Back “At the Crossroads” Again, Year 4

Here we go, after a 6 month unintentional fast, here is a fresh start to blogging.

We are back at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii for another Crossroads Discipleship Training School. We arrived August 23 and have attended the school leaders and staff training, we welcomed our students on Arrival Day September 28 and now we are past the halfway point of the lecture phase and it is American Thanksgiving!! Happy Thanksgiving all.

When we came back to Kona in August we brought our two oldest grandchildren, Shayla and Malachi, with us for a week. What a blessing!! We had an awesome time with them: introducing them to YWAM; driving them around to see some of the marvels of the Big Island; Mauna Kea, the volcano, Tex Drive-In, Black Sand beach, The Painted Church, turtles, mantas, etc. Due to some restrictions on minors flying we had to hop over to Maui to fly them back with Westjet, so they got a day trip around parts of Maui too.

Back on the Big Island, we have been blessed with another 31 great students all looking to become better disciples of Jesus. It is such a joy and encouragement to be around people who are hungry for everything God wants to give them. We constantly see Isaiah 61 being lived out. Many of the teachers have been here before and you can see summaries of a typical Crossroads DTS here https://andysread.com/category/ywam-kona-cdts-sept-2014/. New to the faculty line up this year was Tom Osterhus, he is base director of the YWAM Maui base, his topic was Worldview, he compared Animistic/Eastern and Secular ideas and views with a Biblical Christian World View. I have to say I find it scary how blurred our thoughts and decision making process frequently blurs with non-Christian ideas and thoughts.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:5 to take all thoughts captive, and  in Romans 12:2 that it is this process that transforms our mind and our life. These are choices we can make because we have free-will.

This year, I, Andy, have had some amazing Quiet Times with God in a kayak on the ocean. Many times with dolphins and clear views to the coral and, once, a rare monk seal. And I got to check out some Hawaiian winter sports…

For the Outreach? We will be heading back to Vietnam, two teams in two cities, Ha Noi and Hai Phong. These are the 2nd and 3rd largest cities in Vietnam, both are in the north located on the Red River delta. They are about 3 hours apart by bus, so it will be interesting to see the logistics unfold. As we knew when we were leaving Canada outreach was not going to look the same this year. We will arrive in Ha Noi ten days after the Love Hanoi Festival where Franklin Graham is speaking in a 40,000 seat soccer stadium December 8-10.

As we head into our last few weeks, preparing for outreach, I/we will try to stay in touch.

Until next time be blessed and be a blessing, A&G

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Scripture fromEnglish Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 byCrossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

Back in Canada – Summer 2017

Old News for some, maybe new for some…

I thought I had posted this in June!!! I hope to do better at posting regularly…

June, summer is here – and it is over three months since we posted any news. We made it back to Canada, in time to celebrate her 150th birthday. This post is longer than I prefer so reserve a bit more time than usual for reading. 🙂

In between working, we have been traveling: Penang, Malaysia; Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon; and also within Vietnam, Andy went to Lao Cai, & we both visited Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, very close to Thai Binh, and Tuyen Quang. And we have traveled back to Okotoks, Canada, from Ha Noi, via Tokyo and Vancouver.

Our 90-day tourist visa for Vietnam expired Mar 18, so we had to leave Vietnam to re-enter and get issued a new visa. The process was a less complicated than we had anticipated, when planning this time in Vietnam, we decided to allocate a few days for visiting with friends. We thought we may go to Chiang Mai, Thailand or Penang, Malaysia to see people we had met during our first trip to YWAM Kona. As we prayed and sought opportunity, airplane tickets, and accommodation, Penang rose up as the place.

Glenda had a neck and shoulder problem throughout the trip that made the flights uncomfortable. You can see Debra providing a gentle massage, undoing some of the damage.

We flew from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur and then to Penang Island, and stayed for 4 nights. We visited with the Lindsay’s, a family who were part of our Crossroads Discipleship Training School in 2014, who are now serving full-time in Penang. We also took a drive across to the back of the island to Balik Pulau. Here we met up with Debra, a Malay, who was also a classmate. She works with children and is planting a church with a Korean pastor.

