This is Kelly again! In July, I went to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the second time this year to serve for a month. It came as a surprise to some of my close friends and family as I had just returned from a one month trip to Hanoi in May. For me and my friend Christel, who is my partner in all things mission-related, it was a difficult decision. When we returned from our first trip, we were ready to settle back into life in Singapore. Work for Christel, and university for me. Thus, our second trip was pretty much of a ‘You Only Live Once’ case.
Many were probably wondering what made us come to this decision to go Hanoi again. It has only been one month since the first trip, hasn’t it?
Basically, on the first trip, we helped a missionary conduct English class. He constantly encouraged us and taught us lessons. The lesson that had the most impact was about sharing and evangelism. He always told us to share intentionally. This means that our sharing must be purposeful to the Gospel. We were also encouraged to share on the airplane because sharing in Vietnam to random strangers was dangerous, but it was safe to do so on the airplane.
On the trip back to Singapore after our first trip, we sat beside a Vietnamese man. We shared the Parable of the Lost Son and enjoyed some conversations together. Little did we know that later he would link us up with the CEO of an English language centre.
It was precisely because of this encounter that we wanted to return to Vietnam as soon as possible to volunteer in this English language centre, while the connection was still fresh.
At that time, all our ministry opportunities were introduced by the staff of OMF. All of these opportunities also had a Christian backdrop with Christian influences. However, this new opportunity was in a totally non-Christian setting, whereby we were really meeting locals who probably had not heard the Gospel before. What a tempting offer right? To be the first person in their lives to share the Gospel with them and to show them a God who loved and cared for them.
Therefore, we flew back again in July and had the opportunity to volunteer in that English language centre. Students in the centre were between twenty-one and twenty-nine years old. The experience was just amazing. Within our first week of knowing them, three of the students attended church together with us. In the three weeks volunteering there, Christel and I managed to meet a total of four students one-on-one to share the Gospel intentionally. We also gave them Vietnamese-English Bibles in the hopes that they would read it. We also brought them to an English class conducted by a missionary (yes, it is the same missionary who asked us to be intentional). Their responses were very encouraging.
Maybe, I should share the most encouraging of them all. When I met him, he introduced himself as a free-thinker. Nevertheless, I shared the Parable of the Lost Son as well as the Gospel (It goes something like this: we sin and Jesus died for us so we can have eternal life with him). I posed three questions to him. Firstly, do you sin? Secondly, do you need forgiveness? Thirdly, do you believe in God? He immediately agreed that he sinned, thought for a long time before admitting he needed forgiveness and voiced out that he partially believed in God. He turned up for the missionary’s English class and even the English worship service that the missionary organised. Even now, after Christel and I have left Vietnam, he still dutifully goes for these English classes and English worship services. It is so heartening to know that he still attends them.
Just before our last class at the English language centre, Christel and I gave out a few Vietnamese-English Bibles which we had ‘intentionally’ stored in our bags. We gave them to a few students. When they received the Bibles, they expressed pure joy and gratitude and they promised to read the Bibles consistently. This oozed sincerity and encouraged us greatly.
Overall, these experiences in the English learning centre have been nothing but encouragement. It is such an honour to have the opportunity to be the first person to share the Gospel to a non-believer. The adrenaline-rush before you share the Gospel and the excitement as you actually share it. Something unforgettable.
I am just an ordinary Singaporean Christian. Nothing special. Not perfect. I sometimes forget to read my Bible. I even forget to give my offering sometimes. I previously thought that I was not a suitable person to go for mission trips. Yet, through my two trips, I found out that as long as you have the passion to share God’s love with others, you can go for mission trips too. You do not need to be a perfect Christian to go for a mission trip because no one is perfect. Most importantly, do not be deterred by your age (Maybe preferably above 18). Many missionaries are older, hitting 50 years old and above. However, even if you are younger, you still can go! In Vietnam, it is actually better to go when you are young because you can click so much easier with the young people there. In fact, your youth could be an asset when you serve. So, what is stopping you?
In Hanoi, the harvest is plentiful indeed, where everyone is so keen to know more about the Gospel. There are so many interested pairs of ears, but insufficient, willing mouths to spread the love of God. Not only in Hanoi, but also in other parts of the world.
My parting words to everyone: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! Just do your best and God will do the rest!