By Janet Gerow
At first I thought the hardest thing was actually going to Vietnam. The trip was originally planned to go to China, and when we were re-routed for Vietnam due to a swine-flu fear in the other country, I felt rushed and not sure if I was spiritually ready to give my all to the Vietnamese people.
That feeling left as soon as we touched down in Ha Noi. The hardest thing was leaving Vietnam while knowing that the need is great and yet not knowing when I, or another group of Christians, would go back.
It was amazing to watch the children patiently, obediently wait to receive something of their very own, a gift, totally free. They did nothing to receive it besides just be themselves. It was such a joy. It mirrors our free gift of salvation that Christ offers to all. It is hard to explain in words what it was like to watch each child wait with hope and anticipation and then see their face light up when you bring the shoes and put them on their feet.
It's better than a toy or candy. The shoes will last for a while and each step they take in them can remind them that they are loved, they are important, they are special, just because they are who they are.
I was able to learn so much on this trip. We were blessed with many people along the way who helped us learn the Vietnamese culture and this was a great help in knowing how to reach and to work with, play with, and love the children, elders, and teachers/directors.
This trip also opened my eyes to see a great need and how I personally may be able to do more for the people of Vietnam. I believe we were stretched and strengthened in many different ways, but especially learning how to show and live Christ without being able to say his name because it’s a communist country.
I strongly believe the people there knew there was something different about each one of us and I pray as other Christian groups visit Vietnam, we will see more and more hearts open to receiving the Word and this dark land will begin to shine brightly for Him. May we continue to remember the people of Vietnam and the government, that they will one day (hopefully soon) allow christians to share and teach about Christ. But until such time, let us serve faithfully and lovingly in obedience to the agreements that have been made with the Vietnamese government, so the doors and opportunities will remain open and increase.
Janet Gerow is from Orlando, Florida and traveled to Vietnam in September 2009 with the Shoes for Orphan Souls team to distribute shoes. Take a trip to deliver shoes with Buckner!
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