Many of you remember in the mid-seventies River Road Church, Baptist sponsored the “Sui-Li Family” from Vietnam. The family consisted of mother (Mai), father (Sui), and five children, four boys and one girl ages four to fourteen. Frances and Willis Jones headed up the resettlement committee. This committee, along with other volunteers, involved themselves with the Sui family in tutoring, money management, and skills of daily living. My job, along with my husband Tom and our Sunday School Class, was to furnish a two bedroom apartment in London Town Apartments. This was indeed a challenge when all five children slept in one room, small at that. Dr. Powell immediately came to the rescue and donated two metal bunk beds. All other furnishings were donated down to pictures on the walls and forks in the kitchen. The only item I bought was a rice cooker.
The “Sui Family” lived here a couple of years, then sold everything and moved to Chicago for technical training for job opportunities. They studied there for two years and then moved to Houston, Texas. Since the early eighties, they were employed there, raised and educated their five children. Today four of the children are professionals, and fine contributing citizens. The youngest was killed by a hit and run driver, and “Sui-Li” died a few years ago of cancer.
I have corresponded with “Mai” through the years. This Christmas Eve she phoned me, along with other members of our congregation, to reflect and express her appreciation. She said “Without River Road Church, Baptist our life would have never succeeded and my children would never have graduated with honors from the University of Texas. I am so appreciative to everybody there.”
In the beginning we collectively felt this would be an enormous project, and now looking back it appears to have been one of many great undertakings of our Church and much appreciated.