Moses the Freedom Fighter is back!
This time in Syria, crying: “Let my people go!”
There is something that seems to me like the rebirth of Moses, the freedom fighter. In the most unlikely of places, Moses the freedom fighter is back. Moses of the epic Biblical account: he that led the Israelites into the greatest walk to freedom in world history — the Exodus — is back! As told in the Biblical story, Moses heroically conquered Egypt, the world’s superpower at that time, and literally brought it unto its knees, destroying its economy and killing Pharaoh the king, the heir apparent, all the rulers, the entire army, and thousands of Egyptians. So, is this dreadful Moses back on earth?
I have a personal conviction that this same Moses is one of the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11:3: “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” From this Scripture, I believe that Moses, and maybe Elijah, could show up again in the end time tribulation dispensation to relive the Bible days once again.
In light of this, two former Vietnamese refugees are attempting to convince me that Moses the freedom fighter may actually be back on earth in our time. The two brothers Chinh Vu and Khoa Vu, founders of Ayotree, a social enterprise which develops cloud-based language school management software, are the creators of Moses the Freedom Fighter.
Meet Moses the Freedom Fighter, the new free-to-play mobile game for Android and iOS, that’s the game changer in present day evangelism reaching out to thousands of Syrian refugees.
With Moses the Freedom Fighter, as you ascend through 7 different levels of classic retro gameplay, you’ll help ‘your super hero’ Moses free his people (this time not the Israelites but the Syrians), fight injustice, end slavery, and establish the Ten Commandments. The game includes clever challenges and vibrant animation, ideally recounting one of the Bible’s most unforgettable tales: the story of Moses the saviour of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Each level of the game is an homage to a different retro video game, with inspirations including such classics as Tetris, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros., Punch-Out, and Sonic the Hedgehog, and each provides new challenges and chances for fun while telling a new chapter in the story of Moses.
What’s glorious about Moses the Freedom Fighter is that the creators, Chinh Vu and Khoa Vu are making history by giving 100% of its optional donations to Oxfam America’s Syria Refugee Crisis Response Fund. When you download this game, view an advertisement or tap a button, you’ll be supporting Oxfam America which receives 100% of the game’s advertisement revenue and optional donations to help Syrian exiles fleeing genocide and oppression.
I spoke with Chinh Vu, the co-creator of Moses the Freedom Fighter to try and understand this great act of generosity and love. Excerpts.
Eric: I understand you have refugee background, tell me your experience, and whether this was the motivation to develop this game.
Chinh Vu: I was born in Saigon in 1973 – the same year the Viet Cong took over South Vietnam. In 1979 I escaped with my younger brother and father, who was a political prisoner sent to the ‘Re-education camp’ for his anti-communist stance. It was very much like what was depicted in the old Chuck Norris ‘Missing in Action’ movies, only sadly for my father it was very real. My father was locked up for several years and I did not know him until he came back from one of these so-called camps.
At the age of 3, while he was imprisoned, I caught polio and my grandparents on my father’s side took care of me to help relieve some of the burden from my mother, who had to care for my younger brother and sister. I lived in a separate house from my mother and two siblings, so I only knew my grandparents as my family and caretakers.
At the time my father took me and my younger brother to escape Vietnam, they were both practically strangers to me. We fled on a small boat and were at sea for three days before getting rescued by a shipping boat and then taken to a refugee camp off the coast of Malaysia, called Pulau Bidong.
Being a Vietnamese refugee boy arriving in America after a devastating war, I remember the names I was called and how I was treated. This was an experience other Vietnamese refugees, and perhaps all Southeast Asian refugees from the 80’s, could relate to.
In school, I was quickly labeled a “Viet Cong” and a “Gook” by other kids. In their eyes, I was the enemy who fought Rambo and locked up Chuck Norris. The irony of this situation of course could not have been further from the truth: my family and most all other Vietnamese refugees fought against the same enemy as Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris.
In many ways, because of my own experiences, I sympathize with the new refugees coming to America now from the Muslim world and Middle East. I’m sure it must be awful for many of these people, especially kids, who have to deal with the stereotypes and name callings of “terrorist” and “jihadist.”
The Moses story was told to us as kids, and I vividly remember watching Charlton Heston in “The Ten Commandments” every Easter. Moses was the original refugee and part of the first wave of oppressed and displaced people who had to flee their homes for a foreign and uncertain land.
This was also a force for what inspired us to create Moses the Freedom Fighter.
Eric: Please describe the impact you would want this game to achieve both short term and long term.
Chinh Vu: We’re aiming to raise “$10k by World Refugee Day” on June 20. On a longer-term basis we’ll continue directing 100% of game proceeds from in-game advertising and donations to Oxfam America’s Syria and Refugee Crisis Response Fund – until hopefully that day is no longer necessary.
Eric: What if the refugees do not have access to mobile devices to play this game or the purchasing power to download the game?
Chinh Vu: The game is completely free. Even if you do not have money, you can still donate for free by watching an ad. 100% of ad revenue will go directly to Oxfam America.
Cell phones are virtually everywhere today, including Syria. The main difference however is it’s a necessity, not a luxury — it’s a lifeline there to friends and family and a vital tool for information. 87% of Syrians have a mobile phone subscription (according to CIA World Factbook).
The game will always be available for free download and it’s our hope it reaches as many people around the globe as possible. This is why it’s currently available in 9 languages from www.Ayotree.com and will soon be available in 6 more languages.
Eric: Why did you choose to give 100% of the game’s optional donations to Oxfam America’s Syria and Refugee Crisis Response Fund, yet you are a for-profit entity?
Chinh Vu: When I was in my 20s living in San Francisco and working at my first software startup, I was taught software development was more of an art than engineering. Whether profit is involved or not, software development above all is something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a kid, and as a company Ayotree.com only hires people who have the same attitude.
Moses the Freedom Fighter is merely an expression of this philosophy. It’s our statement for what’s happening on today’s world stage and our way of supporting people who are being oppressed and marginalized by others in power.
Eric: There are thousands of refugees elsewhere in the world, why Syria?
Chinh Vu: Syrian refugees share a very similar story with Vietnamese refugees from the past: people who are stuck, trying desperately to escape a war-torn country by any means necessary. If you Google pictures of these refugee communities, whether they’re Vietnamese or Syrian boat people, the images look hauntingly similar.
Eric: If you had one wish for Syrian refugees, what would it be?
Chinh Vu: Peace!
Eric: How else can the church take advantage of technology to evangelize the world?
Chinh Vu: The church can leverage the same tools we’ve used to get out our message of hope and help. Technology is a powerful medium to spread the Word, and because our game is true to the Bible’s telling of Moses’ Exodus, churches and other faith-based groups can start there by sharing the game with their communities. The timing is especially perfect with Easter right around the corner!
Eric: Thank you so much for your time and responses.
Players of Moses the Freedom Fighter can support Oxfam America either by viewing optional video ads from the game’s main menu, or by direct donation through the game’s website at www.FreeMoses.org. Moses the Freedom Fighter is free and available for iOS at iTunes, at https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=1145186524, and for Android via Google Play, at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ayotree.moses&hl=en. The game is currently available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese, with versions in Filipino, French, German, Indonesian, and Korean.