In his book, “Where The Wind Leads,” Vinh Chung tells the miraculous story of his rescue by World Vision from the South China Sea and how he built a life for his family in the United States through perseverance and faith in God. Below is an excerpt from a World Vision magazine story featuring Vinh.
Vinh Chung is no stranger to suffering. When he was 3 years old, he escaped death in a small boat on the South China Sea.
World Vision saved him at one point, and now he’s working with the organization to help other children in dire circumstances.
Vinh’s family was among the thousands who fled communist Vietnam by boat in the late 1970s. He, along with nine immediate and eight extended relatives, as well as 75 others, were crammed into a boat, hoping to find safe haven in another country.
They reached Malaysia but were turned away. They were left floating aimlessly, waiting to die.
God had another plan. Launching a daring program called Operation Seasweep, World Vision scoured the waters to help stranded refugees, including those on the Chungs’ boat.
Vinh’s family made it to Singapore and, three months later, immigrated to Fort Smith, Arkansas. They soon came to know Christ through a local church’s Vietnamese ministry.
“I am amazed at the different people God has placed in my life at different critical points,” Vinh says.
Years later, as Vinh prepared for his future medical career, he also began to explore his past, putting substance to his vague childhood memories. He learned World Vision was the organization that had rescued his family years before.
Vinh became more curious about his homeland, so in 2002 he and his wife, Leisle, visited Vietnam to meet his extended family. The relatives, who tried unsuccessfully to escape at the same time as Vinh, shared details of a difficult life after their boat drifted back to Vietnam.
“I felt like there was such unfairness in this world,” Leisle says. “I happen to be in circumstances where you can work hard and it pays off. They were just stuck.”
Vinh realized how different his life could have been. He says, “It was almost as if God was speaking to me in that moment when I was in Vietnam, as if to say, ‘Vinh, have you done everything you can with what you have? Now that you can see with your own eyes and feel and touch this other world that could have been yours, what are your plans for the future?’”