Violent protesters supposedly furious about racism burned down a Baptist church in Philadelphia … that was a valuable resource for Vietnamese immigrants.
According to Baptist Press, however, the pastor of the church is saying that the arson allowed for an act of God.
Vietnam Baptist Church in Philadelphia was burned the night of Oct. 27, the second night of mob violence in the city after police shot a black man during a violent confrontation the previous day. Pastor Philip Pham received a call from a church member whose friend had seen fire trucks surrounding the church, and flames.
“I have no idea why they attacked our church,” Pham said. “They burned it from the roof. They threw flammable chemicals on the roof and [flames] burned through the roof.” Pham called the sanctuary a “total loss.”
However, three important computer hard drives miraculously were undamaged. Vietnam Baptist Church has served as something of a community center since 2005, providing the congregation with help on immigration documents, taxes and even marriage counseling.
More than 15 years’ worth of information about hundreds of clients is on the hard drives, which were kept at the church, Pham said.
“I prayed right away: ‘God, please protect the hard drives,’” Pham recalled of the night the church burned. “Other stuff can be recovered. But those files will never be recovered.”
When firefighters let him in after the fire was put out, Pham said, “I saw the routers and modems and things surrounding the hard drives all burned, melted,” he said. “But that piece of hard drive, no harm. No harm at all. Just two feet above that, all melted. … That is amazing how God knows our needs and answers our prayers.”