Once Refugees…

Members of the Nghinh Ngo family returned for a visit this month.  In 1975, our church sponsored the family which had fled the collapse of South Vietnam.  They were the first Vietnamese refugee family in Palacios.  Nghinh was a lieutenant colonel in the South Vietnamese army.   He and Bach moved to Palacios with their 4 children, ages 4 years to 6 weeks.  The congregation provided a place to live, a job, and friendship to the Ngo’s, and in return was enriched by their presence.   Among other efforts, women of the church helped Bach, a beautician, with her English, and she enjoyed saying thank you by giving haircuts and wonderful facials!  Ngoc, the oldest walked with church members from their apartment on Welch to our Day School.  While here, the family, tho Buddist, were in church every Sunday.

But the Ngo’s were city people, and Mr. Ngo was by trade a mechanic, not a fisherman.  They only lived here for nine months before moving, first to El Campo, then to Houston.  The congregation and particularly John Toellner, continued to be friends to the Ngo’s even after they moved.

After leaving Palacios, the family added another daughter.  Mr. Ngo is now retired and Mrs. Ngo died a few years ago.  All five children graduated from college and are doing well.  Among their occupations are nurse, teacher, missionary (to China), and dentist.  During this visit, Ngoc told us that they have met other refugees who did not have such a welcoming experience when they came to the US, and they are very grateful that they landed in Palacios with the Presbyterian church.    The children, now grown, are all Christian.

For the 41 years since they left Palacios, they have continued to visit and would often come to Sunday services.  Visits got farther apart as family situations changed, but they still return to visit and to say thank to the church for a very welcoming sponsorship when they were refugees. .