National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

The turn of the tide

December 2014

by Rebecka Colldunberg

In 1954 a young Vietnamese man, among thousands of others, lost his life battling for the independence of his country. His son was born soon after.

The soundtrack of this boy’s childhood and adolescence was gunshots, rocket fire and screams. Screams—blood and death accompanying them—from the enemy, from strangers and, on many occasions, from his own family and friends.

God blesses his people with the commandment to welcome strangers

This was life for the young man, his daily reality. But although he had experienced no other way of living, he knew this way was wrong and that life should be different.

In 1954 a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed seven-year-old boy roamed his parents’ South Australian farm. The soundtrack of his childhood and adolescence was the happy clatter and chatter of farm life, laughter and church bells. This was life for this young man, his daily reality. But although he had experienced no other way of living, he knew he was blessed to have this life and that there were people in the world not so blessed. He wanted life to be different for them.

Both young men met and married amazing women, who complemented their souls and shared their dreams, hopes, faith and desire for all people to live in a better, safer world.

In 1977 the paths of these two families crossed in a meeting that changed their lives. Saigon fell to the Communists in April 1975. In 1977 newlyweds Hieu and Lan …