Vietnam Update #1
Xin chao America!
Praise the Father for safe travels! It has been a week since we’ve stepped foot in Vietnam and we are enjoying being immersed in Vietnamese culture! For this being the first time out of the country for all of us, we are adjusting well and so far haven’t gotten sick! We give all credit to the Father for keeping us healthy. It feels like we have been here a lot longer than a week! There is so much to do here! We’re loving the food and have some interesting stories to tell you of the foods we’ve tried—or almost tried.
Our hotel is great! We are spoiled with a free breakfast every morning and it is extremely delicious. They are so nice to us and started making French fries after they found out we would be here for a while, hahaha. The traffic here is absolutely chaotic. Frogger is a real-life thing here. There are motorbikes everywhere! Adam is the only one who has been able to ride a motorbike, but that will change very shortly. Our hotel is located right next to a park. The two parks we’ve visited are extremely large and extremely beautiful. In fact, the Vietnamese people love to exercise in the parks in the evenings, and Adam successfully participated in an aerobics class with middle-aged women. He was very fierce. Both Ben and Adam learned how to hip hop dance, and Emily and I met friends who did a dance with sign language!
We are beyond grateful for our Ms. They are so helpful and encouraging. They even invited us to their apartment yesterday (Thursday) and made us pulled pork sandwiches, mashed potatoes, and Oreo ice cream cake for dessert. We feel very loved and full of the HS as we learn to love the Father more and more each day. One of the most amazing things about being here is that the Father keeps blowing us away by showing his faithfulness as we interact with the people here. Vietnamese people are the most hospitable and friendly people. All of the friends we have made here are such blessings. We were able to invite several students to our English clubs and we had cool opportunities to share about the Son with them. We love them and are excited to see what the Father does this summer.
Our first week has been so fun J. Our team is a blast! We are so blessed to have each other and to have so much love and support from all of you back home. Here are updates from everyone:
Adam: Hello everyone! When our journey started months ago, I was less than excited to be going to Vietnam, or Viet Nam as the Vietnamese call it. The Father has really worked in my heart and given me such a peace about where He has placed me that I can’t see myself spending the summer anywhere else. The intricacies of Vietnam are almost beyond words, but definitely beyond my own. You really just have to come and experience it yourself. I’ve seen so much, tasted so much, smelled so much, sweated so much. The smell of meat cooking on the street and burning incense will forever be ingrained into my mind. The Father has blessed us with so many friends. What’s your name? How do you spell that? Where are you from? What do you study? That is the recipe for making a great friend. The people here are so friendly and incredibly generous toward us that it can be overwhelming. A friend of mine gave me my first motorbike ride today. I felt so alive yet so close to death. I’m only sort of kidding. I’ll describe the traffic here as beautifully chaotic. YouTube it.
Students here are so passionate about learning English that meeting people and making friends is surprisingly simple. Sadly, most people here don’t know the Son, and those who do are extremely confused about what they believe. Your yarps and thoughts are so appreciated. As a team we have witnessed the Father answering our wishes – quickly and in obvious ways! Yarp bigger – He is so good to answer. He is faithful!
Ben: This week I have seen the Father working so evidently every day! There have been so many things happen that can only be explained by Him. I am so thankful for my team. It is a blessing to see all of the ways we challenge, encourage, and help each other and how each of them reflects the Son. We went to a Buddhist temple on our first day and it really opened my eyes to see just how lost this nation is and how much they need the Son.
List of fun food I have tried: Pigs blood, eel, some kind of intestine, “chicken wings”, chom chom (lychee), mangosteen. Hands down the best thing I have tried is café sua da, which is Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk
Deanna: I’m fitting in quite well, if I do say so myself! It’s also super fun to actually be taller than several people. It has been such a joy to experience Vietnam! I have learned so much about myself and the Father as I learn to love this nation. Today we spent some time with friends, and one of our friends made us a beautiful wooden flute with all of our names engraved in it. Seriously, the people here are so great and they take such great care of us. The Father is giving me so much peace. It’s really awesome and freeing being able to know that he is in control and I am not. J
Emily: WE SAW THE MOST ADORABLE PUPPY AND I RUBBED IT ON MY FACE AND KISSED IT BECAUSE IT WAS SO CUTE and then I had a minor allergic reaction but it’s all good. Okay, but for real (we met a person named 4real by the way) the Father has been so good and faithful and always provides, in the most simple ways, as well as in big ways. It has been so easy to make friends, and I’m so excited to get to know them more.J This week has just been an intro to what this whole summer will be like, and I am so incredibly excited. The food is great. The people are so lovely. Our hotel is fantastic. I learned how to say “rain” in Vietnamese. We got a flute. And a guitar. We laugh a lot and sing a lot. It is good time.
