Bobby was born in Vietnam in 1970 during the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. His father was killed in an accident soon after Bobby’s birth and his mother raised him alone until she met an American Army officer in the nightclub where she worked as a singer. The two married in 1972 and the officer adopted Bobby as his son. The couple came to America to begin establishing their new life together, leaving Bobby in the care of his aunt in Vietnam. The intention was to be reunited with their son after a short time, but the soon-to-be communist government halted communication between the U.S. and the Vietnamese people and travel became restricted.
It was 1982 before Bobby’s parents finally brought him to America and by then he also had two half-brothers. He was enrolled in school and quickly began to learn the English language. About the time he was old enough to have his first job and a driver’s license, he also began taking his first sips of beer. For Bobby, life became all about having his own car, money in his pocket and access to beer. In 1990, when he was 20 years old, Bobby was driving his brother home from the mall after he’d had several beers and he lost control and wrecked his car. He was arrested for OWI and spent several hours in jail before his dad bailed him out.
Bobby refrained from alcohol for a short time but the desire still had a hold on him and he gave in to it. He was living with his parents at the time and one day, feeling good after several beers, he took his brother’s car and went to visit a friend. While there he stole several personal checks, wrote one out to himself for a large sum of money and cashed it. Bobby didn’t return home that day. He checked into a motel and went on a drinking spree, having the time of his life.
He remembered that a paycheck was waiting for him at work and went to claim it. Little did he know that family was looking for him and his manager contacted Bobby’s dad when he showed up. The police also showed up and arrested him. He was charged with felonies for auto theft and forgery, and spent several months in county jail followed by two years in prison.
Bobby was released from prison in 1995 but couldn’t go home because of the trouble and heartache he had caused his family. He stayed with friends and strangers, working odd jobs to make ends meet and support his drinking habit. Wandering the streets one day, he found himself at Good News Ministries and went inside hoping to get something to eat before he went on his way. He enjoyed a hot meal and was told he could stay if he was in need of shelter. Bobby did stay and during daily chapel services he began to learn about Jesus. Having come from a background of Buddhism, Bobby struggled to believe the Gospel message of grace through faith but he couldn’t stop thinking about it. A pastor took him aside one evening, answered his questions and prayed with him. In December of 1996, Bobby put his faith in Jesus Christ and was born again!
Bobby faltered early on, but the Lord has enabled him to remain sober for over 20 years now! He faithfully attends church and is always happy to share his testimony. In 2009 his mother, who was a devout Buddhist, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She previously wanted nothing to do with Bobby’s faith but, after the diagnosis, her heart was softened and Bobby had the great privilege of leading her to the Lord before she passed away.
After working diligently over the years in various jobs around Good News, Bobby made the transition from client staff to a full-time Good News employee in 2015! He still lives onsite in his own apartment and serves as our Transportation Coordinator, keeping track of Mission vehicles and taking care of daily donation pickups.
A significant milestone in recent years was the complete expungement of his criminal record in 2018! Bobby can look back on all the circumstances of his life and clearly see God at work. And he is truly thankful.