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AlumNews: Milestones

1958 - Ralph and Gladys Burcham

Monday, July 30, 2007  
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Having taught at OC from 1958 until 1992, I had the priviledge of teaching business and sponsoring Outreach. We took 9 campaigns to Europe and one to Hong Kong and one to Vietnam. We took the first group in the Vienna Studies Program.

Our mission story has just been published. This is an account of our mission work in Vietnam from 1966 until the war came into Saigon in 1968. We were under siege for 15 days with heavy fighting in our area. When the Tet Offensive started, we could see tracer bullets in front of our house and we could hear the mortars as they whistled overhead. There were terrfic explosions as the mortars hit their targets on the big Tan Son Nhut airbase, which was just four blocks from where we lived.

I returned to Vietnam in 1969 and Gladys and I with two OC students--Gary Williams and Pat Peters--returned for four months in 1973. God blessed with many great mission opportunities. I started an orphanage, directed an international school, and taught and baptized many Vietnamese and servicemen.

We had plans to return in 1975; however, when the northern provinces of Vietnam started falling to the communists, the Vietnamese brethren asked for me to try to help them get out of Vietnam. To me, it seemed impossible. But God works powerfully through the affairs of men and most of the leadership did escape just before the fall.

The College Church, now Memorial Road, became a refugee center; we helped place some 300 all across the United States. We had from 90 to 100 here.

OC gave us the use of a dorm and the Lions' Club, who had a health camp across from the campus, gave us the use of their 9 cabins and a large dining hall.

I think many who attended OC during this era will remember their involvement with the refugees.

Our inspiring story is entitled "Vietnam--Triumphs and Tragedies"; it can be obtained here on the Xulon Press web site or here.

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