Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Comes, Even in Vietnam

Tin-foil wrapped creches adorn private businesses on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Tunes of spiritual Christmas hymns float through shopping centers. People occasionally even wish one another "Merry Christmas."

Traditions that are sometimes controversial in other parts of the world are readily available here in Vietnam, if you know where to look for them. 

Christmas celebrations are gaining popularity here, with each year seeing an increase in parties, celebrations, singing and programs. And shopping, of course. Children adorn little santa suits or santa dresses for those special school or church Christmas occasions. 

Still, many of the young people who came for our Christmas Eve program at our home had never been to a Christmas celebration before. It was a unique opportunity for us to share the reason we celebrate - that a babe born in Bethlehem many years ago is the King of creation and the Savior of souls.

Sharing the Christmas story

It is our joy to serve our Lord Jesus Christ by sharing Christmas traditions, song, stories, culture and love with these wonderful friends. Truly the Light of the World is filling hearts with values of faith, hope, trust and peace. And while our own hearts are miles away with our children, our hearts are filled to overflowing by the priceless gift of the greatest Gift, and the privilege that is ours to be in His service on this special day. What we end up accomplishing while on our mission may be very small - but who we are becoming inside is no small thing. 

Still, Christmas in Vietnam is not quite like anything we've experienced elsewhere. It's own unique traits make it a memorable experience indeed!

Christmas comes, even in Vietnam.

Sing to the tune of "My Favorite Things"

Tin foil wrapped crèches
And spray painted branches,      
Street vendor noodles
And sidewalks in patches
Bustling motos that drive with no fear
This is how Christmas is spent here this year!

Smiling new converts
In baptismal clothing,
Branch builders teaching
With faces now glowing.
Sharing the message of Christ far and near
This is how Christmas will last all the year!

When the dogs bark
When the bus honks
When sweat feels like glue,
You simply remember the Reason you're here -
And then you won't ever feel blue!

Elder Coffey showing temperatures from around the world to a street vendor friend.
Visiting with the people is what makes being here at Christmas so wonderful.

Feeding Christmas dinner to grateful branch builders on Christmas Day

Yule logs - Vietnamese style

Our guests Light up the World with what
 gift they will give in the coming year, carefully written
on little stars.

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