We love you all! We thank you so much for being so supportive throughout this whole process. You are in our thoughts and yarps.
Vietnam Update #2
In these last couple days, we were reminded by the Father that everything is meant to bring glory back to Him. Earlier tonight, Emily had her satchel stolen by a man while she was on a motorbike with one of our friends. The most encouraging thing about this whole situation is that although this happened, we were able to bring so much glory back to the Father. Emily and Deanna were with new friends and it was the perfect opportunity to share that He is the one that is in control and He is the only thing we need. We are safe, we are blessed, and we are rich when we are full of Him.
The one thing that we noticed after we lost these earthly possessions was the lives of those around the city who literally had nothing. It was eye-opening and humbling to see how much we have and how we seem to never be satisfied. Please yarp that the man who took Emily’s bag would one day know and praise the Father.
Since last week, we have been so convicted by our lack of intentionality with these people, but we continue to be blown away by the power and faithfulness of our Father. Some of our friends are getting excited and even convicted over the good news, and we know that we can’t take credit for any of it. Whooooo! 🙂
Some other not as important (but still fun things) that have happened since last week:
- We all had our first motorbike rides! It’s really fun and Adam actually drove one himself! Around the corner!
- Emily and Deanna sang at an open mic night (actually we just keep singing everywhere), so if we become Youtube famous, let us know when we come back to America.
- Adam and Ben ate dog. And liked it. :/
- We learned how to make bamboo flutes in the park.
- We made a lot of really great friends. The people here are so great!
- Emily and Deanna tried durian (fruit) and it was an interesting experience.
Adam: I can’t believe that a week has gone by already! We are really getting into the swing of things. It’s good, but it actually kind of scares me. It’s shocking how, even on this side of the world, we are quick to run to our comforts rather than trusting in our Father. Even still, it is marvelous to see that my limitations can’t slow He who is limitless from accomplishing his will here in Vietnam. The Teacher has been so active in my heart; showing me what it means to love and care for the souls of the Vietnamese. Our time here is already a quarter of the way over. The attitude for the rest of our summer must be urgent! Yarp that every encounter with friends and soon-to-be-friends would lead to the Father and that every moment we would submit to the Spirit’s leadership. Maybe that all sounded a bit bleak, but really I’m having the time of my life. My team is so encouraging. I’m learning so much about myself, the world, and the Father. Everyday is unpredictable. I’m eating it -and everything else I see- up! At the end of the day though, I’m merely an unworthy servant. See you next week!
Ben: Hi guys! I can’t believe we are already starting our 3rd week! The days are long but the weeks go by too fast. I am learning to love the people here and the Father more every day. We have met a lot of new friends and shared a lot but we could be doing so much more. Yarp for boldness to talk about the Son in every conversation, because He is preeminent in everything!
Deanna: I’ve never been broken over people the way that I have been in my time here. Everything about Vietnam is overwhelming—the love and hospitality of these people, the sights and smells, the active worship of meaningless idols, and the dire need for this nation to know the Son. I am just beyond thankful that I am able to experience this wonderful city and the wonderful people in it. There definitely is an urgency, though. Please yarp for this incredible and beautiful nation! I am tearing up thinking about how sweet it is to be here.
I HAVE been pretty emotional, but I am also delighting so much so don’t worry, I really am soooooooo good! The mango smoothies here (sinh to xoai) are prime and I just stinking love everything. One of my favorite parts about this week that hasn’t already been mentioned is that we were able to experience a market in a district where tourists rarely visit and I just loved that! It was just so authentic. I kind of don’t ever want to go home. Just kidding, I love you all; that was a bit cruel.
