christ, yet it was hard for me to decline the invitation from these Christian friends because they had given us so much help. So when I had the time, I would attend the church meeting, but if I had other things to do, I would not go.


After I had taken English lessons for two months, my teachers said that I had sufficient ability in English to look for a job. With help from the Department of Manpower, I found a job as an assembler of electronics components at a high-tech company. This was the company that made the space arm for the American space shuttle, and the job requirements were correspondingly high. Every electronic component was so small that one needed a microscope to see it clearly. Every day I had to look through the microscope to solder the components together. To be frank, I didn’t like this job because I was afraid that this kind of work will damage my eyes and ruin my future. I was planning to work for one or two years to save up some money, while continuing my English studies and taking grade 13 courses to prepare to apply for university. If my eyes got damaged, my future would be ruined.

我上了两个月的英语课后,老师们认为我的英语程度已足够去找工作了。靠着政府的Manpower(人力)部门的帮忙,我在一家高科技的电子公司中找到一份电子零件装配员的工作。那家电子公司制造美国的太空船上的 “太空手臂”(space arm),所以要求很高。每个零件都很微小,要用显微镜才可以看得清楚,每天我要透过显微镜来焊接那些零件。坦白说我不喜欢这份工作,因为我怕这样下去我的眼睛会被损坏,那么我就完蛋了。我打算先打一、两年工,积蓄一点钱,同时继续学习英文和修读加拿大中学的第十三年级的课程,准备申请大学。如果我的眼睛坏了,我的前途也就没了。

Therefore, right from day one, I didn’t put my heart into my work, and the outcome was predict­able. After around one month, I was fired. It was totally my fault, and had nothing to do with other people. But at least I had earned one month’s salary, a few hundred Canadian dollars, so it was not all that bad!


After I had lost my job, I again went to the Department of Manpower for help. But after one month I still couldn’t get a job. I was relying on my one month’s salary to cover my living expenses, and when the money was running low, my heart was getting more and more anxious. I didn’t have anyone to whom I could pour out my heart. My mother had passed away, my father was still in Vietnam, the three girls staying with me were as poor as I, and couldn’t help me at all.


In my fear and anxiety, I thought about God. I remembered that my Christian friends would pray very often. They would pray when they encountered difficulties, but also when they were happy. I felt that I could also pray to God for help, so I prayed for the first time. Not know­ing how to pray, I just poured out all my anxieties to God, telling Him that I was very afraid, and that I needed Him to help me.


Some of my friends had told me that it was much easier to find a job in Toronto because it was the commercial center of Canada where many businesses and industries were flourishing. I wondered if I should go to Toronto to look for a job, but I was afraid to go to an unfamiliar city by myself. So I asked God to show me the right way to go about it.


A few days later, a Vietnamese refugee came from Toronto to Ottawa to visit his friends. When I heard that he was from Toronto, I asked him whether it was easy to find a job in Toronto. He said, “It is very easy to find a job. There are lots of factories there. So long as you don’t mind having a low salary and are willing to work hard, you can find a job in one or two days.” After hearing this, I decided to give Toronto a try.


I had friends in Toronto, including a family who had escaped on the same boat with me. Usually the friends who travelled on the same boat as refugees would be close to one another just like in a family, because we were truly living and dying together, going through thick and thin together. I called them up and asked if I could stay at their place for a few days. They welcomed me in. So at the beginning of 1980, I left Ottawa to look for a job in Toronto.


Working by day, studying by night

It was really easy to find a job in Toronto, and within one day I found a job in a small factory. Even though I got only minimum wage, three dollars an hour, it was sufficient to cover my expenses. After getting the job, I rented a room, and everything settled quickly. I started to look for an evening school to study English. My life was busy but stable. But I stopped going to church, having forgotten about God’s help.


The Ontario Department of Education requires students to have the grade 13 certificate before apply­ing for university. I was planning to take the grade 13 courses at evening classes, but very few evening schools offered grade 13 courses, and those few were located in the suburbs very far from my place. The winter in Toronto is very cold, with night temperatures some­times dropping to ‑20° or -25°. Most of the people living in the suburbs of Toronto would travel by car in the evening; few would walk or take public transport. I didn’t have a car, and I wouldn’t want to spend money on one even if I could, for I had to save every penny for my future university expenses. Given the situation, it was very hard for me to take grade 13 courses at an evening school.


