Report on Missionary Trip to Vietnam
TCA College Report on Teaching Missionary Trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Dr. Richard Goetz
During the term break in April 2013 I had the honour of traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with two TCA College students, Daniel Topf and Richard Ong. We were there to teach a two-week course in Christian Apologetics to 20 eager Vietnamese Bible School students.
This TCA College mission trip served the dual purpose of providing apologetics training to the Vietnamese students as well as training for Daniel and Richard as teachers. Both of them admirably taught sections of the course.
After arriving, we travelled through the motorbike-clogged streets from the airport to the Bible school. As we made our way, I reflected on the situation in Vietnam. Vietnam is still striving to emerge from a legacy of war and conflict. As they take steps to increase their standard of living, there are now greater opportunities and hope of a better life.
These desires and dreams are common to most people and nations. And like most people and nations, the Vietnamese also have a hunger to connect with the transcendent – with God. This is evident in the many Buddhist temples and even Roman Catholic churches, but even more so on their faces and in their voices.
Upon arriving on site, we quickly saw that the Bible School in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) was full of energy and excitement. Students of theology and the Bible were eager to learn in preparation for ministry. They were from all over Vietnam: some from the north near Hanoi, some from the central coast near Da Nang, others from further south in the Mekong Delta.
Wherever they came from, all shared the same passion and dream of pastoring and church planting to reach their fellow Vietnamese with the good news of Jesus Christ. This course in apologetics was the second to last course in their four years of studying and they would soon be graduating.
We could tell that the students enjoyed both the learning and the company. They actively engaged in classroom discussions with frequent laughter as a common occurrence. Their spiritual focus was evident, too. They stood and prayed before and after each session. These were not shallow “Lord, bless us” prayers; these prayers were deep, heartfelt and full of passion. Although we could not understand the words they used, we could hardly miss the fervency with which they prayed.
Our social sessions were especially bonding. Though much of the conversations at meal times were in Vietnamese and beyond us, we felt connected nonetheless through our common heritage of being in Christ. Of course, our common appreciation for delicious food did help as well!
Daniel and Richard had the opportunity to live with the students in the dorm rooms, making friends and participating in many aspects of their daily routine – from early morning prayer to callisthenics. Chapel was held daily and was student-led. Daniel, Richard and I took turns sharing in a chapel session. The three of us also had the honour of preaching in local churches over the weekend.
It was truly a blessing and privilege to be part of training some of Vietnam’s next generation of pastors, missionaries and church leaders. Each of the 20 students stated that they not only had a clarion call to ministry, they also had pastoral positions waiting for them upon graduation. Knowing that we had played a part in helping these Vietnamese students prepare for the future to which God is calling them was rewarding and an experience we will not forget.