Dr. Paul Ai Tran is Being Held in Ho Chi Minh City for Sharing the Gospel of Jesus – Again!
3/19/09 Vietnam (ANS) A close friend of Dr. Paul Ai Tran, a much persecuted Vietnamese Christian leader whom the communist authorities grew so frustrated with because of his prolific church planting efforts that they deported him from Vietnam in 1999 to the United States, has told ANS that Tran is being held under “city” arrest in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
Bruce Sonnenberg, Executive Director/Founder of He Intends Victory based in Southern California, said, “Paul is staying in a hotel under ‘city’ arrest and being watched by two police bodyguards everywhere he goes. He has the freedom to go and visit his family and friends, etc., but he has the two policemen watch his every movement for 24 hours a day. The policemen stay at the hotel in the next room to his.
“Paul is now an American citizen and has a tourist visa to go back to Vietnam. They cannot do anything to him, but they also want to make a point by making things difficult for him. What they are saying to him is ‘so you want to come back and visit Vietnam, now you can stay, but you cannot leave until we say so.’ They are just playing games with him and I believe they will release him soon as they will get bored with the situation.”
Sonnenberg went on to say, “The reason Paul does not choose to stay at the home of a family member in Ho Chi Minh City is because the police will interrogate his sisters. He was given the option of staying in a hotel and chose that to make things easier for his family. The police authority has given him back his passport, but they have not yet given him permission to leave Vietnam.
“They may let him leave on next Tuesday (March 24) as per his ticket. Paul had wanted to go to Da Nang and Hanoi but, if he is allowed to leave, he will now go to Singapore and Malaysia.”
Sonnenberg told ANS that he had just spoken to Paul Ai Tran by phone and he said Tran told him, “Do not to worry about me. I am safe in the arms of a Mighty God, much mightier than any government.”
He added that he Paul Ai Tran went on to say that some of the Vietnamese pastors came by his hotel to visit with him.
Said Sonnenberg, “With joy Paul told me, ‘These new young Vietnamese pastors are very bold, even more bold than when I was young in the Lord. They are not afraid of the police. This next generation of believers, in Vietnam, are dynamic and I thank God for them. This gives me great hope for the future of Christianity in Vietnam.’
“I asked him if the bodyguards had come to Christ yet and Paul said, ‘Almost, we are very close!’”
Over the years, Dr. Paul Ai Tran has been imprisoned in Vietnam for a total of 12 years for preaching the Gospel of Jesus. In December of 1999, Paul, Ruth and their five children were removed from their own country and given residency in Hampton, Virginia, where Paul and Ruth now serve the Lord with Vietnamese Outreach International (www.paulai.com).
“Paul was in Vietnam to visit family and some of the 350 pastors who consider him their bishop or overseer,” said Bruce Sonnenberg.