I was thinking hard to come up with a way to take grade 13 courses, when suddenly I remembered that when I was in Ottawa, one day I visited the pastor of the church, and saw in his office a booklet about Canadian primary and secondary level correspondence education. I was overjoyed and hopeful when I remembered this, because education by correspondence could be a way for me to take grade 13 courses. I immediately looked up the address of the Ontario Correspondence Education Department, and sent in a letter to request an application form. I didn’t dare phone them up because I didn’t speak fluent English, but at least I could write a letter. After one or two weeks I received an applicat­ion form from the correspondence school. This course was free of charge, with a straightforward registration process: simply fill up the form and send it back to them.


I ended up taking four courses in mathematics, one in physics, and one in chemistry. The school sent me notebooks, envelopes, and experiment kits; all were free of charge except the textbooks, which I had to purchase. Each course had a teacher assigned to it, and if there was anything I didn’t understand, I could write the teacher. After completing one lesson, I would do an assignment and send it to the teacher for marking. And after completing all the lessons of a course, I would take an examination. I was not allowed to write the exam at home but only at the correspondence school. If I passed the exam I would get one credit. Six credits from grade 13 courses are required for applying for university admission.


I worked at the factory by day, and studied the grade 13 courses at home in the evening. My English was still bad, so there were many words and terms in the textbooks which I didn’t understand. I had to consult my dictionary all the time, which slowed my study progress. Every night I would study up to one or two o’clock after midnight, yet I still had to get up at six o’clock in the morning to go to work. Every day I was very tired and didn’t get enough sleep. I got sufficient sleep only during the weekends. I was studying the grade 13 courses very hard while working with all my energy to make a living. In this kind of situation I had an excuse not to go to church.


The nationwide postal strike

After one year, I finished six grade 13 courses, and was preparing to apply for university. I had saved up some money for this, and because I had been working for one and half years, I was eligible to apply for a student grant from the government. Even though it was easy to find a job in Toronto, I didn’t like this bustling and busy city, preferring the serenity and beauty of Ottawa. I missed Ottawa a lot, so I decided to go back there and apply to the University of Ottawa.


In the summer of that year, 1981, the Canadian postal workers went on strike nationwide. Before I could receive the examination results for the chemistry course which was my last course, all postal delivery had stopped. At that time there was no such thing as email or a document scanner, so all paper documents were sent by post. Without the postal service, you couldn’t do anything. Because of the seemingly intractable nature of the strike, many private delivery com­panies had emerged, but that was of no use to me because I hadn’t even received my examination results. So how could I send it to the University of Ottawa?

偏偏那一年(1981年)的夏天加拿大全国邮政工人大罢工。我最后一科化学的成绩表还没收到,邮递工作就全部停顿了。那时候没有Email (电邮),也没有scanner(扫描器),一切文件都要邮递寄去,没有邮政就什么都办不来。很多私人的邮递服务应运而生,但我连最后一科的成绩表都还没收到,又拿什么寄去渥太华大学呢!

I was anxious and indignant, not knowing what to do, since no one could help me. Then I remembered God. In my one and half years in Toronto I didn’t go to church, but when I ran into a problem I would come before God to ask for help again. So once again I poured out to God all the indignation and anxiety in my heart, asking Him to end the strike early so that I could receive my examination results and send it to University of Ottawa. If I miss the application deadline, I would have to wait another year.


Nothing happened after the prayer, and the postal strike didn’t end. I eventually accepted the reality of waiting an extra year if I couldn’t go to university this year. In any case, my studies had been delayed again and again for many years; another delay of one year was no big deal. I started to complain to God and questioned His fairness, since I had to work so hard to make a living, yet at the same time I had to study hard on my own. I felt that He didn’t want to help me. But of course I felt that way only because I had forgotten how many times He had help me in the past.


The postal strike carried on for many weeks until the labor demands were finally met, and the postal workers returned to work. I finally received my chemistry exam results from the correspondence school. Irrespective of whether the deadline for application had passed or not, I decided to send the results to the University of Ottawa with a letter to explain to them the reasons for the delay, and see whether they would be lenient enough to accept my applicat­ion. While I was preparing the documents, and before I could send them out, the next day when I came home from work, I received a letter from the University of Ottawa. I looked at the letter, but didn’t dare open it. I thought that it was the end for me; the University was probably informing me that it was too late, for the deadline had passed. After a few minutes I summoned all my courage and opened the letter. I took a look and almost fainted, for the University of Ottawa had accepted me, this being a letter of acceptance. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and looked at the letter more carefully. The university not only accepted me, but granted me an admission scholarship of one thousand dollars, just enough to cover my first year’s tuition.


