Servant on the Edge of History
Risking it all in War- ravaged Vietnam
Even at the age of 73 Sam continues to risk it all for
the Gospel as he still travels throughout war zones
today...Just a year ago he came out of Baghdad by
car at 112 miles an hour on the way to Amman!

In this exciting book you will see how Sam James
and his wife risked it all for the Gospel in
War-Ravaged Vietnam.
(Read Chapt. 1 below)

Sam has been in most of the major war zones for
the last 40 years... Vietnam was just the beginning.
From Vietnam in the 60's to Serbia, Bosnia,
Croatia, Lebanon and China in the 80's to the war
ravaged Middle East in the new Millennium... Sam
has seen it all. And in addition to the excitement this
book will give you the benefit of Sam's unique
perspective on life.
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Read Chapter 1

From Physical Rags to Spiritual Riches

Rachel and I looked down from the plane on which we
traveled. We viewed green rice paddies and a myriad of
canals below. We were making our first trip back to
Vietnam after fourteen years of absence since the
communist “liberation” in 1975.  Bob and Ida Davis, who
had served with us as Southern Baptist Missionaries in
Vietnam, accompanied us.  

As we descended toward the airport, the scene below
gradually changed from rice paddies and canals, to
scattered houses, to villages and finally to the sprawl of
the city now named Ho Chi Minh City.  We had no way of
knowing what would happen when we landed at that
airport.  

We had sent word to some of the Vietnamese Christians
with whom we had worked in bygone days that we were
arriving but could not be sure they had received that
information.  We had no way of knowing when we
reached the immigration desk whether our previous
years in Vietnam would prevent our entering the
country.  We feared would be told to get back on the
plane and leave.

My heart was beating wildly as I stepped from the plane
to board the bus that would take us to the terminal.  I
looked around the airport at the terminal building and
the tarmac from which I boarded the plane on that April
night in 1975, in the hours of the chaotic “fall” of
Vietnam.  That night I took off in total darkness not
knowing whether I would ever return to this land again.  
It seemed a lifetime ago.  That night my heart was racing
with fear and anxiety.  Today it was racing with
anticipation and hope.

As we stepped off of the bus to enter the terminal, my
attention was drawn to a huge number of people
standing on the roof of the terminal.  As we looked more
closely we could see that among that crowd were a
number of our Christian friends.  We trembled with
excitement as we went through the immigration and
customs formalities and prepared to walk out of that
building and for the first time in all of those years
experience Vietnam again.  

As we stepped through the doors we were met with a
crush of Christian friends who greeted us with excited
greetings, hugs, and tears of joy.  During those dark
years away from Vietnam I had labored under intense
feelings of guilt at having left our Christian people in
their darkest hour.  I felt like a shepherd who had
abandoned his sheep as they faced great danger.  I
wondered if they harbored ill will toward me for leaving
them so suddenly during those last hours before the
communist forces entered the city.  Now, we were
surrounded by those friends who were welcoming us
back and expressing such love and joy at our return.  
The government owned bus was waiting to take us to
our hotel and the driver grew more impatient and
nervous by the moment.  Finally the security police had
to come and tear us away from the crowd and physically
shove us into the bus!  

Thus began the most exciting and rewarding visit we
have ever made anywhere.  Security in 1989 was very
tight.  Our friends were not able to visit us at our hotel
lest the security police call them in for severe
questioning.  We were not free to visit in their homes.  
After the greeting at the airport, we were able to have
little or no contact with any of them except for worship at
the government recognized Grace Baptist Church on
Sunday.  

One morning as my fellow missionary Bob Davis and I
were leaving our hotel, someone accidentally bumped
into me on the sidewalk.  Before I could see who it was, I
felt a piece of paper in my hand.  As I unfolded it, I read
“Meet us at the Zoo at 2:00 this  afternoon.”  We had no
idea who had placed that paper in my hand.  Was it a
government agent who wanted to catch us doing
something wrong?  Was it one of our former Christians
who was setting up a meeting?  After some debate, we
decided that it was worth the risk.   Bob and I boarded
the predominant mode of transportation in Vietnamese
cities in that day called the “pedicab”.  It is basically a
three-wheel bicycle with a seat on the front for the
passenger.  We arrived at the zoo at 2:00 sharp, paid
the pedicab driver and walked toward the entrance to
the zoo.  A man standing at the gate motioned for us to
follow him.  We followed him at a distance through the
winding paths deep into the interior of the zoo.  The
Saigon zoo at one time was a beautiful place with a
myriad of exotic animals, most of which are native to
Vietnam and the Indo-Chinese peninsula.  Now, years of
neglect resulted in the zoo becoming a huge jungle with
empty cages.  There was dense undergrowth
everywhere, even encroaching the path where we
walked.  Suddenly the man turned off of the path into
the dense undergrowth motioning us to follow.  Again,
plunging into that undergrowth not knowing where we
were going or who we were going to meet was a big
decision.  We decided that we had come this far and we
simply must proceed on.   We finally stepped into a small
clearing.   In the middle was an old rusty round table and
a number of iron chairs that were rusty but clean
enough to sit down.  From the surrounding wilderness
stepped seven men.  Who were these men......”  

Chapter 1
Foreword by Henry
Blackaby

Sam James, for years,
has been a true
“missionary hero” to me...
Sam has thoroughly
captured in writing the
God-initiated moments
when God made him into
an “authentic
missionary!”... He
captures the deep and
real dilemmas of
extremes in every
decision that grows out of
real situations, and... He
makes us “live out” with
him the inner struggles of
living out his missionary
call.  They are brilliantly
conveyed in his writing...
His heart to engage all
believers with God in a
broken and heart-
breaking world is
exceptional... This book
is essential for all active
missionaries, whatever
their base is, and for
every leader – yes, and
every serious believer in
Christ!

Read the full text of
Blackaby's foreword here
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Table of Contents
The book includes 17
chapters centered on
Sam's own personal
experiences in Vietnam
from 1962 to 1975,
with one final
experience during his
first trip back to
Vietnam in 1989.

Each chapter presents
an ethical, moral,
spiritual or
missiological dilemma.  
Several questions at
the end of each
chapter are intended
to lead the readers to
ask the question “What
would I do under
similar
circumstances?”  It
could make excellent
material for a group
discussion.  The book
is a testimony to God’s
faithfulness in  times of
severe crisis, suffering,
and confusion during
times of war.  
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     Introduction                                                     9

Chapter 1                                          
     
A Meeting at the Zoo                                       11
Chapter 2
     
Beginning with a Miracle                                14
Chapter 3
     
The Night I Became A Missionary                21
Chapter 4
     
Secret Place of the Most High                       32
Chapter 5
     
A Crisis in Perspective                                    47
Chapter 6
     
The Gift of Tu                                                     57
Chapter 7
     
Mr. An's New Life                                              66
Chapter 8
     
Mr. Hai's New Hope                                          75
Chapter 9
     
The World in Microcosm                                 85
Chapter 10
     
When Failure Is So Real                                 93
Chapter 11
     
What Would You Do?                                    101
Chapter 12
     
Love of God and Country                             112
Chapter 13
     
Half a House                                                   119
Chapter 14
     
Growing Through Personal Crisis               131
Chapter 15
     
Preparing for the Future                                137
Chapter 16
     
Divine Protection and Human
     Humor                                                              
144
Chapter 17
     
Identity Lost and Found                                149
Chapter 18
     
From Physical Rags to
     Spiritual Riches                                              
159

About the Author                                                    166

Photo Album                                                           169