Our third day in Vietnam was amazing. We started the day by going out to a remote village near the mountains. We were not able to get the bus down the dirt road to the distribution point, so a local brought his ox drawn cart to help. We loaded it up and went on down the road!
Once we unloaded and began the distribution, we were having a blast handing out food, clothes, candy, and toys. I was asked to say a prayer and it was translated; what an awesome experience to pray over people in another country and pry the peace and love of Christ upon them. The Sister then explained that we had Bibles for anyone who wanted it, that triggered an angry response from some who were not allotted to get food that day. The Sisters have a system in place to identify those who really need help and those just looking to get an easy score. So many show up who were not invited, the sister visit with them and if they are truly needy they will make provision for them, but if not they are turned away. Apparently one of these turned away heard the comment about the Bibles and called the authorities. It is illegal to share the gospel in Vietnam, the phone call was overheard and so we had to pack up our stuff, leave the provisions in the hands of the local leaders and scramble out of there. I am not sure we were in any real danger, as the area we were in was pretty remote and we had plenty of time to leave. But it was exhilarating to think that we were breaking communist law for the sake of Christ!
The next stop was at a seaside village, where many very poor people reside. These people would be considered homeless in the States. However in Vietnam the government provides shelter, but no food or water. Where as we provide food and water then shelter. So we traveled to the area to feed about 120 families along with the help of the local Red Cross. Aaron was asked to pray at this stop. We had a great time interacting with the people and helping them carry their provisions. These people were so grateful and happy we were there, but also had a great spirit about them and dignity.
It was a moving experience, as Frank is pictured with a former leader of the S Vietnamese military, who was stripped of all property and status after the war, yet still organized and lead this group with dignity. I was asked to help this man (18 yrs old)to be carried along with his provisions to his family. He is one of many children born severally incapacitated because of the effects of the chemicals used during the war. It has become so apparent that while the US suffered a severe emotional, mental, and physical loss in the war, the Vietnamese suffered so much more. Regardless of your opinion of the war and the politics involved, the toll on these people is tragic. There are parts of the country side still devastated by our herbicides and a large portion of a whole generation of men is dead. And those still alive are handicapped from a war injury or face other obstacles. We saw very few 40-60 year old men who were fully functioning and healthy.
We ended the day by taking the oldest children 2+ year olds out to a local cafe for ice cream. Here is Hoa (Huh-Wha) waiting for her ice cream. She is 5 and full of life and energy!
It was a great day filled with hard work, excitement, and ice cream....what else can you ask for in a day? We were far more blessed this day than those we served.