Today’s post is written by An Nguyen, a CAMA worker in Vietnam.

This July marked our twentieth year of service in Vietnam. As we reflected on how wonderful and faithful the Lord has been to us, we could not stop praising Him.

We came to Vietnam full of hope and expectation. We imagined everything would go well with our ministry and that our plan would succeed, but we were wrong. Thank the Lord that He guided us in His plan and not ours.

Our Family

When we arrived in Vietnam, our son had just started first grade and our daughter kindergarten. We sent both of our children to boarding school at an age nobody would think of doing today. We did not know any other options and our decision was second-guessed by many, including our own. But after much prayer, we knew it was the best decision we could make. We had no way of knowing how our kids would turn out but trusted that the Lord would take care of them.

Twenty years later, the goodness of the Lord is proven true. Both our children were well taken care of and are matured in Christ. Our son was married in June last year, and our daughter was married in June this year, both to spouses that love the Lord.

An's Family at the Alliance guesthouse in 1998
The Nguyens at the Alliance guesthouse in 1998

The Lord has always been there for our family and will continue to be.

Our Ministry

We came to Vietnam enthusiastic about doing church planting. Our enthusiasm quickly ended when we were told we could only do relief or development work. What was the Lord thinking preventing us from building His Church?

The Lord knew that there was much for us to learn. We must love people the way that He loves them. It is as much about planting churches as it is loving people in His Name.

We learned to show people that the Lord loved them through medical services that healed cleft lips and cleft palates. We provided safe water in poor communities. We taught families how to save and gave them small loans to start small businesses.

We cared for the children knowing how Jesus would have welcomed them. We loved them by supporting the building of preschools and specialized training for their teachers. The children responded to our love and their teachers by celebrating Christmas with us and acting in Christmas pageants.

The summer camp counselors
The summer camp counselors of 2017

In these communities, we became aware of the orphans and the children growing up in single-parent families. We loved them by helping with tuition, providing rice and school supplies, and encouraging them to finish high school. We provided a loving environment at summer camps for these kids to have fun while learning important life skills.

Some of these children are now in college. A few of them have graduated and have good jobs. They are eager to give back by helping us show love to other kids who are facing the same challenges that they faced growing up.

Our God’s Plan

While we wondered why the Lord did not open doors for us to do church planting, He slowly revealed His plan to us. We could not do church planting, but His Church continued to grow in Vietnam. It would be His work, not ours.

The graduating HBC class of 2018
The graduating HBC class of 2018

When the right time came, the Lord allowed us to participate in His master plan. Today we partner with local churches in ministries such as marital and family counseling, Sunday school, youth ministry, and mentoring. When the Hanoi Bible College (HBC) opened five years ago, we got the opportunity to train future servants for the Lord. The first group of 23 students graduated this past June.

In twenty years, the Lord has expanded the work of CAMA in Vietnam by allowing us to serve in both Word and deed. We are serving the people with His Love and training servants that He will use to build His Church.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 107:1).