In the October School Holidays, 30 people from Greenwood Parish Youth Group, and others traveled to Vietnam on a mission experience trip with Father Vinh Dong.
15 of the participants were teenagers from the Youth Group who traveled with parents, other young adults and the Dominican Sisters from Greenwood.
The trip incorporated aspects of Mission and Cultural Experience. We traveled from Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh City visiting various places in between. Some of the activities included spending time at orphanages, helping the sister to feed the children, watching them perform concerts they had prepared and just hanging out with them. We visited a school for the blind, the elderly, the homeless and the poor. We also spent some time at a village experiencing some of the culture of the Ethnic Minority People. Apart from the mission side of the trip, we went for buffet dinners, a river cruise and sightseeing around each place, and of course shopping!
After talking to the youth, their greatest experience was the realisation that education in Vietnam costs $50 a year, yet many children and teenagers cannot afford to attend school. We sponsored a number of children so that they can go to school this year, and we have been challenged to continue to donate $50 a year to educate one child.
Some of us also had the privilege to sponsor some of the orphans who were being baptised by Fr Vinh. We were given the responsibility to name the children and commit to praying for them. This was a wonderful opportunity, and also very confronting as many of these children had just been dumped at the orphanage and their parents had run off to other countries.
The stories we heard and the experiences we had will stick with us for a life time, and hopefully inspire a change in each of us as to how we are living, and how we could live more simply and help those in need.
We would like to thank the Greenwood Parish Community for all of their support through prayers and donating money through our fundraising events. We were able to take around $5000 to give to the sisters in support of their mission in Vietnam.