God gives us choices and decisions about our personal problems. But He does not tell us what will happen in the future. We can not understand exactly what God does today, but we will know about that in the future. This is my experience.
I was thrown into a prison on June 14, 1978. During my difficult time in prison, I wondered a lot of questions. These questions relate to faith, hope, and love. After getting out of prison I had a sermon on this subject. Many people give up when they are tested for a long time. But I thank God, I have kept faith, hope, and love by His grace. Here are three important things that Paul the Apostle experienced in his ministry. And I have been learning this lesson.
“A day in prison is longer than a thousand years at large.” The concept of time in prison is not the same the outside. The prisoners often mark the time through prominent events such as a fellow inmate is taken to shoot, a prisoner is released, someone has to be in the clink…etc…
The concept of time has become meaningless for the prisoners have no verdict.
When I was put in prison, the Government’s officials said that I have to spend 4 months to investigate. But then it was not 4 months. Three years, then next years they did not say anything about that. I did not know which day I was released.
The value of culture was upset when I was put in prison. The most valuable thing is food. There was not enough food for the prisoners. We survived thanks to the food that the family sent to. Our relatives could bring us fresh food. Tinned food was prohibited. Because the Management of Prison considered that canned food can help the prisoners to escape. But the amount of food could eat in a week. Generally speaking, the prisoners are always hungry. Each prisoner has only a bowl of rice mixed with some slices of tapioca. The prisoners always suffered hunger is an “educated way” of the Management. In that difficult situation, God had preserved my life until I got out of prison.
THE WONDERFUL SUPPORT
The chef was also a prisoner. He was selected by the Management to cook for them and other prisoners. He especially liked me, so he gave me more food every time he got a chance. One day I went to the kitchen to make the soup. Before that, I sent an aluminum can to the chef. When I opened it, inside the can was the cooked cassava. The chef said to me, “This morning I cook the cassava for the officials. The cassava is too much so I give it to you.”
I was very happy, thanks to the chef and I was fed with the cassava on that day. I feel I was having me a party. Later on, he secretly occasionally cooked other meals for me. I have believed that God used him to provide me food in the difficult situations.
Besides the chef’s help, we sometimes caught a frog in the field. One day when I was digging up in the field, I saw a frog. I approached and grabbed it. Strangely enough, it stood still for me to catch. On that day, I and an inmate fellow could make a delicious dish.
In the last few months in prison, I was in the employ of a handicraft group. Then I felt a little more comfortable.
Pastor Hue Nguyen