Cuong Ngo is the pastor of Portland Vietnamese Church, a Seventh-day Adventist congregation. Pastor Ngo was born and raised in Vietnam during the war, but immigrated to Portland with his family in 1989 when he was just nineteen years old. Finally able to pursue an education that was unavailable to him in Vietnam, he enrolled at Portland Community College Sylvania and obtained a degree in fine arts. Following graduation, Ngo received a call from God to go into ministry work. He attended Walla Walla University in Washington to obtain a bachelor’s degree in theology and continued to study at Andrews University in Michigan to obtain a master’s and doctoral degree in preaching.

In this interview, Cuong Ngo describes critical moments during his youth in Vietnam and life in the United States. He begins his interview by explaining how he did not have a traditional childhood because of the Vietnam War. He describes the trauma he experienced both during and after the war. Leaving Vietnam in 1989, he describes the refugee camp in the Philippines where he lived before entering the United States. This camp is also where Ngo and his family converted to Christianity. Ngo describes the challenges of learning a new language and the educational experiences that enabled him to return as pastor to the church he first attended after settling in Portland. He continues by describing his pastoral responsibilities, church events, and community services. He encourages his congregation to provide support for the Vietnamese community, but also to be of service to those living in the larger Portland community.