Day 1: Vietnam. Over 100 people came to the hospital blind today, and will be leaving with their sight! Thank you to those who supported the Hilly Photographic Initiative that funded 6 of the surgeries. The patients have been given a gift they can't comprehend, it reminds me of that song Amazing Grace!
Day 2: Vietnam. Words can't explain the visit to the leper colony. There were so many new friends made today. The beaming eyes spoke a common language of thanks and a mutual love. Human touch and community was the most obvious necessity. Leprosy is a disease that takes the limbs of its victims. The missing limbs were obvious but their confident smiles were contagious. These lovely friends have been stripped of their legs, fingers, eyes and who know what else. In the midst of loosing so much, they have not lost their smiles that shine so bright. This joy that I have witnessed can only come from the giver of Life, our gracious Jesus thank you for your love and mercy. I'm thankful for todays lesson and will be forever changed.
Day 3: We traveled to Da Nang from Saigon.
Day 4: Leaving Da Nang we drove 2 hours into the country side to visit 2 separate orphanages. On the ride Jerry said something that stuck with me... "You can tell the love of the staff by the smiles and happiness of the kids." The first orphanage that we went to had roughly 30 kids, the ages ranged from babies to 17 years old. The kids we met there were so sweet and eager to play without much reservation. One girl kept trying to ask me questions in English, I was amazed how smart she was. She asked where are you from? She asked what Nationality I was, this brought tears as this precious child wanted to know about me. You could tell that the staff really loved these kids by their sweet smiles, Jerry was right. The small home was next to a rice field, a country setting. There was a jungle gym set, murals on the walls, art supplies, bright walls and a loving staff. Me Hoang is the gentleman that runs the orphanage and goes way back with Jerry. After years of Jerry visiting Me Hoang Jerry brought him a Bible and said if you want to know more about me, its because of this book. Jerry visited Me Hoang a couple months later and he had already read 2/3 of his Bible. He thanked Jerry for introducing him to Jesus! The second orphanage was a 45 min drive and was located at a Buddhist Pagoda. I'm not sure how many kids were at this orphanage but we saw about 50 kids. The kids ranged from infants to 10 years old. This orphanage was very sad place, and the overall vibe was somber. It felt more like a dog pound than an orphanage. The kids were separated by age into small groups and placed behind bars. We did not spend too much time here but what we did see was sad, please pray for these children.
Day 5: Vietnam. Today we drove 5 hours to a Christian Church that was located in the Highlands. The Highlands are not what they sound like, we weren't in the Mountains and I'm pretty sure we were a stones trow from the beach. Sitting in a car for 5 hours we got creative with passing time, a few of us made our own chirps sounds when the driver would honk his horn "BANG, YEW, YEEEEHAA..." The purpose of our visit was to bring Bibles to the people of the Highlands. Last year during a visit to Vietman Jerry met a pastor who had 1000 people in his underground Church that had to share 10 Bibles among the congregation. This spawned to idea of bringing the Word to the people. Today we had the privilege of bringing 700 Bibles to the people. The church we delivered the Bibles to will be spreading those Bibles out to other Christian Churches in need. It is encouraging to hear the testimonies of some of the people at the church. One lady was a Buddhist and she was living in total darkness. She said that Jesus revealed himself to her, and she began to pray for her enemies including the communist leaders of Vietnam. What a story. The thirst for God's word is so visible. We met another couple that was from Vietnam moved to Brea for a school. This couple wanted to be in ministry but did not want to return to Vietnam. God had his plan for them in Vietnam, as they knew the people the language and how things work. They sold everything and now are helping the Christian Church we visited in the Highlands. They are loving the people and getting Bibles to the thirsty people in Vietnam! We asked how we can further help and they asked for PRAYER. It amazing to see how God will move and empower people to do his work!
Pray for the Christian Church, the Political Leaders, the Church Staff, and the Congregation. Pray the Light would shine in the darkness.
If you would like to participate providing Bibles to the people of Vietnam the cost is $6 for a Children's Bible and $10 for an Adult Bible. Click on this link and in the Byline put Bibles.