The ropes bit into Bien’s [bee-YEN] wrists as she struggled to free herself.
Her brothers had tied her to the small boat before they left to get gas for the boat’s engine. They planned to take her to the small offshore island where their grandmother lived so she couldn’t attend the heretics’ church she had been visiting. She knew she had little time. She saw some friends passing nearby and called them to help her. They quickly untied the rough ropes and helped her from the boat before her brothers returned.
As 14-year-old Bien and her friends hurried through the streets of the small town she explained that her family was angry because she had been attending the Adventist church, and her brothers were trying to keep her from going.
“Why don’t you just give up the church?” one of her friends asked. “Is church worth all this trouble?”
“It’s not just going to church,” Bien explained. “I’ve learned that God loves me, that Jesus died for me, and that He wants me to follow Him. I want to be His daughter, even if it means losing my own family.”
“Where can you go to be safe?” another girl asked.
“The pastor’s house,” Bien said and led the way. When they arrived, Bien thanked her friends and begged them not to tell her parents where she was. Safely inside, Bien told the pastor and his wife what had happened, and they agreed to let her stay with them for a while. But three days later Bien’s mother knocked on the door. Bien fought her fear and bravely followed the pastor to the door.
When the pastor opened the door, Bien’s mother lunged at her daughter, grabbing her by the hair. She tried to drag Bien from the house.
“Stop!” the pastor’s wife said. Bien’s mother let go and faced the pastor’s wife. “We’re concerned about her,” the pastor’s wife said. “Can we talk?” Bien’s mother finally agreed to leave without her daughter, but the pastor promised to bring Bien to see her later that day.
Bien whispered, “I’m afraid.”
“We’ll go with you and stay with you while we try to sort this out,” the pastor said. Bien nodded. She knew she couldn’t stay with the pastor forever.
The pastor took Bien to her parents’ house and agreed to let them speak in private. But when he left, Bien’s parents unleashed their anger.
“You are useless to us and a problem,” her father began. We don’t want you around here, and we don’t want you near those Adventists. You’re going to go live with your grandmother, where you won’t find any Adventists.”
(Continued next week)