Everyone Has a Story. Meet Nhiet

In September of 2010, our family moved to Charlotte, NC to volunteer with an inner city youth ministry called One7. It was founded in 2008 and now has kids from Africa, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, El Salvador and the United States. The One7 vision: To reach and transform inner city communities and families by intentionally forming cross cultural youth ministry teams while focusing on holistic change and spiritual growth. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and we have never regretted the decision to move. One thing we have come to understand is that everyone has a story. All it takes is some time and active participation in someone’s life to develop a personal relationship. Just because a person is smiling on the outside, does not mean they are not ripped apart inside.

Meet Nhiet. He is from Vietnam and has been a part of One7 for several years. When we first moved here, Nhiet was one with whom we continually started spending time with and learning about. We consider him part of our family, a son we never had, and look forward to the many things God has in store for his life. I asked him to write out his story so I could share it with you.


In his own words, here is Nhiet’s story.

My name is Nhiet, and I’m from Vietnam. I have two brothers and one sister. Well, back in Vietnam, my family and other families in my village didn’t have the freedom that we wanted to have. We were judged by people because we are Christian. Most of the religion in my village is Catholic, so they do not like Christianity. We didn’t have the freedom of religion, but we still worshiped what we believed. The government in Vietnam started to arrest and kill people who were Christian. My Dad was one of them. When I was four, my Dad escaped our village and country because Vietnamese people were trying to kill him. He left to Cambodia where the U.N has a refugee camp for people to stay. After my Dad left, my family situation of finding a place to stay or food to eat was hard. My brother and I would go into the mountains to find food or minerals to sell. That is how we survived, but my Dad was facing bigger problem than we were. He, and other people trying to escape, was hiding out in the jungles of Vietnam, which is how they would travel to Cambodia. While they were hiding, the Vietnamese soldiers followed them and killed everyone who was going to the U.N refugee camp. My father was one of the lucky ones because he survived.

When I was nine years old, my Dad sent money back to Vietnam, so we could get the necessary papers required to come to America. The Vietnamese police knew what we were going to do so they would say we have to pay a lot of money to go to America. They would try everything to stop us from coming here. I was nine before I was finally able to see my Dad again after so many years. One night I asked him what the journey was like for him to get into America, and he said it was extremely difficult. He had friends who were killed by the Vietnamese people and some died because of hunger. He had to cross a gigantic river full of a variety of predators to get where he wanted. They spent a lot of time in the jungle because it was safe, and they could find food more easily. They had to eat leaves and fruit so they would have energy for walking. They were being chased the entire time, so they had to constantly be on the move during the day and also at night. Sometimes they wouldn’t stop for a whole day. I’m extremely happy to be with him and my family right now. It is a blessing. One of my older brothers is still in Vietnam right now.

Before my family came to America, we wished that all the Vietnamese people would die, but right now I just wish that everyone could have freedom and be treated equally. I talk to my big brother in Vietnam every weekend, and he is now married. The situation in Vietnam continues to get worse. Vietnamese people haven’t been given any freedom of religion unless you are Catholic. My brother told me that they destroyed all of our churches, so he can’t go to church like he was used to doing every Sunday. Now they have to meet together and pray at home. If the Vietnamese police catch them praying or reading a bible, they will burn the bible and arrest them. One day my family hopes to go back to Vietnam when we have freedom so we can live our life there. We’re praying that God will show the Vietnamese people the difference between right and wrong and stop persecuting Christians. We’re praying that they will all start to love one another.

Next week: Dear Dad

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Have a blessed day,


Categories: General, ONE7

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24 replies

  1. This is a great sobering story of faith and survival. Sadly there will probably always be religious wars and persecution, until people realize that God doesn’t care what your denomination is. All that matters is the faith you have in Him and that you give Him the praise, honor, and glory He deserves.

  2. Wow! what a sobering story. Makes me sad to think how much we take our religious freedom for granted. On another note, it is interesting how they don’t view Catholicism as Christian?

  3. So human – a great step towards being awaken. Thank you so much for your visit and your follow. I just returned the favor… & looking forward to read more! All the best,

  4. The Christians of Vietnam are suffering under a Communist regime which outlaws Christianity in general, The protestant faith has a vast variety of interpretaion on doctrine, from Methodist to Unitarian, yet all are “Christians”. Likewise the Catholic community are also Christian and are not immune from this persecution, because they too oppose Communist ethics.

