I have not forgotten the painful event that happened to me. On that day. At that place. I was only a child of 11 years old. I still remember the fear I felt. Everyone's eyes were focused on me, and the rumors about me spread. My entire world was darkness.
The seven years of living under the cozy and happy roof of OBV have been seven years of love and happiness, created by OBV with the help of supporters and anonymous benefactors. I have seen Father Martino and Mother Ngoc prepare weddings for my big sisters, while helping other sisters get into college, or look for jobs. How can I forget all the happy OBV trips we've taken, starting very early in the morning and not returning until well after midnight?
Whenever a new sister came to be with us, I would wake up early and be ready to welcome her and her parents. They were tired from their long journey. Half asleep and scared. I would gently tell her 'It will be okay, little sister, you are safe in our OBV home."
I've seen Father Martino and Mother Ngoc's smiles and tears whenever one of us need to leave to build a new family. They don't want any member of OBV to leave the kids will eventually grow and mature and like birds, our sisters will need to leave the nest and start to fly. We are all grateful to both of your for taking care of us, from the basics like eating, through to our education and our health.
We have two more of our older sisters entering college this year. Suddenly, I'm now one of the biggest sisters of the OBV family. Watching the younger sisters, I'm not sure yet how to work with them, to guide them and to set a good example. I can only do my best to follw on what both Mother Ngoc and Father Martino have taught me.
I am old enough that you now trust me to use Facebook correctly, and a cell phone to keep in contact with our bigger OBV family everywehre. I am really impressed when I read about aunt Thao Le's and uncle Phat's great organization skills to pull off fundraisers.
All the uncles and aunts of OBV (none of which are actually related by blood but are just volunteers who help run and manage the organization) are always so terribly busy since they have their own jobs, and work and families, yet they put the time aside to help OBV, as if they more than 24 hours in a day. Mother Ngoc often reminds us of the sacrifices these aunts and uncles, but I only really fully understand it now.
We, the children, all feel that we had fallen far into a dark hole. But a strong arm reached out and caught us in time, and brought us back to an atmosphere of love. Aunts and uncles have given us their wings when we didn't have any so that we could fly, but have also taught us to grow and use our own. Because of all these great blessings I have received in life, I feel more responsible for myself and my actions, and strive harder every day.
It's a kind of gratitude that stems from the bottom of my heart, one i will never be able to pay back.
Dear Mother, would you please forward this letter to all our aunts and uncles of OBV Australia, for all the work they have put in and overcoming all difficulties. I promise to study hard, and to be a good example to all my younger sister, and never to betray the love and trust of those who continue believing in me.
May God grant peach and health upon all our aunts and uncles, as well as the benefactors. May God bring in more people with compassion to share the work load on helping OBV expand their mission in protecting children from the the worst crime of sexual abuse.
OBV AUTUMN 2017
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Mẹ Ơi, Cho Con Nói Lời Cảm Ơn"