Emily: My dearest loves,
Mine lips have not enjoyed such sweet a taste as that of ca phe sua da. If thou were to taste, you would like it a lot. I spill food on all my white shirts. On another note: Okay so the Father is awesome! I have failed in so many ways to be bold and intentional, yet He always provides people to love and opportunities to seize! He is faithful no matter what and it’s awesome to see. I’ve been learning to trust Him in everything as He’s been growing my heart for the people of Vietnam, and my desire to be intentional with people. I’ve made several friends who I’ve just fallen in love with and I can’t wait to get to know them even more. I especially can’t wait to go paint balling this Sunday morning with 4 tiny Vietnamese girls! I don’t know whether to go easy on them or be terrified of them. JK I’ve never paint balled before, so I will be the one that will do the sucking.
- That in all things, we may bring glory back to the Father
- For boldness so that we may reach this nation
- For our friends to be eager and receptive and that they would desire to be dunked when we’re here. Or even when we’re not here, just that they would care enough to be dunked.
- For team unity to continue
We are yarping for you all and hope that the lessons we learn here would be lessons you can learn from as well. It is extremely encouraging knowing that you love and support us! We love you!!!!!!
Vietnam Update numero 3
Xin chao! (Hello!)
We only have a month left in this amazing city. 🙁 It’s almost hard to believe! We are so grateful for this opportunity as we grow every day to love our Creator. His power is immeasurable and we are able to experience that a little bit each day. What a great Father we serve!
The Father is just really cool and despite our selfishness, he continues to bring people in our lives that are so eager for the Son. We have been so encouraged by our friends here and how they love and serve us. Sometimes they show the Son in their lives better than we do. We don’t deserve the friends we have made here. But then again, we don’t deserve anything we’re given and we are overwhelmed with the blessings that the Father richly pours out on us.
It is now rain season. We love it because the air is so much cooler than what it was at the beginning of our trip! The Vietnamese people love football (soccer). The World Cup is constantly talked about. And so is Taylor Swift, but the latter is not nearly as enjoyable. That was sassy.
Adam and Ben have hilarious videos to show you when we get back.
Also, last Saturday we learned how to make banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) and cha gio (eggrolls). We can’t wait to make it for you all when we get back! We were so stuffed and happy because the food here is just the best!
Emily: I tried to think of what has happened since last week, and it felt like last Saturday was over a month ago. Time moves differently in Vietnam. It’s like inception but not. That made no sense.
Hi mom and dad!
So, the Father has done so many awesome things this week, but for the sake of the length of this email, I will just mention this one. Every day, he has provided people who speak such great English, and it is just easy to have a conversation. I’ve been able to talk to people like I would talk to friends in America, and it’s been awesome! ALSO just read Rev. 19:11-16. ALSO just read the good book. ALSO, I met a model. DAD, THERES PIZZA IN VIETNAM, YOU WERE RIGHT. And it’s so good. We get it every Tuesday. Tuesday is pizza day. I like Tuesday. I like every day. Okay the end.
Deanna: Wow, has my heart changed! I just don’t know why I ever thought I could do everything on my own. I’ve learned to trust Him, I’m so much more at peace, AND I’m so much more joyful than I was in the months before I arrived in the homeland! Vietnam is great! I cry often because it’s just so beautiful here and the people are so generous and kind.
Wednesday, we met Mia at the park while she was singing and playing guitar. I praise the Father because her story and struggles are a lot like my own, however she doesn’t yet know the freedom and forgiveness that I delight in every day. Being able to relate to her in so many ways makes me confident that the Father divinely placed her in my life and I am so stinking excited to continue getting to meet with her! At first, she seemed uninterested when we shared with her at English club, but then Emily and I sang some worship songs for her today and she immediately became so engaged and said she could tell that we cared passionately about the Son. She wanted to listen to more songs! I was able to explain how we are given gifts to praise the Father and one way we can express our love to Him is through music. She loved that! 🙂 My excitement over Mia is about equivalent to a chihuahua’s.
I love you all! I also don’t want to always do shoutouts, but I wanted to let those who are at Rosebud know that I’m thinking about you a lot and I am encouraged by your obedience and faith. I wore my Crazy Horse fringe shirt this week for all of you. REPRESENT!
Ben: Hey everyone! I am so excited by what the Father is doing in our lives and the lives of our friends. Every day I see Him answering yarps in awesome ways. I have been yarping for the ability to speak fluent Vietnamese and this week the Father brought someone into English club who has better English than some Americans. He ended up translating everything I was saying into Vietnamese for the others and shared the story of the Son in a way I couldn’t!
