Hello Everyone

This is LoiBeth. It’s unbelievable that the Year of the Rat is already about half over! We hope that the year has been filled with exciting adventures for each of you so far! Life continues to be a wonderful learning adventure for us, filled with exciting things to share! We started the year with a trip to see my family in Vietnam, and we would like to make this update more personal by sharing with you about our amazing Vietnam family reunion - the second time ever that our whole family – Mom, two brothers, me, and all our families – could be together.

For those of you who don’t know, my younger brother, Binh, and I left Vietnam over 30
years ago as part of an orphanage group. It’s a long story, but God engineered all the circumstances and brought us safely to America after an adventuresome trip south through Vietnam, across the South China Sea, and on to Singapore and an amazing stopover in Switzerland. After about 5 years of living in America, I miraculously got connected with family members in Vietnam again and started writing to my mother and older brother, trying to keep up with my Vietnamese. My father was captured and killed during the Vietnam War. My older sister had gotten sick and died before we left Vietnam, so out of 6 siblings, I only have 2 brothers still living – one (older) in Vietnam, and one (younger) in the U.S. It would be about 20 years after we left before I got to see family members in Vietnam again! In 1994 Jonathan and I returned to Vietnam for the first time. During that first visit we bought a one-hectare plot of fruit-producing land to provide a livelihood for our family there, especially my mother, who was living with Anh Lang and his wife, Chi Hoa, and their 4 children. My heart was filled with thankfulness to God for allowing me to see my family again after so many years of separation – but problems and disappointment were waiting around the corner for us as well. Sister-in-law, Chi Hoa, was into gambling and neglected her family. Anh Lang was often away as a government-appointed agricultural extension agent, helping farmers deal with fruit tree and animal diseases while his own family was getting sicker daily. Cultural pressures and the influence of nonbelieving friends and neighbors were strong, and Anh Lang eventually began drinking heavily and started neglecting his family and his faith. Subsequent trips to Vietnam brought more headaches and stress. Jonathan and I really wanted to share our blessings with family in Vietnam, especially to help my mother enjoy the later years of her life, but we didn’t want our limited resources to be mismanaged

or gambled away. Anh Lang and Chi Hoa knew God but turned away from anything to do with the church and God’s people at that time. As a result, nothing they did could bring them joy and satisfaction because they weren’t honoring God in their daily life. In fact, increasing problems came their way. This is just like what happened to the kings we read about in the Bible. Whenever they disobeyed the one true God, worshipped idols, and lived in worldly ways, they suffered defeat and enslavement – just as God said they would if they didn’t follow His ways. This same law of sowing and reaping is still in effect today.

Chi Hoa’s gambling and loan sharking got her into big trouble. She forged signatures and pawned the house
and land we had bought for the family. They were left with nothing if we didn’t redeem what she pawned in time. She was eventually put under house arrest and had to report monthly to local authorities. One of their daughters came down with Japanese encephalitis and went crazy. She is now in her 20’s but has the mind of a child and experiences frequent painful headaches and fits of rage. Anh Lang fell from a fruit tree, broke his back, and was out of commission for an extended time while that healed. Their motorcycles (main means of daily transportation) were confiscated because of various violations of the law, mostly by their rebellious teenage son. Their hundreds of rabbits died of hunger because they didn’t have the transportation needed to go collect forage for the rabbits to eat. Their growing, healthy chickens were all stolen (by neighbors) the night before the Lunar New Year celebration. Their mother pig (their main source of livelihood at the time) died suddenly from a snake-bite. Nothing was working out the way they had hoped.

