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During his years as a pastor, Huu Nguyen impacted the lives of many people, particularly refugees from Vietnam who, just like him, had come to the U.S. seeking new beginnings. He inspired many through his kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Nguyen, 78, died April 17.

Nguyen was born in Vietnam. After high school he obtained a degree from what was then called the University of Science in Saigon. He graduated from Political Warfare College in 1969 with the rank of First Lieutenant and served an honorable career in the South Vietnamese military. He was captured in 1975 after the fall of Saigon and spent seven years as a prisoner in a forced labor camp, followed by three years of constant surveillance. It was during this time that he found his personal connection to God. Nguyen managed to escape from the turmoil of Vietnam in 1987 and began a new life in the United States in 1988.

Nguyen was ordained in 1993, to serve as pastor to the growing community of Vietnamese refugees in Wheaton, Ill. He completed his Master of Divinity degree at Calvin Theological Seminary in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies in 1998. For over 25 years Nguyen served what became Vietnamese New Hope Christian Reformed Church, a congregation with close ties with Wheaton CRC.

Nguyen is survived by Nhuyen, his wife of 56 years, as well as three sons, their wives, and five grandchildren.

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