Vietnam Mission Trip (29 June – 1 July 2016, Wed – Fri)

Testimony by Elder John Leong

Thank God for opening the door to serve Him again in Vietnam. This is our 6th trip back to Phu Ly Church, Ho Chi Ming city, to conduct the Va-cation Bible School (VBS). Phu Ly Church is located about 2½ hours drive from Ho Chi Ming city in a rather remote area dedicated to forestry. When there was a need for someone to go there to share God’s Word 5 years ago in 2011, the Lord gave us the burden to serve Him there. Thank God for the privilege and joy to teach His Word for the sixth year in 2016. Every year, the Lord will always move hearts to join the mission team. It doesn’t matter whether we have a small or big team because it is the Lord who blesses as we are just His instruments.

This year, we have the biggest mission team comprising 9 of us. We do not rest our confidence in our numbers. We went in fear and trembling, knowing how weak we are. We must be totally dependent on the Lord. We departed on Tue 28 Jun and thank God for smooth and safe journey with our many luggage of teaching materials, gifts and clothes for the Church. We arrived safely at the village hotel around 7.30pm and had time to prepare ourselves for the VBS which would start the following day. Thank God for a slightly better village hotel to stay in for we had some scary experiences in a previous poorer-condition village hotel with big insects, frogs and monitor lizards in our rooms.

The VBS started on Wednesday at 9am. There were about 80 students who came. Out of these, 58 of them are orphans or deserted children from the mountain Hmong tribe. The Church pastor has a burden to help these abandoned children. If not, most of them may have died of hunger or sold as children slaves. Thank God for the opportunity to minister God’s Word to these students and show them the love of God by loving and caring for them. In this village area, it is hard to find any proper work and one will usually end up being a farmer. Most of the grown-ups will leave the village for a better livelihood elsewhere if they do not want to be farmers. Thank God that we can sow the Gospel seed while they are still young in Phu Ly village. May the Lord save these precious souls for His glory.

The theme of the VBS is the life of Moses. In the 3-day VBS, we taught them 5 Bible lessons. Each lesson is accompanied by a memory verse. All the students would have memorised 5 verses at the end of the VBS. We made memory verse bookmarks to encourage the students to commit God’s Word to memory. They keep the book-marks so that they can always refer to these verses after the VBS. We had 3 art & craft lessons which reinforced the Bible lessons taught. Thank God for wisdom given to the team to prepare the craft session. Thank God for other brethren who also assist-ed in the preparation of the craft. God always provides everything for us when we serve Him and trust in Him. We also taught the students English Bible songs and we hope that they can continue to sing of God’s love and goodness every day of their lives. Thank God for provision of 4 interpreters for our 4 classes. They were most helpful and interpreted well too.

Preacher James Tan and I taught the class with students whose ages range from 13 to 27 years old. Their spiritual struggles as teenagers are similar to those of our youths in Ebenezer where the love of the world (social media, friends etc.) can draw them away from the Lord. On the first day, an enthusiastic young lady attended our class. She was eager to learn God’s Word and the memory verse. Sadly, she could not attend the VBS for the next 2 days as I was told that she had to look after her farm because there was no one in her family to help. I have always taught the most senior class and often I don’t see them again the following year as they would have probably left the village. I could only pray that the Word of God will fall on good ground in their hearts.

On the last day of the VBS, we had a Bible quiz and song presentation by every class. The VBS ended around 4pm. We mingled with the children till dinner time before we set off to Ho Chi Ming city to stay for a night and then departed back to Singapore on Saturday. Before we left Phu Ly Church on Friday evening, the Hmong tribal children recited the entire chapter 53 of Isaiah and also a few Psalms. We were told that they wanted to attempt memorising the entire Psalm 119 of 176 verses. Truly our hearts are encouraged by these children and we pray that they would hide God’s Word in their hearts so that they might not sin against Him. Every time we left the place, we tell the Lord that if He wills, we want to be back again next year 2017 to serve Him at Phu Ly Church. May the Lord use us for His glory.

Testimony by sister Rachel Leong

Thank God for another opportunity to go to Vietnam for mission trip. This trip was my third and each time I learnt more than I had expected. This year, God granted my friend, Shermain Lee from True Life B-P Church, the desire for missions and the time to join us. She was a great blessing to the team and a bundle of joy to the children.
Nyssha, Shermain and I were in charge of the lower primary group. We took turns to teach the lessons, do lesson-based activities and conducted games. The lower primary group had their lessons in the dining area, which was an open space. At times, the noises from the surroundings and people walking by could be distracting, but thank God that the children were mostly attentive and enthusiastic. The theme for the VBS was Moses. The lessons were based on the life of Moses from his birth till death. I thank God for the chance to teach the 10 Commandments to the children. While I was teaching, I could feel them getting distracted. However, on hindsight, I remembered that this was the first time that they heard of the 10 commandments and how important and relevant they would be to them. I am only but the instrument that God used to teach His Word. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who will work in the children’s heart and bring to their remembrance what was taught.

The uniqueness of the children in Vietnam is that more than half of them are adopted and they stay in the church. The church has kindly received them, took care of them and is currently nurturing them in God’s Word. The children are very well-versed in the Scripture passages. During the lesson activity, the class was able to recite their memory verse after 1-2 tries. They would do so loudly, with conviction and passion. On the last night in the church, the children also recited to us various long passages of Scriptures from memory. Looking at them, I could truly see how the meditation and commitment to the good Word of the Lord leads to a right conduct that is pleasing to God. These children spent a lot of their time memorising the Bible and they had taught me what I should fill my mind with. I am resolved to try harder and commit more Bible verses to memory so that I may hide God’s Word in my heart, and live rightly before God.