Adam: This again, aye? It always feels like the weeks go so fast that there isn’t anything to talk about. That obviously is not true. We are constantly meeting new people and hanging out with our friends. They all love to take us to District 1, which is where all the tourists go, but we can only look interested so many more times when we see the same buildings. We don’t even feel like tourists anymore. We love when a friend invites us to their home or shows us the real Saigon. Lately, our personal adventures have brought us to the non-touristy places. It’s a very hard sight to describe. Many people have so little and are living in their roadside shops then a new model Porsche will drive past you down a dirty alley.
We’ve had the privilege to share the good news with so many people in our English clubs and personal hangouts. For some it is the first time they have heard such an incredible story, some people have heard it before and actually feel conviction, and to most it is just an interesting tale. Read Lk 24:11 and 12. Yarp that the people would search for evidence because we know that whoever seeks will find.
Tonight we all had to say goodbye to one of our best friends. He was one of the very first Viet people we met and has been an incredible friend ever since. Thankfully I got to hang with him all day and just share life with him. He has the good book and some great materials to take home with him. Think about him and yarp for him that he may read the book and fill this void in his life. I love him and Him and all of you! Until next time…
- Many of the friends we’ve developed deeper relationships with are now going back to their hometowns and that’s a little disheartening. Yarp that we would continue to be bold and engage with the people the Father brings in our lives and that we would have discernment to see who we should spend time with.
- Health. Everyone but Deanna feels like they’re going to be sick soon or have developing sore throats already. 🙁
- That we would have a deeper and deeper understanding of what it means to sacrifice for the kingdom.
- Humility. Humility. Humility. We HATE our selfishness.
- This nation needs the good news. It is so heartbreaking seeing idols everywhere we go.
We think about you all a lot and we could not be more grateful that the Father has given us such amazing yarp warriors back home. We really do love you. You are so supportive and we couldn’t ask for more wonderful people like you! Until next week…
Tam biet! (Goodbye!)
Vietnam Update 4
Today was Adam’s birthday! Praise the One who gives us life! We celebrated with some good Asian karaoke! We were thriving in the awkwardness!
We just need to say how much we absolutely LOVE you all back home and how encouraged we were by you when we got an email filled with your love and support! We are yarping for you. 🙂
The Father is faithful and powerful! Especially in this last week, we’ve seen so much of His work! Our other friends are dunking 2 people tomorrow! We are rejoicing! And we are excited to share that we are preparing for some of our own national friends to make the decision to be dunked. He works through all obstacles – language barriers, persecutions, selfishness, and distractions. We are so blown away that our Father is mighty and uses such inadequate and weak people like us to build his kingdom.
Emily: Dis week doh. Seriously so great. On Sunday, one of our really good friends, Mia, took us to the coolest flea market, and bought us bracelets, and we got henna, and it was the BESTDAYEVER. Tuesday was a little bittersweet, because we had to say goodbye to Mia, but our last day together was so fun! We played music in the park, saw a mini magic show, drank ca phe sua da, and ate some part of the lotus flower. Oh, and some green stick things that were good. It was hard to say goodbye >.<, but we plan on keeping in touch, and she told us she would read the good book every day! <3 ^-^ <3. We have been meeting people like crazy this week! Like wow. And English club has been amazing! So many awesome conversations and even yarps! One of our local sisters joined us this past week, and wherever she goes the HS is at work! It’s amazing to witness. I’ve SO enjoyed getting to know her, hearing the wisdom she has to share, and playing her ukulele that happens to be the most beautiful ukulele to exist on this earth. Oh, and we lost a guitar in a taxi so we got a new one. Okay this is getting long, and I still have more to talk about. FRIED BANANA. Our free day consisted of us just getting lost all over Saigon. We did eat fried banana though. And I took a nap at a fast food restaurant. It was pretty raaaad. Today was the best day in the existence of best days because the HS worked in our conversations with a friend. We’re yarping real hard that we get to dunk this girl before we leave! And thennnnn we went to a flower market and a street vendor man gave me and Deanna roses! The end! And just now there were two giant cockroaches in our bathroom.
