Sometimes, all it takes is a simple "Yes".
Join Christina Koh and Patrick Sng as they reflect on their mission to Vietnam in June of this year.
We are in the bond of LOVE …
On 26 June 2019, 12 of us from ACTS Singapore headed to the Salesian sisters’ centre in Nghe An province in Vinh City, Vietnam. We joined the sisters to wrap up the end of their June summer camp for about 300 kindergarten, primary and secondary level students. Our team helped in the activities planned for by the sisters, conducted a hygiene and dental workshop, led English lessons, as well as art and craft.
Some students did not have writing desks in their homes, lying on the floor to do their homework every day. Still others had to walk many kilometres to attend school daily, rain or shine. It was difficult for us “big city folks” to comprehend such hardship on such young children, hence, to help alleviate some of their hardship, we purchased sturdy tables and bicycles for the students in need. The smile on the children’s faces when they received the gifts was priceless! We also had the opportunity to visit the homes of some of the elderly and homebound villagers, delivering food items to them.
I am extremely humbled by the families we visited who displayed immense faith in God despite their hardship. As they had to walk a long distance to church, they faithfully woke at 4.30am just to go for morning mass, the only mass conducted on weekdays. Our team was really excited to celebrate mass with the villagers and to witness the break of dawn through a spectacular sunrise. I was further heartened to know that the villagers chant the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3pm too! Through their steadfastness, I learnt the meaning of Faithfulness.
As for the unsung heroes of God’s chosen people – the Salesian sisters – to witness their dedication, love and compassion for the community was an edifying experience. Indeed, God’s love and mercy shines through each and every one of the sisters, as they bring HOPE, JOY and STRENGTH to the people they touch.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to join the ACTS mission trip to Vinh City, Vietnam, in June 2019. It was indeed a fulfilling and heart-warming experience for me. In the few days we were at the Salesian sisters’ community, we helped them conduct English and craft activities for the children at the Summer camp.
In the afternoons, we facilitated the stalls at the food fair and mingled with the children through song and dance. We also witnessed a wonderful performance put up by the children displaying their creative flair.
The mission group further distributed humanitarian parcels containing oil and noodles to the elderly and families in need, and bought bicycles and study desks for the children attending school. Although the temperature soared to 38 degrees, the scotching sun did not deter the sisters, or us, in showing our love for the villagers.
I guess what touched me most were the people whose lives we walked into – the children at the summer camp, who were always joyful and enthusiastic, making me feel at ease and accepted; the elderly villagers, who were always appreciative of what little they had, showing me what true resilience is; the Salesian sisters, who selflessly commit their whole lives to serve the community, showing me the face of Christ.
ACTS is embarking on our 5th mission to Vietnam from 26th to 29th June 2019 to support the Salesian sisters at Tam Phu (Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City) and Nghi Loc ward (Vinh City, Nghe An province in Central Vietnam).
The Salesian sisters started their mission work in Nghi Loc ward over a decade ago in 2008, serving villagers who are mostly low income farmers growing crops and raising poultry or cattle for a living. In 2018, when living conditions worsened with a prolonged harsh climate and typhoons, causing severe damage to crops and the villagers’ homes, ACTS started work in Vinh City alongside the sisters to administer to the needs of the community.
ACTS supports the sisters through the facilitation of simple English lessons, organising art and craft activities, as well as fun outdoor events for the students who range from kindergarten level to Grade 8. We also teach the children basic hygiene habits. In addition, we reach out to families in need in the rural areas through the delivery of humanitarian parcels containing basic food essentials.
The Salesian sisters run kindergartens taking care of about 300 poor village children and provide boarding for some of the youths. Holistically, the sisters have also set up a small workshop for the mothers of the needy children to sew wigs to help supplement their family's income.
Hence, it is our wish to invite YOU to join us on 26th to 29th June to Vietnam, to share the spirit of Christ with the people we meet. We promise you a journey filled with love and compassion, a journey of fellowship and faith-building, a journey you would want to take with us each and every year.
Sharing in Service
ACTS Vietnam Team