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On Tuesday 14th November we set out for Vietnam.  I didn’t realise just how far away it was – over 17 hours flights plus waiting times.  Travel was long and arduous; delays on every transport, however we arrived safely in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday 15th November. On arrival at the airport, the first things that hit the senses was the heat and the number of motorbikes on the roads, they outnumbered the other vehicles and drove enmasse. We spent the first five days in the city and supported the work of a local church by running the cell group, attending the art class, attending a prayer meeting, leading the English Language class (friendship evangelism) participating in the Sunday morning service by giving a testimony & preching.  We also interviewed a young man who had been sponsored by BTBAB to complete a course in Graphic Design.  We were pleased to see that he was doing well and fully involved at church.  His sister and parents have since become Christians.

We also assisted in the launch of a new children’s outreach in an suburban area where two of the church girls lived. After going around the area inviting people, 30 children turned up. We played a game with them, sang the song “One Way, Jesus” with all the actions and then the final activity of tie dying t-shirts.  

The second half of our trip was with a different host who took us around different homes and villages based in the highlands / provinces. This was a totally different experience than being in the city.  It took about 6 hours on the sleeping bus just to get there, and we were at a different place every evening. It seemed that every destination took approx. 2 hours to get there.   The next day, following a 2-hour drive on roads that needed some attention, we visited a family mourning the loss of a 30-year-old son, following a motorbike accident, we spent some time with them, and shared a testimony of how the Lord had helped one of the team members, and we prayed with them.   The next few days were spent travelling from home to home, to share fellowship with them, hear their stories, praising God, and praying with them.  It was truly humbling to hear what some of them had gone through in the early 2000’s and the strength of their faith, and how God had sustained them.

We also visited some families in dire situations; for example a widowed mother with two incapacitated sons, the 32 year old had a stroke and the younger son suffered mental health due to a fall from a coffee tree when he was a young boy.  We also met an elderly retired pastor suffering from the effects of a stroke and psychological shock after his nephew robbed him of money and land.  How do you pray in these situations?  All you can do is trust the sovereign God and ask for His help and intervention, and to pray for His blessing.

On the last day in the highlands we visited a village populated with the Hmong people who had migrated from North Vietnam in the late 90’s / 2000’s due to persecution.  Whole villages moved south and settled in the highland provinces.  We met loads of children and handed out sweets and toothbrushes/toothpaste – a bit inconsistent I know.  They were quite shy as they don’t see many westerners like us.  We then walked around the village visiting about 8 homes and praying with the people.  It was such a privilege to be invited into their homes and they live a much simpler life than we do.

It was a worthwhile visit and we were really blessed with meeting our Christian brothers and sisters.  Even though our cultures are very different and our language even more so, there was an instant connection when we met fellow believers, we have the same Spirit who dwells within us all and it was very evident on this trip.  

Our project was to mentor young people with vocational skills.  Following a conversation with the brother who was our driver, we discovered that he already had a heart to do something like this with the Hmong people in the village. So, we left a deposit of £500 to enable him to set up a programme, with the promise of more funds based on progress and on receipt of photographs.

The final weekend saw us return to the city and visit another local church on Sunday.  It was a real joy to meet the fellow believers here and to encourage them through preaching and giving testimonies.  We also met with another past ACI recipient, a young lady who qualified as a sonographer and is now working in a hospital in HCMC.  She is now studying radiology as the next step in her career.  We praise God for all that He’s done in the lives of these young people and spurs us on to invest in other young people.

As always, we realise that none of us can do this in our own strength. Every trip is covered extensively by prayer, and we greatly appreciate the support of our home churches so we say a huge thank you for your commitment to prayer, financial support and to our heavenly Father for his faithfulness in answered prayer, protection, and grace in every situation.