WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)–Luu Phan Dang heard about Jesus in a Catholic school in Vietnam. She accepted Jesus as her Savior in Vietnam but was not baptized until she came to America.
Born into a Buddhist family, Luu married a South Vietnamese officer who also was a Christian. In the intensity of the Vietnam War, her husband was forced to flee for his life.
“In 1975, we locked our door and left all of our belongings there. We never went back,” Luu recounted. Their seventh child, Lee, was their only child born in America. “Lee prefers pizza and hamburgers to rice and fish,” Luu quipped.
First Baptist Church in West Columbia, S.C., heard about the family and sponsored them until Luu’s husband found a job. Then, a few years later after they had settled in West Columbia, Luu’s husband had a heart attack and died and left her with seven children to educate.
Although Luu has continued to speak Vietnamese in the home, all seven children have earned college degrees in America. “Not easy degrees — things like engineering,” boasted Naomi Hutchinson, Luu’s Sunday school teacher for 15 years at First Baptist.
“She is a gentle person with a gentle way of witnessing to everybody she meets,” Hutchinson added. “Everybody in the church loves her.”
Luu works as an alterations specialist at Fort Jackson. “All of my co-workers know that I’m a Christian,” smiled Luu in broken English. All seven of her children have accepted Jesus as their Savior.
In the past 23 years, Luu returned to Vietnam on one occasion: In March of this year, she went back with one purpose — to witness to her relatives.
She witnessed to her 90-year-old mother-in-law and her brother. Even though neither made an audible confession, “I told them, ‘God loves you, and I want you to know that he loves you'” was Luu’s testimony to them. “We plant the seeds. God waters,” she said.
As Luu was readying to board the plane to Vietnam in March, she suddenly stopped, ran back and threw her arms around her Sunday school teacher.
“Oh, Miss Naomi,” she cried, “I love you and I love Jesus, and I’m going to tell everyone I meet about Jesus.”
In tears, Hutchinson prayed as the plane took off, “Lord, bless this little missionary.”
Ramsey is a correspondent for the Baptist Courier, newsjournal for South Carolina Baptists.