Vietnam Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church
Wong Yew Seng (黃有誠) and Wu Chook Ying (吳竹影)
Basic Demographic Information
Official Name: ??? Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church
Church Administrative Unit: ???
Date Officially Formed: ???
Founding Minister: ???
Church Website: ???
Current Address: ???
Date on which Current Sanctuary was Established: ???
Current Membership: ???
The present State of Vietnam consisted of the former French Indochina, excluding Cambodia and Laos. The gospel work among the Chinese in Vietnam can be tracked back to 1915, when Yang Tian Si (楊天賜), a colporteur, was sent by the South China Union Mission (華南聯合會) to begin the work there. Yang arrived at Saigon (西貢), now known as Ho Chi Minh City (胡志明市). But shortly afterwards, due to visa problem, he had to return home disappointedly.
In 1920 the South China Union Mission sent Pastor Tan Kia Ou (陳鏡湖) to French Indochina. He first went to Haiphong (海防), Hanoi (河內), Nam Dinh (南定), in the northern region (Tongkin), and then continued to work in the central region (Annam), and southern region (Annam). When he arrived at Saigon, he met Trinh Thu Lam (鄭秋霖) from Xiamen (廈門), China. At the time Mr. Trinh was running a school in Saigon. The school was closed on Saturdays, but was opened to those who would like to attend the Sabbath services. Pastor Tan Kia Ou often worshipped God with the Trinh family and they gradually gathered some people interested in the Adventist beliefs. Unfortunately, Pastor Tan did not come to Saigon often. Because of the lack of pastoral support, these new faith-seekers stopped coming. [Editor’s note: Trinh Thu Lam’s daughter, Trinh Linh Hy (鄭仁熹), later went to Singapore to enroll in the Chinese ministerial training class in the Malayan Union Seminary. Immediately her graduation, she married her classmate Yap Ying Chung (葉英忠) of Malaya and began working in Singapore. He was the assistant pastor of the Chinese church, and she as an instructor in the Chinese Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence School.]
From 1932 to 1937, Liaw Hon Phin (廖漢平), accompanied by his family, went to French Indo-China to engage in colporteur ministry. He was then called back to pastor churches in Seremban (芙蓉) and Batu Pahat (峇都巴轄) in Malaya.
In 1938 Chan Chin Hui (陳景輝), an Adventist of many years, and his family came to Vietnam from Shantou (汕頭) to start his business. He met Ng Keng Chor (吳景初) from the Cantonese Mission (廣州區會). They then decided to start church services temporarily at Chan’s house in certain district of Saigon. In the same year the South China Union Mission again sent Pastor Tan Kia Ou to Vietnam to sell the Adventist literature.
As Pastor Tan traveled and worked in various parts of French Indo-China, he saw the work among the Vietnamese had made much progress and yet there was on formal work among the many Chinese living. He then made a request to the South China Union to send a worker to preach the message among the Chinese. Lee Sai Kwang (李世光) of Hong Kong then came to work in Saigon.
In 1940 Lee Cu Minh (李居明) came to work as a colporteur in Saigon. By now more and more Chinese Adventists migrated to Vietnam, they decided to develop the gospel work among the Chinese. Chan Chin Hui rented a house at a certain street, at his personal expense, in Cholon (堤岸) as a temporary meeting place. All the church members worked cooperatively and diligently for the church. Lee Sai Kwang (李世光) came from Hong Kong to hole a series of revival evangelistic meetings. It lasted four months. At the end of the meetings fifteen converts were baptized and joined the church. The congregation then moved to another building as its sanctuary. The Cholon Chinese Church was then organized on October 26, 1941. Chan Chin Hui was chosen as church elder.
In 1942, in order to advance the various ministries, a row of five houses nearby at No. 201 to 205, Hong Bong Street (洪龐大道) were rented for use as a church, a school, and a maternity home. Mrs. Chan Chin Hui was in charge of the maternity home, which was developed into a maternity hospital. With the assistance of Lee Cu Minh, Chan Yan Shun (陳賢俊, commonly known Chan Shun), and Kok Ann Ling (郭安寧), the maternity hospital made so great a progress that the premises became too small. After careful consideration, the congregation move back to its former site, and the Sam Yuk School was closed, to make room for the expansion of the maternity hospital.
The number of the new converts continued to rise and there was not enough space to accommodate this expanding congregation. It was therefore decided to erect a new church building in June 1948 at 61 Hong Bong Street (洪龐大道). With the generous contributions from the members and the appropriations from the Southeast Asia Union Mission and the Indo-China Mission, the building project went on smoothly. On June 15, 1949, the foundation stone was laid. Five days later the construction began and completed on February 17, 1950. The dedication service was held on June 25, 1950.
