2027 — Language

Minh Phong Nguyen, St. Patrick Church, North Little Rock

Attends the House of Formation in Little Rock

A vocation is a divine call to God’s service. My call to serve God began when I was asked by my family, my siblings and my priest about my intentions and desires to lead a consecrated life.

In seventh grade, our parish offered a vocation class to help us recognize our purpose in life. What do we live for? What is our purpose? Who do we live for? How do we live our lives? More and more, my desire and devotion to God kept growing and I realized, I already belonged to God.

After three years, I stopped going to the vocation class due to some academic challenges. The academic pressure pulled me away from God. I began to think that I didn’t have the aptitude for religious life, as I once thought.

It wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I realized that even though I had abandoned God, he still loved me dearly. One day, as I was driving, I began to fall asleep and almost crashed into a huge traffic sign. At that moment, I felt as if a hand pulled me out and back to the road on that motorcycle that was covered with plants.

I knew God was always by my side and was constantly protecting me. His love for me was unconditional, yet in return I loved him so little. Quickly after the incident, I returned to the vocation class and was determined to fully dedicate myself to God.

Today, as our society grows, people start to lose faith in themselves, in others and in God. By observing my life and that of others, I have come to realize that true happiness is only found in God and that nothing will ever give us the everlasting joy and happiness like Jesus Christ. With faith, I began the path toward priesthood.

October 6, 2013 was the first time I participated with the Redemptorist Missionaries, whose aim was to imitate the word of God for the poor. My wish was to offer my whole life in service to God. After spending time with the brothers at the retreat, I was able to find balance and harmony in my life. I stayed with the Redemptorist Missionaries in Vietnam for one year, while attending college.

On Sept. 16, 2014, a day before my 19th birthday,  I became a member of the Redemptorist Mission in Vietnam. I was jealous of my twin brother because he was able to spend a birthday with family, while I was away and by myself. Was it fair? I found my answer shortly after. I had God by my side, and even though my family was far away, they always thought of me and supported me.

During my mission in Vietnam’s highlands in 2015, I had the opportunity to help people of ethnic minorities. It changed my whole perspective of life. Consecrated life is not always as easy as I had thought. There were many challenges due to the differences in language, culture, traditions, etc. and I was able to discover that through the Redemptorist Mission. Life’s challenges and difficulties can prevent us from getting closer to God and without faith, we will fall.

My religious path changed on Dec. 2, 2017, when my family migrated to the United States. Despite this move, I was determined to still devote my life to God. Through Father Tuyen Do, God brought me to the Diocese of Little Rock. I was able to meet Bishop Anthony B.Taylor, Msgr.Scott Friend and other priests, all men of great compassion.

I could see myself becoming part of this diocese, start my consecrated life and be with brothers and priests who are welcoming and full of love. I will persevere with the grace and the love of God. Every day, I will try my best to serve the Lord and serve others. God bless us all!