Vinh Chung was born in South Vietnam, just eight months after it fell to the communists in 1975. His family was wealthy, controlling a rice-milling empire worth millions; but within months of the communist takeover, the Chungs lost everything and were reduced to abject poverty.
Knowing that their children would have no future under the new government, the Chungs decided to flee the country. In 1979, they joined the legendary “boat people” and sailed into the South China Sea, despite knowing that an estimated two hundred thousand of their countrymen had already perished at the hands of brutal pirates and violent seas.
After several weeks at sea Chung’s family lay half-dead from dehydration in a derelict fishing boat jammed with ninety-three refugees. Finally, the Chung family was rescued by a World Vision Operation Seasweep ship, that was scouring the waters of the South China Sea to help stranded refugees.
The Chungs were taken to the United States with nothing but the clothes on their backs and unable to speak a single word of English. After arriving in the U.S., they were relocated to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. There, Vinh struggled against poverty, discrimination, and a bewildering language barrier—yet still managed to graduate from Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Chung studied at the University of Sydney as a Fulbright Scholar and completed a master of pharmaceutical sciences. He also holds a master of theology from the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Chung currently serves on the board for World Vision U.S. He and his wife, Leisle, have four children. They run a successful private medical practice in Colorado Springs, CO.
About Tim Downs
Tim Downs is the author of nine novels, including the Christy Award–winning PlagueMaker and the highly acclaimed series of Bug Man novels. Tim lives in North Carolina with his wife, Joy. They have three grown children.