Reported Paul Hung (洪聲世), not long after the establishment of Cholon Chinese Church (堤岸華文教會), a church school was started. At that time it was housed in the same building as that in which the Maternity Hospital was located. The enrollment in the school was one hundred. However, after three years of existence, the school was closed. When the Chinese church was constructed, there was a vacant lot at the rear of the building. Here classrooms were built. This new school opened its doors in 1955 with an enrollment of over twenty pupils. The following year it increased to about seventy. Two full time and two part time teachers were employed. They taught in English and Vietnamese. Under the able leadership of Wong Mo Sun (黃慕新), the school was progressing. (The Messenger, March 1958, p. 5.)
From then on the gospel work grew tremendously. A primary school and the Voice of Prophecy Bible School were soon opened. The Southern Vietnamese Government Radio Station also broadcasted our programs on health and family teachings. There were several hundred thousand listeners.
On August 17, 1955, Pastor and Mrs. Milton Lee (李嗣貴伉儷) with their son and daughter sailed from Hong Kong via the Philippines to Saigon (西貢). Their purpose was to hold a week of evangelistic meetings at the Cholon Chinese church from August 19 to 25. At the nightly meeting, more than 300 people packed the church to hear Pastor Lee speak in his fluent Mandarin while Mr. Chong Wing Ping (張永平) [younger brother of Pastor Joshua Chong (張永和)] translating into Cantonese. At the end of the series, sixty-eight persons signed their names pledging to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, forty-six persons enrolled in the Bible Correspondence school, and nineteen requested Bible study. (The Messenger, September-October, 1955, pp. 2, 3.)
The respective ministers who served at the Cholon SDA Chinese Church from 1938 to 1975 were: Kok Ann Ling (郭安寧), Paul Hung (洪聲世), Ho Wai Yue (何韋如), Wong Kiat Sam (黃達三), Chin Kong Tai (陳光大), Wong Yew Seng (黃有誠), and Jonathan Foo Yun Ming (符運明). Since the change of government on April 30, 1975, the ministers were as follows: Nguyen Xuan Son (阮春山, a Vietnamese, pastor, May 1975-1980), Ly Cap Thoi (李恩典, assistant pastor, May 1975-1976), Vurong Thurong Ha (王飛豹, assistant pastor, 1977), Tran Hai Chau (陳海洲, assistant pastor, 1977-1979), Truong Lurong Ton (張良孫, assistant pastor, 1979-1980, pastor, 1981), Ly Quoc Hang (now known as Frank Lee [利國鏗], pastor, 1982-1990), Tang Khank Van (曾鐵威, pastor, 1991-July 1993), Luong Chi Dao (梁志濤, assistant pastor, 1991-July 1993, pastor, August 1993-May 2004), Luong Kim My (梁金美, assistant pastor, June 2003-May 2004, pastor, June 2004-August 2006), Amy Trinh My My (鄭湄湄, assistant pastor, May 2005-October 2006, pastor, November 2006- ) Out of their love to the Lord, all of them cultivated the church arduously, not afraid of hard work. With blood and sweat, they built up the church. [Ly Cap Thoi’s father was Lee Cu Minh (李居明). Frank Lee, now working in Honolulu, is known as Frank Loi.]
Beginning in mid-July 1965, the writer [Wong Yew Seng (黃有誠)] had the honor to serve at the Cholon SDA Chinese Church. At the time the political situation was very unstable. Street protests, assassinations, explosions happened everywhere on a daily basis. It was the first time in my life that I lived in such a combative environment. If it were not the courage and the blessings God gave me, I would not have survived. Apart from pastoral care for individuals and the entire church, other ministerial methods were utilized, such as evangelistic meetings, Christian hymn concerts, social gatherings, Christmas celebration, Lunar New Year cerebration, faith-sharing activities, branch Sabbath schools, outings, sun-shine bands, etc. Each church member eagerly participated in these activities to win the souls. Thus, the Lord added new converts to us abundantly and this revived the church. We managed the daily church business and took care of the pastoral needs; we tried to reach people through bible correspondence schools, gospel radio programs, family seminars and frequent evangelistic meetings. Although my five years work in South Vietnam was laborious, it was indeed the very period of time that I yearned for throughout my entire career. I experienced how God helped me to win nearly 80 souls to His kingdom. God also nurtured my own spiritual life. How grateful He is! Praise the Lord!
Before I left South Vietnam in 1970, I actively revived the Sam Yuk Primary School. All the staff members were led by me to the church. At the end of 1970, Jonathan Foo Yun Ming (符運明) and his family arrived at Vietnam from Pontian, Malaysia. Jonathan was in charge of the church, while his wife, nee Doris Wong Yew Khuan (黃有群) was principal of the primary school. The couple remained in South Vietnam until 1975 when the Communist Army took over the whole country. During the five-year period, both the church and the school greatly expended.