by Mark Tran
This past October, I had the privilege to go to Vietnam with 8 brothers and sisters from SJCAC. We partnered with 4 other team members (a Pastor, a Pastor’s wife, a head nurse & a hairdresser) from a local church in Vietnam. Our mission was to minister to some of the minority people groups in Vietnam. We visited several churches in remote areas providing medical check-ups/ supplies, books to the children, free hair-cuts, & prayers. Our team served over 600+ people during the 2 week mission trip.
Personally, this was my first time back after leaving my motherland when I was 8 years old due to the Vietnam war. That was a dark period in my life, escaping war/ Communist North Vietnam for a better future. It was by God’s grace that I survived and ended up in the United States. I had a chance to receive Jesus as my Savior and a great opportunity to go back to pray and bless the people living in Vietnam.
I’m still amazed by the people we met while visiting different churches. Two groups of people captured my heart: the pastors/ lay workers serving the Kingdom of God and those desperately crying out to God for His healing touch.
Many church leaders had minimal theological training, but they took the calling to heart and served wholeheartedly despite limitations, persecution and sickness in their bodies. One pastor has a golf ball sized tumor in his head. The doctor warned him to be careful as he can blackout at any moment. Despite this condition, he continues to shepherd God’s people by riding his motorcycle for 1+ hours into the remote village 2 times a week to take care of his flock. Our team had a chance to pray for him.
The second group of people that touched me were those we prayed for. They were mainly farmers working in the coffee and rice fields. They came early for medical supplies and prayer. At one church, about 100 people waited for over an hour for our team to pray for them. Just like the bleeding woman, they desperately wanted to be touched by the Lord for healing. Many shared that they went to see doctors, but the doctors could not heal them. They waited patiently for hours to receive prayer from us.
The most challenging part is seeing the great needs in the remote areas where resources are limited (i.e. medical resources, lack of finances). My heart was saddened to see how difficult these farmers’ lives are: working in the coffee and rice field. They came for medical check-ups and stayed for prayers for many body aches and pains: neck pain, back pain, stomach pain, knee pain, etc… The only thing we could offer was prayer and they openly received it with much faith.
One joyous memory is knowing that the Church of Jesus Christ is growing in Vietnam. One church had been holding services in an old location for 2+ decades. The Lord has blessed them with a new/ bigger building to be opened this coming Christmas. When I commented on the new beautiful church building, the pastor humbly replied, “It’s a blessing from God”.
I thank God for this awesome opportunity to do His work in Vietnam. It was an awesome experience. I am looking forward to future opportunities.