In 2005, after spending more money to redeem the fruit land and house back to make sure my mother still had a place to live, we decided to leave our Vietnam family alone for awhile. We had enough stress in our life at the time. We were at peace though because we knew that God loved them more than we could and would do what was best for them. During that time of silence from us, the final blow fell. Anh Lang had a bad motorcycle accident; the person who was with him died and he ended up with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and hip, and a ruptured spleen. By God’s grace, he survived surgery in Vietnam, but the recovery process was long and hard. Out of desperation and despair Anh Lang called out to God and God did not forget him and his family. Although they had not been to church for a long time, God ministered to their needs through local Christian brothers and sisters from their church (Hội Thánh Tin Lành, Long Khánh). These church members made hospital visits and gave them rice when they didn’t have food to eat. During this difficult time our family in Vietnam experienced the genuine love and care of God through Christian brothers and sisters who did not forget them. Because of that experience, they turned completely around. As Anh Lang said, “God finally got my attention after all the ‘spanking’ I received over the years.”

Without knowing about this great transformation, we were in for a wonderful surprise when we visited Vietnam earlier this year. What met our eyes when we got to our family’s home in Long Khanh amazed us! The home had been completely renovated and looked new and fresh and solid – not at all like the termite-eaten, wooden-walled, thatch-roofed structure that it had been. Two new, western-styled bedrooms complete with everything, including vanities, were ready for our use. And a big, new room had been built on the front as a worship center! Bathrooms were being added at the back to handle the crowd of worshippers. Their home is clean and well-cared for, with beautiful tile floors imported from China! They often do things together and actually enjoy each other’s company. Their home is in the process of becoming a registered place of worship. Evangelism training takes place there and Anh Lang won an award for leading the most people to Christ of anyone in their church the past year! They are now strong enough in their faith to stand up to cultural and peer pressure. Instead of being influenced by those around them, they are the ones now doing the influencing. What a tremendous change and blessing!

One of the things we did while in Vietnam was hold a celebration feast, thanking God for His work of transformation and blessings; and for my mother – honoring her, thanking God for the long life He has given her, and sharing publicly with everyone who came how important a relationship with God is.

The pastor from the local church came and shared with everyone, dispelling a myth among ancestor worshippers that Christians do not honor their parents. In fact, Christians are commanded to honor their parents, but we do not worship them after they die. Ancestor worshippers do not always treat

their parents well while they are alive, yet worship them after they die for fear that their spirits may bring them bad luck if they don’t. (A nice write up on Vietnamese ancestor worship can be found here: http://www.haivenu-vietnam.com/vietnam-religion-ancestors.htm) He also shared that it is appropriate to honor our earthly parents; and it is even more appropriate for us to honor the God who gave us life and breath in the first place! And yet we don’t, and so our relationship with Him is broken and needs to be healed – and how our relationship with Him can be restored because of what Jesus did on the cross. It was a wonderful time of thanksgiving, worship, and sharing the Good News that God loves us and offers each of us the abundant, meaningful life that He came to give (John 10:10).

We hope you are experiencing that wonderful, blessed, satisfying life that God wants to give to each of us!! We are grateful to you for your input and impact in our life.

Sincerely, The King Family Jonathan, LoiBeth, Nathan, Andrew and Christina If interested, more pictures of our wonderful family celebration in Vietnam are on the following pages:

Service of Thanksgiving to God at our Family Home in Long Khanh, Dong Nai, VN:

For more pictures of our 2008 Vietnam Adventure:
2008.VN Adventure: Prep for Celebration http://www.facebook.com/album.php? aid=50103&id=1015036295&l=821485290a 2008.VN Adventure: Lễ Cảm Tạ - Thanksgiving Service http://www.facebook.com/album.php? aid=50105&id=1015036295&l=7913446a94 2008.VN Adventure: The Thanksgiving Feast http://www.facebook.com/album.php? aid=50113&id=1015036295&l=60e0d49e78 2008.VN Adventure: Friends and Family http://www.facebook.com/album.php? aid=50115&id=1015036295&l=822803b93b 2008.VN Adventure: Family Pictures http://www.facebook.com/album.php? aid=50117&id=1015036295&l=cc54e37bc3

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