photo by James Nguyen
Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving:) Since November was dedicated to the gentlemen, I thought I would introduce a friend very dear to me. Since we are transitioning from November into the “CHRIST”mas holidays, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce him. You will understand why in a little bit:) Eddie Ngo does not wear fancy tie styles like the Eldredge or Trinity Knot but he wears a special collar for his fashion statement. And in case you are wondering about the same last names, we have no relations beside the fact that he is my brother in Christ.
I knew Eddie before he became a medical doctor and before he decided to become a priest. Yes, you read that right — a priest! He and I met while searching for a deeper meaning to life and for a faith. He had a Buddhist background and me, well I had ran away from any type of religion during my college days. Somehow we crossed paths and discovered, or for me- rediscovered, our faith together.
photo by Eric Nguyen
I remember the day Eddie gathered a few friends together at Thuy’s house to make a special announcement. He announced that he had quit his job at the hospital (as a medical doctor) to join the Jesuit priest order. I was like “WHAAAAAAAAAAT!?!?!?!” Honestly, I was excited for him but at the same time, I knew he had a challenging road ahead of him. I have to say, I am proud of you Eddie :)
Eddie recently took his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience this past August. He is currently serving in Mexico right now. Till this day, I find it so hard to grasp or understand how he can leave his extremely comfortable doctor salary and take on these vows. For that, I want to introduce you to a special gentleman, Eddie Ngo. Here are some questions I asked him. This is one of my ways to keep him, those called to religious vocation, and all those called to missionary work in my prayers.
photo by James Nguyen
YB: What inspired you to become a medical doctor? EN: I did not love the study of medicine itself or even the practice of it when I first started. But as I continued, I realized that I loved my relationship I had with my patients and the care that I gave to them and the trust in that. I loved my patients really. That is what kept me going.
YB: What inspired you to become a priest? EN: For a year in high school, I knew what it was like to be without friends and to be without family, to feel on the margins. Or at least, to feel that way because I always had friends or family. That left a profound impact on me.
And I know what it is like to feel ashamed, down, and out. And I also feel that I have been loved by a God that made me and did so design and wants me to be surrounded with people that love me.
As a priest, I get to be a representative of the community and of a God that accepts other people as they are, to tell them they are good, they are valued, and they have a place amongst others in this world.
YB: What are your hopes and dreams for yourself? EN: The same hopes and dreams as I have for others… to be happy.
YB: What are your hobbies? EN: I am big time TV show junkie. Love “Walking Dead.” Finishing up the “Breaking Bad” series on DVD. And I am a Dallas Mavericks fan. I just recently changed my bucket list from playing a one-on-one game with Michael Jordan to Dirk Nowitzki.
YB: What makes you happy? What makes me happy… is being in community really. Being with a group of people that share their lives that help bring each other up and supports one another. Every place I have been I have needed the support of people to help me be who I am. Meaningful, deep relationships give me life. Hobbies, music, especially meaningful music for me, it is songs that speak of relationships.
YB: Why did you give up becoming a full time M.D.? EN: In life, I think there are some risks you take. People who marry, they have a hope, I think that the next step in marriage leads them to be better people, leads them deeper to enjoy life, to see themselves with a family they can envision together.
And I felt like the time was right to take the next step to figure out if I was being called to the priesthood or not. I had made money. I had received a certain amount of love from friends and family. I needed to see if this next step, with the hope that it could make me happy would work out.
After I stopped my practice to discern priesthood more fully with the Jesuits, I had a chance to practice medicine again. For a period of 5 months, I helped with migrants across the border. And again I would say it was the relationships that I made with my patients that mattered to me. I guess that is why I chose family medicine as a specialty.
YB: What would you want others to know about your faith? EN: I think sometimes people do not feel like they can be themselves and be loved by God, like God does not love everything about them or that they have to behave in a certain way or do things in a certain way to be loved by God. God loves you. Period. Nothing more. Nothing less.
YB: In your opinion, what does it take to be a gentleman? EN: I think if it is a lesson I know, it does not apply just to being a gentleman to a woman but to all people. I think it is about accompanying people, to be there, to know what another is going through without judgment, with compassion. To be there, you get a sense of the person. There is no judgment because you understand what the other is going through and to be strong in that you do not have to solve another person`s problems but to provide that sense of security that you are there with them. And that means a lot I think.
Well, thank you Eddie
for being such a gentleman and answering all the questions. Below is a special song written by Eddie and Tracy Vo
. They wrote it a few years ago while on a retreat leading music for young adults. The video is produced by the talented husband and wife team, Landy and Nick of Red Sole Studios.