Adam: This week, I think, has been the most fruitful week for all of us. It’s Chiquita Banana all up in this business! Everything has been super encouraging. First off, we got to spend more time with some of the ‘M’s and a local sister. They are so fun! Another thing is that the Father has been showing me how to be a more effective witness to my friends and how to show them the love of the Son. The most exciting part about this week is getting to see the Spirit working in the lives of the nationals. It’s ridiculous! We want to follow up with more people than we have time for. Everyone should be pumped about the work our Father is doing here!
I had the most magical birthday morning today. After only four weeks, I finally made a Vietnamese friend who likes baseball! He got to use a glove and swing a bat for the first time. My heart was so full to be able to share baseball and the Son -my two loves- with a new friend. I also got the sweetest, most heart-melting happy birthday text from my best friend. And! The front desk ladies of our hotel got me a cake. In general, people here naturally do a great job of loving other people.
The last few weeks are going to require a lot of yarping from everyone as we transition our English clubs to something more permanent–hopefully filled with bunches of new brothers and sisters!
Ben: When I was young I had two choices: I could be handsome or I could have a great memory. I don’t remember which one I chose. (A pickup line from a friend I met this week). You can use that one, Mark Vance.
I am so thankful for the fruit that we are getting to see while we are here! It is so encouraging and exciting to see the HS changing people’s hearts and giving them understanding in spite of the language barrier. The Father is so generous for allowing us to be part of his story!
I have had: At least 40 cà phê sữa dás in 28 days, snail with pineapple, mystery fish from a school cafeteria that was surprisingly tasty, pig tendon, and durian cake.
Deanna: This week I was convicted by how poor I am at loving people. The Vietnamese are so helpful, so friendly, so joyful, and so good at loving people and they don’t know the best love there is! Yet, I struggle so much to love others more than I love myself, including my team. Please yarp for that. I know the lessons I am learning here are preparing me for the future though, and I am SO thankful I can learn these things now.
I have a story about something crazy that the Father did this week! Wednesday, I had a conversation with a new friend and I was so exhausted and didn’t even want to talk–or do anything, really. And then the conversation opened up to the Father. All of a sudden, I was so renewed and energized! I couldn’t stop talking about Him, I was so excited! It’s really amazing being able to experience the HS working in ME of all people. The Father is sufficient. He is holy. And He truly, truly makes us full. I love that. I love Him. Hallelujah!
- For our friends who are SO eager to know the Son. And for those who are willing to take the leap of faith and depend on Him.
- For our local sister, H. She is extremely encouraging! Her faith is so pure and obedient. She is an incredible blessing and is being used in amazing ways!
Vietnam Update 5
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! We celebrated by getting ice cream and going bowling.
We know you have all the reason to be rejoicing in this moment for you have freedom and are deeply loved by the Father. However, we want to give you EVEN MORE reason to rejoice and celebrate, because this Sunday we are dunking a new brother!!!!!!! Eeeeee! That’s not it. Today we met with our new sister, and she will be getting dunked sometime in the next week and a half! THE FATHER THOUGH!
Yesterday we visited Ben Tre Province. It is a land full of coconuts and honey. We all have honey and coconut candy for you to try when we come back! It was so refreshing to get out of the city for a bit and experience a completely different culture on the countryside. We had the most peaceful boat ride along the Mekong River. We also learned how to make rice paper and coconut candy!
We only have 2.5 weeks left. It’s so crazy! We DO love you and want to be with you, but we also realize how valuable our time is here. As we near the end, it’s becoming such a bittersweet experience. At this point, it’s easy to be too distracted by home, so please yarp that we would remember why we are here so that we may serve the Father obediently and love these people sacrificially. We want to be absolutely exhausted by the time we step foot on the plane!
Emily: Happy 4th of July, America! And a late happy Canada day to all my family up North :). Have fun celebrating! We’ve been celebrating here as well, but for different reasons!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 In a few days we’ll be dunking our first new brother, and we’re yarping that in the last two-ish weeks, we’ll be dunking at least 3 more! It has been so exciting to see the HS change hearts right before our eyes, and I’m so pumped for what the Father has in store for this city!
