Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Tân Sơn Nhất Branch of Ho Chi Minh City

Little feet straggled in, filling up seats in the front of the chapel. Teachers held fingers to their lips as the children settled in.  All 6 of them, then one more, then another.  Eventually 10 children were in their seats.

Fidgeting hands and swinging feet kept little minds busy as they waited.

Finally, it was time to begin. 

The song “I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me” opened up the Tân Sơn Nhất Branch 2016 Primary Program. Later, the first two verses of another hymn were sung by the little group, followed by the congregation standing to their feet and joining in for the last two verses.  Choked with emotion, I could no longer sing.  There I stood listening to the future church leaders of Vietnam sing praises to their Savior and of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In Vietnam!  The embodiment of all the dreams to build the future with eternal families stood before me singing lustrously, in Vietnam!

Primary Children of the Tân Sơn Nhất Branch
Primary programs and children singing usually elicit tears from my eyes, but here the emotion was different.  This was Vietnam! I can still hardly wrap my head around these images.  As I walked the streets in a war torn country decades ago, I could never have dreamed to be here listening to the songs of Zion by the 2nd, and sometimes 3rd generation of faithful Saints.  We are truly grateful for all the miraculous events that have brought this reality into existence, grateful for the current peace.

Later, the branch of Saints joined together for a pot luck dinner – hungry hands reached in to serve up platefuls of food - and before we knew it – the food was gone!

Enjoying fellowship, friendships, and good food following the potluck.

Elder Coffey and I have spent some time getting to know branch members and leaders to find out how we can be of service.  We met in branch council last week - the branch council concept here is alive and well!  They do an amazing job!

Our branch president (second from left) and his counselors (first counselor not shown) exemplify the outstanding leaders the Church has in Vietnam. They are men of faith, men of action, and men of God. It is such a privilege to work with them.

And work with them we do!  Among the assignments we have been asked to do, we are assisting and advising the Young Single Adult group and the Returned Missionaries group, working with the branch presidency on self reliance and welfare needs, providing leadership training for the branch presidency and branch councils, doing apartment inspections for the young missionaries, attending district meetings and English preparation meetings and providing in-service training to the young missionaries, teaching a monthly self reliance workshop for members and for the public, bringing food to the potluck (!!!), teaching a weekly English class, finding people to bring to church or English class, and fellow-shipping and sharing the Gospel message!  And much more. And we love it! There are many ways to be engaged in the service of the Master. Serving a full-time mission is just one of them. But what a blessing it is!

Young Single Adult (YSA) Activity Night

YSA Family Home Evening - Game Night!

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