Pastor Thai Nguyen lived in Vietnam until he was sixteen years old. He left Vietnam along with his older brother in 1981 and was sponsored to live in the United States by an American missionary who had worked with his father in Vietnam. After attending high school in San Rafael, California, he obtained his BA from San Francisco State University and his Master’s in Divinity from Golden Gate Theological Seminary. Nguyen served as an associate pastor in San Jose for four years after university, before becoming the founding pastor of a Vietnamese church in Denver, Colorado. Since 2005, he has served as senior pastor at Hope Vietnamese Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon.

In this interview, Nguyen discusses his early experiences in the United States and his career as a pastor at various Vietnamese churches in California, Colorado, and Oregon. Nguyen begins by discussing his motivation for obtaining his BA business administration and MDiv, including the life threatening storm that he experienced while escaping Vietnam and how this led him to devote his life to God. Nguyen then discusses his early experiences with Portland and how the city and the Vietnamese community has changed since he first visited in 1989. Finally, he talks about his current church and the ways in which it supports the Vietnamese families which attend weekly worships and community building activities.