Nambodia Post 2 – Museum of War Remnants

Just got up – it’s about 6am (we are 11 hours ahead of you EST friends). Everything is good. So far, I have had no problems with sleep or with the food. After we arrived and checked into our hotel (small clean rooms), we went to the Museum of War Remnants.

It was a longwalk, very hot but we was worth going to. The museum was pretty intense, very sad and emotionally taxing. To say the least, there are lot of feelings there, very tragic pictures, horrible stories, a lot of hurt and hate expressions – hard to take in.

I remember visiting the Holocaust Museum in Israel and being so moved by it. But if I had to describe another aspect of what I was feeling, it was relief because I wasn’t the “oppresser” or the “oppressed”. Years later, I would visit the Holocaust Museum in Berlin and I felt much closer to the many Jews and minorities who suffered so severely.

Today, being an American visiting the Remnants Museum, was difficult. I am a very gratful American, but still, if you can separate yourself from your national alliance and be human, you cannot help but be overwhelmed by these stories. I probably won’t post the pictures, interested people can google the museum for themselves but seeing the effects of the Agent Orange, reading the stories of brutality, and feeling the pain causes you to be so alarmed by the world we live in. These places reveal the fallness and the evil within all of us.

I think walking away from the exhibits, I felt the enormity of our broken, sinful natures. Throughout human history, we have always succeeded in hurting each other. A lot more could be said here but to move the thought forward, I also felt the great importance of the Gospel. When Jesus teaches us to love our neighor as ourselves and to love our enemies, I see that as a fundamental key to all aspects of life, not just personal politeness in my local context.

Afterwards, we went to dinner at a real interesting place called Pho Bin. It was used as a front for the Vietcong. So downstairs noodles were fed to the American GI’s and upstairs, things like the TET Offesnive were planned. Unbelievable. We headed back to the hotel and had a small team meeting before endinng the first night. I was pretty tired by then so I went to sleep and for the most part, slept well and here I am.

I’m going to try and update the blog but wanted to say hey. Thanks for your prayers, thoughts and love, hope you are well too.

‘Nabodia – Post 1 – Pre-Trip Thoughts & Hopes

Today I leave for our seminary trip to Vietnam and Cambodia (calling it ‘Nambodia).  What can I say but I’m really excited. About halfway through my packing, I came to the realization that I was not feeling the usual anxiety. Initially I thought, “I must be maturing and getting used to traveling.” Then it hit me – I didn’t feel the anxiety because I’m not leading a group of 20 teenagers! Ha, ha, I do love our students and mission trips but I did also like the idea of not being in charge.

A quick overview: Each year the graduating class of our seminary goes on an international mission experience (IME Trip). Among its many objectives is to see how the church interacts with the culture. This year we have the unique experience of interacting with university students. Western evangelicals are a rarity in that part of the world; in fact, the percentage of Protestants makes up less than 1 percent of its total population of 80 million people. In addition to interactions with fellow students, we will be taking in numerous sights of Vietnamese and Cambodian culture, touring historic sights in Vietnam, the Killing Fields memorial in Cambodia, and the Angkor Watt Temple.

Though I will miss my family terribly, I am really excited. Like most people, I enjoy traveling and gain so much from the experience. I believe firmly that there are certain lessons that you can only learn once outside your zip code. Most likely, I will enjoy this trip but at the same time, I have been trying to prepare my heart in these specific ways.

First I hope it is humble and broken before God.
Second, this is the last Hoorah! for Cohort 10. It is no exaggeration when I say that I am going to miss these dear friends. It won’t be complete though, we will be missing two of our brothers – KJ & Evan due to extenuating circumstances (like a birth of a new boy!!!).
Third, I want to listen: to the students, to the locals, to my friends as they listen, and to the Lord through whispers and proclamations.  There will be moments of beauty, brilliance, disappointment, shock (like when visiting the war museums, have you see the pictures of babies who have been affected by Agent Orange?) and among others – hope.

There’s a couple other hopes and thoughts that I will keep to myself for now. But I imagine that I will do a lot of reflecting on family life (being a husband, a father, son, brother, friend, etc.). Also, I will be reading more NT Wright for my independent study (who better?). Anyway, I am really grateful that Biblical Seminary and the Eastern Mennonite Conference answered the invitation from the Vietnamese Government to interact with a group of their university students and I really grateful to the Vietnamese officials who are welcoming us.

If you don’t mind please keep me and our team and our families in prayer. Grateful for all our support in finances and intercession. Grace and peace.