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Vietnamese refugee returns to nations

The Vietnamese refugee women whom IMB missionaries Peter and Ruby Ng encounter in Taiwan are often in unhappy marriages – sometimes even abusive. These women are often factory workers, widows or international students. Many have found a refuge in the missionary’s church plant translated “Home of Peace.” IMB Photo

Editor’s note: May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S. During this season, the IMB is celebrating the rich contributions of Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the Revelation 7:9 vision. The emphasis is designed to motivate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to consider missions with the IMB and to mobilize Asian fellowships within the Southern Baptist Convention to partner with IMB in reaching the nations with the good news of Jesus. Please visit imb.org/asian-church-missions for more stories and resources to promote Asian church missions opportunities.

International Mission Board missionary Ruby Ng knows what being a refugee is like. The Vietnam War ravaged her home country during her childhood. Amidst all the violence and post-war fallout, she knew she had to leave. When she was 18, she escaped by boat and, after fleeing Vietnam, spent the next two years in a refugee camp. There, she was introduced to Jesus by missionaries who were also fleeing Vietnam.

Ruby left the refugee camp as a follower of Christ, and landed in Fort Worth, Texas, where she plugged into a church, pastored by Peter, a young Vietnamese seminary student. Three years later, she married that pastor. In time, God called both Peter and Ruby Ng back to the nations as missionaries. The couple shared the gospel and planted churches in the Philippines and another Asian country, and they even tried out retirement for less than a year. But their heart for the lost compelled them to go back to the field.  

Now, they’re in Taiwan and celebrating 25 years of serving as IMB missionaries. There, they’ve planted a Vietnamese church. The couple focuses their time on reaching out to Vietnamese immigrants in the country. The couple is particularly compelled by the plight of women who immigrate from Vietnam to Taiwan. Their stories are often bleak.

Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese live in Taiwan. The Ngs seek to serve those who need them most. Alongside their Vietnamese-speaking congregation, they spend time reaching out to women who are coming from broken homes and abusive marriages. Most of the women they meet left Vietnam at an early age, coming from poor families, looking for a brighter future. However, struggling with a language barrier and culture shock, they often settle into hasty marriages with Taiwanese men. The women whom the Ngs encounter are sometimes in unhappy marriages. Some suffer abuse.

These women are often factory workers, widows or international students. Many have found refuge in the missionary’s church plant.

The church’s name is translated “Home of Peace.” Established two years ago as the country still reeled from the effects of COVID-19, the missionaries were surrounded by death, broken hearts and uncertainty. The church seeks to be a place where broken hearts can find the peace of Christ.

Peter shared that one of their church members met Orchid through a call from the local Christian hospital. Because hospital leaders know the church plant is run by IMB missionaries who speak Vietnamese, from time to time, the Ngs will receive a call from the hospital to come minister to an abused woman. When the member met Orchid, she was lying in a hospital bed after her husband, in a fit of rage, severely beat her. That church member knew Orchid needed the hope of the gospel. Now Orchid is recovered physically from the beating, and Ruby and the church member disciple her.

Each week, men and women like Orchid find encouragement, support and discipleship among other members of Home of Peace Church and the Ngs.

Ruby expressed gratitude to God for placing them in Taiwan and to Southern Baptists for sustaining the work they do through prayer and giving.

“I thank God for just being here. I think of our [presence point] logo at the IMB, that pin we put on the map and where we are in Taiwan. We are present. We represent just one pin on the map, but God puts people in our path.”

She added, “We just thank God for His faithfulness in our lives, and we thank God for all the Southern Baptists that give and pray and support us through the journey of our lives. It’s not always easy, but we are very grateful.”

For more information on IMB’s efforts to mobilize Asians and Asian fellowships, contact [email protected].

Some names may have been changed for security purposes.