Adam: Hey everyone. If last week was Chiquita banana, this week was even better! We are continually seeing genuine interest and excitement in the good news. Not only that, but humility and trust! We have plans to go swimming (wink) this weekend to welcome your new brother and later on, sister to the family! The Father is great. It seems pointless to start to describe Him because I can’t. I’m honored and humbled to have witnessed the works thy hands hath made.
This week we took a day trip to Ben Tre province south of here. I was glad to escape the noise of the city and see some raw Viet Nam. Ben Tre is famous for coconuts and bees. Everything is coconut. It’s like the part of Forrest Gump where Bubba is talking about shrimp, but coconuts. It was really cool to see how life is different than in HCMC. This weekend is jam-packed with hangouts with all the guys who want to learn more. Be thinking about all our time together and yarp that it would be glorifying!
Another crazy story from the past week: My best friend has been home for a few weeks now and I learned that his mother and father crashed their motorbike and she was in bad shape. I didn’t realize that she was in a coma! As a team we were reading Acts 9. Our minds raced and our hearts were moved. We yarped with passion and soon after got word that his mother would wake up. I’m not trying to say anything other than yarping is powerful and our Father is even more so. Continue to yarp for her and him that they would both realize the severity of their current situation and a whole family could know Him!
Ben: What an exciting week! The Father has brought so many people to our English clubs that are ready to hear the Good News. Yarp that we rely on the HS and not ourselves when we share with those that are interested.
I found a group that plays volleyball every weekend! We are playing on the top level of a parking garage so it will be interesting. I also got to play soccer barefoot and learn how to play đá cầu.
Deanna: I was so stinking happy being able to go to my mother’s hometown and see a glimpse of what her life was like. It was a unique experience and I am so excited to share with her and learn more about her childhood. I’m so grateful that the Father is allowing me to be here because it is opening many opportunities for conversation with my parents when I get back.
The Father is teaching me a lot this week about joy, worship, and patience. It’s great! I also just wanted to share how funny it is to explain what dunking is to our Vietnamese brothers and sisters. We had to assure them that they won’t die when they get dunked—only to their sin, of course!
Also, happy 4th of July! J I wore my Royals shirt today to support the BEST team ever!
- For our new brother and sister to stand firm despite the persecutions and oppositions they will be faced with.
- For more and more people to know and accept the Father.
- Yarp that our focus on the Father would only be stronger.
- Team unity – humility, service, patience, encouragement
- Humble sacrifice of our time, money, and lives so that we can serve the kingdom joyfully.
So much love!
Vietnam Update 6
This is our second to last email! Wow! We are now done with our English clubs and working on “handing off” our friends to our national brothers and sisters. Time flies! If you were interested in what we’ll be doing for the rest of our time, we’re taking these last 10 days to meet with people and say goodbye :(. In our last 2 days here, we’ll be ending our trip with a debriefing retreat in Vung-Tau, a nearby beach 🙂
One thing we wanted to share is that we actually didn’t end up dunking our brother last Sunday. He wanted to learn more about the Father first and decided he wanted a more traditional dunking. We’re still encouraged by him, however we want BIG yarps that he doesn’t get led away from the complete freedom of having a relationship with the Father. Traditional dunkings here are very particular.
We have many more things to share with you! The Father has been producing so much fruit in this last week and many people are so eager to know more. We have seen complete transformation in some of our friends who initially were closed off to the good news, but now they can’t stop asking questions! PRAISE!! SO MUCH PRAISE!
Another one of our friends read the NT in 3 days. It’s really not a big deal. And she’s getting dunked Wednesday! 🙂 And we are planning to meet up with 2 more people to see if they would be interested in getting dunked. What the Father is doing here is so exciting!
We know that He’s doing really great things back home, too. We are eager to hear about it! We could never tell you enough just how grateful we are for such amazing people like you! We feel the love! We are thinking of you and yarping for you constantly.
