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Karo’s Flight: A Photo Journey of My Time in Vietnam

As Karo spent time in Vietnam she prayed “Lord, less of me, more of you”. Confronted with culture shock, living in a new city, and depending on God in new ways, Karo discovered a deeper intimacy of relationship with God.

*The following pictures and captions were taken from a social media takeover

Hey everyone, It’s Karo posting from Vietnam! I’ll be swooping into the Serve Asia Instagram this week and sharing some of what Vietnam has been teaching me during my time here.

I come from South Africa, which has a completely different culture and lifestyle. So, that has made my time here incredibly interesting, a little intense but mainly character building.

God has shown up in ways I could never have imagined! Follow my posts this week as I give a bird’s eye view of my journey in Vietnam this far. 

I arrived in Vietnam during Tet holiday – the Vietnamese New Year. Traditionally a majority of the people living in Hanoi leave the city and businesses shut down.

I was alone in a big house for five days in a new, strange city with nobody to call to even have a coffee. Despite all of this, I felt completely safe and loved, I felt God’s presence stronger than I have before.

Exploring the city, figuring out where to buy food or how to turn on the hot water, God was there. He showed me how he has always been and will always be present and invested in my life.

I truly believe that “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:8-10 NIV

He is trustworthy, He is a provider.

Living in a country so completely different from home has slowly humbled me in a big way. All the things I usually gave confidence in; my family and friends, my social skills, my social status, my independence, are almost non- existent here.

At first, I felt frustrated because I couldn’t do anything myself, but God surely provided everything I needed here day by day. Food, a roof over my head, incredible friends, a grounded church community, joy in every situation.

He has also shown me that the things I have around me at home, which give me confidence and comfort, were provided by him too! I’m grappling with trusting God in absolutely everything. He is patient with me and is revealing his trustworthiness as the sole provider of my every need.

He has challenged me with Matthew 6:25 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Why worry?

I have met many Vietnamese Christians in my time here and their stories have been one of the biggest blessings of my trip.

They have all had to give up much more than I ever did in order to accept Christ, knowing that this life would bring them persecution.

How foolish of me to think I was bringing God to those who need him.
GOD IS HERE, and he’s showing off his handiwork through all these beautiful believers!

This together with meeting Christians from around the world has shown me just how big God really is.

Through every story he has very gently taken himself from the little box I tend to put him in and left me in awe of him. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28 NIV

Who am I that this huge God would pull me into his glorious plan?

The story of a particular Vietnamese couple has really stuck with me. They both came to Christ in a refugee camp in Hong Kong and when it was time they got sent back to Vietnam. The time they spent in the refugee camp God used to equip them through a small bible school. When they returned home they felt the call to spread the gospel in Vietnam.

They both faced difficulties & opposition. Still in the face of many trials they continue to spread God’s word to this day!

As we shared a meal they told me how they have constantly fought for God’s kingdom. I was humbled and realized that this is a great God we serve.

Culture shock is real. Although our mentors prepared us for it as best they could, there’s nothing quite like the experience itself. I experienced the peak of my culture shock around 2 weeks ago when I found myself in a stressful situation and absolutely crumbled. I felt weak, tired and irrationally irritable. My ability to take on tasks decreased dramatically and worst of all I became critical of everything and everyone around me. I am so lucky to have such a gracious host who loved me and gently pointed me back to Jesus during this time. I learned that it really is okay to be weak, it’s okay to fail, to ask for help and to need others to lean on. Like in a messy and real kind of way. For God says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Coming out the other side is like opening the eyes of your heart once again. All of a sudden the city is beautiful once’s again, its noise is a bustling hum of vibrant life and my critical heart turned to worship God once again!

I once heard someone say there is nothing more powerful than praying scripture, for those words are the words and will of God himself. In my deepest loneliness I began to read and pray the words of psalms which expressed so beautifully the way I felt inside. The two passages which have stuck in my heart are words from David:

“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you, I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”
Psalm 5:1-3, 11-12 NIV
“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”
Psalm 31:7 NIV

I have known an unexplainable joy every day, even if just for a moment, even in my loneliest days. It’s not because I was looking for it or because I was doing anything to deserve it. It’s only because we serve a loving father, who seeks to give us everything we need every day!

Hey there Serve Asia followers! Thank you for coming on this heart journey with me through my time in Vietnam! To end off my story I want to tell you how it began. When I was preparing to come to Vietnam I had a single prayer in mind “Lord, less of me, more of you” so as much as I could, I would pray this prayer. As I have written these posts I have been reminded yet again of my prayers and I see how God has answered this prayer along with all the others I have shared with you. In the words of Paul:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:1-5 NIV

In everything, I will hold onto this hope which God has blessed me with in hopes that I would be a blessing to others wherever I go ??


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