The Christian Chronicle shares the inspiring testimonies of two faithful Vietnamese Christians who recently died.
By Erik Tryggestad
3/7/2012 Vietnam (Christian Chronicle) – We received reports of two dedicated Christians — both from Vietnam — who died recently.
Though they didn’t know each other in life, they shared hardships and a common faith.
The first is Can Van Tran, who died Feb. 14 at age 97. Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, he moved with his wife and six children to South Vietnam in 1954, when the country was divided into two nations. Fluent in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese, Tran got a job as a translator for the U.S. embassy in Saigon.
He met a group of U.S. servicemen who were members of Churches of Christ. Tran, who had served in an evangelical church, volunteered to translated their sermons into Vietnamese. Influenced by the church members’ teaching and his own studies, Tran was baptized in 1968 and later became a minister for the Saigon Church of Christ.
Shortly before the fall of Saigon in 1975, Tran and his family left Vietnam for the U.S., with assistance from church member Bill Estep. The family became members of the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Tran got a job as a tutor and adviser for Vietnamese students at Classen High School, where he worked for 10 years.
Tran wrote books on Christianity and translated works by evangelist Jule Miller into Vietnamese. He preached in his native language on a short-wave radio program called “Voice of Truth.”
“My dad’s greatest achievement in life was living a life as a devoted follower of Christ,” his son, Hank, said at Tran’s funeral. “For that I am very proud of him.”
The second Vietnamese Christian, Tran Thi Ket, was baptized in 2010 — in the same river where her husband was killed during the Vietnam War.
In 2010 we shared her story, with help from longtime church worker Tom Tune, who currently is assisting young congregations in Vietnam.
The Hau River, which flows by the city of Can Tho in south Vietnam, was a watery grave for the husband of a woman named Ket. During the Vietnam War, Vietnamese soldiers forced Ket’s husband to row them up the river. Then they shot him.
Ket, the mother of seven, took her children with her as she searched for the body. She complained to the authorities but was ignored. Her suffering didn’t end. Later, soldiers shot and killed one of her sons.
Ket was baptized after Tune began working with her children and grandchildren in a program that helps Vietnamese children attend school.