On 24-hour shifts, rifle-ready Lee Yih peered across the border into East Germany, guarding against Soviet troops that never came. On his days off, the U.S. Army soldier fought with his wife and got stoned.
“I was real alienated,” Lee says on an “I Am Second” video. “I was just a loser, just not functioning in life.”
Before he lost his way in life, Lee Yih says he was born with great ambitions to be rich — a stark contrast to growing up as the offspring of a date rape in a single parent home. Being Asian, he felt like an outcast among all-white classmates in Mount Joy, Iowa.
“I hated to be Chinese. I told my mom I wanted to be white. In the town where I grew, there were no other Chinese people and I wanted so much to fit in. Basically, I had no identity.”
His mother bristled at his rebellious rejection of Asian culture, so she shipped him off to Taiwan to learn Chinese when he was 15 years old.
“Now I got worse problems because where once I felt so Chinese in Iowa and so foreign and not fitting in, now I’m really not fitting in because I am in China, and I am so American,” he recounts.
Then a friend invited him to a Christian camp. “I got snookered into going to a Baptist youth camp,” he remembers.
At the camp, he heard about Jesus, and, feeling lonely and unloved, he asked the Savior into his heart.
Unfortunately, when he returned to America, he forgot about Jesus. In college he joined a fraternity at UCLA. When some of his peers accepted Jesus through Hal Lindsey’s ministry, the rest of the guys jeered them. Lee pretended he didn’t know Jesus and joined the band of mockers.
He prolonged his four-year degree into five, ran afoul of the draft and found himself in the U.S. Army, stationed at Giessen, West Germany, guarding one of the most sensitive borders of the Cold War.
But as he peered across the Iron Curtain day after day on redeye shifts and no communist soldiers advanced, the nervousness eventually gave way to tedium.
“I had no meaning to my life,” he says.
Like so many other U.S. soldiers facing the noxious mix of tension/boredom guarding the border with East Germany, he fell into drugs.
“All the guys in Germany were back from Vietnam,” he recalls. “Here they are talking about killing gooks (the derogatory term used for North Vietnamese soldiers). And I’m looking in the mirror, saying, ‘Wait a minute. I think I’m a gook to these guys.’”
He also started a family — and promptly it faltered. His wife, Miltinnie, threatened to leave him. Read the rest: Lee Yih Christian