We cannot believe how fast the weeks are passing by, we only have nine days left in Vietnam.
Our schedule has been full for the past few weeks, so I apologize for our delinquency in posting. Today looked like an opportunity for catching up on posts. Then last night we heard that there is a call to prayer today for YWAM Ships. A month ago they lost the 86 ton yacht Hawaii Aloha and staff member, Aaron Bremner to a winter storm off the Big Island, today we will gather in prayer for this ministry.
Last weekend we headed out of Hanoi, to Sa Pa a community close by the northern border with China. Sa Pa is in the mountains and we had sleeping berths on a night train to get there, we came back to Hanoi by bus late on Sunday night. This was an interesting trip, we had a few hours of sunshine on Friday and almost saw the peaks of some mountains, but most of the time we were in the clouds, rain, fog, mist, it was the ‘hard-to-warm-up-chill-to-the-bone cold’, not the ‘dry cold’ of Alberta. The trip was filled with great joy though, as we were able to meet many H’Mong, a tribal people native to the area. The town of Sa Pa must hold the world record for most “the North Face” stores, I am sure I went in 27, they are interspersed with hotels, restaurants and massage places.
A little while ago we were asked if we would do it again, give up 5 months of our life to do a YWAM DTS. The short answer is “Yes, without a doubt, we would do it again.” We have done several short-term missions over the past 13 years, to Santiago, Chile, to Unitedville, Belize and in Tijuana, Mexico; these have varied from two weeks to five, each was centred around a construction project which we used in a variety of ways to build relationships. Some of the things we learned in short-term missions were helpful in preparing us for the outreach phase here in Viet Nam but the lecture phase at Kona was very different from any previous mission preparation activity. The teaching was intensive, very solidly Bible-based, challenging, provoking and practical; we would sit under that teaching again.
Our time in Vietnam has been quite different from all of our previous trips into the developing world which focused around a construction project as the tool to build relationships, have conversations and share cultural and worldview. While YWAM is not averse to practical assistance, often involving itself in mercy, relief and development aid around the world, it is not the focus of the Discipleship Training Schools outreach. Over the past few weeks in Vietnam it has been our participation in english language clubs and our involvement in classrooms that has brought about the relationships needed to be able to share life. One of our purposes in coming to YWAM was because we were at a crossroads in life and we were hoping to discover a ministry opportunity where we could serve together. While we have both been stretched and pushed out of our comfort zones by the tasks that God has given us here, especially the university classes, we have seen many people who desire to learn more than just the English language. Discussions always seem
to go beyond the topic at hand around life management, coping skillsand cultural differences. Both of us have enjoyed sharing through english classes and clubs. We have registered for TESL/TESOL/TEFL certification course at the University of Calgary in March and are thinking that we can start an english club in Okotoks.
5 months seems like a long time to be away but we have found modern technology Skype and FaceTime has narrowed the gap, enabling us to see and chat with children and grandchildren as often we are able with a 14 hour time difference. We have done so, weekly from Kona and two weekly from Viet Nam.
Until next time be blessed and be a blessing, A&G