International Student Finds God at NDA


Claire Edgar, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“It was always my mom’s dream for me to go to America,” said Mimi Trinh, former Notre Dame international student.

Trinh was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, for 15 years. She came to the United States by herself and spent her first year here attending a public school in St. Louis, Missouri.

In August of 2009, Trinh walked through the airport doors and saw a huge smile waiting for her. That smile belonged to her new “Dad,” Dave Maloney. She was excited for her education at NDA.

She refers to her host parents at NDA as “Mom” and “Dad.”

Trinh’s experience at NDA and with her host family was also formative for her faith. She had always been a Buddhist, but once trials hit, she turned to Christ for comfort and answers.

Her first encounter with Christianity was in Mrs. Jane Hall’s gospel class where she had difficulty understanding the content.  In fact, she said she got her first-ever F on a quiz in that class.

“Now I can’t have enough of God in my life,” Trinh said.

In September of 2009, she was notified that she had to go back to Vietnam to see her mother for the last time. Little did she know that her mother had already died. On the flight to Vietnam she began to pray to Buddha.

“It felt like I was praying to a wall,” said Trinh. “I prayed to Jesus out of desperation… and for the first time it felt really weird but also comforting and like someone was listening.”

When Trinh got to Vietnam, she found out that her mother had already died, so she became angry at God.  She began to ask a lot of questions when she got back to the United States.

“My dad and I had a lot of conversations. I talked to Mrs. Hall, my theology teacher and asked her where people go when they die. That was the first time I really had a knowledge of God and seriously wanted to know about the Catholic faith,” said Trinh.

After her father went bankrupt, Trinh prayed to God that she would be able to finish her senior year at NDA.

“Jesus actually heard me and there was this voice inside me that told me to have hope,” said Trinh. She was able to collect enough money from family in Vietnam to finish her senior year and graduate with an IB diploma.

In January of 2011, Trinh was baptized and made a full commitment to God.

When Trinh graduated high school, however, she had no means of paying for college in the United States, so she prayed every night for a full scholarship to an American college. In April of 2011 Trinh got a call from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, saying that they were offering her a full presidential scholarship to attend there.

“God took me all the way to Florida,” Trinh said. “After that I fully believed in Him.”

Trinh studied business in college and her current employer is sponsoring her for a green card.

“After I get my green card, I want to go back to Vietnam and talk to my family about God,” said Trinh.