I Am a Child of God

One of the joys of traveling to events in different states is meeting new people and hearing their stories. I met a gentleman who sojourns in Richmond. I call it his temporary place, because the world has been his home. Sam James and his wife, Rachel, served with the International Mission Board for 54 years in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. They were assigned in Vietnam during the entire war, from 1962–1975.

We enjoyed hearing Sam speak from the stage, as well as in personal conversations. Sam told of boarding a ship in San Francisco bound for Hong Kong with a 3-year-old, an 18-month-old, and an 8-week-old baby. They all stayed on board the ship for three weeks in one tiny room a few decks under the water line. In Hong Kong, they moved the family into a tiny motel room to await their visa. The Vietnamese Embassy denied their request. They were told it was unlikely a second request could be granted. Would they like to go elsewhere? Had they misunderstood God’s call? After prayer, they decided to reapply. During that time, July stretched into August and September and then moved into October. They would gather daily on their knees in the small motel room and petition the Father.

As they went to bed on October 16, Rachel said, “Don’t worry. Tomorrow is my birthday. This is the first time our names will be on the missionary prayer calendar. We will get our visas.” On the afternoon of October 17, the call came. The visas had been approved. They could journey on to Vietnam. For the James family, it was affirmation of the importance of people praying for missionaries on their birthdays. Sam and Rachel had an amazing ministry in Vietnam. Rachel even started Acteens to engage Vietnamese in missions discipleship.

Hearing Sam’s stories only left us wanting more. On the journey home from the event, we listened to an IMB Missions History podcast with Sam James. On the broadcast, we heard Sam tell about the heartbreaking day he had to leave Vietnam when Saigon fell. On the flight out of his beloved Vietnam, Sam struggled with his identity. He had been proud to be a missionary to Vietnam, a pastor, chairman of the mission, and president of the seminary he founded. All of that was gone. Then, I heard Sam say on the podcast, “I made a decision that night. I will never let geography or position or power or work determine who I am.” He decided in his heart his only identity would be as a child of God. Thank you for sharing this beautiful life lesson with us.


Our deliverance is in Christ alone. Our hope is in Christ alone. Give us resolve and courage to live our lives to the fullest as Your child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.



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