The Vietnamese Protestant Church designed a leadership training program for churches at the Danang Biblical School since the early 1920’s. The School was called Theological Institute when it was relocated in Nha Trang by the early 1960’s. The school was located on a hill that overlooks Hon Chong Beach. There is a lot of clean fresh air with sea wind here. The sunrise scenery is very beautiful in the morning.
After the Tet of 1968, the political situation of the country changed dramatically because of the General Offensive of the Northern Army. I automatically quit work and decided to dedicate myself to God to serve Him. Working as an interpreter can earn money easily but serving the Lord is not the same. I went to study Theological School to prepare for a future ministry. At that time, the Theological Institute in Nha Trang began to open the Bachelor Degree in Theology Class and I was admitted to go into this Class. It was in September 1968. One year later, although we were not fully trained enough, all students had to practice in the local churches. It was a condition for students to continue to be postponed joining the army. Some students who did not qualify for postponement had to enlist and could not return to the School. I was fortunate not to join the army for the meaningless war.
Hundreds of youths and students of the Vietnamese Churches did not have the opportunity to enter the serving God ministry because of the war. I had got a close friend, growing up and living in the same village. He was a good, talented and very intelligent student. His name was Nguyen Tan Den. I was very affectionate and respectful to him, but he did not have conditions to study Theology like me. He was called in the Thu Duc Infantry School, became a Commanding Officer of an Army Unit, and three years later he was killed in the southern Laos. I mourned and wrote a poem to cry to him.
I often wonder why I was survived in the bloody war while the others had to live with misfortune and suffering. Comparing to many the others in my hometown, my life has got the unbelievable luck. Is this God’s grace for me?
When growing up in the war, who could know the future? All things that happened in my life has come under God’s control. I believe in the Lord whom has chosen and guided me in my whole life. I am not a good man or I have done anything good, but that it is the grace of the Lord. His love is immense and unconditional. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.. .. but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10). I have walked in the God’s grace and His mercy.
I served the Lord in Chu Lai and Binh Son Protestant Churches for three years, then I returned to the Theological Institute to complete the Bachelor of Theology Degree.
In my graduation thesis, I studied and wrote about the missionary work of the Protestant Churches in the Ethnic Minorities of Vietnam. With this dissertation and the good study achievement, I was selected to speak on the graduation day in 1974.
After graduation, I was chosen to work with Professor Le Hoang Phu’s group in the Research Gospel Program. Pastor Le Hoang Phu is the Academic Director of Theological Institute. He received a Ph.D. in the New York University and returned to Vietnam to train God’s servants since 1968. He had great visions of Christian education and devoted himself to help God’s servants. He taught the lessons very well and inspired to all students. His life and ministry have greatly influenced my life. All of the students loved him very much.
In 1973, Pastor Le Hoang Phu introduced me to the leaders of Vietnamese Protestant Churches. They were ready sent me to the Philippines to work for the FEBC Broadcasts. At that time, Pastor Nguyen Thi, Pastor Nguyen Ba Quang, and Pastor Tran Dao were working in the Vietnamese Language Department here. I was also eager to go abroad to learn and serve God. But the Government of South Vietnam did not allow me and my family to go abroad despite Pastor Doan Van Mieng, a senior leader of the Vietnamese Protestant Church tried to get the visa for me. I still remember his statement in a sermon, “The blessing of the shepherd is to serve the Lord.”
Pastor Ong Van Huyen, the President of Theological College also loved me and encouraged me so much. He and other leaders helped me in order to hold my wedding at Theological College. It was on April 29, 1973. My spouse was also a student of the Theological Institute. Many people came to congratulate us on the wedding day. This was the first time a wedding was held at Theological Institute.
Pastor Hue Nguyen