There are Chinese, Indian and Malay in Penang, and you can see and feel the British influence from the colonial days. English is the language we heard the most, sometimes we forgot that we could talk and be understood. Cars drive on the left and crossing the street, they stop at traffic lights and crosswalks and yet it seemed more dangerous. Coming from Hanoi where pedestrians, motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks (lorries) all chaotically mingle together on the streets, we thought Malaysia would be easier, but we found ourselves looking the wrong way, and stepping out in places we shouldn’t.

All in all, it was a great trip, the blue skies were a treat, the food was awesome, the time filled up with fellowship and catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

 

When we returned from Malaysia with our new 90 day visa we settled back into our routine for a week then flew to Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, in the south of Vietnam. We did this to take part in a seminar that was being held there. The meetings were in a Korean church, in a neighbourhood that had many Korean businesses, schools and BBQs. The seminar was called ‘Restoring The Foundations’ and it lasted for two weeks. While we were in Saigon we did get to visit the downtown area and saw the city panorama from the observation deck on the 65th floor of the  of the Bitexco Tower, the tallest building in the south.

 

We added a new English Club at the Hanoi Medical University after we came back from Saigon. With the VTV/Helio Cafe English Club and two at the Mustard Seed we now had clubs every day of the week. Each of them were created to be safe-environments in which members would be encouraged to speak. Manu young Vietnamese have several years of learning english grammar in school but very few get a chance to practice speaking. The clubs are also a great place to share our stories, our cultural

Andy had an opportunity for a brief visit Lao Cai, a city in the mountains located on the border with China.

Our visit to Ninh Binh was a gift from the outreach team that we took to Ha Noi back in December of 2016. They left in February, without us, and we decided to wait for nice weather for our trip. It was a great blessing, we really enjoyed the time being rowed around the waterways, and were surprised to visit one of the locations used in the movie Kong: Skull Island.

A day trip to Nam Dinh, fulfilled a 2 year old promise to visit David’s hometown.  We traveled by bus, it was full, very well, so we sat on small, very small red plastic stools almost all the way.

 

 

Hà Nội without a team.

We have been in Hà Nội for three weeks without the team. We have followed them on Facebook and Whats App as they debriefed in Kona and moved on to the next phase.

We have moved into a different apartment on the west side of Hồ Tây, West Lake, near where we rented the first year we visited. Back in the old ‘hood, you could say.

We have continued with some of the work that started while the team was here, particularly the VTV3 (Vietnam TeleVision) English Club. We have started a couple of new clubs, two at the Mustard Seed, where our students range from 4 years to 74 years!! One of the ladies at the VTV3 club invited her husband a couple of weeks ago. He is a well-known doctor, known as Dr Happy. He asked if we would host a club at Hanoi Medical University for some of his colleagues; so this week we will go there for a test run. Out of all of this, we have some one on one tutoring in the works. In all of this there are so many opportunities for sharing life and our culture and worldview. This nation is hungry – hungry for English, hungry for the good news, hungry for relationship, hungry for mothers and fathers…

…and hungry for food.

There will always be food pictures. Here in Vietnam, fellowship around a table, or  on a floor mat, is a integral part of the culture, whether it is a TET meal, Lẩu, Bún Chả, Phở, Cơm Rang or Nem Rán. An invitation to share a meal, even from those who have little to offer, is hard to refuse. There is so much life in the sharing.

 

We will leave Vietnam for a short trip next weekend to renew our visa, we have been in the country for 90 days, already. We will visit friends in Penang, Malaysia, flying from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur then up to Penang.

We are picking up a bit more tiếng Việt, Vietnamese, but we are still asking Dad to wake us up one morning fluent in this tongue.

Still watching and listening for all other reasons we are here. Please keep praying for us to have the boldness and wisdom to walk in obedience to His voice.

Until next time be blessed and be a blessing, A&G

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Scripture fromEnglish Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 byCrossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.