by Jason Vu
On the 18th of August, we continued our mission of spreading goodwill and compassion. Our focus turned to the Hai Phong Village Church (Xam Bo), where we extended monetary gifts ($70 each) to support 30 underprivileged families. This act of kindness aimed to offer them a sense of hope in the face of adversity. We also offered a small gift($2,300) to the parish as they are rebuilding the parish church. The old church has collapsed after 116 years.
In the spirit of community engagement, we also took the opportunity to visit some of these families personally. The interactions were deeply humbling, allowing us to connect on a personal level and to realize that helping others does not have to be an unbalanced force in which one side gives and the other receives.
Like every alpha has an omega, this fruitful journey unfolded. As our expedition progressed, each passing day bestowed upon us fresh opportunities to create a positive impact, establish meaningful relationships, and nurture a sense of togetherness and belonging within the short span of time.
With our hearts brimming with gratitude, I would love to extend a warm sense of gratitude towards each and every one involved throughout this trip. From the support of local donors, clergy, family, and friends, it became evident that this journey was made possible by a community that not only enabled the trip but also exemplified that the Lord’s unconditional love for His children shows no bounds.
by Jason Vu
Our journey on the fourth day took us to an orphanage in Hai Phong, a place of importance within Father’s home parish region. In a touching display of compassion, we extended our support through a monetary donation ($2.500) to benefit the mentally disabled children residing there with the sisters. The gesture reflected our dedication to making a meaningful difference in their lives, bringing hope and positivity to their world even if it meant we weren’t beside them.
Afterwards, we proceeded to honor the Martyrs of Hai Duong, a solemn occasion that allowed us to delve into the lives of these saints. Through prayers and reflection, we learned about the sacrifices they made for their faith, drawing inspiration from their unwavering commitment.
In the midst of the visit, we also had the privilege of understanding the historical significance of Phero Gian, whose remains were exhumed hundreds of years after his death. This revelation clearly added a layer of intrigue and awe to our connection with the past, and it really shows the length that Vietnamese Catholics would go to preserve the memory of one of hundreds of these martyrs. The community has been building a new church over his tomb for the last 10 years. We contributed to this effort with a small gift of $2,500 dollars.
As we immersed ourselves in the stories of these brave souls, our hearts resonated with a sense of reverence and remembrance. This experience not only enhanced the charity journey but also bestowed it with a newfound sense of purpose. Inspired by the martyrs’ steadfast dedication to their faith, we are reminded of the enduring strength that comes from an undying belief and selflessness.
by Jason Vu
As the sun rose on the third day of our mission, August 12th, 2023, we were filled with renewed determination to extend our compassion and support to those in need. Our focus shifted to several leper camps and communities, where our efforts aimed to make a tangible difference in their lives.
Our first stop led us to a leper camp, a place where our essential item distribution brought comfort and sustenance to its residents. Instant noodles, fruit snacks, rice sacks, and the usual variety of basic necessities were distributed with care, acknowledging the residents’ needs for both physical sustenance and emotional comfort.
Moving forward in our journey, we arrived at another leper camp, where our unwavering mission was to distribute food and assorted basic necessities. Yet, this endeavor was more than just a physical provision – it was a poignant symbol of connection and empathy. This gesture was a reminder to the residents that they were not battling their challenges alone; they were part of a community that cared deeply about their well-being.
At the third leper camp, our efforts expanded even further. We provided an array of items, including slippers, instant noodles, assorted clothing, soap, rice, soda beverages, fish sauce, and shrimp. The distribution, reaching over 100 households, was a testament to our commitment to making a difference. “Trai Phong,” as this place was known, became a haven of care, enveloping the residents in support and compassion during their trying times.
Our day culminated in a community that housed 300 families. Despite the prevalence of leprosy as in our previous encounters, this space transcended its challenges. It served as a communal gathering ground for a larger collective – a community spanning from 5,000 to 6,000 parishioners across two villages. Here, our distributions were meticulously planned, offering a wide array of items. Families received essentials such as fish, grain, white sugar, clothing, slippers, instant noodles, soap, cooking oil, fish sauce, as well as items that bring joy like sweet beverages, crackers, fruity jelly, and candy. This thoughtfully curated selection aimed to cater to a diverse range of needs and preferences, addressing both practical necessities and moments of happiness.
