112. From Darkness to Radiating Love with Minh Minh Garner

The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

Meet Christine Minh Minh Garner.  She lived in fear, raised in a doomsday cult.  In the 16 years since her escape, she has learned to overcome the fear, live her life by design and is deeply passionate about guiding others to live a life of fulfillment as she has done.

She shares her story and her message with all the Day Doers out there to help us remember that we can move past even the darkest moments.

Love. Empower. Radiate.

Key Points from the Episode with Minh Minh Garner:

  • Minh Minh is a co-founder and owner of a commercial security company
  • She also has developed a business to help people find their purpose and build their vision for the life they want to lead, doing coaching, running workshops and putting out content and guidance to help people get there
  • Her work on vision and purpose is a result of the struggles she and her husband had in their security business early on
  • They were serving their customers well, but the financials of the business were failing, threatening not just their livelihood but also their marriage
  • This was made even more pressing because they had their first child at that time
  • This forced her to dive deep into who she really is, triggering a passion for self-discovery as she clawed to get out of the hole she was in
  • As she says, she had to change in order for her business to change
  • She started vision boarding, which progressed from being surface-level to being more tied to who she really is and what matters most to her
  • She starts by helping people first understand and put down on paper their purpose
  • Connecting purpose and passion is where we find fulfillment in life
  • Minh Minh’s back story brings another profound layer to the idea of finding your purpose and fighting to connect with it
  • Growing up, she was the second-youngest of six children of Vietnamese immigrants
  • When she was seven, her mother took her and her sister to a cult, walking away from her father and the life they had
  • The cult told followers that the world was going to end, starting with the coasts, which is where Minh Minh and her family were living (in Portland, Oregon)
  • The only way out of it was to follow the cult’s profit, including moving to one of their three enclaves, with the one in Idaho being where Minh Minh ended up
  • Five of the six kids went, but all but Minh Minh and her younger sister ended up being kicked out of the cult
  • From age seven to seventeen, Minh Minh was isolated and indoctrinated
  • They spent their days praying to God – a god who she was taught to fear because he was going to smite the world and she will not live past her mid-teens
  • She and her sister were pulled from school, kept in a house with only one window not boarded up, dead bolted from the outside, with no phone or other means of communication with the outside world
  • Her father vowed to come save them, but the cult moved her and her sister further away, deeper into Idaho so he couldn’t find them
  • She started to grab change or loose dollars where she could, trying to save up for a bus ticket to go back to Portland, find her father, and come back to save her sister
  • When she was 15, she got close enough to try to make a run for it, snuck out of the house and made her way to the home of a police officer who said he would come back to the house with others to help them
  • When that happened, her mother convinced them that everything was ok and she would put the kids back in school and there was nothing to worry about
  • While that didn’t bring her salvation, it did get her back out of the house, and gave her some joy in interacting with other kids during the day
  • She made friends with a girl who made reference to God as, “Heavenly Father,” which confused Minh Minh
  • She was told God was angry and spiteful, but this friend talked about God as loving, and knowing us each personally and deeply
  • This was the time that Minh Minh’s mind escaped the cult despite still physically being there
  • One day, a friend of her mother’s was at their home, and Minh Minh worked up the courage to say she doesn’t believe in their views anymore
  • Her mother overheard, threw a pan across the room, and shouted, “You’re not my daughter anymore. Get out!”
  • Minh Minh called the friend who had talked with her about God, who called her mother to take Minh Minh in
  • That began her work to get to know God, and see his mercy and love rather than the vengeful anger
  • It also set an example for Minh Minh around forgiveness
  • Today, she does not hold anger or blame toward her mother and the cult, but instead forgives her
  • It would be too heavy to bear that burden of hatred and anger, giving up her own joy
  • Forgiving her mother has allowed Minh Minh to live a happier life even if it has no bearing on her mother
  • Going back, you can see how the idea of vision boarding was present along the way, in how she saved up for the bus ticket, with a vision for something that may have seemed impossible she had to take steps toward every day
  • The idea of planning her life when she was assured there was no future or life for her is a blessing and opportunity she realized she gets despite what anyone said
  • Today, she shared that joy with others through her work teaching people how to do vision boards, connect with their purpose and live as they wish they could


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