“I’m still a work in progress and deal with the daily temptation of lust and other struggles. But the difference between my life now and before Christ is knowing God’s Word. I am still a sinner, but God promises me that I am a new creation, and that is where my hope lies.”
“I grew up between two worlds,” said Chris Le. “My parents emigrated to the United States from Vietnam, and I was raised in the predominately white community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. That’s Amish/Mennonite Country – people who were instrumental in helping many Vietnamese refugees resettle in the U.S. It really was a wonderful place to grow up.
“I knew the Lord at an early age but had a very intellectual understanding of who Jesus was. I went to a Christian camp in middle school and remember seeing for the first time people singing worship songs to Jesus in a genuine way. I knew right then that I did not have that kind of true relationship with the Lord.
“Back then I was an awkward, nerdy pre-teen and used porn as an escape. I went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, but I also consistently chose what I knew God did not want me to do. As the pattern continued through high school, my struggle with porn made me depressed because I knew I was in real bondage to sin. I’m a self-motivated guy, but pornography was something I was not able to change on my own.
“Finally at a high school youth group retreat, I could not take it anymore. Through tears, I told God that I had tried to manage my life on my own power, but it wasn’t working. I also talked to one of my small group leaders about my struggle with porn – the first time I’d spoken about it with anyone. I remember feeling such freedom after confessing that struggle and committing to following Christ. It was a slow change, but God began working in my life in the months and years to follow.
“I’d like to tell you that my struggle ended there, but God’s Word doesn’t promise us that we’ll be free from temptation and trouble. Instead, He promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and provide a way out from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). From that moment God never left me, even when I moved overseas to Vietnam for eight months… even when my family moved to another state and left me alone in Pennsylvania for a while…even when I decided to pursue a degree in medicine and the long hours and grueling workload that went along with it. God showed up in every area of my life and taught me how spending time in His Word each day was life-changing.
“My pursuit of a career as a Physician Assistant brought me to Texas and to the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth. School was hard, and I knew I needed friends, so I started to look for a church. In spite of showing up wearing all black, talking to nobody, and running out as soon as the service was over, I was able to connect with other people at Watermark. I went to The Porch Fort Worth, and God soon surrounded me with other Christians who cared about me. I pursued Membership at Watermark and joined a community group with other guys who loved Jesus, worked hard for peace and unity, and resolved conflict in a way that honored God. The Lord used the three years I spent in Fort Worth to make me more like Him.
“For someone who was hesitant to plug in at Watermark Fort Worth at first, I was so resistant to leaving several years later when a job opportunity came up in Dallas. God had given me so many friends there, but I moved over to Dallas anyway and got involved at The Porch Dallas and at re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry. Yet again, the Lord exceeded my expectations by providing a godly community of friends to walk alongside me. When I faced moments of temptation, God and His people were there for me.
“Today, I work in the ICU and deal with life or death situations often. Every day I see the difference between believers and those far from God as they deal with end of life issues. It’s always a hard conversation, but people who have walked with Christ for a long time do not fear the future. They know God is in control, and they are not anxious and fearful. It’s a hard job sometimes, but the Lord provides the grace for me to love and care for the person in front of me because they are loved by Him. I can only say that because I have been forgiven by God, and He has given me love and compassion for others.
“I’m still a work in progress and deal with the daily temptation of lust and other struggles. But the difference between my life now and before Christ is knowing God’s Word. I am still a sinner, but God promises me that I am a new creation, and that is where my hope lies. That’s also why I’m able to say that now I have the life I always wanted. Work and finances can be hard, but I’m not alone; God loves me and is working to make me a different, more faithful person. I’m surrounded by God’s people who know me and are ‘for me,’ and we’re all in this together.”