March 02, 2011

I said "Yes"!!

I grew up being the girl that would always sit terrified, listening to visiting missionaries at church talk about being called to the mission field. The ones that give up everything to move to remote Africa or the Amazon to smuggle in Bibles at the risk of losing their life. I was terrified that God would ask me to do the same.

Actually, I was probably more terrified of what my answer would be.

In the last month I have found myself with two opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and love on some sweet children. I have enjoyed every moment of it. It can be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time and I'm now seeing another side to the missionary's stories from my younger days. It's not all about giving to others. In fact, I would argue that I have received much more than I have given during these trips.

To be honest, Vietnam is a place I had no desire to visit prior to moving to Southeast Asia.


It happened to be on Scot's list of must see places so we planned a trip there for our upcoming Spring Break. Then I was given the opportunity to go this past weekend with 12 other women from our church to help with a Bible Camp.

I started attending meetings and as I learned more about Vietnam and what we would be doing, I got more and more excited. Vietnam is a communist country and going to church can be a very tricky thing. It's ok to have a Christian church if it's sanctioned by the government. You can apply for a permit to meet as a church in a building and they may never grant it to you so you start having church in your home. That works until the police get involved and break up the church by saying that you don't have a permit and the cycle continues. The laws regarding church are much stricter for Vietnamese than for expats.

A friend of mine here in Singapore lived in Vietnam years ago and they started a Bible club for kids. It met weekly and over the years it has grown. They started doing a Bible camp weekend and that is exactly what we got to help with. The weekend was for kids ages 8-12 and simultaneously on Saturday there was a day camp for 4-7 year olds. The camp is not attended by local Vietnamese children which allowed us to have it in a local hotel. We did find out at the last minute that there would be a group of young Vietnamese kids attending the day camp which required much prayer about police involvement. Thankfully, there were no issues!

We left very early Friday morning. There was last minute practicing in the airport
for the music portion of our weekend.

Driving in from the airport I had my camera out and my face pressed to the window in awe of the city. Scooters everywhere with an amazing array of things strapped to the back.

You can best describe driving in Saigon as controlled chaos. One trip from the airport to the hotel and I could completely understand why companies provide drivers for expats that live there. Taxis are not as readily available as they are here and scooters easily outnumber cars.

We got to the hotel and immediately got to work. Quick introductions were made between the Singapore group and the Vietnam group and then everyone pitched in to make it all happen before the kids showed up that evening.

This is Lynda......she was one of the leaders from Katy, Tx. We bonded instantly and had lots of fun talking about home!

It was crazy hot and there was a ton to get done but we all came together and made it happen! All the materials had been donated from a church in the states which was a huge blessing to the women planning the camp.

Camp was awesome! There were Bible stories.....

campfire time.....

crazy science ladies.....

a cool counselor that did a killer braid on all her girls......


cool games and good friends......

scavenger hunts......

fun at the park on great equipment outlawed in the states a long time ago......

and breakfast. At camp, breakfast ROCKS!!! Cake and a loaf of bread
with no mom to get mad at you!

I loved getting to work at the day camp with the younger kids. This was my group.....we were Team Edison and we rocked! These kids were so much fun, I absolutely adored hanging out with them.

The Vietnamese kids that attended were sweet. They spoke no English, but they danced and smiled and played games and laughed.......and watched a very tall American lady take their pictures and smile at them like a goof all day long just wishing I knew even a little bit of their language to tell them that I loved them.

All the kids got a certificate at the end of the day camp and we were later told that one of the little Vietnamese girls went to her one room home after camp and hung her certificate and something she had made at camp on her wall. She went to school the next day telling her teacher that her house was beautiful now. Beautiful because her art was on the wall. Beautiful because of a piece of paper with her name on it telling her that she did a great job in Bible school was on the wall. The same piece of paper I would have thrown away without thinking twice if it had shown up in my home. Humbled doesn't even begin to describe how I felt that entire day.

Camp ended on Sunday afternoon with a lot of kids having heard about how awesome God is. I was so impressed with how much work and attention to detail was given to this camp. Every single activity and every single moment of the weekend was given to God and it was evident. I am so glad I got to be a part of it!

We had an extra day to explore some of the city so we went to the local market where
you can find things like dried fish. Or maybe it's pickled. I'm honestly not
sure what it is.....I do know it stayed right where it was! Not one piece
went home with me!

It was amazing the things you could find at this market and you got to barter.
I happen to really love that part!

Fabric anyone?

I walked away from the market with 3 small silk bags for $4 and a bracelet that is supposedly made out of buffalo horn but suspiciously feels like plastic. It was $6 so we'll go with buffalo horn for the cool factor!

I honestly could have walked the streets and taken pictures all day long. The people, the culture.....all of it. I loved it.

The craziness of the wiring down the streets was fascinating!

We stopped off to buy waffles from this lady. She carries the iron and all the ingredients on her back by balancing the long pole on her shoulders. They were really good!

Several times we would see people with their baskets stopped on the street with small stools
set around them to serve food.

A quick stop for a nap!

A night view of Saigon from the river. A beautiful city!

I so loved this trip. I loved meeting new friends, I loved the kids, I loved watching people be so dedicated to what they believe in, and I loved visiting a new country.

There are many times that I catch myself during the day thinking, "I can't believe this is my life". I had many of those kinds of moments in Vietnam. How this simple girl from Texas has ended up here in Asia just floors honestly does.

I am most grateful that when I was asked to Go.....and not just to Indonesia to see sweet Nona or to Vietnam, but even to Singapore.....when I was asked to Go, I didn't let fear of the unknown or trepidation do the answering for me.

I said "yes".......and I am so glad I did!!

Site design by Fabulous K Creative