Social Justice & Holiness:
Why I am a United Methodist
By Toan Van Nguyen
My name is Toan Van Nguyen, I have three children: two girls and one boy; Augustine (7), TheoPhilia (6), and TheoLogos (4), and lovely wife is Thuy-Linh. I left my hometown when I was about 10 years old and escaped Vietnam with a wave of Boat People who left the country after the Vietnamese War ended on April 30, 1975. During this period, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I had heard God’s calling for me to serve Him and to become a fisher of men. I remembered that while the Indonesian government had transferred the boat people from one island to a place larger inland in order for us to say longer, I was hungry and fell on the floor in the late afternoon after a long trip. A lady had given me a handful of rice…a moment that I recall as Christian love. I believe that God defines the Christian lifestyle by demonstrating His love and His salvation to the unbelievers.
My family and I eventually became members of the United Methodist Church. I believe that our Church strongly demonstrates social justice and holiness through Wesleyan theologies. The UMC is a great and strong mainline denomination, supportive and outreach to the community. I am so proud to be part of the UMC, because before there was no official Vietnamese UMC in Washington State, or even in the Northwest. But now, in these first few years, our Vietnamese Ministry has received support through the General Board of Global Ministries, Pacific Northwest Conference and its Ethnic Commission. Now this Vietnamese Ministry is officially a new church plant in the PNW Conference.
Vietnam has about 4000 years of history. The Chinese dominated and controlled about 1000 years in my country so consequently, Buddhism dominates much of my culture, in customs and in the lifestyle of our families. The philosophy of the Confucians is taught within the Royal family, in society, in schools, and in family values. However, I believe the Power of the Holy Spirit, the theology of Wesleyan social justice and holiness, and the support of the PNWUMC to transform to the Vietnamese community and the great opportunity to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in expanding God’s Kingdom to the family.
We ask that members of the Conference community lift up in prayer this Vietnamese Ministry. Please pray for us to grow and stand out for Jesus Christ to the community. I pray God uses my family and I to transform my Vietnamese community and to bring the good news of Jesus’ salvation in order to have better physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health in the lives of my people. Thanks be to God. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Toan Van Nguyen currently leads an emerging Vietnamese ministry hosted by Seattle: Beacon UMC.