The day started with a visit to a private school for children with autism. The life and social skills that they are taught are wonderful and inspiring. We were all very impressed with the school. The people of Vietnam are clearly trying to learn more about and understand autism. The doctor that started the school was extremely grateful to receive information and donations from us. He was very thankful for the members of Geist Christian Church in Indiana for all the donations and love, and they gave us some love to deliver.

For the second part of the day, we visited the school for kids with disabilities. This school works with kids with mental and physical disabilities and malformations. The children prepared a program for us and we were all blown away by this. There was a little girl who was clearly shy and nervous but her teachers talked to her, and she became less nervous and performed. When we gave these children toys, they were extremely happy. Seeing the kids happy made the whole trip worthwhile. Those who visited the center last year saw significant improvements, which was great to see.

Holly S.

Helping in the present and reflecting on the past

Today was a day full of so many emotions. We started out the day by attending the orphanage. When we got there, the children were watching a movie. Some of us joined in watching the movie while others helped in the kitchen to prepare lunch. Prior to lunch, the children put on a performance for us. Although Tet (Chinese New Year) is over, one of the performances involved the children wishing us a happy new year and many blessings. The children then invited the group to dance with them. This was our first interaction with the children and everyone was dancing happily with smiles on our faces.

Before we had lunch, we presented the kitchen equipment to the owners. We also gave the children the donated toys. They were very grateful and thankful. We gathered around our lunch tables and joined hands in a prayer. We then had lunch together and the kids were ecstatic that we had French fries and Pepsi with the meal.

After lunch came the hardest part of the day, the good byes. Although there was a language barrier between the children and us, the emotions that we all felt throughout the day were universal. I think that everyone in the group and most of the children shed a few tears as they walked us out to the bus. The experience today had a life changing impact on every single one of us and we have all thanked God to have such an amazing opportunity and to be thankful for the many blessings that we have.

For the second part of the day, we went to Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi Tunnels is a series of tunnels that were used by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. The tunnels are over 250KM, which is close to 120 miles.

After we returned back to the hotel, everyone in the group was exhausted. We relaxed for a few minutes before having dinner. During dinner we discussed plans for tomorrow. We will be leaving the hotel in the morning for the Autistic center. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures, but are certainly anticipating another emotional day.

Holly S.

The Last Day

Our last day was blessed again with children, social workers and sweet goodbyes.
We visited children at the Autism Center and shared and received gifts of art.
We heard from wonderful social workers about their ministries with children and challenged families.
And then we celebrated the end of an incredible trip. We will be home soon…

Honoring the past

The visit to the Demilitarized Zone between north and south Vietnam was a tough day for the group. We had a chance to see many places where Bridge Brothers had served and lost friends. We spent some time in prayer and silence at Khe Sanh, a place near the Ho Chi Minh Trail where one of the toughest battles of the Tet Offensive took place. We had long conversations with our guide who had relatives who fought on both sides. All of us were touched by the weight of this place.

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Yet there was beauty in the day as well. We prayed and had fellowship with the Bru community, an ethnic group that has house churches along the Lao border between Dang Ho and Khe Sahn. We met more beautiful children and they gave us handmade gifts to remember their faith. We closed our time in this area making new friends.

Finally, today especially, we want to say a big thank you to the Bridge Brothers for making this trip possible. We are only here because of your support and prayers.