Emily: Interesting things I ate this week: Balut (google it), snails, sticky rice with durian sauce, crocodile, ostrich, and pig ear. Pig ear. Fun stuff. So, on Saturday, our friends took Deanna and me on an adventure around district 7! We rode motorbikes and visited this beautiful bridge that lights up, drank American-style coffee, visited a cute little market, and rode motorbikes some more! It was great and the motorbike ride back to our hotel was the best because I got to know the girl who I was riding with really well :). On Monday, we had a family fun day in the park with slacklining, guitar, da cau (like hacky sack), and ca phe sua da :). Much fun! On Tuesday, Ben and I got to rock climb with one of the sisters we have here and one of her close friends! We went to lunch and coffee with them too, talked for a long time, and now her friend is a new sister!! Praise Him!! Then on Wednesday, we met with one of our newest sisters who is just the cutest person ever! So sweet and adorable, and it’s so amazing how passionate she is about the Son! She read the whole NT in 3 days, and is so excited to share the good news with everyone! We talked for 5 hours straight, and I’m so excited for how the Father’s going to use her! She is great. OH. And we’ll be dunking her this upcoming Wednesday!! Praise His name!! This last week of English club has been really amazing. We did more of a sermon style talk, and played a few songs, and although we had smaller numbers, we had amazing response! There were so many people who are super interested in hearing more, and several new brothers and sisters! This upcoming week with be really fun meeting up with people :).
Adam: Crazy things keep happening here, but I think I’m about ready to be home. It’s hard to say since there there are so many people who kind of need us here. Even just today, the Father called another of his lost sons to Himself! I feel like an idiot because it seems like the people we invested a lot of time into at the start of this trip haven’t really showed more interest. But it’s the people we over looked and meet late in the trip that are hearing and answer the call. It shows that He has an agenda that is not any of ours, and no matter how much or how little of our own effort we put toward it, He accomplishes it!
Our English club days are over. I’m honestly surprised how painless the whole experience was. I thought it would be worse for some reason, I don’t know. But it’s over. Now we just meet with all of our friends and focus entirely on our relationship with them and their relationship with their Father. It’s gonna be nice. I am looking forward to see all of you again though. Until then, I’m gonna keep on keeping on. I advise you do the same.
Deanna: Anybody who knows me knows that there is a special place in my heart for food. So, naturally, when one of our local sisters invited us over to her aunt’s house to have a traditional home-cooked 5-COURSE MEAL, I stinking praised the Father for His kindness in creating such great things to be enjoyed! And it was delicious food. I had snail and I loved it! The people here are so great. They told us that our lunch was what they usually do for family parties. And tonight our friends took us to a BBQ/Hotpot restaurant. We are so spoiled.
To be honest, I’m missing SO many of you, however, I am aware that our time here is valuable, and it has already gone by so quickly. It’s unbelievable! I love being in the homeland and I am so much more sanctified (I better be) than I probably would have been back home, and I cherish that also!
Here are some closing thoughts:
- Last Saturday, Emily and I saw Starlight bridge. It’s so breathtaking and words can’t describe how beautiful and romantic that bridge is. Google it!
- Other than everyone else assuming I’m Vietnamese, I’ve been told many times that I don’t look Vietnamese. So far, I’ve gotten that I look Filipino, Thai, Singaporean, Half-Caucasian, and my favorite, Latina (wut).
- I saw a cow in the middle of the city. I laughed for a long time.
- I got a hair cut in a professional hair salon. It was $7.
Ben: We are starting the process of handing off our friends that are new believers to the local brothers and sisters here and it is bitter sweet. It is sad that we only have about a week left to share with people but we are leaving our new friends in great hands. It is so encouraging to see the dedication, love, and energy that our local brothers and sisters put into sharing the Good News with their neighbors. If only we all loved our neighbors in the states that much.
Food update: Just about an entire rabbit (even the brain), crocodile, ostrich, snail in the shell, balut, durian, and pig ear.
- That our eyes would be fixed on the Father always
- That our remaining time with friends would be filled with love and love for the Son
- That our friends would be willing to surrender their entire lives to the Father
Rejoice and glorify Him for the amazing things He is doing in Ho Chi Minh City! WE LOVE HIM!
WE LOVE YOU!
Vietnam Update 7 – Last one!
We can’t believe how quickly time has flown! We spent this last week following up with people and saying goodbye to our friends here :(. Tomorrow is the last full day to spend time with our friends before we leave for our debriefing retreat to Vung-Tau. We’ll be leaving the airport Monday night, and then we will be home! Aaah! That’s so crazy! Leaving is bittersweet because we love Vietnam, but we also love you guys and we have many awesome stories about the things the Father has done and is doing in this beautiful nation. We can’t wait to praise the Father even more when we hear about what He’s been doing back home!
