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12.31.2005    |    Nguyen Van Thoi
Nguyen Van Thoi was one of those boat people you may have heard of. In Mr. Nguyen's case, he had been in ARVN and had directly helped our forces during the Vietnam war. After our disgraceful abandonment of the South to Communist dictatorship, he was sent to a "re-education" camp, in good Stalinist fashion. After two years, he bribed his way out, showing, if it needed showing, what the Communist ideologues were really about.

Nguyn Van Thoi escaped, via boat, taking his family to Thailand. The fuller story of how he wound up in Arlington, Virginia, where I had met him, may be found in his obituary. This man worked hard, at first at menial jobs, until he started what became his life's work here: a successful entrepreneur, opening a small chain of excellent restaurants. The best of them is the Nam Viet on North Hudson Street in Arlington, where we used to go weekly before we moved out of Arlington not too long ago.

Mr. Nguyen's life, now cut sadly short, is a reminder of how precious each life is. And how we should ever welcome newcomers to our shore who are willing and able to work. Especially those who are fleeing tyranny in their homelands. This man surely enriched our community, in more ways than one.

In closing, this about Nguyen Van Thoi's outlook (from the obituary):
Loyalty was a principle Mr. Nguyen often reiterated as a cherished quality for a good life, his son said.

"Never lie, cheat or steal from anyone to get ahead in life," Nguyen [John, Van Thoi's son]said his father wrote in a memo to his children shortly before his death. "Never let anyone look down on you."
Well, he's surely looking down on us, in a manner of speaking. No one who met the man in life could possibly have looked down on him. R.I.P.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.