1/21/2014 North Vietnam
Turns out that our trip to north Vietnam includes Lao Cai and Sapa! It's midnight and we just got into LC (after an 8hr, harrowing drive), off to Sapa at 8am.
There's a reason OBV has come to Lao Cai. Since Lao Cai 1) is less developed relative to the other major metropolitan cities, 2) has poor villages of ethnic minority groups, and 3) borders China, underage trafficking is said to exist here. Today has been a surreal day.
We met with Fr. Thanh early this morning to learn about his work with impoverished ethnic minority groups in the area.
1/17/2014 Father Martino - Singapore
Dr. John Heffernan and I are on "top of" Singapore!!
The daughters of Father and Mother kicked up the smiles
A fondly question that seemed like a joke. But, the children asked very truly, because this was the first time in their lives to see the ocean. The second and third days of our mission trip in Cambodia were going to the Sihanouk beach with the children.
1/15/2014 Cambodia - Sihanouk beach
It's 5:30 am, and we're all ready to take the OBV Cambodia girls to the beach! They were already awake and ready to go looooong before all the adults, they were so excited.
If you think your child doesn't have enough good stuff in their life, one of the OBV Cambodia girls (about 8yrs old) pointed at the swimming pool in front of the hotel we're all staying at for the night and asked Thuy "Is that the beach? Is that where we're swimming?"
Count you blessings, friends.
After the overnight flight, the missionary group has regained strength after a long rest. Everyone gathered to attend a seminar on the topic "Pedophile" by Dr. Thuy Dan at the hall of Bridge to Happiness Center at the address of 363 Vo Van Tan, Ward 5, District 3.
The January Mission Trip group pose on the bus to mark the start of the Mission trip in 1/2014 was the trip to Cambodia
The missionary group began a fresh day by attending the Mass with the OBV children
After the Mass, the OBV children were subdivided into 3 groups by school age: elementary, middle and highschool. The members of the missionary group were also subdivided into 3 groups and went shopping with the children for new clothes for Chinese New Year festival.
In the afternoon, the missionary group rested in preparation for the overnight flighttonight. Before the flight at 12:00AM, the team accompanied Father Martino to Cho Cau Parish to share on the topic "Sex in Marriage" to local parishioners.
According to the scheduled plan, Mission Trip 2014 will have two missionary days at Can Tho.
During this trip, the delegation had added a family of Mrs. Trang and Mr. Hung who is one of the benefactors of OBV family.
In two hours, the mission trip heads to Cambodia for the second leg of this journey. Will report back later in the day. We have a 6hr bus ride ahead of us!
At bus station on Pham Ngu Lao street!!!
Father Thong, Mother Ngoc and the Mission trip 2014
On the second day of the Mission Trip: the group woke up at 5:00 am like the children, had breakfast. The children went to school, the group visited several places. First, the group stopped by an old house in Cu Chi, everything looked the same but the place was a little wild and cold due to lack of the human presence. This house, if thing works out as planned, will be used for other project.
We're back in Saigon for the next two days. As soon as we returned, we freshened up and went to a convent to hear Fr. Martino introduce OBV to a large group of nuns. They found his stories of fighting sex trafficking fascinating and his bombastic humor entertaining.
1/9/2014 Can Tho
It's 4:30am. Everyone on the mission trip is gradually waking up and packing. We leave for Can Tho at 5a. It's apparently a 3.5-4 hr ride. Part of our visit includes two visits to shelters for the mentally ill, where we'll learn about Fr. Tuan's personal calling and mission to care for those suffering from mental illness.
Two hours into the ride, we stop at a roadside restaurant for breakfast. These roadside restaurants always impress me. They're so well maintained, and the service tends to be better than what we get in the city!
1/8/2014 - OBV Children
It's 6am. We're all up for breakfast with the girls, who are already up, dressed, and full of energy for being so early in the morning. They go to school very early. Oh, and they're still making balloon animals!
1/7/2014 OBV Children
[Jesse] Fr. Martino kicks off the mission trip with a round of introductions.
Fr. Martino leads a daily reflections meeting
At the end of each day of the One Body Village mission trip, Fr. Martino likes to collect the members for a short moment of reflection.
A lot goes on during the day. We're taken to a number of places, some for a few hours, other for only a few minutes. While at a place or on the road, we're constantly hearing stories and taking in loads of information about Fr. Martino, Sister Ngoc, the girls, and the OBV organization in general.