Aunt and Uncles Picture

Gia Dinh Bui’s first migration for freedom

On July 22, 2018, our family had a summer gathering where we had a great gift : an opportunity to hear the story of the family’s first migration from Northern Vietnam to Central Vietnam.  In 1954 The signed Geneva Accords created a temporary cease-fire and separated Vietnam into two halves at the 17th parallel (latitude).  This led to a mass migration of over 1 million people from the North to the South.

However, this migration was not easy, as the “Viet Minh” troops of the North would not allow families to easily leave the new Northern country.  They would do this by preventing families from obtaining nor completing the needed migration documents, and families would find themselves jailed or punished for even seeking or asking about the paperwork.

Our Aunt, Di Lanh, was taken in by our grandparents and essentially adopted as the oldest sister so as to include her on the paperwork.  Only 10 years old at the time, Di Lanh had to pretend to work in the fields gathering grass to feed the cows, hoping to come across French military personnel to submit in secret the family’s migration paperwork.   After doing so, she was found and caught (at such a young age) and jailed for two days without food or drink.

Listen to her story in the recordings below.

Introduction by Cau Hieu

Retelling by Di Lanh, Cau Hieu, Di Hoa, Cha Hiep

Aunt and Uncles Picture

A Journey of Faith & God’s Providence

42 years ago my great grandma (in her 70’s), grandparents (in their 50’s), aunts, uncles and cousins (who were babies) made a journey of faith in escaping Vietnam. It took 10 days in an seamingless endless sea – with each day short on food, water, and shelter. They were rescued by American and allied ships, but the rescue was hardly glorious. They would have to jump from boat to boat to make it closer to the vessel, watching others drown in the ocean below or crushed between boats. Once near the ship, they would have to grab onto cargo nets to be lifted high into the ships. Of course, holding on with feeble hands can old last so long, and people would crash back into the water below.

I found a great gift from several years ago, a video from a Christmas gathering where we interviewed our parents on their Journey of Faith. In the video they shared bits of their journey. It was an incredible reflection, albeit disorganized and spontaneous, but we managed to capture it on video. It is no wonder why my family has such a strong faith in God… although many people perished and died along the way, we somehow survived. When there was no food, my aunt Thanh-Phuong was able to find some in her backpack. When my family was separated at sea, God somehow brought them back together.

The videos are not sophisticated, just capturing a conversation. But listen to both and you can piece together a pretty amazing story of God’s providence.

Part I (12 minutes)

Part II (11 minutes)