This week, we were able to study the good book and worship with local brothers and sisters in English and Vietnamese! It was awesome! We’re also dunking a new brother tomorrow morning (for real this time)! Our sister that was planning to be dunked on Wednesday has been facing a lot of opposition from her family and friends and they stopped her from following through :(. Emily and I are meeting up with her tomorrow afternoon to encourage and remind her of who she is in the Son. Please yarp for that! We know that this won’t be the first time this will happen, but we are so confident in Truth and know that the evil one will not win against the Father.
Thank you so much for all that you do. Because of your love, faithfulness, support, and constant prayers, we were able to have this opportunity to serve in Vietnam. We have learned SO MUCH and we’re going to be leaving with a much deeper understanding of the good news and the overwhelming love the Father has for us.
Emily: WOW, I can’t believe we’ll be home in 4 days! No way. That is crazy. Time goes by super fast. This last week has been bittersweet hanging out with our friends for the last time. But it has also been so fun, and I can’t wait to keep in touch with them in the future :). This week has been full of the following: coffee, street food, motorbikes, flea market, coffee, music in the park, coffee, slacklining, ADORABLE PUPPIES, coffee and the Word (at a coffee shop studying the Word with our new brothers and sisters!!), roller skating, dress shopping, a market, a picnic, more coffee, and alligators! It’s been quite an exciting week. What’s been super exciting, though, is seeing new brothers and sisters take new steps in their faith! I’ve been especially encouraged this week by a girl who was raised in a church since she was young, was dunked when she was 3, and lived a pretty lukewarm life. She told me this week that her understanding of the Father has totally changed since coming to English club and meeting us, and that she wants to pursue a relationship with the Son! She even told her sister everything she has learned about the Father, and now her sister is interested in learning more about Him! She plans on getting re-dunked after she tells her parents about her new life in the Son. It’s so awesome to see her love for the Son change dramatically over the last few weeks :). She and her sister are even coming to the dunking tomorrow to support our new brother who they don’t even know! God is good :). Well, that’s it for now! See you soon America!
Adam: Hey everyone. To the end, the Father is doing his thing. Tomorrow is the last today of our work and we must get up early to head to the swimming pool. You know what that means! No better way to end the summer. So excited for our new brother!
This week has been exhausting trying to meet with all our friends. Saying goodbye takes a lot out of you. We’ve made some really incredible relationships in such short time. It’s a wonder how and why we a friends with our friends. Well, not so much why. I’m getting a pretty good grasp on the need. But how the Spirit works between people and in people is a mystery.
That’s all for now, I guess. I’ll see you all soon!!
Ben: Saying goodbye is so hard! Our time here is almost over but the Father is not done doing miraculous things! Tonight, a local believer and I went to a park to meet with a new friend that is interested in the Son. When I got there I randomly met some people that wanted to practice English. At one point, one of them said “I haven’t heard about The Son, but I want to learn more. Can you talk about Him?” I ended up spending the rest of the time sharing the Good News and giving them Books! It’s great to know that the Father is in control and He sometimes makes it pretty obvious when people say things like that!
Deanna: Happy late birthday Caitlin!
It’s truly amazing that a simple change in location can teach a person lifelong lessons. It’s so awesome to experience the things that the Father has done! This past week has been a blast, but also really weird because all that we did was hang out with people. I don’t think I can ever say that again! This morning, our friends had a picnic for us. I will never forget the people here. Nothing compares. I am so thankful that the Father has allowed us to learn from people who are so easy to love. Also, this week I was so comforted by Psalm 23. The Father’s never failed me in the good times or the bad times and he definitely didn’t fail me in Vietnam. I have learned a lot about the Father in my time here, but the one thing that I’ve been able to find so much joy in is the peace, comfort, and satisfaction that only He can bring.
One funny thing that I attempted this week was roller skating. I can’t walk half the time, so you can only imagine the calamity and struggle. I’m okay. I only fell once and I was completely fine when I clung to the wall. And I learned how to ride a motorbike! Let’s just say that I need to avoid transportation in all forms. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am eager to get back to Iowa! See you all very soon! 🙂
- For our new brothers and sisters to have boldness in proclaiming the good news
- For safe travels and that we would be able to make every effort to glorify the Son in our remaining time here/on the plane/when we’re back home