Pham Xuan Ang, 62, is a former civilian district chief of Quang Nam province in South Viet Nam who also worked for a time for the U. S. Agency for International Development (AID). In the final hours before Saigon fell he and his wife and other relatives, including his 29-year-old son Ba Vinh, a biochemistry teacher, joined the tens of thousands leaving the country. Some simply did not want to live under Communism, some were running out of sheer panic. The Phams were fleeing for their lives.
Last month the Phams landed at Indiantown Gap, a military base near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for processing. A nominal Buddhist, the elder Pham had been reading a New Testament he’d found and had decided he wanted to become a Christian. Then he got involved in a spiritual nurture program run by Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) workers at the camp who helped him to follow through on his decision. Among them were Jack Revelle, former field director of the CMA work in South Viet Nam, and former Indochina hand John Sawin and their wives.
Pham hopes his family members, who attend daily chapel meetings with him, likewise will become followers of Jesus soon. He also hopes sponsors will be found soon so that his family can leave the camp and make a new start in life.
Pham is one of 15,000 at Indiantown Gap and one of an estimated 130,000 refugees whom the American government is trying to resettle. They are being processed in four military bases (Indiantown Gap, Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida) and in several staging areas in the west Pacific. Many on Guam and at Pendleton and Eglin live in tents; those at Chaffee and Indiantown Gap live in barracks. The going is slow. There are ...1
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