We meet Choj in a small church in one of Vietnam’s major cities—far away from the remote mountainous village where he lives with his wife and two-year-old daughter. It’s too dangerous to meet him there.
When Choj and his wife married, she was living in a village with mostly Christians. But it was their daughter that led Choj to Christ.
Or, more specifically, his daughter’s sickness.
“I don’t know what her illness is called,” he explains. “But she came down with a high fever and had a severe headache. It became worse. She fell asleep and didn’t wake up for three days.”
Choj was used to sacrificing pigs and chickens to the gods. (The Hmong often sacrifice animals to ward off the bad spirit believed to cause the illness.) But he never felt like the gods he worshiped were on his side; they never seemed to help him. In desperation, he went to the local shaman, asking what he needed to do to heal his daughter. The shaman was little help.
“He told me I needed to sacrifice a big goat and a red dog,” Choj remembers. “I had goats, but where was I going to find a red dog?”
That night, Choj had a nightmare: “I saw a fly who planted an egg on my coat. The egg turned into a maggot”—a sign of bad luck in the Hmong culture.
‘This must be God’
Choj grew even more fearful and desperate. Though he’d never bothered much with his wife’s Christian faith, he gave in and brought their still-unconscious daughter to the Christian church his wife was raised in. At that point, Choj “didn’t know anything about church,” he says.
Choj’s first visit to a church wasn’t too memorable. The pastor prayed for the young girl, but little happened.
“She opened her eyes for a little while,” Choj says. “I didn’t experience anything extraordinary and was certainly not planning to abandon my ancestor worship.”
Two days later, the brought their daughter again for prayer. This time, the girl regained consciousness. His daughter’s healing was this father’s turning point. “I thought: This must be God. I decided to follow Christ.”