On January 12, 2010 at 10pm, some friends and me met at Nhà Thờ Đức Bà (the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, otherwise known as: Notre-Dame Basilica) to prepare for our tasks for our "midnight flight" – as Fr. Thông has called it. Once we divided the portion of gifts amongst ourselves, we divided into groups and were on our way.
As it was the first time going with Fr. Thông, many people wanted to go to Quận 4 (County 4) and Gò Vấp. I wanted to tag along with them, too; however, I chose Bình Thạnh – my "hometown". We had a total of 11 volunteers with my group having 6 out of the 11.
At 11pm, we departed. 1...2...3...let's go! Driving around Bình Thạnh and gosh....there's no one on the streets. Not a single person. Where was everyone??? Oh...they were all hiding. They were all worried that they would be taken away.
Finally, we spot an older woman. She had hidden herself under a pile of cardboard boxes pretending to be "a pile of trash". Slowly and carefully lifting the boxes, I was able to leave the older woman a blanket and an envelope with some money. Treading lightly, I slowly and quickly made my way back to my group to....run. I ran because I didn't want to wake her up; however, I did wake her up as I did wake up many others. I wondered if by me waking them up and providing them with these gifts if they would be able to fall back asleep or would they be so excited and happy that they would not be able to fall asleep?? I, for one, was sure that I would also fall into that category of not being sure if I'd be able to fall asleep after this eventful and meaningful night. Thank you to the older woman and my volunteer group. Thanks to everyone, especially to the people that were able to receive the gifts and perhaps, receive a bit of happiness and excitement from us. Thank you so much!
January 13, 2010 – 2am – my group had completed our mission. And now...it's time to have a late snack. We met up with the entire volunteer group at the "Sept-23" park and listened to Fr. Thông share stories of "his life".
5am – the gathering ended and everyone headed back to their own homes. But for me, I was unable to fall asleep due to this unexplainable happiness I felt inside me.
Happy Birthday, Fr. Thông. I thank you for everything!
P.S. I forgot to thank our anonymous donors. Fr. Thông, please send my regards to all the donors that have provided us with such an eventful and meaningful evening!
Translated by MyHuong Duong. Original version in Vietnamese entitled "Bay, Bay, Bay"