Trung, the son of a high-ranking government official in Hanoi, is a serious-looking man with jet-black hair and the suave air of a race car driver. He started using drugs recreationally as a teen, but soon his life revolved around getting that next high. To procure drug money, he stole from his parents, pawned furniture, and robbed people on the street. Once he held his own 1-month-old daughter for ransom, only bringing her home after procuring money from his wife and parents. “I lost my human character,” Trung remembers. “I was like an animal.”
Exasperated, Trung’s parents sent him to government-run rehab centers that treated addicts like prisoners, yet every time he left, he’d quickly return to drugs. In 16 years, he entered rehab 14 times. The last time he made up his mind that he’d never go back, so he stopped using drugs but instead drank copious amounts of alcohol, gambled, and caroused with prostitutes in front of his wife and children.
In 2006, Trung ran into a friend he used to do drugs with and found the man was now clean—he had gone to a Christian rehab center and professed faith in Christ. Seeing the change in his friend, Trung agreed to enter the rehab center. Without access to women, alcohol, and drugs, he had nothing to do but read the Bible. After two weeks, he found he no longer used bad words. As he continued reading, he stopped telling lies. He found he had power over the bad thoughts in his mind.
Shocked, he realized that the power of God had done what years of willpower and rehab could not. He professed faith in Christ, and he felt fully forgiven, loved, and made new. Trung spent so much time reading that a friend at rehab called his wife to tell her he was out of his mind: All he did was read the Bible.
During his time in rehab, his wife, parents, and other relatives also professed faith in Christ. His mother was so grateful to have her son back that she spent all her remaining money building a six-story house in the city of Hanoi to use as a house church. Today, six house churches, including one headed by Trung, meet in that house.