It turned out that the correspondence school had sent all the examination results on my behalf to the University of Ottawa, and the university had accepted me. They were just waiting for the postal strike to end before sending me the acceptance letter. During the strike, the correspondence school made a special arrangement, maybe through a private delivery service, to send my results to the University of Ottawa. Private courier services are not cheap, and I wasn’t anyone im­portant, just a poor working student. So why was the correspondence school willing to go through all the trouble for such a lowly person? Isn’t it amazing?


Only after I had come to know Yahweh our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, did I realize that this was the wonderful work of Father God. It was He who worked in the hearts of the staff at the correspondence school, such that they were willing to make arrange­ments to send my exam results to the University of Ottawa. At that time I asked God to end the strike, but it was still dragging on after many weeks. I thought that God didn’t want to help me, and I complained to Him. He not only listened to my prayer, but granted me far more than what I asked. Abba Father Yahweh, why do You love me so much? I don’t deserve this!


The University of Ottawa

Late August 1981, two years after I had arrived in Canada, I packed my belongings to go back to Ottawa to begin my university studies. When I was attending secondary school in Vietnam, I resolved to become a physicist, but after have gone through all the sufferings, my thinking had become more realistic. It was hard to find a job in physics, so I decided to choose a major that could help me find a good paying job in the future. I chose computer science.

1981年8月底,我抵达加拿大两年后,我收拾行李返回渥太华上大学。以前在越南读中学的时候,我立志要成为物理学家,但经历了这么多苦难后,我的想法也变得现实了。物理学的工作並不好找,现在我只想读一门将来能找到高薪工作的学科,所以我选读了电脑科学 (Computer Science).

During my one and half years in Toronto, I didn’t go to church, but now, after coming back to Ottawa I remembered the pastor and my friends in the church who had helped me so much in the past. So I went back to the church again.


My university studies were very heavy, and my English was still not good. In the beginning I didn’t understand what the professors were saying. I had to go home to study the textbooks by myself. I had to spend more time than my classmates in studying. As a result, I was willing to go to church only when I was not busy, but when I was busy I would skip church. This kind of situation carried on until 1983, when I was in my second year. One Sunday the pastor asked me if I had ever thought of becoming a Christian. I was stunned. I didn’t want to think about it, for I didn’t want to commit my life to God.


Actually, in my heart I did believe that in the unseen spiritual world, there is a God. I reflected on this from the time I left my home in Vietnam to the time I arrived in Canada, a time span during which I had gone through much danger and hardship. If there was no God who controls everything and protects me, I would have died. I was naive and ignorant, so even if I hadn’t died, I could easily have gone on the wrong track in life such that any talk of going to university would be irrelevant. After I had arrived in Canada, I still had to rely on God’s help, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to finish the grade 13 correspondence courses in one year. Since childhood I had always been prone to illness. Even though my mother would take very good care of me, I would still fall sick very often. All along my parents were afraid that I might die young. When I was in Toronto, I worked in the factory during the day and studied at home in the evening, and got only around five hours of sleep every night. I was living by myself with no one taking care of me, yet the strange thing was that I didn’t get any serious illnesses, the worst being just a cold, from which I recovered in one or two days. I was aware of my health situation, so I have nothing to boast about. Even though at that time I wasn’t willing to commit my life to God, I had to admit that in the unseen spiritual world there was a mighty God who was protecting me.


If that is the case, why wasn’t I willing to commit my life to God? Because I was wrestling with two questions in my heart.


The first question was whether God really loved me. Does He really love all human beings? The Bible says that God loves the world, but I thought that He was not a fair God, and that He loved the people in the Western countries more that the people in Asia and Africa. People in the Western countries were living a comfortable life, but those living in Vietnam had to risk their lives to escape from the country. My mother had been longing for more than thirty years to be reunited with her family, but at the end she died in despair. Even after I arrived in Canada, I still had to go through a lot of hardship in order to go to university, but my classmates didn’t have to worry about anything. I felt that this was unfair! I didn’t want to commit my life to an unfair God. Although I had experienced much of God’s grace and love, yet I went so far as to say that He was unfair, that was how stupid and ungrateful I was.


The second question had to do with sin. I admitted that I was a sinner, yet I thought that my sins were very minor, and that many Christians were living lives which were far worse than mine, even committing serious sins. If at the future Judgment these Christians who had committed serious sins or whose lives were much worse than mine can enter into eternal life, yet I who had committed only minor sins have to go to hell, that would be really unfair!


(c) 2012 Christian Disciples Church