San grew up in Vietnam, living the life of a rebel. “I have control of everything I’m doing. I am strong. I am good by myself.” At the age of 18 when North Vietnam took control of South Vietnam and communism ruled, with no money in his pocket, San got on a boat and came to America where he continued to live a self-sufficient life.
But in 2019 something happened to humble San, and he lost the best job he had ever had. He was tempted to give up, to get some beer and drown in his sorrow. But something kept saying, “Don’t do it.”
He finally decided he need to find a place where he could sort out what was happening to him; so on the following Sunday (Easter) he visited Faith Baptist Church in Palm Bay, FL where he sat in the back weeping and was the first person to leave, not wanting anyone to see his tears.
San continued to visit church, until one day he met Wayne in the parking lot. Wayne had been challenged during The Exchange Seminar to Find Five people who need the gospel, and San was at the top of Wayne’s list. Wayne invited San to study The Exchange, but he declined saying he needed to think about it. Several weeks went by, and San didn’t come to church. Wayne wondered, “Did I scare him off?” San, on the other hand, had gotten busy; but he continued to think about Wayne, “I hope Wayne doesn’t think he scared me off.” Finally, when San did return to church he told Wayne, “I’m ready to start The Exchange.”
It was slow-going because San had never read the Bible and knew very little about what it taught. San says, “I was hungry to know more, but I was not submitted yet. The more I got into it, the more my eyes were opened to the hand of God on my life.”
Wayne could tell that the Holy Spirit was working in San’s life, but was actually surprised when San began their second meeting with this question, “What do I need to do to accept Christ?” Wayne writes, “I almost fell out of my seat. I had to get control of myself because I was about to jump around the room.”
Wayne explained that all San needed to do was place his faith in the finished work of Christ on his behalf. Both Wayne and San were in tears as he repeated the prayer after Wayne since he did not know how to pray. His first words were, “That’s the most important decision I have ever made in my life.” This spoke volumes to Wayne knowing the monumental decision San had made at age 18 to get on a boat headed for the US with no money in his pocket.
In San’s own words, “I am proud to say, my name is San Pham and I am now a child of God. Wayne is my brother. This church is full of my brothers and sisters in Christ – the foundation for my journey forward.” Amen!
But, the story doesn’t end with San because as he and Wayne shared this precious testimony Sunday at church during San’s baptism, someone listening realized his need for the life-changing gospel that he had just seen San exhibit. Praise God, Pastor Caleb led this gentleman to Christ that very day.
What a reminder that not everyone who sits in church has a personal relationship with Jesus. Secondly, may we cast aside doubts as Wayne did when those thoughts crossed his mind – “Did I scare him off?” Let’s give the gospel with confidence!