How Former Buddhist Turned Witchcraft Doctor Became the ‘Apostle Paul of Vietnam’

Paul Ai
Paul Ai

As a teenager he left the hopelessness of Buddhism for the power of black magic, then American missionaries demonstrated the amazing power of the God they served, which made his 3,300 gods seem impotent. After receiving Christ, he entered into a new battle with communist authorities for the soul of the Vietnamese people—a battle still raging today.

“I grew up in a very strong Buddhist family,” says Pastor Tran Dinh “Paul” Ai, founder of Vision Outreach International Ministries. “I was sent to a Buddhist temple and trained to be a Buddhist monk,” he says. “My father was a very successful Chinese medical doctor, but he was bothered by politicians who tried to extort money from him.”

“He vowed if he had a son he would send him to the temple so he could be trained as a monk,” Ai says. “My name in Vietnamese means ‘Stop loving the world.’”

At age 15, after only a year of study, he became disenchanted with the “hopelessness of Buddhist doctrines.”

Seeking a more powerful religious experience, he journeyed to the dark side. “I went to study black magic and became a witchcraft doctor, serving 3,366 gods,” Ai says. “They gave me power, but they made me bow my life to their strongholds,” he says. “They also made me hate the gospel.”

In 1970, as President Nixon sent American troops into Cambodia from Vietnam, causing mounting protests on U.S. college campuses, American missionaries entered Ai’s town in South Vietnam. “A lot of people in my town went to the crusades and met the Lord,” Ai says. “Some of my black magic students came to me and said, ‘Master, you must stop this crusade, otherwise we will lose all our customers in this town,” he recalls. “So I went to the crusade the following day to check it out.”

Ai expected to find the missionaries performing “religious activities,” but was surprised to find them singing songs, reading the Bible, and giving a simple message. “They said, ‘We don’t want to bring to Vietnam a new religion, because all religions will make you more and more burdened. But Jesus promised if you bring your heavy burdens to him he will give you rest.’”

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SOURCE: ASSIST News Service
Mark Ellis

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