    The article sounds like the boy is saying that the Governement are “on the side” of Catholics. He is very young, and perhaps doesn’t understand the ruthlessness of politics; that a corrupt Government will use all kinds of tactics to set one group against another in order to “Divide and conquer.”
    Its very sad, and I hope and pray that all of these people are all soon freed from this oppressive regime, because in a peaceful environment, understanding between Christian creeds and acceptance can prosper.

  5. a moving story…makes me more thankful for the freedom i have. we tend to take for granted things that we don’t labour to have. thanks for sharing this.

    also after reading your welcome, i was like ” this is someone i sure would love following!” thanks again.

  6. Well said. I agree that everyone has a story and each one is different. Keep writing…..thanks.

  7. Please pass on that my thought are with Nhiet and his family with hopes that his brother stays safe. Thank you

  8. And what a story…thanks for sharing stories like these! Truly makes me pop my head out of my own little bubble. Btw, I always greatly enjoy your blog and wanted to share that joy. If you have a moment, please check out my blog – I’ve nominated you for a purely optional reward. Please don’t feel as though you have to participate, but it is an amazing way to connect with other bloggers.

  9. Your stories are moving and powerful…

  10. Hey Chris,

    Thank you for following my blog. That story has a lot of impact. The real life ones usually do. That’s why I like to write them. Also, real life is the only think I have any expertise in. ;) I look forward to seeing more of what you do here.


  11. This story makes me question why I got so angry at the clerk in the gas station yesterday. It doesn’t seem so important today.

  12. I’m sorry, but I’m confused. Isn’t Christianity one of the planet’s major religions, and based on the belief in and worship of Christ? And, isn’t Catholicism part OF Christianity–Catholics still worship Christ, major difference belong the Pope believes he is the Voice of God?

    Isn’t that like saying Orthodox Jews hate Judaism?

    • I think the author forgot to clarify that the boy & his family are Protestant. It must be like N. Ireland. Christ’s body was never intended to be divided, but we are mortals…those of us who operate in the Spirit can and will rise above situations such as this here and abroad.

      • Thanks for that clarification. That makes much more sense now.

      • Protestantism protests against Catholicism which is how they define their beleifs. Yes, its strange; Its shows a lack of understanding to seperate Catholicism from Christianity in this way.
        I agree autisticaplanet, those of us who operate in the Spirit continue to build bridges which rise above politically motivated predjudices as in your example of Ireland.

  13. This is very inspiring. When people complain about minor inconveniences they should read this. It may change their attitudes and make them thankful for what they have.

  14. I can relate to his story as well. I grew up in Chile under a dictatorship. My father was taken away and arrested for three days. We did not know where he was. We then learned that he was forced to drive a truck that would pick up people who were “against the system”. All these people were eventually killed. My dad was preserved so we could come to America in 1993. God only knows why and how things happen. Looking back, I can count all the miracles that have led me to be were I am today.

  15. Wow! Really educational and encouraging! Hope he gets to be reunited with his brother too.

  16. I can relate to this story in many different ways. I grew up in different places all over the United States, but have always been an outcast where I have made my home. It has never been my religious affiliation, but rather my political views, and my personal perspective that have made me the target of a variety of different groups. But, I have always found my voice in writing. I have always found power and solace in the fact that I can communicate with others who understand the pain of being persecuted at home, then having to leave to start again. Eventually, you get used to it. But there is always the gnawing feeling of knowing where home is, and knowing you cannot go back to it. I appreciate this young man’s story and hope he has found solace in his religion and family. This world can be bitter, but there are those who can cure us of our hatred for it. There are those who will love us no matter what religion we are, what we believe, or who we love. I have found a new place to call home, and I hope he has as well. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us.

  17. Thank you for sharing this young mans story. What a blessing to read about their lives. Thank you for your willingness to be there for these kids and families.

  18. Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having a space where people’s stories are shared. Everyone does have a story, and this this one is rich in (His)tory, too. Thanks for visiting my site. May God bless your writing and those it reaches.

  19. Really moving story. This makes me thankful that we have freedom and security here in the U.S. that other places don’t have. It also makes me want to help, but the problems the world has are overwhelming. I have family in Mexico and it’s really bad over there too right now.

  20. I’ve been to Vietnam once and my heart really went out for that nation. We are so privileged here (in the Philippines, or there, in America) to have the freedom to worship in whatever way we want. Thank you for sharing this story.


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