- Mail #2:
I am sending you USD $1,000 for your evening flights, so you will not “lack” money as you did last year! I wish I could have evening flights with you, but I am nearly 80 years old, so how can it come true? So please fly for me, and take care of yourself to… stay with me, but not to fly back to God, my dear!
An old lady admiring you!
- Mail #3: … A pot of flowers!
There came a delivery when I was sitting in my office.
“Flowers for you, Father!” said my secretary. That made me start in surprise. Oh, my God, this is the first time I have received flowers! How happy I am! Now I can understand why boys and girls in love continuously send flowers! The flowers come from a couple that I cannot remember who! I just know that the senders are from distant California - Nearly 4,000 km away as the crow flies.
- Mail #4:
I suppose today you’re ready to go? How are you doing? I wish you a good trip and a happy birthday to you! Many many more… No present, no birthday cake to you, but I have only prayers that God and Mother Maria always bless you. I will keep reading about you on the website, especially when you come to Vietnam. Hopefully you will update your information every day, Father!
… There are many other letters that I cannot put on here. So, I am sorry for breaking an appointment and asking for your generosity to forgive me!
- Unstamped letter and also impossible to send by email, but it was sent with love.
It was a story from my trip last weekend when I came to perform a ceremony for a Vietnamese family. After the ceremony, they invited me to stay for dinner. The weather was extraordinary cold for this area – down to some minus degrees! Yet human hearts were warm. After some negotiation, the brothers and sisters there collected USD $1,720 for me. Thank you for your hearts of gold! The most “interesting” was that they “sold”… me by auction! More precisely, they put “the effort of cooking the meal for me (Father Thong)” at auction. Eventually Uncle Truong and Aunt Nhan “bought’ it for USD $500. I would have changed my job to work as a cook!
- “Final” letter. What a thrilling experience it was! I cannot hold back my tears when recalling what happened! She is nine – just gone in a car accident… Her family don’t know who I am, but via Uncle C. (who helped me a lot in my previous trips), they handed me USD $800 with a short note “Please help to do something meaningful for her”. I couldn’t help shedding tears when I was holding the money! From deep in my heart I said “My dear, I promise I will do what you wish!”
Here are some thoughts I would like to share with you all before starting my trip. Hopefully I will have time to share more with you about our work in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Blessing and peace for us.
Jan 10, 2010
Translated by Nam Lam. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Chia Sẻ Trước Khi Lên Đường"