My name is Terry Phong and I am an Amerasian baby born during the Vietnam War. I was among one of the tens of thousands of children fathered in Vietnam by the U.S. troops during the 1965-1973 war period. I never knew my father and my mother never cared to share the whole truth about him with me. Perhaps it was too painful for her to recall that part of her life. Children of black GIs and the local women in Vietnam who had them were particularly frowned upon.
Over the years, I asked my mother many times who my father was and each time she would only give me little bits and pieces of the story. It felt like she was avoiding telling me the truth, until one day she just came out and said she was raped by my father. I stopped asking her from that day forward. Quite honestly, from what she had told me, it left me with more questions than answers. I am not doubting the story was true. My mother had also told me that she had worked for my father as his housekeeper. This strikes me as a little strange since she worked for the guy but did not even know his name.
My Crisis of Identity
Growing up as a person of color in an all-Asian family was not a walk in the park. I had a brother 12 years older. Unfortunately, he died in 1994 of AIDS. My brother was gay. I do not know who my father is and I am literally the black sheep of the family. Also, I was raised Buddhist. To say that I had an identity crisis while growing up. is putting it mildly.
I decided at an early age that I really did not want anything to do with my family. Long story short, I ran with what some would consider unsavory characters. At the time, they were the only people I thought would accept me. I turned to a life of drugs and crime at the early age of twelve.
How I Came To Christ
I was sent away to live with my aunt and cousins at the age of 14 because my mother could no longer handle me. Also, I was stealing to support my drug habit and getting in trouble with the law. My aunt had converted to Christianity a few years before I started living with her. She did not want to leave me alone on Sundays at her house. Also, I think she suspected that I was stealing from the family, so I was forced to go to church with her.
It was during one of the youth pastor’s open invitations to accept Christ that I had my first encounter with who God is. I had accepted an altar call from one of the church services but thought nothing of it. What I did recall was the youth pastor saying, “Just remember to cry out to Jesus to save you in your time of need.” Indeed I did call on Jesus many years later when I was caught in a bind. I prayed, “God if you’re real, then please get me out of this bad situation.” And indeed He did deliver me out of it. Did I hold up my part of the deal and commit my life to Him? Sadly, no.
The World Had Its Hold on Me
I kept on living my crazy life of drugs and crime until I got arrested for a major felony and was incarcerated for three and a half years. I had some time to reflect on my life and experienced what some would call “jailhouse religion.” Of course, that religious transformation was short-lived because I was still not 100% fully committed to living a life for Jesus. The world still had a certain hold on me.
As soon as I was back on the streets and back with my old circle of influence, I was right back to doing the same old things. I was getting high and stealing again. All the while, God had His hands upon my life. He convicted me of my sins along the way and quietly waited for me to fully surrender to Him.
It was not until I had my heart broken for the very first time in my life at the age of 28 that I realized I needed to fully give my heart to God. Finally, at the age of 30, I took that first step to commit myself fully to the Lord. In His grace, He blessed me with my now wife and life partner of 21 years.
Why I am Seeking Christian Leaders Training
God is good and He knows exactly what I need and when I need it. As a husband and father, and son to an aging mother, I realize that I need to set a better example for my own family. For instance, I became the Godly example I was longing for but did not have while growing up. This is one of the reasons why I am seeking formal, Christian Leaders Institute training. It’s time for me to grow spiritually and move from drinking milk to eating meat.
I believe Christian Leaders Institute‘s Life Coaching certification is in alignment with the principles of the Holy Bible. We are made in the image of God, He created our life for a purpose, and I believe this type of formal education will help me achieve that dream that God has placed in my heart to help others do the same.
Sharing My Spiritual Dream
My spiritual dream for the longest time is to bring God glory. I wasn’t sure just how to do that. God has brought me out of a lot of hardships in life and has called me to “feed His Sheep.” I think God wants to bless others through me and my life experiences. I can empathize with others regarding life’s hardships because I’ve actually gone through them.
By joining Christian Leaders Institute I’m fulfilling my career and dream of becoming a Life Coach Minister. God has put it into my heart for this type of ministry many years ago, to love on people and to help them with their journey in life. God is truly using CLI to freely give of its valuable resources and training not only me, but to further grow in their own spiritual walk as disciples of Christ. For this, I am incredibly grateful. I thank God and CLI for helping me grow spiritually and equipping me to help others do the same in my newfound career as Life Coach Minister.
Living Out God’s Calling
Life is all about inspiring others to make powerful, positive choices that will transform their lives. Jesus loved and inspired. I want to be able to do the same by encouraging and inspiring others through my Life Coaching Minister certification.
As a Life Coach Minister, my mission is to help others get unstuck through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. With Jesus being our “Master Coach,” I believe He can give us the ability to clarify our beliefs. We can reframe our understandings and also fill our desires to grow as His children.
Coming from a life of experience, you can consider me as a resource. Also, I am a tool in helping others address some of the common concerns of life such as overcoming obstacles, formulating life goals, and making a positive action plan for how to achieve goals and fulfill one’s calling. As Christians, we are created to bring glory to God. Believe it or not, we all have the same mission which includes His love and helping others. By imparting the Godly principles and techniques that I’ve learned through my Life Coaching Minister course and certification, I ultimately want to motivate my clients to action and accountability.
For the most part, we discover our mission, not choose it. As Christians, we discover what our calling is and is not. We all need a little guidance in life at times. Our Heavenly Father has graciously provided us the freedom to choose just how we are to glorify Him through our own callings. When we choose to obey His commandments, we don’t have to worry about making a wrong choice. Proverbs 19:21 says; “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”