In those moments, our differences and life’s challenges faded into insignificance. Instead, an unbreakable thread of empathy, care, and unwavering support bound us together. The simple act of giving, fueled by a genuine desire to uplift one another, dismantled the divisive barriers that often plague us. As we stood united, a powerful truth emerged: our unity and compassion are not fleeting emotions, but rather the sturdy pillars upon which a stronger, more harmonious world can be constructed.
Though the day had drawn to a close, its resonance lingered – a constant reminder of the strength derived from our shared humanity and the transformative potential of compassion.
Vietnam Missionary Journal – August 11, 2023
On the second day of our journey, August 11th, 2023, we continued our mission of compassion and aid in Pleiku. Our first stop was a local orphanage, where we distributed chocolates to the children, creating smiles and moments of joy. Engaging in heartfelt conversations with the children, we also conducted small English lessons, providing them an opportunity to learn and grow.
The atmosphere was imbued with a sense of togetherness as we gathered for prayers, seeking blessings and guidance for these young souls. Our time at the orphanage was filled with meaningful interactions that left a positive impact on both the children and us.
Our next destination was another corner of Pleiku, where we visited a community infirmary and kitchen that caters to ill patients and families awaiting childbirth.
With dedication, we assisted the sisters with preparing and cooking a substantial amount of food, ensuring that everyone’s needs were met. The kitchen buzzed with activity as we collaborated to make enough meals for the 150 people who were served. As an expression of our care, we handed out envelopes containing 100,000 Vietnamese đồng each, providing a small financial assistance to those in need.
The food packages included essential items like cucumbers, soup, and a case of milk. Particularly notable was the effort by the sisters who consistently make rice servings worth 1-2 million Vietnamese đồng daily, providing more than 3000 meals. Their selfless work, carried out throughout the year, is a testament to their unwavering dedication.
In Kontum, we visited 250 families, distributing food, noodles, and money envelopes. A change in our agenda was prompted by local authorities’ restrictions on forms of worship in the region. However, the act of gift giving remained permissible, allowing us to extend our support and care to those in need.
The day concluded with a church celebration and culture show hosted by the sisters of Dòng chúa quan phòng Portieux tỉnh dòng Tây nguyên. The sermon focused on St. Clare, highlighting her fearless nature in the face of adversity, her care for the poor, and her undying desire for her faith. [three things she wasn’t afraid of….]
The culture show featured a diverse blend of performances, including traditional gamelan music, religious songs, and dances, celebrating the harmonious blend of cultural and religious elements. This thoroughly reminded us of the beauty that emerges when different aspects of life intertwine.
As we reflected on the day’s events, each interaction, whether with children, patients, or families, served as a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of showing compassion to those in need.
Vietnam Missionary Journal – August 10th, 2023
On the 10th of August 2023, we embarked on a journey from Saigon Tan San Nhat International Airport to Tuy Hòa. Our purpose was to bring aid to the local community parish, where more than 400 families were eagerly awaiting meal packages and assorted goods.
Upon our arrival, everyone was warmly greeted by Father Hường and his companions. They extended a heartfelt welcome, emphasizing the importance of trusting in God’s mercy and extending help to those who share the same spirit of humility and need.
The distribution event was organized efficiently. Families received food packages and monetary contributions based on their food stamps. Despite the scorching sun, we worked together in a relay, ensuring that each person had a chance to cool down and participate in greeting and assisting our fellow brothers and sisters who were in need.
While our actions might seem modest, they held immense significance in the lives of these families. The seemingly small offerings we provided had a profound impact on their daily existence. In the larger context, our efforts were a demonstration of the Lord’s boundless love for His children.
Reflecting on this experience, it’s clear that our minor contributions have the potential to create a major positive change in the lives of others. The journey reminded us of the importance of extending compassion and support to those less fortunate, allowing us to embody the enduring love that God has for all His children.
Author: Jason Vu