After ushering all of the believers into one room at gunpoint, the policemen arrested Rachel’s father, Pastor Hu, for subverting Vietnam’s communist government by preaching the Gospel. The sight of her father in handcuffs with a gun to his head was more than the 8-year-old girl could take. As the officer gripping her father’s arm opened his car door, she bit him as hard as she could.
“Give me back my father!” she shouted, before biting his lower leg hard enough to leave teeth marks through his pants.
“Don’t hurt me, you stubborn girl!” he yelled.
“Let him go,” Rachel’s mother urged. “Your father will come home.”
Pastor Hu calmly reassured his worried daughter. “Do whatever your mother tells you,” he said.
“I will be home soon.”
Reluctantly, Rachel obeyed her parents. She sat on the ground and watched through tear-filled eyes as the officers pushed her father into the black vehicle and sped away.
Raised amid persecution
Though her father’s arrest shocked Rachel, it wasn’t the first time she had seen authorities oppose his ministry. She was also present one day when police raided a church service, pointing guns at worshippers and demanding everyone’s Bibles and hymnals. They threatened to shoot anyone who didn’t comply.
With Rachel’s father in prison, her family’s lives became more difficult. In order to provide for the family, her mother had to walk into the jungle each day to peel bark off trees; she then used the bark to weave baskets that she sold at the market.
Since the prison was far away, Rachel was able to visit her father only once. During the visit, she again boldly spoke her mind — even to the prison guards. Seeing this, Pastor Hu encouraged his daughter to pray.
“Please pray for me, and be careful what you say,” he said. “I always want to serve the Lord. Pray that God will give me opportunities to tell others of Him in prison.”
His Christ-like heart continued to influence Rachel, even from a prison cell.
For His glory
Three years after Pastor Hu’s arrest, a man with a long beard knocked on Rachel’s door. Although she didn’t recognise him at first, her older brother knew immediately that it was their father. Overjoyed by his return, Rachel embraced him tearfully.
Today, more than two decades after his imprisonment, Pastor Hu is still monitored by authorities looking for reasons to harass his congregation.
The week VOM workers spoke with them, the family had just been called to the police station again.
Rachel, now 33, has adopted her father’s bold yet quiet faith. She encourages other youth to remain strong in Christ and never deny Him. Understanding the importance of nurturing young children in their Christian faith, she leads the children’s ministry at their church and trains new teachers. She also cares for a group of very poor believers who live in the mountains. They were forced to flee their villages after becoming Christians.
Rachel forgave the man who arrested her father long ago. “If I met him again, I would be kind to him,” she said. “I have forgiven him, but the forgiveness I have comes from the Lord.”
While in prison, Pastor Hu led 285 inmates to Christ. Rachel considers that a lesson in how God is always in control, using all things for good.
“I learned many things,” she said, “but most importantly to be ready and prepared for whatever would happen, like suffering. Everything happens under the Lord’s hand.”